Chelsea-Liverpool Preview: Fifth Verse Same as the First
Birds are chirping and lions are starting to venture from their caves, as spring comes on.
This Wednesday will see the resumption of the Champions League rivalry of Liverpool and Chelsea.
This is the fifth incarnation of the battle between the two English superpowers and just like the previous five, this will prove to be an interesting match from the start.
Chelsea will be making the trip up to Liverpool for the first leg of this match and it will be a trial by fire for the lions, as they take on a Liverpool team that are looking at domestic glory for the first time in several years.
Liverpool's chances to grab silverware have went by the wayside in the last year and Chelsea was able to capitalize on the Anfield boys' missteps.
While Chelsea came away with a runner-up spot in last years final to Manchester United, the team will be looking to avenge their defeat last year. And Liverpool just happens to be in the way.
One of the main arguments that I have come across is Chelsea's touch and go results during group play and in the round of 16 but it goes without saying that Chelsea played against good teams.
Granted, during group play the draw to Cluj showed a shimmer of disorganization within the squad. While some had their ideas that Scolari was fast on his way out, the play covered up the real problem that existed at the club.
Since arriving, Guss Hidink has somewhat turned the squad around. Domestically, the club have pulled points from the majority of their games. The next European fortnight will test Hidink and his ability to keep his job with the club.
I am not sure that Chelsea will be able to play with just Drogba forward with service from the wings. There is the possibility of putting Anelka up front with the Ivorian to offset the Liverpool defense, which has been a staunch wall of red at the back as of late.
Chelsea is going to have service from their imposing midfield and hopefully their shots can draw out the Liverpool defense and create chances for the strikers.
The Chelsea back four, while holding of Newcastle at the weekend, will have their hands full facing the attacking offense of Liverpool. If the organization is not present at the back, they will be leaving Petr Chech on his own to stop the onslaught that Liverpool will likely bring.
Murphy's Law seems to have no place at Anfield these days.
The reds have been on a illustrious run both domestically and internationally, as of late. And unlike Chelsea, they have had the consistency of a gaffer.
Rafael Benitez has led his squad to impressive win after win, in the last month and a half of the season and there is no inclination that the team or their gaffer are going to slow down any time soon.
On paper, the reds had an easier run into the position they are in right now. Their wins over Real Madrid to advance to their current spot, further solidify the level at which the team is playing right now in Europe.
There really isn't much to say when it comes down to the Liverpool squad.
The match will likely be cagey when it opens, as most of the matches are, but as it settles, Liverpool will find their rhythm, likely quicker than Chelsea, and they will be off to the races.
While it is unlikely going to be an all out goal fest for Liverpool, the combination of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres attacking the Chelsea net will prove a difficult test for Chelsea's back four.
The major factor in this match, though, is Liverpool's confidence.
The team have simply been on an amazing run and that confidence will follow them to Anfield on Wednesday.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
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