How Liverpool Will Line Up Against Chelsea

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How Liverpool Will Line Up Against Chelsea
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Liverpool's buildup to this Sunday's mouthwatering Premier League clash against Chelsea at Anfield has been in stark contrast to that of their opponents.

In an attempt at mind games by claiming he will field a weakened team against Liverpool this Sunday ahead of Chelsea's Champions League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid, Jose Mourinho's plan has come back to hit him in the face.

Instead of deflecting the attention from his side, the media has been awash with focus on predicting exactly who will start for Chelsea in this first vs. second clash.

That's left Liverpool to breeze through a relaxed week, in which the attention has been off the team and on the club's long-term visions for a redeveloped Anfield.

The Reds are without long-term injured absentee Jose Enrique, and he is only currently rated as "hopeful" to start against his former club, as per Simon Rice of The Independent.

Jordan Henderson serves the second game of his three-match ban for his lunging tackle on Manchester City's Samir Nasri two weeks ago.

Victor Moses is not eligible to play against his parent club, but this week, he told Neil Jones of the Liverpool Echo how early into arriving at Anfield last summer he knew Liverpool could be title contenders:

When I first came here, I knew that Liverpool were going to win the league. Honest!

Even when I spoke to the press, I said that we would win it. Just from seeing the way everyone trained, that first training session, and the games that I played in early on, I could see the quality that we have here.

There is huge talent at this club, and I knew that this team could go far. We are in a position now where if we win the rest of our games, we will win the Premier League. That’s not a bad position to be in, is it?

Moses' absence will make no difference to the starting line-up as the club approaches arguably it's biggest few weeks in 24 years. Some would say even longer than that, such is Liverpool's progress this season.

The immense pressure of this season's title race has not forced Brendan Rodgers to change his line-up.

Slight tweaks in midfield dependant on the nature of the opposition have occurred recently, but the Northern Irishman showed much courage to field a very offensive line-up against Man City recently: Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge all started against Manuel Pellegrini's side.

There seems little reason to change the starting line-up from the one that won at Norwich City last weekend.

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Simon Mignolet will keep goal behind a likely unchanged back four of Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Jon Flanagan. Such as against Norwich, Rodgers has the luxury of bringing on Daniel Agger to shore up the defence in certain scenarios.

Steven Gerrard will start just ahead of the back line, marshalling that area in between defence and midfield and starting attacking phases of play from there.

Gerrard's leadership will be key to Liverpool keeping their heads during the psychologically intense moments of the match.

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Although Lucas looked sluggish against Norwich, his experience may well be paramount to success over Chelsea's side this Sunday, and the Brazilian may well keep his place alongside Joe Allen in midfield.

That leaves a front three of Coutinho, supporting a higher Sterling, and even higher, Suarez leading the attack.

Should Sturridge be available, the team's shape may change, with Lucas making way to accommodate the England international striker alongside Suarez upfront.

Rodgers' Liverpool fear no one, and the game plan will be much the same: to go forth with the same confidence and relentlessness that has tired so many Premier League defences this season.

Finally, the importance of the 12th man—Liverpool fans—cannot be underestimated.

The supporters will turn Anfield into a cauldron of intimidation for Mourinho's side, and the passion could well give the Reds that extra edge needed to claim the three points up for grabs and put one hand on the title.

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