Ever since Luis Garcia's "phantom goal" in 2005, there has been some extra spice to the games between Chelsea and Liverpool. The frequency of meetings between the two sides helped fuel that fire.
The rivalry that has developed between the two sides has led some Liverpool fans to consider it up there with the match against Manchester United as most important of the season.
And this season, there is yet another factor that makes this contest more intriguing than usual. Liverpool have been able to win this season without playing particularly well—they have won more points from a losing position than any other team this season.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have been winning in style. Last weekend's 5-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough showcased their strength and depth. The midweek match against Roma however, showed that they aren't invincible. A better team would have taken advantage of their poor play.
It is an interesting clash of styles. Liverpool are the comeback kings, yet Chelsea rarely surrender a lead. Liverpool have scored 85 percent of their goals in the second half this season, while Chelsea are the only team not to have conceded a second half goal so far this term.
Liverpool are without Fernando Torres, yet they beat Manchester United earlier this season without the Spaniard and without Steven Gerrard. Chelsea are without a long list of players, including perhaps John Terry. They did, however, thrash Middlesbrough with a weakened team last weekend.
Dirk Kuyt has hit a rich vein of goal-scoring form, and Robbie Keane is more determined than ever to get on a similar streak.
It will be the first time Rafael Benitez has come up against Luiz Felipe Scolari in the Premier League, after experiencing storied rivalries with Jose Mourinho and even Avram Grant. Yet, both teams have been very diplomatic in the build-up, praising the other team but still spelling out the confidence they have in themselves.
A win for Liverpool and the rest of the league must start looking at them as serious title contenders this season. Beating Man Utd and Chelsea within 10 games, and being three points clear with a quarter of the season gone would be impressive to say the least.
It shows how far Liverpool have come recently. There is talk about perhaps them being the ones to end Chelsea's long unbeaten home record. In last season's clash between the two teams, all the talk was how Chelsea would cruise past Liverpool.
Liverpool need to get at Chelsea like they did against United and not allow them to play at all. If they can do that then they have a chance.
My predictions? 1-1, but there is something in the back of my head which is telling me 2-1 to Liverpool. Perhaps that's just the biased part talking!
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