Chelsea vs Liverpool by Isaiah
Chelsea suffered quite heavy and very unexpected home defeat last Saturday evening when the team got knocked out of the FA Cup with a 2:4 defeat in front of their own fans against Brentford. More worrying could be the way they lost it, as the team had 2:0 lead after forty minutes of play thanks to goals from Cahill in 21st minute and Ramires in 38th.
Visitors reduced the deficit just a minute later with a goal from Stead, but had amazing last quarter of the game where they scored three goals and made one of the most important victories in their recent history thanks to goals from Morais in 75th, Halliday in 82th and Yeates in 92nd minute. Now the team is more than fired up to show it was just a poor second half for them that didn't influence anyone in the team. Coach Jose Mourinho surely won't make many changes, but one change from the first leg in Liverpool could be Oscar, who is set to come in for John Obi Mikel (15/1) in a more attacking line-up this time. Nigerian midfielder suffered a head injury on Saturday and is doubtful for this match. Thibaut Courtois will return between the posts, with the likes of Terry, Ivanovic, Matic and Costa being all rested at the weekend and now fully fit for this much more important game for the Blues.
Liverpool, on the other hand, comes from a goalless draw at home against Bolton in a game played on Saturday evening as well. They once again disappointed a lot what it wasn't expected, being unable to impose their own tempo and showing lack of creativity during the attacks and ball possession they had.
However, it has to be said that the players of Liverpool were better in the first leg played just ten days ago when the result was 1:1, with Chelsea taking the lead from the penalty kick taken by Hazard in 18th minute, while the hosts spent much of the time trying to be more attacking and more organized side. They equalized in 59th via Sterling, but didn't manage to get through to the second goal. Coach Brendan Rodgers will probably field up very similar squad to the one that played in the first leg. Daniel Sturridge has returned to training sessions, but probably won't be risked here for a lot of playing time. Joe Allen and Glen Johnson are also back coming from injuries, while sidelined with problems remain defender Jon Flanagan and second choice goalkeeper Bradley Jones. Important central defender Kolo Toure (12/0) is at African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.
Chelsea might have been lucky to escape with a draw in the first leg, but this time they have every reason to be set as strong favorites. Liverpool has a good run of matches without defeat, but with very questionable performances and many draws. Hosts have much to prove tonight and I believe they will get the qualification easily, maybe even with more than one goal difference victory.