It’s time for the first “Super-Sensational-Spectacular Sunday” of the season with two of the Premier League’s “big four” facing off, and yet again it’s the turn of Liverpool and Chelsea to entertain the nation.
We seem to see more of our Scouse friends then we really should, with League games often accompanied by FA Cup clashes, League Cup clinches and Champions League…disappointments. But could this year be different? Will we only see Rafa and his goatee home and away? We can only hope as the novelty is beginning to wear off a bit after 15 games in just three seasons!Pre-match news so far has been mainly focused on Steven Gerrard. Gerrard, our goalscorer in the League cup Final, has injured a toe but is expected to play after taking a pain-killing injection. Other than their captain, Liverpool are only missing Harry Kewell and Fabio Aurelio through injury. However, Rafa Benitez rotates more than a spinning top so it’s anyones guess as to who actually makes it into his starting XI.
Chelsea’s squad is a lot more settled, and the strongest line-up is starting to emerge after the two opening wins this season. There are forced changes however, with Wayne Bridge, Arjen Robben and Michael Ballack still missing through injury, and Ricardo Carvalho joining them after picking up a thigh injury at Reading. But time for some good news. Prepare to cheer, as John Terry is back…well in the squad at least, but a start shouldn’t be out of the question seeing as the man would play on broken glass if he had to, and with the game being played at Anfield, glass on the pitch may not be too far from the truth.
Last year saw a win each in the League, with Chelsea’s at the Bridge courtesy of a Didier Drogba stunner and Liverpool’s 2-0 at Anfield the last defeat we suffered in the league. Of course there were the Champions League fixtures but that’s all ancient history now isn’t it? In the here and now we go to Liverpool looking to make it three wins from three while they will be looking to build on a last-gasp win against Aston Villa last Saturday. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that in theory it should be a cracking game, but there is also the risk of each club cancelling out the other due to over-familiarity.
Former Real Madrid coach and World Cup winner Jorge Valdano compared the Champions League Semi-Final last year to, “A s**t hanging from a stick”. Let’s hope it’s a bit better this time, including the result. Come on Chels!
Prediction: Meetings between these two are notoriously hard to predict. Recently we’ve had 2-0’s, 4-1’s, 4-0’s, 1-0’s, the lot. So why I am even attempting this is anyone’s guess! I think a great performance will earn us a win but it could be too much to ask. A draw would be a good result, a win a perfect one, but I am going for the former; a 1-1 draw, and hopefully not a trace of any s**t.