After an international debate that seemed to drag on longer than an FA Inquiry the Premier League is back this weekend, and what better way for AVB and his Chelsea side to get back into the swing of things than with a visit from our dear friends from Liverpool.
There’s always something going on to add spice to this fixture, and this time around it’s the fact that two former Reds will be wearing Blue shirts.
And while it is a big test for Messrs Meireles and Torres, the bigger picture is how the Blues continue to rebuild after a couple of nasty London derby defeats and a physical test up a Blackburn a fortnight ago.
Time has passed and Andre Villas-Boas has had a chance to reflect on his early months as Chelsea boss, and where the club stands.
Literally speaking we sit just behind Newcastle, which in itself shows what a funny start to the season it’s been.
Now the manager has the chance to mark his first real mark in charge of the club by seeing off an old enemy, and there are several key areas he would have looked at.
Starting from the back, we come across The Blues’ biggest issue right now; we don’t have a first choice central defensive pairing. David Luiz is always a risk, and you never know whether he’s going to score you the winner or hand it to the opposition. Alex returned at Blackburn and brought some much needed stability, but with a fair amount of pace in Liverpool’s attack, his inclusion could leave us vulnerable.
Into the middle of the park and things are a little easier to understand, with Lampard and Mikel likely to start the final berth remains the only real question mark. Meireles will want to prove a point against his former employers and with him in the side, Chelsea are a more fluid unit. The Portuguese can balance out the stagnation that Mikel tends to inflict on any flowing move.
Up top and these three should pick themselves; Danny Sturridge was quiet on his England debut, but is still bound to have picked up some confidence from it. Which we be a relief as he has shrunk away in recent matches.
But Chelsea’s match winner is likely to come from one of the two Spaniards in our attacking line. Juan Mata continues to win our hearts even in losing causes, and we’d all love to see Fernando Torres exorcise a few demons on Sunday evening.
This is a big game for the home side, another slip and we’re in danger of being left behind, and leave ourselves at the mercy of the chasing pack, which includes Sunday’s visitors. The key will be to keep Suarez out of the game, if he has a quiet day, Liverpool tend to do the same.
It should be a feisty encounter, and could hopefully be the spark for a big Blue push going into Christmas.