Chelsea travel to Anfield, on Tuesday night, to play Liverpool in the first leg of the Capital One cup. Chelsea have targeted this cup as Mourinho is well aware that a trophy at this stage of the season can build momentum for other more prestigious prizes.
There is plenty of history between these two clubs, over the years, with Champions League semis at the fore. Who can forget Riise’s own goal in the 5th minute of extra time (that’s why we love Solomon Kalou), Garcia’s ghost goal, or indeed Chelsea’s 3-1 triumph in 2009. Ivanovic scored a brace that night as Guus Hiddink’s blues ran riot. There is also the carling cup final to remember when Gerrard’s own goal led to a Chelsea win in extra time in 2005.
Liverpool enter the game in decent form. They have not lost since the defeat at Old Trafford in December, this includes an impressive 3-1 victory away at high flying championship outfit Bournemouth, in the quarter finals. Rodgers has his side set up with a more solid midfield and Courtinho with a free role looks menacing. There is a question mark over the fitness of Gerrard but Mourinho obviously expects the departing captain to play, given his request for Chelsea fans to ‘respect Gerrard’.
Chelsea travel to Anfield buoyant by their trashing of Swansea on Saturday. Few can argue that this was the blues finest performance of the season and quite frankly Chelsea could have won by eight or nine. Mourinho has tasted defeat once in ten games and will ensure his charges know all about Anfield under the floodlights.
Chelsea have already won at Anfield this season winning 2-1 in November, a mere 6 months after effectively ending Liverpool’s title chase with a 2-0 win last season.
I expect Mourinho to field a strong team as he will surely rest players for Saturday’s cup game at home to Bradford. This game will obviously take precedence over Saturday. If Chelsea continue the form they showed at Swansea then they will have too much for Liverpool and should run out two goals up for the return leg. Chelsea have scored 20 more goals than their hosts this season and they will surely add to that stat on Tuesday night.
Next up in the Premiership is Manchester City and Chelsea could well come out of that match with one hand on the trophy. Shades of 2005?