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Just Another Match, Right?: Chelsea v. Liverpool Preview/Gamethread

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Urge to kill...rising....
Urge to kill...rising....

I would imagine after seeing that photo you're about ready for blood, so imagine what the Liverpool squad must be going through. Though Carlo Anceiotti hinted that he might not start Torres on Sunday, I think there's a better chance that I'll get to marry Jessica Biel than not seeing #9 in blue (ugh) when the first whistle goes. As if these weren't tasty enough affairs...

Chelsea come into this finding some form. They've won their last three league games, and the only blip was a draw at Everton in the Cup. There's been a lot of hullabaloo about what formation Chelski will trot out with Torres, and the consensus seems to be a 4-3-1-2 with Anelka behind Drogba and Traitor. While that look formidable, Anelka isn't an "in the hole" type player one normally thinks of. He's not quite as clever or possess the vision, a problem I'm sure will be rectified when they go out and buy Luka Modric in the summer or something. Flying under the radar here will be the debut of Luiz in a defense that has been leaky of late. What really scares me about this formation is the idea of Michael Essien getting more forward. Chelski are a different team with Essien in it, and how not enough people talk about this is beyond me. The thought of him charging into the box gives me nightmares.

On the flip side, the Blues never had all that much width, and without the three forwards they used to opt for they'll have even less. Liverpool took this fixture at Anfield partially by keeping Ashley Cole and at that time Ivanovic completely stapled to the back, thus blunting their force. Then again, Drogba was only a second half sub, and Torres scored both the goals. We won't be so lucky this time. However, Bosingwa and Cole can be neutralized if Suarez and I'm going to guess Maxi are dedicated to doing so. If Liverpool can do that, then Chelsea aren't overflowing with creativity.  Still imposing, but they'll have to work harder.

As for Liverpool, one doubts we'll see the same formation. Chelsea aren't here to play Aussie Rules as Stoke were, and Kyrgiakos even in the stadium will give me a serious case of heartburn.  I would also think that with Carragher out for months throwing him out there first time against The Drogs Bullocks and That Dude would be a bridge too far, so I expect to see Skrtel and Agger. Sadly, Skrtel gets the shakes at the sight of Drogba, but hopefully the newfound understanding with Agger subdues that. Martin Kelly is obviously a fave of Dalglish's, he'll stay, and though I'd rather see Aurelio I imagine he'll stick with a switched-over Glen Johnson.

From there it's pretty easy. Lucas will anchor Meireles and Gerrard, and Kuyt will spearhead Suarez and probably Maxi, with possibly Joe Cole coming in but I heavily doubt it.

Chelsea can be toppled. Lucas and Gerrard ran the show the last time these teams met, and I don't see why those two plus a centralized Meireles (he was stunted out wide in another bit of Hodgson genius) can't do the same. Lampard's powers are waning, and Obi Mikel is still a bit of a dolt. Cutting the service from wide to their forwards can make it awfully difficult on them.

It will not be fun, but I cannot wait.