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Welcome Back:Liverpool v Chelsea Preview

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A preview of Rafa's return to Anfield in Liverpool's upcoming match against Chelsea.

No, it never gets old.
No, it never gets old.
Laurence Griffiths

Too bad I wasted the "narratives upon narratives" line on West Ham. This one has many different layers from Torres' return (along with return to decent okay form to Rafa's return; much of this games intrigue has little to do with the actual match that will be played on the pitch. While Abromavich looks on stroking his pet miniature giraffes, he will certainly have some horrible memories of Anfield. None more sweet than this. Still gives me goosebumps.

Chelsea have had a absolutely incredible number of games. How Benitez has managed to keep them going is beyond me. However he has, and he has done it by keeping Terry and Lampard on the sidelines seemingly ushering in the new era of Chelsea. As if they needed more distraction with all the turmoil, Terry has refused to shake the FA Chairman's hand igniting yet another handshakegate. However, seeing as how Terry is out of favor, it seems unlikely to be a distraction.

What kind of reception will Rafa get? Based on his excellent work imploding Chelsea, I am sure he will get a wonderful reception. Add that to his history with Liverpool and we are sure to hear Chelsea's anti-Rafa chants drowned out by the Kop's love. Inevitably, this always brings up the arguments for or against Rafa. Personally, I think it was more than time for Rafa to leave when he did as I have explained here. Sure he wasn't helped by the two a-holes running the club at the time, but he too had seemingly just gone a bit nutty towards the end, summed up in his infamous Fergie rant.

Enough about the oligarch's playthings. Liverpool have had an awful past two matches, drawing both 0-0 despite a plethora of chances. However, this match should suit Liverpool better as they have struggled at times to break down teams that only desire a draw. Again though, if Liverpool fail to score within the first 30 minutes, we could see a long afternoon. The early goal seems to be key to routing their opposition.

In addition, Liverpool haven't fared well against upper table opposition this year. That isn't to say they have been outplayed by them when they have met, just that they haven't been able to finish the matches. In all honesty, this game is probably more important for Chelsea than Liverpool. Given that Liverpool are unlikely to finish higher than sixth, Chelsea are in a dogfight for a Champion's League spot. It would be interesting to see what would happen though if they failed to make it.

On the pitch, somethings to look for:

-Can Liverpool contain Mata? He has been extremely influential in much of the good that happens at Chelsea. Keeping him quiet will go a long ways towards controlling this game.

-I expect Luis Garcia's song will be sung a minimum of ten times.

-Will Agger give Torres some love with another forearm to the face? God I hope so.

-Will Torres take the mask off only to reveal that it was actually Abby Wambach who took his place in a sort of reverse Ladybugs story line? Based on the uptick in Torres' form since he started wearing the mask, this wouldn't shock me at all.

-Suarez can likely have his way with the Chelsea backline. Lets hope Sturridge is as motivated as he should be. As long as BR doesn't try to switch things up like he did at the end of last game and go with a 4-4-2, they should have a decent number of opportunities. Sideshow Bob is always prone to bad fouls, Suarez might get at least one penalty out of him.

-If Ba plays, they will have to close him down quickly. This has been one of Liverpool's Achilles heels this year, a mediocre player gets one chance an buries it. Ba, while struggling at Chelsea, is most definitely one of those players that needs only one decent chance.