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The Right Track: The Chelsea Preview

After a commendable performance in midweek despite changes, Liverpool look to improve even more as we welcome top of the table Chelsea to Anfield.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

UK: 12:45 PM-BT Sport

US: 7:45 AM-NBC Sports

Saturday's early kick off brings us one of the biggest fixtures in the Premier League Calendar in recent years, and, while the tie can never be as heated as a match against Everton or Man United, this has been growing deeper and deeper into a rivalry all its own.

Liverpool are struggling to find their feet in recent weeks, with problems squared up due to injuries and the team needing to gel, whereas the visitors, Chelsea, have come out the gates flying when really, everyone else has faltered at every second step.

Manager Brendan Rodgers rested first teamers such as Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard, Mario Ballotelli, and Jordan Henderson in midweek, giving starts to players such as Emre Can, Kolo Toure and Lazar Markovic, who fans didn't expect to start against Madrid, and began to fear the worst.

However, the Reds were a little unlucky not to have gotten anything from the game, and hope to take  a bit of momentum into this match.

After the performances of Kolo Toure and Lucas Leiva in midweek, one wonders whether they've put their names into the hat for the start, though Kolo Toure has rarely been seen starting twice in a row for Liverpool, let alone twice in a week.

A start for Lucas would mean pushing Gerrard higher up the pitch, or else dropping him from the XI altogether, making this the first Premier League game of the season in which he didn't lead the Reds out. An alternative option would of course be to drop Jordan Henderson, though, with Chelsea being the visitors and their workrate in midfield, Hendo could be drafted in to counter that.

Liverpool have no new injuries to talk about, though Brendan Rodgers has updated us on Daniel Sturridge, and said that the striker is a little ways away from 100% fitness, so here's hoping he'll be back ready to play on the other side of this next international break.

For Chelsea, it's as straightforward as it can get, really. Chelsea have no injuries after the return of Diego Costa last week, and Loic Remy is also back. And even if they weren't, you'd still have Didier Drogba to contend with.

Chelsea sit 2nd in the Premier League Form table, behind Southampton, and are the only team remain unbeaten this season, with 8 wins and 2 draws.

Whilst the most heated of these ties came in the Benitez vs Mourinho era, the game has still been hotly contested, one can remember Luis Garcia's "Ghost goal" in our 2005 European Cup campaign with most some headlines coming from this matchup being late, potentially offside equalizers to divide points,  and the infamous biting incident Part II.

This may, in fact, work in Liverpool's favor. We know that players such as Costa, Ramires, and John Obi Mikel have tempers... Perhaps we can rile them up, get in their heads a little, and use it to our advantage.

Nevertheless, we know there's players that'll need stopping. One of the key battles will be Jordan Henderson vs Cesc Fabregas, who seems a little bit unstoppable at the minute. Another task will be shutting down Eden Hazard. This might be the match where we see who really deserves to be our first choice Left back, as it seems Javier Manquillo is holding down that Right back spot pretty comfortably.

-Other Thoughts:

-Alberto Moreno. Please God, let Alberto Moreno be our Left Back tomorrow. (Johnathan)

-Balotelli and Borini up front. Fabs put in another shift against Madrid, he ran all along the front line and worked his butt off. We need that again.

-We need to stick it to them. Come out the blocks on all cylinders, get stuck in, and I'm not accepting less than 110% from the boys. No way. (Johnathan)

-Technically, I wouldn't be adverse to Kolo starting, but I don't think he can go two games in a row. Sadly, he seems to be the only one who can actually organize the bloody defense. (Johnathan)