English Premiership

Chelsea wary of Reds backlash

2014-11-06 12:40
Jose Mourinho (AFP)

London - Chelsea will hoping to steal a march on their rivals at the top of the Premier League by beating an out of form Liverpool side at Anfield on Saturday.

Victory for Jose Mourinho's side would take them seven points clear of Southampton - and nine ahead of Manchester City - before the others have even kicked a ball.

But Chelsea will be wary of a Liverpool backlash after last season's 2-0 smash and grab win at Anfield, on a day when they frustrated the home side by slowing down play and took advantage of Liverpool mistakes to earn victory.

That contest was a key factor in Manchester City edging Liverpool, with Chelsea third, in the title race.

But this time round it is the London side riding high at the top.

Mourinho openly questioned Liverpool's policy in mid-week of playing a weakened team in a Champions League defeat at Real Madrid.

But the Portuguese will be focused on his own team, with Diego Costa and Oscar likely to start, after coming off the bench in the their Wednesday draw at Maribor.

Liverpool have been suffering a hangover after last season's near miss, while the loss of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and the absence of Daniel Sturridge have been key factors in their slow start.

But midfielder Joe Allen said Liverpool would be in the mood for revenge when the two sides meet.

"Sometimes you feel you almost owe them one," he said. "It was a big disappointment when they came and took three points off us, so it is a case of wanting to pay them back a bit.

"But you can't focus too much on last season."

Defender Kolo Toure, who could be in line for a Premier League recall after impressing against Real Madrid, said the match would be very different to the one in April.

"Last season, they never attacked, but this season they will attack," he said.

"With the players they have they can't defend all the time. I think they will just try to score goals and we will try to score goals. It's going to be a great game."

While second-placed Southampton, who play Leicester, will be ready to take advantage of any slip-up from the leaders, third-placed Manchester City have to pick themselves up after another Champions League upset.

Defeat at home by CSKA Moscow has put City on the verge of going out of their group and manager Manuel Pellegrini admits: "It is a crisis of confidence and we must find out why by talking to the players every day."

City are in London to face second-bottom Queens Park Rangers and will again be without playmaker David Silva, though Frank Lampard could return from injury.

Captain Vincent Kompany suffered a knock late on against Moscow and will be assessed before the side is decided.

QPR manager Harry Redknapp was encouraged by his side's performances in narrow losses to Chelsea and Liverpool and believes they can get something out of the game.

"It's a big game, a good game, Man City at home," he said. "Hopefully we can give them a real tough game as well."

Fourth-placed Arsenal, shocked by Anderlecht's late comeback from 3-0 down to 3-3 in the Champions League, travel to Swansea while Newcastle will try to continue their recent improvement by winning at West Brom.

In what is the last round of matches before an international break, Manchester United will be hoping to get closer to the top six by beating Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

Bottom side Burnley host Hull City while West Ham take on an Aston Villa side who have now lost six matches in a row.

Everton travel to Sunderland and Tottenham welcome Stoke City in the weekend's other matches.


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