Chelsea v Liverpool

Apart from Rafael Benitez’s “My midfielder’s better than your midfielder” nonsense, Liverpool have kept their pre-match hubris to a minimum in the build up to this, the fourth Chelsea/Liverpool fixture of the season. Prior to the corresponding Premiership match at Anfield last October we were treated to such gems as “We’ve got Chelsea sussed” (Fernando Morientes) and “We know how to beat Chelsea” (Rafael Benitez). Their spectacularly inaccurate proclamations of superiority made the subsequent Didier Drogba-inspired 4-1 rout all the more sweeter.

In team news, Carlton Cole is struggling to recover from a groin strain, while Paulo Ferreira is out with a thigh problem. Didier Drogba is still at the African Cup of Nations (scored the winning penalty in a 12-11 shoot-out win over Cameroon yesterday) which leaves Hernan Crespo with another opportunity to avenge his heartbreaking loss in last season’s Champions League final. (What price a hat-trick?) Michael Essien is back in full training after recovering from ankle ligament damage and could be handed a place on the bench, while Frank Lampard will be making his 250th appearance for the Blues.

Prediction: If Benitez has any designs on winning the Premiership title then surely he must abandon his 11-men-behind-the-ball, 30% possession tactics and go for a win. If he chooses to adopt a less stifling approach then we could be in for a more open match. (Did I hear somebody say “pigs might fly”?) In the Premiership we have the upper hand and a win today would be our fourth successive Premiership victory over Liverpool, and a second successive ‘double’ over them. However something tells me it’s going be another draw, which is a better result for us.

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Chelsea 2 – 0 Liverpool · Update

It’s difficult to put into words just how much joy I get out of watching us beat Liverpool. That was our fourth Premiership victory on the trot against a team who continue to use one flukey win in a Champions League semi-final as evidence for some kind of mythical superiority. If I’m not mistaken, today’s 2-0 victory took our tally of goals scored against Liverpool in the Premiership to eight in four matches; the Reds have scored just one.

Read Jonathan Dyer‘s match report here; Grocer Jack‘s here; and Blingo Starr‘s thoughts on the Reina sending-off here.

See Gallas and Crespo’s goals here (downloadable zip files).

Match reports: BBC Sport; Sky Sports; ESPNSoccernet; Sporting Life; Official Chelsea FC Website; The Guardian; The Independent; The Times; Daily Telegraph.

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