Premiership preview: Portsmouth v. Chelsea

Chelsea could go into this game 12 points behind Manchester United.

But first Alex Ferguson’s side will have to become the first team to take 3 points off Liverpool at Anfield in 31 games.

Much will depend on Rafael Benitez’s starting eleven. With one eye on Tuesday’s game against Barcelona, he could be tempted to rest a number of players.

Should Liverpool win, Chelsea will be nine points adrift with two games in hand – and United still have to visit Stamford Bridge.

The first of those games in hand is against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

John Terry has been ordered to rest after his head injury in last weekend’s League Cup win over Arsenal, while Joe Cole and Khalid Boulahrouz remain sidelined.

Harry Redknapp will be without Pedro Mendes who underwent surgery on damaged ankle ligaments on Thursday. Gary O’Neil and Sean Davis are also struggling with knocks.

Glen Johnson and Lauren will miss the game through ineligibility and injury respectively.

Chelsea have beaten Portsmouth in all seven previous Premiership meetings.

Pompey last tasted a League victory over the Blues on Boxing Day 1957.