Many people are calling todays lunchtime match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge a must win game if Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho is to keep his job at the west London club.
As for Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, there is no pressure on him following his recent appointment at the club, with the big German hopeful that the team’s midweek performance against Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup will have rubbed off on the nine members of the first team that did not take part in the 1-0 win at Anfield.
No guessing needs to be done here with Belgium No.1 Thibaut Courtois still out for at least another month, with the task of trying to keep a clean sheet against Christian Benteke will fall to Asmir Begovic.
Chelsea veteran Branislav Ivanovic is missing due to a strained hamstring which has us assume that Kurt Zouma will be called upon to remain at right back while Spanish international Caesar Azpilicueta retains his usual start at left-back with Cahill and Terry charged with the main defensive duties.
Defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic is available after serving a one-match suspension for his dismissal at West Ham last Saturday, but given his performances of late we feel Mourinho will start Ramires and Fabregas rather than the Serb, with Oscar out on the left flank Willian in the middle and if he passes a late fitness test Pedro out wide on the right. This of course means that out of form Eden Hazard will be on the bench as rumours linking the Belgium with a summer move to Real Madrid continue to gather pace.
Everything here depends upon a late fitness test to striker Diego Costa following the Brazilian born Spaniard ‘damaged rib injury he picked up during Tuesday’s Capital One Cup penalty shootout defeat at Stoke City.
Even if he is slightly bruised it’s hard to imagine Mourinho dropping him for a match that will once more pit him against Liverpool hard man Martin Skrtel.
The highly experienced Mark Clattenburg is in charge of what should prove to be a very entertaining match.