Liverpool forward Luis Suarez clashes with Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart in their English Premier League game, December 26. Reuters
The last time Liverpool forward Luis Suarez played against Chelsea, he sunk his teeth into his opponents -- quite literally. When Sunday comes along Brendan Rodgers and his this-time-we-have-a-squad-capable-of-winning-the-title Liverpool side will hope Suarez takes another bite at Liverpool, but the metaphorical kind.
Liverpool have been in great form this season, and showed just how good side they are on Boxing Day at the Etihad, running Manchester City as close as they have been run all season in the Premier League at home.
Rodgers and co. were quite unlucky not to come away with at least a point from the Etihad, but the manager will know if Liverpool play anything like they did against City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, then not just one, all three points could be theirs.
Liverpool have not lost back-to-back games in the Premier League under Rodgers, and the Reds have no plans on changing that record anytime soon. "During my time here, whatever squad we've been working with, we've always been able to galvanise the group," Rodgers said. "The team has been able to go again and that's something that we'll look to do for the weekend.
"The last game [against City] gives us confidence and belief, but we arrive into this game knowing it's going to be equally difficult. We're very much focused on approaching the next game because it will bring its own difficulties.
"We've been improving as the season has gone on. If you look at the last number of weeks, the performance level and the standard has been at a real high level. I think we're a team that shows great confidence and belief in how we're training and how we're working. We're taking that confidence into any stadium, home and away, and that's always difficult for an opponent."
Rodgers believes Chelsea hold the upper hand going into this game, owing to their superior squad strength. "For us it couldn't be any tougher," Rodgers added. "We're playing against the two teams who arguably have the two best squads in the league.
"They can change all their players and still have a team that challenges at the top of the table. We'll go into the game and do our best. That's what we have done. The quality of our game is demonstrating that we're improving. And whoever we put in there is going to focus on getting a result for the football club.
"So for us, of course this period is always difficult, no matter what way you look at it. It's not ideal but it's what happens and it's what makes it exciting to be in the country at this time. We embrace it and we'll look to get a result."
Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard celebrates his goal against Swansea in the English Premier League, December 26. Reuters
Chelsea have gone back to being a lot more compact at the back in the last couple of Premier League games, resulting in two straight clean-sheets -- a 0-0 draw at Arsenal and a 1-0 win over Swansea.
Jose Mourinho, knowing the attacking qualities that Liverpool possess, will no doubt again go for a similar strategy adapted against Arsenal, albeit with a tinge more of attacking verve - they are playing at home, after all.
One point separates the two sides going into the fixture, and the Portuguese, who is quite familiar with Rodgers and his strategies, having employed the former Swansea manager at Chelsea in the past, believes Liverpool are definite title contenders, owing mainly to the fact that they have no European games to worry about.
"I think they can [win the Premier League], because they are good, because Brendan is good, because they have time to prepare the team tactically, because they are not involved in the heat of the knock-out situation in the Champions League or even Europa League," Mourinho said.
"These [Chelsea] players are going to play 60 matches. Liverpool will play 40 matches. It's a big difference. Quality, plus ambition, plus this advantage, so yes [they are contenders]."
Team news: Chelsea: Mourinho will have to do without the services of the suspended Ramires, but has no further problems apart from long-term injury victim Marco Van Ginkel.
Liverpool: Skipper Steven Gerrard is still out injured, along with Daniel Sturridge, Jon Flanagan, Sebastian Coates and Jose Enrique. Victor Moses is unavailable to play against his parent club.
Key men: Chelsea: While Luis Suarez has scored 19 goals already this season, Chelsea's three strikers - Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o -- have managed a measly five all season. Someone needs to step up. Branislav Ivanovic will also be keen to make his mark, not literally of course, when coming up against arch nemesis Suarez.
Liverpool: Apart from Suarez, Raheem Sterling had a really good game against Manchester City on Sunday, and the speedy winger will look to use his space to get in behind the Chelsea defence on Sunday. Martin Skrtel needs to make sure he doesn't get too shirt-grabbing-happy during set-pieces, otherwise a penalty seems inevitable.
Expected lineups: Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Lampard; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Torres.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Cissokho; Lucas, Allen; Sterling, Henderson, Coutinho; Suarez.
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