Classy Blues can take home a first-leg advantage
Jose Mourinho has been utilising his resources to the full in the Capital One Cup this season and rested the likes of Branislav Ivanovic, Diego Costa, Gary Cahill and Willian in their quarter-final victory at Derby.
But he doesn’t like losing any match and will probably be tempted to play a near full-strength team for the first leg of their semi-final at Anfield.
Liverpool are in good form themselves now and will also play their strongest available XI so this could be a match to savour.
With a second leg to come at Stamford Bridge, it’s probably imperative that Brendan Rodgers’ side gain an advantage.
The Reds are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions but the Blues have already won in the Premier League at Anfield this season, goals from Cahill and Costa cancelling out an early strike from Emre Can.
Liverpool dominated possession that day, however, and were probably a bit unlucky not to get a result. They won easily at Aston Villa on Saturday, even though there was no sign of Steven Gerrard, and Rodgers might not want to make too many changes with his team scoring regularly and sharing out the goals.
Raheem Sterling has had a mid-season break and his pace will ask questions of the Chelsea defence again. But Mourinho’s men were almost unplayable at Swansea at the weekend and their performance had the manager purring.
He called it the perfect game after Oscar and Costa both scored twice in the first half – it could have been many more than the eventual 5-0 had the woodwork not come to the Swans’ rescue.
The Blues appear to be operating on a different level to everybody else at present having won three games without conceding since suffering a surprise defeat in the derby at Tottenham. That was only their second loss of the entire campaign and you suspect that there won’t be many more.
Liverpool haven’t won any of their last five matches against Chelsea and have lost the last three, two of them at Anfield.
This competition won’t be top of the Londoners’ priority list but they’ll be taking this game seriously and might be able to pick off their hosts, who probably have to win to stand any chance of progressing over two legs.
An away win is the call at 11/10 with 29/4 available on a 1-2 correct score for the visitors.
The Capital One Cup Semi-Final first Leg kicks off at 7.45pm on Tuesday, January 20th at Anfield.