Hassan Chamas

What: English Premier League
Who: Liverpool (7th; 62 points) vs Chelsea (1st; 80 points)
When: Sunday 2nd May, 2010, at 13:30 UK time
Where: Anfield, Liverpool, England

Total Catastrophe

Liverpool’s season took another turn for the worse on Thursday night, after being dumped out of the Europa League at the hands of Atletico Madrid. Despite winning the return leg at Anfield, The Reds nonetheless crashed out of their final competition this season courtesy of the famous away goal rule in extra time, awarding Atletico the second ticket to the competition’s final showdown against Fulham.

With two fixtures to go in the English Premier League, Rafael Benitez’s team finds itself in a real conundrum, as they host league leaders Chelsea this Sunday. A valuable three points would clearly be welcomed by Liverpool, who find themselves racing towards the Europa League qualification berths for next term. However, should they defeat Chelsea, then second-placed eternal rivals Manchester United would surely capitalise on that, with the Red Devils being just a point behind The Blues.

The Last Hurdle

Having had no midweek continental drama, Chelsea travel north this weekend knowing that three points against Liverpool would all but assure them the title, as it would constitute the Londoners’ last serious challenge before they wrap up their season with a home fixture against Wigan Athletic.

After a defeat against Tottenham that seriously affected their title bid, Chelsea came back into fashion last weekend with an epic seven-goal thrashing of Stoke. However, the general feeling around Stamford Bridge remains a cautious one nonetheless; with vice-captain and midfield ace Frank Lampard reminding fans and team-mates alike that nothing is won yet. Chelsea surely know that Liverpool, no matter how poor their campaign, remain a mortal threat.


Recent form

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool (22/04; Europa League)
Burnley 0-4 Liverpool (25/04; Premier League)
Liverpool 2-1 Atletico Madrid (29/04; Europa League)


Chelsea 1-0 Bolton Wanderers (13/04; Premier League)
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Chelsea (17/04; Premier League)
Chelsea 7-0 Stoke City 25/04; Premier League)

Key absences

Liverpool: Emiliano Insua; Fernando Torres; Martin Kelly; David N'gog (doubt)

Chelsea: Michael Essien (doubt); Ricardo Carvalho (doubt); John Obi Mikel; Jose Bosingwa

Players to watch

Liverpool – Pepe Reina: The Liverpool number 1 has found unlikely supporters in this match in the form of Manchester United, with the champions’ fans hoping that their rivals won’t give up easily in the meeting with Chelsea. Facing the league’s most powerful attacking threat will surely be a tough assessment for Reina, but the goalkeeper remains a man for all seasons.

Chelsea – Frank Lampard: A wonderful hat-trick against Stoke last week all but rebuffed claims of under-performance from the part of the box-to-box midfielder. In one of their last tests of the campaign, Lampard will need to be the catalyst in Chelsea’s midfield engine room, and his surging runs can certainly give Liverpool problems.

Match prediction

It is too hard to see Chelsea give it all up at this stage, especially after Liverpool’s recent European disappointments. 2005’s Champions League winners have nothing to play for anymore, and with that in mind will lack a sense of desperation and determination that might otherwise have been visible. A 2-0 replay of the corresponding fixture seems like a reasonable outcome.

Fancy a bet on this exciting game? Remember, you can find and compare the prices of all major online bookmakers at tip-ex.com.



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