Liverpool head to Stamford Bridge with an advantage


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  • Saturday, 31 Oct 2015

Benteke’s presence today will be a boost for the Reds.

The Reds are still on a high of Klopp mania.

Players who were fading away under ex-boss Brendan Rodgers have gotten back their magic in a matter of weeks.

The 4-3-2-1 formation and gegenpressing system seems to be bringing out the best in them.

Mamadou Sakho, who was not exactly a favourite of Rodgers, got the Kop chanting his name during the match against Rubin Kazan last week as he impressed them with his “spectacular defending”, as Klopp said.

Emre Can is shining more than ever in his preferred role – something his fellow countryman and boss seems to understand better than Rodgers ever did.

Roberto Firmino, who struggled when he first arrived, put on a thrilling man-of-the-match performance against Bournemouth midweek despite just recovering from an injury.

His tackles, speed and ability to dodge several defenders bear resemblance to the Reds’ once-upon-a-time hero Luis Suarez and boy, has Liverpool been missing that.

Energetic and burning with passion, Firmino relentlessly put in 100% both on and off the ball.

Just before the match, Klopp had acknowledged Firmino’s potential and given the Brazilian’s affirmative display, he is sure to be top choice especially when he’s 100% fit.

Speaking of manager-player relationships, it is absolutely heartwarming to see Klopp’s interaction with the players.

Apart from the encouragement they get through his compliments during pre and post-match press conferences, Klopp seems to have the most affectionate way of communicating with them on the pitch despite only stepping in less than a month ago.

This is definitely a boost to the team as can be clearly seen in the way the players have been playing with newfound passion since Klopp’s arrival.

On the contrary, Chelsea have been lacklustre in both performance and passion.

Manager Jose Mourinho is under fire as the defending champions are languishing at 15th place on the table.

It certainly does not help that there are rumours he has “lost the dressing room” although of course, he has strongly denied it.

Much drama is going on off-pitch as well with the FA’s investigation, his sour relationship with the media and unsettled controversial bust-up with team doctor Eva Carneiro who is now suing the club for wrongful dismissal.

As recently experienced by the Reds, having a pressured manager affects the players’ morale, even more so as Mourinho has been openly criticising his players as they struggle throughout competitions.

Frustration built up for the Blues midweek when despite playing slightly better, they lost to Stoke on penalties in the League Cup.

This clash brings one manager all set to prove his worth and rebuild a team against another who is struggling to keep his job and sanity as he faces his worst run in an illustrious career.

While things are looking good for the Reds, it is far from a bed of roses.

The injury plague has become quite frustrating.

Daniel Sturridge continues his yo-yo trend of sustaining an injury while recovering from a previous one and is out from the line-up this weekend.

Kolo Toure limped off with a hamstring injury after 30 minutes against Bournemouth and is set to be out for three to four weeks.

Klopp announced that Christian Benteke would be fit for Chelsea this weekend.

It is a gamble to feature him but there is not much of a choice left.

Divock Origi has not proved himself worthy of a striker, and to rely on him for a big match may not be the best idea.

An attacking force of Sturridge’s and Benteke’s quality is very much needed here.

While many are rising to the occasion, Philippe Coutinho’s form has been rather worrying given how much he was talked about last season.

In recent games, his frustration of not being able to perform as well as he used to is showing.

He also seems to have a lack of trust where his teammates are concerned as he prefers to take shots at goal when there are other options supporting him.

This can be attributed to Sturridge’s absence. The pair had built quite an understanding in the few matches they were featured in.

Although it was due to the fact that Klopp had run out of options, it was brave and admirable that he featured three youngsters against Bournemouth.

The team with an average age of just 23.7 years gave the German his first win as Liverpool manager.

Joao Carlos Teixeira made full use of the opportunity, especially with his backheel shot at goal which would have been a beauty. Nevertheless, Nathaniel Clyne managed to open his account for the Reds with the rebound.

Until Klopp can beef up the team during the transfer window, he will just have to make do with the available players and groom the young ones, hopefully building a team of young fiery Reds in the process.

Given the circumstances, there is a good chance of the Reds giving Klopp his first Premier League win and also finally triumph over the Blues after three and a half years of not taking more than a point from this fixture.

Meanwhile, the Blues, in efforts to save face in this rivalry that goes back a long way, will definitely try to put up a good fight.

Play nice, boys!

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