LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Watch live streaming coverage of Chelsea v Liverpool, English Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Dec. 29. Both teams will be looking for all three points as they look to stay in the hunt to win the EPL title this season.
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Jose Mourinho will be without influential midfielder Ramires, who is suspended for Sunday after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Swansea on Boxing Day.
This could pave the way for Frank Lampard, who started on the bench in the last outing, to get a recall, while defenders Ashley Cole and David Luiz are set to return to the bench in favor of Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill who are Mourinho’s first choices in big games.
Former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres is set for a recall, with Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o both expected to start on the bench.
The game also sees Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic facing off for the first-time since the Uruguayan was handed a lengthy suspension for biting the Serbian last season.Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic
Liverpool comes into the contest full of confidence, despite losing 2-1 at Manchester City on Boxing Day, as manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side played the better brand of football at the Etihad Stadium and should have left with something.
In Reds team news, on loan forward Victor Moses is unavailable to face his parent club, while midfield captain Steven Gerrard, defender Jon Flanagan (both hamstring) and striker Daniel Sturridge (ankle) are all out because of injuries.
Rodgers, who is expected to stick with the same side that faced Manchester City, is bracing for a tight game against the Blues.
“Chelsea have a lot of quality. They are a club that over the last 10 years has been up there as one of the most successful in the country and in Europe,” the Liverpool boss said.
“How they’ve been building up that squad and that team and how they’ve changed it has been remarkable really.
“I think we saw it earlier on in the season, when they changed the team for the cup game against Arsenal. It was a totally different XI, but it was a really good performance which got them a result there.
“So it shows you the strength of the club that they can do that. But they’ve got a host of talented players and a world-class manager. So we understand how difficult it’ll be.”
Meanwhile, ahead of the clash, Mourinho took time to express his admiration for Suarez, who is the leading goalscorer in the EPL this season with 19.
The Chelsea boss also believes Suarez should now be forgiven for his biting incident.
Mourinho said: “Everybody makes mistakes.”
The Portuguese coach also gave his views on Liverpool’s chances of winning the EPL this season.
“Liverpool can win the League because they have quality, ambition, because Brendan Rodgers is good and because they have time to prepare tactically because they are not in the Champions League or even the Europa League,” Mourinho said.
He added: “They are playing in a different way. The team is solid, three players in midfield, all of them positional.
“Henderson likes to go forward and come back and go and come back all the time and there is more freedom for the two guys on the side – either Sterling or Coutinho or whoever they play on the side, so I think Brendan was intelligent in the way he adapted the team without Steven Gerrard.”
Chelsea (from): Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Luiz, Essien, Lampard, Torres, Mata, Oscar, Mikel, Schurrle, De Bruyne, Hazard, Ba, Willian, Schwarzer, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Eto’o, Blackman, Bertrand.
Liverpool (from): Mignolet, Jones, Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Agger, Cissokho, Lucas, Henderson, Allen, Sterling, Coutinho, Suarez, Kelly, Toure, Alberto, Aspas, Smith.