Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chelsea vs Liverpool - Rafa confident (in miracles!)

Rafa believing in miracles as Liverpool's away game nemesis run starts

Rafa Benitez goes into this Chelsea/ Liverpool game knowing the next four away games in the Premier League see Liverpool visit Chelsea, Bolton, Manchester United and Arsenal. Under Benitez, Liverpool have been defeated in every away game at the big three, and have lost two out of three at Bolton. Given the parlous state of Liverpool's confidence and form, Benitez is looking for a miracle to maintain his side in fourth place.

Confounding his woes is the news that Fernando Torres is out for ten days with a slight hamstring tear, after Spain's midweek friendly. His expected replacement, Dirk Kuyt will only add to Chelsea's confidence. Benitez may yet spring a welcome surprise and play Ryan Babel upfront to at least add pace, and trickery to his attack. His options in midfield are limited by Xabi Alonso's suspension but Harry Kewell is pushing for a start, despite being ignored last time out. Javier Mascherano is available despite an onerous trip to the United States and back.

The last Chelsea/ Liverpool game saw Chelsea snatch a draw at Anfield, with a contraversial penalty in a game in which they were largely outplayed. Such form is a distant memory now for Liverpool and Chelsea will be real favourites to pile on the agony for Liverpool and Benitez.

Footy Focus hopes the team to face Chelsea is Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyppia, Riise, Kewell, Gerrard, Mascherano, Pennant, Crouch, Babel.

Footy Focus prediction - Liverpool's confidence is up after the morale boosting defeat of Sunderland but Benitez will stifle them with one of his wierd, and disjointed selections. Creditable but frustrating draw for both sides.


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