An almost unrecognisable Liverpool side lost to Anzhi Makhachkala in midweek, so Brendan Rodgers will hope that a rested full-strength side can get a result away to Chelsea on Sunday. Glen Johnson is fit and available for the game at Stamford Bridge, while Pepe Reina could also be available. Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez will expect to be recalled to the starting XI, along with the other first-team players who did not travel to Russia.
Suarez’s spectacular goal against Newcastle was his seventh of the season, leaving him just behind Robin van Persie in the scoring charts. However his conversion rate is not as ruthless as it should be; Suarez has required 56 shots to get his seven goals, with less than half of his efforts on target. Suarez has still scored more league goals than his Liverpool teammates combined, who have only scored four goals between them – Steven Gerrard, Nuri Sahin, Martin Skrtel and Raheem Sterling have scored one goal each.
After making his 600th appearance for the Reds last weekend, Gerrard is tenth in Liverpool’s all-time appearances ranking. He is also one of the Premier League’s top ten passers, along with Joe Allen – Gerrard has provided 662 passes while Allen has managed 722 passes. Only Santi Cazorla, Michael Carrick, Yaya Toure and Mikel Arteta have completed more passes, with Chelsea’s top passer, John Obi Mikel, managing 619 passes in total. Gerrard has also won 85% of the tackles he has attempted this season and completed 309 passes in his opponent’s half, the fifth-highest among Premier League players this season.
Chelsea’s top scorer is ex-Red Fernando Torres and Liverpool’s defence will be determined to prevent Torres from scoring his fifth league goal of the season on Sunday. Martin Skrtel and company will also need to be wary of Chelsea’s creative trio – Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar. Blues captain John Terry may be recalled to the side after serving his four-match ban, but Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard are still out. Liverpool won both of their league meetings with Chelsea last season – the third time they have managed to secure all six points against the Blues in the last four seasons. Though the odds will be against him on Sunday, Brendan Rodgers will hope his side can pick up three points at the Bridge as Liverpool strive to improve on an underwhelming start to the season.