Rafa Reds in Town

Today's encounter will be the 150th major competitive meeting between Liverpool and Chelsea, with each team searching for their first win of the season when playing the remaining three of last season's top four.We have not lost at Stamford Bridge in an incredible 75 matches, while Liverpool sit 11 points behind the Avram Grant's side in the Barclays Premier League, despite scoring more goals (40 to 38) and conceding the same (17). Four years wihtout a home defeat would be a phenomenal achievement.

This weekend comes with a lot of good news. Frank Lampard is expected to be available for the visit of the Merseysiders and John Mikel Obi is free from Cup of Nations duty. In addition, Ricardo Carvalho has completed a suspension. John Terry and Andriy Shevchenko has began training and Ivanovic is slowly gaining full fitness. Grant would have selection problems soon, and I bet he'll be happy with that.

Benitez would look to reduce the points gap between them and Chelsea but he too will miss the services of some key players. The absence of Fernando Torres would hurt him the most. Andriy Voronin, Fabio Aurelio, Alvaro Arbeloa and Daniel Agger are all long-term injury victims, while Xabi Alonso is suspended. Ryan Babel picked up an ankle injury playing for Holland on Wednesday, a 3-0 win over Croatia.

Anelka would leek to score against the Merseysiders where he spent a loan spell in 2002. He said he's happy with his life now and looking forward to partnering Drogba upfront. According to Grant, Liverpool made a mistake in not signing Anelka in 2002. Lets hope the striker reminds them what they missed. Meanwhile Drogba, Kalou and Essien are still unavailable due to their 3rd position play-off in the Africans Cup, which Ghana won 4-2.

Frank Lampard may play today after a 10 match gap, and is one goal away from a century. Ironically, Lampard's last goal for the Blues came in a 2-0 Carling Cup quarter-final victory over Liverpool on December 19. Lampard had converted a controversial second-half penalty at Anfield in the reverse fixture. His fitness and form would be vital if his plays, also his midfield link up with Ballack. Grant, who recently commented that there's no problem in Lampard and Gerrard playing together for England midfield, would also be satisfied with the Lampard-Ballack scenario.

Grant would certainly make some changes to the side that played in Fratton Park last weekend. Mikel may replace Makalele in midfield and Carvalho would replace Ben-Haim. It would be interesting to see if Lampard plays in the starting eleven and if he does, Wright-Phillips would be the one on bench. Anelka would be the man upfront. Joe Cole and Malouda would play wide, with the former Lyon man likely to be replaced later by Pizzaro. Lets pray for another nail on Rafa's coffin.

Guess at the team:
Belleti, Alex, Carvalho, A.Cole
Lampard, Ballack, Mikel
J.Cole, Anelka, Malouda
Subs: Cudicini, Wright-Phillips, Makalele, Pizzaro, Ben-Haim

Referee: Mikey Riley

Scoreline Prediction: 2-1

TV Timings: 2125 Espn


  Tushar Ghosh

10 February 2008 at 21:26

so u predict the game to. Let's see who wins.