Blues visit Anfield on Sunday in a virtually nothing to lose contest. This match is an occassion which would not feature the key Blue players such as Hazard, Willian, David Luiz, Oscar, Terry, Eto etc. In order to avoid injuries and afford time for recovery to the injured ones among them ahead of Atletico Madrid match Mourinho is employing youth and fringe players much to the delight of fans. So it will be a pleasure to see the lineup that would surely include any two among Ake, Kalas and MVG, making their debut as starters.
Possible Formation: 4-3-3
Schwarzer: Ivanovic-Kalas-Cahill-Cole: Ake-Matic-Ginkel: Salah-Ba-Schurrle
Substitutes: Baker, Azpilicueta, Torres, Lampard, Azpi, Luiz.
Ba and Salah may have been included in the starting line ups on several occasions but this time Cole will join them. Salah stormed into the scene against Arsenal and Stoke but his recent performances do not quite reflect his guiles with rest of the squad. He brings something different in the attacking dimensions in such line up along with Schurrle. We can expect pacey runs and offensive sharpness from the duo to successfully dismantle Liverpool’s quite leaky defense. Meanwhile the Midfield needs to be a defensive one given Liverpool’s powerful abilities to score goals. MVG or Ake would play with the support of Matic and this time the Serbian should drop deep to protect the defense.
All attention would be paid to the debutant starters including young Netherland players Van Ginkel, Nathan Ake and the Czech Republican Tomas Kalas. Van Ginkel arrived from Vitesse with huge promises after earning 4th place in the Dutch League. He has all the attributes for a midfielder in both defensive and offensivec aspects. Hence playing against Gerrard will be an important lesson for the Dutch who is adapted to using either foot and good aerially. Ake could be introduced over Mikel at Right Midfield. In the last match of the previous season against Everton he started in a 2-1 victory. He burst forward and attempted sharp long range shots from the center. Moreover that performance witnessed how promising Ake is. If anyone between Van Ginkel and Ake is overpowered by Liverpool midfield then Mourinho has Lampard and Mikel to replace.
Tomas Kalas was Ginkel’s team mate at Vitesse where Chelsea loaned him for two years. Like the latter Kalas was an integral member of the squad where he played as first choice center back. In Terry’s absence it is a golden opportunity for him to prove his reliability from next season as second half substitutes. He will partner Cahill whom Mou has to risk given lack of CB options. So Cahill can provide support to Kalas whom Mou did not loan out. He has the mighty task to tirelessly mark Liverpool hitmen Suarez, Sterling and Sturridge along with Cahill.
Finally Cole will start an EPL game after a lengthy absence due to an injury and Azpi outperforming him at LB. He has impressive against an attacking La Liga conqueror Atletico side. As for Schwarzer this will be another stern test to consolidate his performances for the 2nd leg UCL match after substituting Cech effectively.
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