How the mighty have fallen. It's hard to think back just six months ago when Liverpool looked destined to claim their first title of the Premier League era, with a match against Chelsea at Anfield the biggest hurdle on their way to their first top-flight championship since 1990. A now-famous slip by the Reds' iconic captain brought those hopes crashing to the ground, and the Merseyside club have been on a downward spiral ever since.
The departure of Luis Suarez has been viewed as the main reason for Liverpool's struggles this season, but for me as someone who has followed Liverpool for the past decade, one of the biggest differences between this Liverpool and nearly every other Liverpool team I've seen since I started following them is the drive of Steven Gerrard. In the past, you could always count on Captain Fantastic to put in a match-winning performance to pull off victory in the face of defeat. Since the slip, it doesn't look like that same hunger is there. Maybe it has something to do with the captain getting a bit long in the tooth, but you have to think he's still got some fuel left in the tank, so maybe this fixture last season was such a disappointment that he hasn't been able to get back in the right frame of mind.
Whatever the case, Liverpool need results to keep their hopes of Champions League qualification on track for this season, and there would be no bigger result than to claim victory and get revenge on Chelsea at Anfield. We'll see which Liverpool team shows up shortly, but I hope we see Gerrard and his teammates at their best to at least give Jose Mourinho's men a run for their money.
Following the early match, we've got plenty of exciting action before finishing the day with a match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers. My fantasy team is a mix of the usual suspects and some differentials, and I'm really happy with it:
Forster, McNair, Coleman, Cresswell, Di Maria, Barkley, Mason, Tadic, Aguero, Pelle, Sakho
Who did you end up with this week? What are you hoping for from the matches? Let's chat!