This coming weekend will go a long way in deciding who will be crowned as the 2009-10 Premier League Champions. Chelsea faces a daunting task, a trip to Anfield, while Manchester United also play away to Sunderland. This article previews Liverpool versus Chelsea and despite Liverpool having lost only twice at home this season, it highlights even more why this remains Chelsea’s title to lose.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Chelsea will undoubtedly make the trip to Anfield in confident mood following their annihilation of Stoke City last weekend. While they were comprehensively beaten there last season, Chelsea have a couple of factors that will count in their favour.
Fernando Torres is injured and Liverpool simply do not have enough quality forwards when Torres is not playing. Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel and David N’Gog have collectively contributed 19 goals in all competitions this season, the same amount as Torres. This means that Liverpool’s main threat will probably come from Steven Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun, and Alberto Aquilani (who has started to find his feet recently) from midfield.
Rafael Benitez has been quoted that he will need to buy four or five quality players in order for them to compete with the top teams again. Perhaps this means that Benitez has lost faith in some of his current players. This may end up to be even more should Liverpool not end fourth and potentially stand to lose Gerrard and Torres. Such a quote may have a negative impact on players’ confidence who think it referred to them.
Although teams are physically used to playing two to three or even four games a week in some cases in today’s era, it may be argued that Liverpool will not have had enough time to psychologically shift their focus to the Chelsea game following last night’s Europa League semi-final.
Liverpool will definitely do everything within their means to beat Chelsea in order for them to still stand a chance to end in fourth position and also to put in a good performance for their fans with this being their final home game following a disappointing season. Yet, as contentious as it may seem, one cannot help but wonder whether a lingering thought in the back of their (and their fans’) minds of having to hand over their record of 18 League titles to their bitter enemies Manchester United could affect the players’ performances and/or the fans’ enthusiasm on a sub-conscious level.
He has had to endure much the past couple of months because of his antics off the field, John Terry will be back and he remains a inspirational captain for Chelsea who will need their leader for a game of such magnitude. Terry’s return also means that Branislav Ivanovic may strengthen the right back position at the expense of Paolo Ferreira.
Drogba will surely be motivated and at his deadly best on Sunday, not only because he wants to win the Premier League, but also because he (and all Chelsea fans) will want to end the season as the League’s top scorer.
Manchester United’s spirit may be broken if Chelsea can do the job and beat Liverpool in the early kick off of the day. They may then slump to a draw or even a loss at Sunderland to hand Chelsea the title with a game to spare. However, Manchester United will be buoyed by a Chelsea loss and will probably then easily see off Sunderland’s challenge.
This weekend will undoubtedly go a long way in deciding who will be the next Premier League Champions and whichever team tops the Premier League table on Sunday night will in all likelihood go on to clinch the title in front of their home crowds next weekend when considering the opposition in these remaining games.
Prediction: Chelsea to all but clinch the title through a resounding and relatively comfortable 2-0 victory. Chelsea fans get ready to party like it’s 2006!