Juan Mata v Jamie Carragher – a battle Liverpool cannot afford to lose

Juan Mata’s arrival at Chelsea in the summer has seen new manager Andre Villas-Boas deliver on his promise of expansive, attacking football. The former Valencia man has brought a real spring to the step of an aging Chelsea squad and provided the much-needed boost to put Fernando Torres on the right path to his form of old.

With Glen Johnson being a far better attacking full-back than one who excels in the art of defence, manager Kenny Dalglish may look to the returning Jamie Carragher (if fit) to keep the Spanish international quiet. With a back-four that has not always been up to standard, Juan Mata may look to exploit the lack of pace in Jamie Carragher and target the Liverpool defender as a weak-link in a possible right-back position.

Needles to say, much of Chelsea’s attacking creativity will come through Mata, a player well versed in the possession football Roman Abramovich is so desperate to see at Stamford Bridge. A player who is lethal in front of goal and with the creative touch to unlock a Liverpool side who will be dogged in their defence, stopping Juan Mata may be the key to a Liverpool result next weekend.

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