Let's set the Scene again - Liverpool

Tomorrow night Chelsea take to the field with one foot into the Champions League Semi-Finals. We take a 3-1 lead to the Bridge and just need...

Tomorrow night Chelsea take to the field with one foot into the Champions League Semi-Finals. We take a 3-1 lead to the Bridge and just need to see the game out tomorrow. For us its almost job done but for Liverpool its all or nothing. There is no doubt Liverpool will attack us from the start of the game as they HAVE to. It just comes down to how Chelsea will play.

Under Guus Hiddink there is no indication at all that we intend to sit on our advantage and will also look to attack as we did in the 1st leg.
The Question is how does he intend to play it? How will Liverpool line up against us?. These are all questions we will have answered at 1945 tomorrow night. But for me there are some key battles that will have another major influence on proceedings tomorrow.

Carvalho V Torres

With JT missing tomorrow it is more than likely Alex will play the marker and Carvalho will sweep behind him (that is assuming that Liverpool will play one up and Gerrard behind the Forward). But to me Carvalho is key. Reason being, if Torres' movement get the better of Alex ( let's hope he doesn't) then its important that Carvalho is alive to it and closes him down and shuts him out. Carvalho can be a big player for us tomorrow.

Essien v Gerrard
Now after the 1st leg it was plain to see that Essien completely took Gerrard out of the game and since then all we have read about is how Gerrard injured his groin in the game and this affected his performance in the game. What a load of rubbish. Essien did a job on Gerrard !. Now with Gerrard carrying this "injury" there is a risk of them playing him tomorrow. I believe he will play. So lets hope its business as usual and Essien does the same job he did in the 1st game.

Malouda/Kalou v Arbeloa/Aurelio
Now for me tomorrow its imperative that Malouda and Kalou are massive for us. Like i have said Liverpool will come to the bridge to attack us. Alonso and Mascherano will look to control the midfield and get the ball wide or into Torres and Gerrard's feet. Now it's important that these two do two jobs tomorrow. Firstly, to make sure they get back and support our two full backs to negate the space in behind them.
Secondly to get hold of the ball and force Liverpool's full backs onto the back foot and force them to play in their own half. The more pressure we put on their defence, the deeper Liverpool will be forced to drop to get possession back again. These two are vital for tomorrow's game.

I am 80% confident in tomorrow and i have to say ONLY because of two things. First the performance defensively on Saturday against Bolton. For me Liverpool do not pose the same threat as Bolton. They have no Kevin Davies so don't see this being too much of a problem. Secondly, because JT is suspended. I expect Chelsea to line up with Alex alongside Carvalho tomorrow. Alex had a good game in the first leg and let's hope he has another great game at the Bridge. Like i have said before as long as Carvalho has got his back we will be ok.

Apart from these "concerns" i have i still feel we pose more of a threat to Liverpool than they do us. We could and should of walked away from Anfield with a 5-1 win the other night. I believe they will employ Mascherano next to Alonso in the centre of Midfield to sit in front of the back four and protect them, which allows their full backs to push forward. But as i have highlighted above, We hope that Malouda and Kalou have the same game they did against them in the first leg. If we score first its game over and will take the wind out of their sails. I can only see Drogba causing them more havoc, Lampard having another field day in midfield and Ballack playing the simple and effective game he has been employed to do under Hiddink.

I predict exactly the same score again 2nd Leg. We will score first, they then have to come out and attack even more and might grab a goal but will play more exposed and open and we will hit two more goals on the counter attack!. Chelsea to win and go through for me!

(To view the goals and my report from the first leg at Anfield click here!)

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