Tension is already starting to build ahead of the massive clash between Liverpool and Chelsea on Saturday (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET, NBCSN and online via Live Extra) at Anfield.
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And Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic has added further fuel to the fire as there is certainly no love lost between these two teams.
Last season the Blues waltzed into Anfield and won 2-0 with a weakened team to throw a huge spanner in Liverpool’s title hopes as Jose Mourinho’s side prioritized a UEFA Champions League semifinal tie over a league game vs. Liverpool. Chelsea won the league game with a herculean defensive effort as they hit the Reds on the counter for both goals (including a little bit of help from a Steven Gerrard slip) and were largely criticized for their approach.
Ahead of this match, Matic was asked about the reaction of Liverpool’s fans, players and staff to the defensive tactics Chelsea deployed last April. He sent out the following jibe.
“Nobody’s happy when you lose a game and they weren’t happy after that game,” Matic said. “Many teams have tried to park the bus in front of the goal against us, but we win. It’s not easy. If you defend you have to know how to defend. It was 2-0. We showed we have quality.”
Ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Anfield on Saturday, the Blues are the one’s chasing the title this time as they remain unbeaten in the PL after a fantastic start. Matic is adamant that this time his side will play a much more open brand of soccer in stark contrast to their ultra-defensive display at Liverpool last season as they aim to stay top of the table.
Brendan Rodgers’ rested five key players for Liverpool UCL tie away at Real Madrid where they narrowly lost 1-0 but the likes of Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Dejan Lovren are fully fit and raring to go for the home game against Chelsea. The Reds’ main aim this season is to finish in the top four of the PL and they would love nothing more than to hand Chelsea their first defeat of the season and boost their own top four hopes in the process.
A banner is reportedly being flown over Anfield on Saturday calling for Rodgers to be fired, as tension is sure to be high among opposition fans, the players and between Mourinho and Rodgers on the bench. A sense of revenge is in the air for Liverpool but Matic and Chelsea’s players aren’t having any of it.