Capital One Cup: Chelsea vs Liverpool – Key match-ups

The Capital One Cup second-leg semifinal leg between Chelsea and Liverpool is set to kick off this afternoon at Stamford Bridge. It is a winner takes all affair which promises to be even hotter than the first-leg clash a week ago. Chelsea hold a slim advantage on the away goals rule. However, Liverpool can overturn the deficit with a goal of their own. It is finely poised my friends and promises to be a cracker.

Liverpool will be looking to inflict further injury on a Chelsea team smarting from an embarrassing defeat to 3rd tier Bradford City in the FA Cup. A win will send Liverpool to the cup final and God knows they need silverware to lift the spirits at Anfield. Things are beginning to look a little better but not quite 100% with Brendan Rodgers’ outfit. One never knows what to expect with the Reds but one thing  is consistent; Mario Balotelli remains persona non grata. Rodgers recently spoke on the mercurial striker saying , “I’ve seen some bits this morning suggesting that’s him done here. That’s not the case at all. I’ve shown in my time here that if players who have been out the fold for various reasons work hard every day in training and show intensity and focus then they have every chance of getting back in the side and staying there.”

Chelsea are the wounded tiger coming into this match-up. Jose Mourinho has asked his team not to dwell on the loss to Bradford. However, I’m sure he will be telling them not to lose to the likes of Liverpool tonight as it keeps hopes of a Chelsea treble alive. Chelsea will definitely be coming out blazing, but will not be sure which Liverpool will be facing them till the whistle sounds.

KEY MATCH – UPS

Mourinho vs Rodgers : The Chelsea boss will be up against his former protege. Tactics will have to be spot on as Rodgers has already proved that he can go toe-to-toe with the master.

Markovic vs Ivanovic: The battle of the Serbians was hot in the first leg. Markovic caused Ivanovic much concern and will certainly do so again. Markovic is not afraid to terrorize with his bombing runs. Ivanovic will have to be on his game.

Coutinho/Sterling vs Terry/Cahill: Liverpool will be looking to get their two speedsters on the ball as much as possible to tangle the minds and legs of the Chelsea twin towers. However, Terry and Cahill will be aware of the problems these two caused in the 1st leg and will be out to neutralize.

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Terry vs Sterling. Image: metro.co.uk

Prediction: Chelsea to win 2-1

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