Tensions run high at Anfield ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Chelsea, with Brendan Rodgers only adding to the disquiet around the club with his team selection against Real Madrid.
The manager opted to rest/drop several key players for the 1-0 loss at the Bernabeu, but however fresh his side is, they’ll struggle against Chelsea according to our combined 11 from the two sides.
Thibaut Courtois wins the battle of the Belgians in goal, no surprise given that Simon Mignolet is his understudy at international level and apparently in line to be replaced at club level.
Left-back provides one of the tougher choices, as Alberto Moreno has been an impressive addition to Liverpool’s squad this season, but we’ve gone for the man described by Gary Neville as the best defender in the Premier League – Cesar Azpilicueta.
In contrast, there’s no contest at right-back, with Branislav Ivanovic coasting into the side as much for his attacking prowess as his defensive fortitude.
John Terry and Gary Cahill are picked as the centre-backs to round off a Chelsea back five. The pair helped the Blues concede 10 less goals than any other side in the league last term.
Things don’t get any better for Liverpool as we move into the midfield, as Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic both make the combined side.
Fabregas has been inspired so far this season, racking up nine assists in 10 league games – the most in the top-flight – while Matic provides the defensive steel.
Only nine players have averaged more tackles-per-game than the Serbian’s 3.5 this season, while Liverpool are missing such an effective destroyer.
Eden Hazard might not be quite in the top five players in the world yet, but he’s an easy pick for this side. The Belgian is the best dribbler in the league with 5.4 completed take ons per game, and has scored three times.
Oscar gets the nod in the middle after his exquisite goal against QPR. The Brazilian edges out his compatriot Philippe Coutinho, yet to hit his straps this term.
On the right we find our one Liverpool representative in Raheem Sterling, who has been carrying the Reds on his youthful shoulders this season.
Sterling has registered three goals and two assists in the league, and only five players create more chances per game than his 2.5.
Up front Diego Costa is a shoo-in after beginning his Chelsea career with nine goals in his first eight league games, which is nine more than Mario Balotelli has managed in his eight appearances.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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