Graham Potter speaks to BT. “We’re looking forward to the game. We’re in a good mentality. We’re facing a top opponent, we know the challenge. [Mudryk] can play the back end of the game. He hasn’t played too much recently, but he’s been training. We’re in for a tough game.”
This is of course a re-run of both of last season’s domestic cup finals. Here’s how those panned out, minute by minute, should you wish to be reminded.
Jurgen Klopp speaks to BT Sport. “We have to find a way for the boys to feel really comfortable, to have the right distances. We have to win more challenges. We were not angry enough. But it was not on purpose. A week ago we were really down, frustrated, angry, and four days ago we were quite happy. But we can’t go through a season like that, we have to find consistency. Imagine if I didn’t play [18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic] today! What would I have to do as a football player, to play outstanding, but the coach then tells you that was good my friend, but back in the cupboard?! It was clear that if we can, we start with the same midfield.”
It’s Jurgen Klopp’s 1,000th match as a manager, and he makes three changes to the team that beat Wolves 1-0 in the FA Cup. Alisson, Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah are back, with Caoimhin Kelleher and Kostas Tsimikas dropping to the bench and Fabio Carvalho missing out altogether. Darwin Nunez is back but only as a sub.
Chelsea make one change to their starting line-up from the 1-0 win against Crystal Palace. Marc Cucurella replaces Carney Chukwuemeka. Mykhailo Mudryk is on the bench waiting to make his debut.
Liverpool: Alisson, Milner, Konate, Gomez, Robertson, Bajcetic, Thiago, Keita, Elliott, Salah, Gakpo.
Subs: Kelleher, Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Tsimikas, Nunez, Matip, Alexander-Arnold.
Chelsea: Kepa, Chalobah, Silva, Badiashile, Hall, Jorginho, Gallagher, Cucurella, Ziyech, Havertz, Mount.
Subs: Bettinelli, Azpilicueta, Humphreys, Koulibaly, Chukwuemeka, Loftus-Cheek, Mudryk, Aubameyang, D Fofana.
You’d have got good odds at the start of the season on both Liverpool and Chelsea languishing in mid table at the halfway mark. But here we are!
Neither team are yet in pipe-dream territory regarding a top-four finish. But they’ll be cutting it fine if they don’t get a wriggle on soon, and with little margin left for error, three points today are something close to a necessity. Chelsea are without the suspended Joao Felix but could hand a debut to Mykhailo Mudryk, while Liverpool may welcome back Darwin Nunez from injury. All told, then, this has the potential to be a cracker. This weekend’s Premier League action begins at 12.30pm GMT. It’s on!