CHelsea are finding it harder to break teams down lately, as teams are currently playing with all they've got. Certainly has sth to do with the whole Chelsea-is-the-new-champions image they've been projecting with their spending and Jose's extreme confidence.
Recently, most of their goals comes after the 70th minute. It shows that while the oppposing teams are playing off their socks, Chelsea are also tactically wearing off their opponents before moving in for the kill. A half time lead would bring Chelsea out, and open up gaps between the likes of Tiago/Smertin/Makalele and the centre-halves pairing. This is the gap we need to exploit. There's no need to play wide except to retain/maintain possesion as the Chelsea fullbacks are rock solid. Play through the center, and get our wide men to drift inside more often.
I'm guessing that Riise's going to be told to get more shots on goal, with whoever's playing up front waiting for the possible rebounds.
Hamman and Alonso to dictate from deep, and Gerrard, Baros, Garcia and Kewell to orchestrate our offense. Riise will go up during corners and set-pieces, or only when we've got Chelsea camping in their own half.
Hamman will play an important role to cover our fullbacks from Duff & Robben. We have to play it tight.
Should we win, then we'll go on to have a great second half of the season, and might just open up some of the eyes of the prospective players. If we draw, it is a splendid acknowledgement to the great form and progress we have found ourselves in during the last 2 months. If we lose, its not unexpected as there are still major areas where we need improving.
We should avoid direct crosses as their defence and GK are always dominant in the air. I am not sure if Cavalaho will be back for that game, but they already have the best defence in the league. I think for once, we should play Carragher out right or left to counter Robben. It will take something away from the centre of our defence but Chelsea flanks are a more dangerous proposition.
This calls for 100 percent effort and a midfield war of attricion. If we do not go overboard with our hopes and be realistic, a 1 goal win is always within our reach.
Didi will be perfect for such a game, just don't play Diao, Rafa!
Another injury worry is Harry Kewell.. he might go under the knife next week:
Groin op fear for Kewell
Liverpool midfielder Harry Kewell is facing groin surgery next week and could be out until mid-March.
Reports in Tuesday's Sydney Daily Telegraph said that the Australian will go under the knife if he does not play in the New Year's Day clash with leaders Chelsea at Anfield.
Liverpool's medical staff are working to get Kewell fit for the match of the day but progress has been slow.
Team-mates say Kewell hasn't trained for a week because of tendinitis in his groin and is unwilling to take painkillers for fear of causing long-term damage.
Surgery would mean Kewell would miss the first leg of the Reds' Champions League last 16 eliminator against Bayer Leverkusen on 22 February, but he could be fit for the return in Germany on 9 March and the derby with Everton at Anfield 10 days later.
Kewell would also be cleared to play for Australia at the Confederations Cup in Germany that begins on 15 June.
He has already said he is unavailable for the friendlies against South Africa on 9 February and Iraq on 26 March.
An operation would provide Kewell with the time he needs to resolve a nagging ankle problem that first flared midway through his debut season for Liverpool, whom he joined from Leeds in August 2003.
Kewell, 26, had Achilles tendon surgery three years ago and David O'Leary, his former manager at Leeds United, says he hasn't been as good a player since
If Finnan is out, David Raven would be a good option at right back or give Jon Welsh a go there, although I think Diao will play rb, which is a scary proposition to think he will have either Robben or Duff running at him.
Hopefully Gerrard and ALONSO will play at the top of their games and dictate the match from the center of the park just like Arsenals Cesc and Flamini did in the 2nd half of the Arsenal-Chelsea match.
I wouldnt put Diao at right back i would put Carragher there with Traore and Hyppia in the centre and Warnock at left back.
I'd play Alonso and Didi in centre and Garcia and Risse on the wings and put Gerrard behind Mellor.
I agree with CR's formation.. it's basically the way we played Arsenal.. with the defence shuffled.. and a few players in and out.. I read somewhere that Baros could be ready for the match.. and hope he can make it..
The beauty about that formation is after a while in the match.. we can easily move the wingers up if wanted.. and Luis Garcia and Sinama should have more offensive influence..
Again, I've reached the conclusion that u can never predict a Rafa formation I don't think I've ever gotten it right