Liverpool vs Chelsea Key Battles

Rafael Benitez will make his first visit to Anfield since taking over Chelsea when the Blues meet Liverpool on Sunday.

Chelsea vs Liverpool: Eden Hazard, Steven Gerrard

By FOX Sports Staff

Both sides still have much to fight for in the latter stages of the season - Chelsea are locked in a three-way battle with Arsenal and Tottenham for the remaining two Champions League spots while Liverpool will need to win in order to keep their faint hopes of European football alive.

There are a lot of sub-plots to this fixture with Fernando Torres and Benitez making a return to their old hunting ground, adding to their already spicy rivalry.

History is definitely with Liverpool as Chelsea have won only one of their last six Premier League trips to Anfield (L4 D1), failing to score in three of those.

Liverpool will be looking to capitalise on Chelsea's fatigue as the Blues will be playing their eighth match in 23 days.

Predicted Starting XIs:

Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Agger, Johnson, Enrique, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Downing, Coutinho, Suarez.

Subs: Jones, Sturridge, Coates, Skrtel, Shelvey, Assaidi, Suso.

Form guide: DDWLW

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Lampard, Mikel, Hazard, Mata, Moses, Torres.

Subs: Turnbull, Oscar, Ramires, Terry, Ba, Marin, Bertrand.

Form guide: WWLWW

Jamie Carragher vs Fernando Torres

Torres is at it again - despite scoring 20 goals in all competitions this season - a decent return for any striker in the top flight - the Spaniard has now gone 907 minutes without a goal in the Premier League.

He will be given a tough test by former colleague Carragher, who is having a renaissance late in his career. Carragher's experience will be key here with Torres being bolstered by attacking talents like Eden Hazard and Oscar.

 Lucas Leiva vs Juan Mata

Lucas has recently signed a new long-term deal with the club after returning from injury but he has not shown the form that made Liverpool fans bemoan his year-long absence.

The Brazilian might have fared better than an off-form Joe Allen in midfield, but the defensive aspect of his game has been hampered by a lack of pace and he will need to give his A-game going up against Mata.

With 18 goals and 25 assist for Chelsea this season, Mata is undoubtedly the man that is driving the club forward. A deadly combination of pace, vision and finishing, the Spaniard usually comes up with the game-winning moment for the Blues.

Philippe Coutinho vs Cesar Azpilicueta

Coutinho has taken Anfield by storm with his exhilarating performances on the pitch since joining Liverpool in January.

Blessed with a passing vision that can match the top players in the game and pace that can worry most defenders, Coutinho is set to give Azpilicueta a tough time at the back

Azpilicueta was given a break in Chelsea's midweek game against Fulham in anticipation of this match-up and he will need all the pace he can muster in order to keep Coutinho quiet.

Luis Suarez vs Petr Cech

Suarez has gone 429 minutes without a Premier League goal but he is far from being off-form in terms of getting into deadly positions and creating chances. Against Reading, he was thwarted only by an astounding performance by Alex McCarthy.

Cech will have to turn in another one of his world-class performances if he wants to keep the Uruguayan at bay as Suarez is capable of creating chances out of even the smallest openings in the defence.

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