This fixture is now synonymous with Steven Gerrard falling on his backside and ultimately dropping the Premier League trophy on his way down. However, Liverpool supporters will be hoping that this weekend’s game erases that memory and crates a new narrative in the history of this clash.
Jose Mourinho appears a man on the brink and many recent media reports have christened this game a must-win for the Chelsea boss. Defeat at home to the Reds could signify the end for the Portuguese and the appearance of Jurgen Klopp in the opposing dugout will do little for confidence.
The German is chasing his first Premier League victory, and with their tails up after a League Cup success in midweek, the Anfield outfit will fancy their chances of landing Jose in the dole queue.
Here are the areas where Saturday’s game could be won and lost, and the battles on which the Special One’s job could depend. It doesn’t look too rosy for the former Real Madrid boss.
Mikel v Firmino
The Brazilian arrived from Hoffenheim for a staggering £29m and big things were expected. Early on in the season we have seen nothing, but he put in such a performance in midweek that he should get the nod for this game at Stamford Bridge.
Klopp has opted to play two players off a striker so far and Firmino’s mobility and trickery is perfect to run rings around the pedestrian figure of Jon Obi Mikel. Nemanja Matic is suspended and Kurt Zouma is filling in at right-back, leaving Mourinho with little option but to start the Nigerian.
The space between the back four and the midfield is where you beat Chelsea and the two players in behind Benteke are the duo that can win this game for Liverpool. If Firmino gets the nod he can make that position his own in the capital and become the Klopp’s man between the lines.
Mourinho v Klopp
The Normal One has been just that so far. He has made changes on Merseyside, most notably the intensity with which the team now plays, but he hasn’t managed to stop the team drawing games. It’s crucial that he addresses the attacking issues and the return of Christian Benteke will allow him to do so here.
Mourinho’s side are in turmoil. They are making the wrong decisions and are fighting a battle with an imaginary enemy before a ball is even kicked. It isn’t idea preparation for a game that may shape his future career.
Klopp got the better of his opposite number back when he was at Dortmund and the Chelsea boss resided in Madrid. Klopp grabbed a pair of wins and lost just once in their four meetings in 2012/13 and he destroyed Los Blancos 4-1 in the Champions League knockout stages of the competition. He will be wary of his opposite number’s tactical nous.
Terry/Cahill v Benteke
The return of Liverpool’s premier Belgian striker has come at the perfect time. Divock Origi has worked tirelessly but he is just not ready for the top-flight at this stage. The former Villa striker offers a constant goal threat and makes the Reds instantly sharper.
Benteke has already found the net three times in six league starts and he may relish facing a shaky Pensioners core. It’s 19 goal conceded now for JT and co and there have been no signs of the gaps being plugged.
The pair of Terry and Cahill have always been susceptible to pace, we’ve known that for years, but Andy Carroll’s winner last week showed they aren’t exactly thriving aerially. It would be wise for Liverpool to throw a few into the box early on and test the water.