Fourth-place Liverpool host first-place Chelsea in a match that could go a long way in deciding the eventual Premier League champion. Chelsea are a full 10 points ahead of Liverpool in the table, and eight points ahead of Arsenal in second. A win for the Blues would effectively put the Reds out of the title race, and put Chelsea one step closer to raising the trophy.
Should Liverpool manage to beat Chelsea for the second time this season, it would shake the title race up once more. They've met once already, but what are the questions that need answering as Chelsea travel to Anfield for the return fixture?
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Can Liverpool's defense hold up?
Liverpool are fantastic going forward. They're not so great at defending, though. With the (one-goal) exception of Manchester City and West Brom, they have the worst defense in the top eight. They're the antonym of 'rock solid' at the back. Chelsea's attack has been devastating this year, and Liverpool's defense will be tested to the absolute max. If they're going to get anything out of this one, they'll have to be at their very best.
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Which Diego Costa will show up?
Diego Costa's been the man for Chelsea pretty much all season, and he got their only goal last time they faced Liverpool.
At his best, Costa's one of the most lethal strikers in the world. When channeled properly, his snarling aggression spurs Chelsea on as he leads their defense from the front and heads their rampaging attack.
Get him out of his element though, and he can be more of a liability on the pitch than an asset.
The Costa that shows up against Liverpool will play a big part in determining this match, one way or the other.
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Who's going to step up for Liverpool?
Liverpool have gotten production from all over the pitch this season. Their big name players have largely performed as expected, but for a team to be truly successful, the role players have to carry their weight as well. Georginio Wijnaldum's become an important piece for the Reds, and his energy and quality on the ball will be vital if Liverpool are to repeat the triumph of their last matchup.
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Do Liverpool have an answer for N'Golo Kante?
Leicester City scout Steve Walsh once said, "People say we play a 2-man midfield, I say 3. We play Drinky (Danny Dinkwater) in the middle and Kante either side."
Kante was probably the biggest key to Leicester's success last year, and he's been just as vital to Chelsea's success this year. His incessant running, brilliant reading of the game, and underrated contribution in attack have helped push Chelsea the top of the table, and if Liverpool are to have any hope of breaking this title race back open, they're going to need to cope with his energy and ability in the middle.
Liverpool handled it well enough last match, but mitigating Kante's influence twice in one season may be too much to ask.
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Will Danny Sturridge play a decisive (or any) part?
Danny Sturridge is in a rough spot at Liverpool. He's sublimely talented, but his injury issues and more lackadaisical style have seen him fall out of favor with Jurgen Klopp.
Sturridge has seen his spot usurped by both Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi, plus new star man Sadio Mane is back from AFCON, despite missing a key training session ahead of the match. There's no telling if Klopp will spring a surprise and hand Sturridge a start, if he'll be used as a spark off the bench or if he'll even play.
If he steps on the field though, there's every chance he'll create some magic. He hasn't stuck around for this long by accident, and Sturridge will have an extra large chip on his shoulder in playing against his old club. If he gets to play at all, that is.
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Which of Chelsea's role players will steal the spotlight this time?
All eyes will be on Chelsea's big-name players (namely, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard), but like Liverpool, their role players need to step up to the plate and deliver this match.
Antonio Conte's seen a number of different players pitch and get the job done when it matters most throughout the season, but who's going to be the man against Liverpool?
Will Sadio Mane's return be the key for Liverpool?
Sadio Mane signed from Southampton over the summer, and he's immediately become one of Liverpool's most important players. His departure for AFCON really hurt them, but now he's back at Anfield and at their disposal.
Liverpool weren't able to rush Mane back from Gabon to get him back in training, but he'll still likely make the bench against Chelsea. If Klopp feels he's ready, he could even start the match, but either way, expect to see him hit the pitch at some point.