Liverpool look to Suarez vs Chelsea
09 November 2012, 17:06
England - Enjoying his most prolific spell in English football, Luis Suarez will look to wreak further havoc on Chelsea's creaking defense this weekend to reinvigorate Liverpool's stuttering Premier League campaign.
The Uruguay striker has seven goals - more than half of Liverpool's total - in the league, with his effervescent form prompting manager Brendan Rodgers to compare him to Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
"His cleverness and movement really is world class and he has been unplayable for much of the season," Rodgers said.
Liverpool are 12 points behind second-place Chelsea to already be way off the pace. But recent signs have been encouraging, suggesting a new, possession-based style deployed by Rodgers could eventually reap rewards.
Chelsea's notoriously stingy defense has gone seven games without a clean sheet in all competitions, seemingly paying the price for the team's more attacking approach.
But Sunday's game should feature a defense bolstered by John Terry, who returns after serving a four-game domestic ban for racial abuse.
"We have to work on the defensive organisation in general," Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo said, after his defense struggled in a 3-2 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday. "It needs to be improved."
Chelsea lost their 10 1/2-week lead in the Premier League last week by drawing 1-1 at Swansea and are a point behind Manchester United, who visit Aston Villa. Defending champions Manchester City host Tottenham on Sunday in the other big match of the weekend, having slipped two points adrift of its neighbor.
After 10 rounds, the standings are starting to take shape and it seems to be a three-way race for the title.
Sunday's match at Stamford Bridge may end up being a tale of two strikers, with Chelsea's Fernando Torres taking on the club that sold him to the European champions for £50 million in January 2011.
Torres hasn't scored in his four matches against Liverpool since that move and his form has been patchy this season, despite netting seven goals - the latest being a fortuitous one against Shakhtar when he blocked an attempted clearance from the goalkeeper.
The Spain striker hasn't come close to reproducing his form at Liverpool, where he struck up a great partnership with Steven Gerrard.
"I enjoyed playing next to him for three-and-a-half seasons," Torres said. "It was probably the best time I have had on a football pitch. I am who I am now thanks to him because he showed me the way."
Now it's Suarez who is the fans' favourite at Liverpool, with his stunning goal against Newcastle in the 1-1 draw on Sunday endearing him even more to the Anfield faithful.
He will target a Chelsea defense that should contain Terry after the former England captain was left out of the European champions' team for the Shakhtar match for fitness reasons.
"Considering the last four weeks in his professional life he has (played) one competitive game, and I thought we needed people that were 100 percent match fit," Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo said. "But I am very glad that he is available for us."
Ashley Cole may again be unavailable because of an ankle injury.
In Sunday's other match, Newcastle are at home to West Ham.
On Saturday, Arsenal welcome Fulham as they look to bounce back from a 2-1 loss at United, while fourth-place Everton host Sunderland. Also, it's: Reading vs. Norwich, Stoke vs. Queens Park Rangers, Wigan vs. West Bromwich Albion and last-place Southampton vs. Swansea.