Capital One Cup: Chelsea and Liverpool Reignite Intense Rivalry


When you think of the great rivalries in English football, Liverpool-United and Arsenal-Spurs come to mind. But since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, the competition between Chelsea and Liverpool has certainly heated up.

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  • Several Champions League encounters — including the famous “ghost goal” in 2005 and a 4-4 quarter-final in 2009 — two cup encounters and of course, last year’s game at Anfield, which saw Chelsea deny Liverpool the title they had craved for so long.

    The sides meet in the Capital One Cup semifinal on Tuesday. Since that game in April, the Liverpool’s fortunes have diverged more than anyone could believe. After selling Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool sought to replace him with several players; however, most of those buys have failed to impress, and with Daniel Sturridge, the other component of the SAS duo, injured, Liverpool have wallowed in the middle of the table.

    Chelsea, meanwhile, have been transformed from the defensive side that ‘parked the bus’, after buying Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa in the summer, no one in the league has scored goals more than the Blues.

    Chelsea have dominated all comers this season, most recently thrashing Swansea 5-0.


    Don’t expect a lot of changes here. Both Liverpool and Chelsea will be looking to progress, not only because this is an intense match-up, but also because winning the Capital One Cup would secure early silverware, giving the managers some peace of mind.

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    Rush The Kop

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  • Brendan Rogers will most likely stick to the 3-4-2-1 formation he has employed, with either Fabio Borini or Rickie Lambert up top. Adam Lallana, Phillipe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling are all available, although Sterling has just come back from vacation, and Rogers might want to save him.

    Mourinho has showed no signs of using the Cup as an opportunity to give the youth a chance. Expect much of the same XI that has been employed all year. Thibaut Courtois will most likely return to goal, having missed two games due to a finger injury. Cesar Azpilicueta will probably remain on the bench while Filipe Luis deputizes for him.

    Willian could be replaced by Andre Schurrle or Mohammad Salah, although I would personally like to see Jeremie Boga or Dom Solanke given a chance.

    Talking Points

    1.) Liverpool To Look for Redemption

    Following last season’s surprising heights, the lows of this season have been extreme. Raheem Sterling has looked brilliant at times, but no one else has done much to impress. The summer signings have all been poor, and without both Suarez and Sturridge, Liverpool have struggled to score.

    The Cup could offer Rogers an outlet to reignite the season. After being knocked out of the Champions League, and with no hope in the Premier League, Liverpool fans need something to cheer about. And while the Capital One Cup isn’t the biggest trophy, its nothing to scoff at either. A win over a rival wouldn’t hurt either.

    For players like Lallana, Lambert, Dejan Lovren or others, this semifinal also offers the chance to become a hero at the club, after a half season of failure. Liverpool can’t afford to take this lightly.

    2.) Chelsea To Keep Up The Pressure

    The argument can be made that Chelsea can afford to take this lightly either. Following this weekend, the Blues opened a five point lead on Manchester City, and remain in both the FA Cup and the Champions League.

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    Mourinho isn’t one to waste silverware opportunities. As much as he has downplayed “quadruple” talk, Jose knows that a chance like this can’t be squandered. That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising to see him play his best squad.

    This game will be an intense affair, and Liverpool have scores to settle from last year. Both teams will feel deeply motivated, so this will definitely be one to watch.

    Next: Is There Any Room for Mesut Ozil at Arsenal