Chelsea line up vs Liverpool

For Liverpool, Alisson returns in goal and fit-again Fabinho comes into their central defence. 

Chelsea Mendy; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Ziyech, Mount; Werner.

Subs Kepa, Zouma, Alonso, Emerson, Kovacic, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic, Giroud. 

Liverpool Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum (c), Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Subs Adrian, R Williams, N Williams, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Shaqiri, Origi.

The referee is Martin Atkinson.

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Tuchel sets time needed to turn Chelsea into challengers

However leaders Manchester City are 21 points ahead having played a game more and in the three completed seasons since we were last crowned champions, we have finished 26 points or more behind the title winners.

Thomas Tuchel, whose challenge it is to overcome that deficit, has been talking about the prospects for doing so quickly.

‘The amount of points shows how big the gap was and still is,’ he begins, ‘and maybe sometimes it is good to look at the reality and speak it out loud, and still it has to be the ambition to close it as fast as possible.

‘We should at least try, and not prepare for excuses. It is not my nature and you can only push yourself to the limit if you don’t accept it from the beginning.

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Chelsea Foundation distribute 400 free books to local primary schools on World Book Day

As part of the initiative, 25,000 free books will be given to schools who take part in the Premier League Primary Stars education programme.

National Literacy Trust research has found that children who have their own books are nearly three times more likely to enjoy reading.

The collaboration between the Premier League and the National Literacy Trust will help support children whose access to physical books has been made difficult due to school and public library closures during the national lockdown.

Jim Sells, sport and literacy programme manager at the National Literacy Trust, added: ‘World Book Day promotes reading for pleasure to improve all children’s life chances, and we are so pleased to support the charity behind the initiative.

‘We know that children who have books at home do better in school, so we are delighted to be able to distribute such an incredible number of books to schools across the country with the help of the community organisations.

‘I’d also like to thank our partners at Walker Books and the Morrison’s Foundation for making this possible.’

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Women’s report: Chelsea 2 Atletico Madrid 0

Ji made way for Erin Cuthbert soon after, having run her heart out, and then our second goalscorer was also replaced to be replaced by Guro Reiten. Within moments of the Norwegian’s introduction, however, the game took another twist as Berger came racing out of her goal and caught Ludmila to give Atletico their second penalty of the game. This time it was Van Dongen who stepped up to take it but, incredibly, Berger guessed right once again to produce another magnificent save.

In the rush for the ball that followed, Berger took a whack to the head, but fortunately she was able to continue – fittingly, too, as at the full-time whistle her team-mates rushed to celebrate with her following two crucial interventions in what had been a barnstorming opener to this tie.

The second leg takes place next Wednesday in the neutral venue of Monza, due to the Spanish government’s restrictions on travellers entering the country from the UK. Kick-off is at the earlier time of 12.30pm. Before that, we’re back in WSL action with a trip to West Ham United on Sunday.

Chelsea (4-diamond-2) Berger; Mjelde, Bright (c), Ingle, Andersson; Leupolz; Kirby (Reiten 78), Ji (Cuthbert 69); Harder; England (Charles 19), Kerr
Unused subs Musovic, Orman, Blundell, Carter, Fleming, Spence, Fox
Scorers Mjelde (pen) 58, Kirby 64
Booked Ji 56, Kerr 90+1
Sent off Ingle 12

Atletico Madrid (4-4-2) Lindahl; Aleixandri, Tounkara, Van Dongen, Strom; Ajibade (Knaak 75), Santos, Meseguer (c), Duggan (Laurent 75); Ludmila, Castellanos (Sampedro 88)
Unused subs Peyraud-Magnin, Kazadi, Bernabe, García, Nkout, Iglesias De La Cruz
Booked Castellanos 45
Missed penalties Castellanos 13, Van Dongen 80

Referee Tess Olofsson (Sweden)

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Tuchel: We have everything we need to win

‘They have dropped points recently, sometimes deserved but also many times not deserved and there was a streak of very unlucky results. It is one of the best teams in Europe, with one of the best managers in Europe. There is no doubt about it, but we are confident enough to go there and prepare ourselves for what we need to do to win, which is nothing else than a top performance.’

While our head coach acknowledges that this game at Liverpool is an important one in the context of the top-four race, with just one point currently separating the two sides, he feels it will be far from decisive given the amount of football still to play this season.

‘We know the situation but we have 12 games left, so no matter what the result tomorrow, it will not be the end of the race for the top four. There is a big importance on this game and the way we play it. I hope we will show up with the same mentality and attitude we have had when we faced all the tough challenges so far, and there have been many.

‘This week brings those challenges up to the highest level you can imagine after Atletico and Manchester United, and now Liverpool and Everton, in the race for the Champions League and the top four. In my opinion, this race will go on until the end of the 12 games we have to play, but tomorrow is a very important fixture. We have the chance to keep them at a distance and this is what we hope to do.’

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