Whichever line-up Chelsea field today at Anfield, Mark Schwarzer is certain the players selected will be well-prepared, well-organised and raring to go.
Injury to major members of the squad ensures there will be changes to the starting 11 as the top two sides in the table go head to head, and Jose Mourinho has indicated there are likely to be further changes with the Champions League semi-final following hard on the heels of the visit to Liverpool. Suspensions and which players are ineligible in Europe are likely to come into the thinking too.
However in the training sessions leading up to the game, the squad have been unaware of the likely selection.
‘The manager keeps the side very close to his chest and everyone goes to training every day with the hope and the desire and attitude that they are showing themselves ready to play,’ reported Schwarzer.
‘The manager is well trained in the position he is in and he will make the right decisions based on what he thinks is the right thing to do for the club and for the team.
‘As a player, I’d love to play and I’ve always held my hand up throughout my whole career, wherever I have been. Every single player in this club is the same, they want to play every game.’
Schwarzer had no reason to anticipate he would be so heavily involved in the closing weeks of the season, but first illness, and then injury to Petr Cech meant he played the whole of the Sunderland game and most of the one in Madrid as Chelsea continue to pursue success on two fronts.
‘The disappointment for us was that we let it fall out of our own hands last weekend,’ the keeper says about the contest for the Barclays Premier League title.
‘It was a disappointing performance, and you can talk about a lot of things about the game but we didn’t do enough to win it and that was the biggest disappointment of all. It really put the ball in Liverpool’s court and it is theirs to lose now. They have everything to play for, as do we as we still want to finish as high as we can and there is a hope that we can still win the title, so as far as the players are concerned, we are going to do all we can to try to win the title.’
The former Middlesbrough and Fulham keeper is nearing the end of his first season at Chelsea and has enjoyed seeing first-hand how Jose Mourinho works and approaches big games such as the ones the Blues have been contesting in April.
‘He creates that winning mentality and that begins on the training field,’ said Schwarzer.
‘From the minute you step on there, there is that desire and expectation and pressure to perform at the highest level.
‘The tempo at which you play, you train, and there is the constant demand of being at your best because what you do on the training field is also what you do on a match day, and we enjoy training as well.
‘The manager has a great knack of putting players together, putting a team together and making it very difficult to beat. People have commented about a lack of goals we have scored and that we have played relatively unattractive football in comparison to Liverpool and Man City, but it is as important to be defensively strong as to score goals.’