Chelsea host Liverpool in Sunday afternoon’s kick-off, it’s a huge game for both sides who are looking to claim a top four spot in order to secure Champions League football for next season.
It’s the Champions League which is Liverpool’s priority focus at the moment after reaching the final of Europe’s most prestige competition on Wednesday, however, the importance of this game means Jurgen Klopp will most likely start a very strong lineup at Stamford Bridge.
With top quality players all over the pitch they’ll be many key battles taking place, here are the top three key battles which could decide the outcome of this clash:
1. Mohamed Salah vs Antonio Rudiger
It’s fair to say Antonio Rudiger has got his work cut out with this match-up, coming up against the hottest player in the world at this current moment can never be an easy task.
If it’s any consolation Salah and Rudiger know each other very well from their time at Roma together, although since joining Liverpool Salah has become a whole different animal.
Rudiger doesn’t lack pace by any means, but Salah will be looking to exploit the German out in wide areas with his pace and trickery.
2. Eden Hazard vs Trent Alexander-Arnold
Eden Hazard will fancy his chances coming up against 19-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Despite the youngster enjoying a marvellous breakthrough season at Anfield, Alexander-Arnold has been targeted and exploited in other huge games this season, mainly against Roma and Manchester United.
There’s no doubt Alexander-Arnold is learning from his mistakes, his potential is incredible and his performances against Leroy Sane in the Champions League games against Manchester City prove that he has the ability to keep world-class talents quiet. He will be hoping to do the same this weekend.
3. Roberto Firmino vs Gary Cahill
The unorthodox style of Roberto Firmino is something central defenders have a lot of problems coping with, the Brazilian will constantly be asking Gary Cahill questions, who will most likely be in the middle of a back-three.
Firmino will look to drop into pockets between the defence and midfield, will Cahill go with him? Leaving space in behind for Salah and Mane to run into. Or will Cahill let him drift? Leaving Firmino the opportunity for more space to turn and run at the back-three of Chelsea.
It’s a fascinating battle which could make the difference. More often than not if you stop Firmino, Liverpool’s system is nowhere near as effective.