Welcome to the past: Chelsea visit title-chasing Liverpool; Sound Familiar
Memories of that day still very much remain, especially for Liverpool fans. April 27, 2014. The Reds welcomed Chelsea to Anfield, top of the Premier League table, and just even a point would keep them in charge of their destiny. But a Steven Gerrard slip led to Demba Ba putting Chelsea in front just before half-time, and a late Willian goal gave Chelsea a 2-0 win. Liverpool’s title destiny was no longer in their own hands, and after the collapse at Crystal Palace a week later, the league was gone.
Fast forward five years, give or take, and here they are again. April 14, 2019. The Reds welcome Chelsea to Anfield, top of the Premier League table, and need a win to ramp up the pressure on champions Manchester City, having played a game more. And as if to serve us a reminder of five years ago, City visit Crystal Palace on that same day, just as they did in 2014.
That might play on the minds of Liverpool fans, even if that was five years ago. The Reds have been playing with some form of emotional discomfort in recent games, getting spooked when they concede a goal. They seem to be letting the weight of what’s at stake burden their shoulders.
But they’ve been getting the job done, no matter what. They always find a way of late, however they can, with the turn of events that might make one say this is fated to be their year. So, while memories of 2014 might play on the minds of some, the belief and efficiency of 2018/19 will also be in the air. Just the celebrations at St. Mary’s last Friday indicated that they’re not ready to go out of the picture just yet.
Back in 2014, Chelsea’s win then gave them a shout in the title race again, although that was an inevitable false dawn. This time the Blues are chasing Champions League qualification, in third place with three other sides very much breathing down their necks. But, like 2014, they seem to be a chapter in the Liverpool story, and while the potential significance of this game won’t be lost on the top four battle, the focus will mostly be on the effects this match will have on the title race.
It’s also worth noting that these are very different sides from April 2014. Of the Liverpool side that lost five years ago, only Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge are key players that remain (Sturridge’s role is even currently debatable), while Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta are the players in the Chelsea side back then guaranteed to start on Sunday (Hazard actually didn’t feature in that game).
It’s a blast from the past that simultaneously has barely anything and everything to do with the past.
Liverpool and Chelsea meet at Anfield, but arguably the most event of the Premier League weekend is at Turf Moor, as Cardiff visit Burnley in what seems like the last chance for Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds to get back in a position to stay up. A defeat here for the South Welsh side, and they could end the weekend eight points from safety with five games left.
Another side tethering towards last chance saloon are Manchester United, whose top four hopes will take quite a dent if they fail to beat West Ham at Old Trafford. The good thing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side is that the Hammers haven’t won away from home since December.
Friday Night Football: Leicester v Newcastle
Burnley v Cardiff
Southampton v Wolves
Tottenham v Huddersfield
Brighton v Bournemouth
Manchester United v West Ham
Fulham v Everton
Crystal Palace v Manchester City
Watford v Arsenal
Liverpool v Chelsea