Chelsea @ Anfield, 21st April 2013 1600 UK time

Apologies for the late sending of this email but I am travelling to the game!

Thanks to www.tomkinstimes.com – Grown-up views & intelligent discussions on Liverpool FC

LOCAL NEWS

BAHRAIN – LFC Bahrain will be meeting at Tracks in the Crown Plaza, although the Chairman will not be there…as he will be at the game!
OMAN – Per and Sean will have to be content with each other as Tore will also be at the game.

EMOTIONAL

It is the first home game since the 24th anniversary of Hillsborough. My first game standing in the Kop was 24 years ago, not long after 95 fans had died. (The last one died later in hospital) and the number of grown men crying was surprising to a 19 year old with no idea of the full effect of the tragedy at Hillsborough.

Anne Williams, the mother whose 15 year old son died in Hillsborough, and was one of the leading lights behind the campaign for Justice, died of cancer this week. Her 24 year fight for justice is over, without ever seeing success, but thankfully she was able to see the overturning of the rulings and a start towards redemption.

Liverpool welcome Rafa Benitez back to Anfield for the first time since he was sacked in June 2010. It is likely that there will be more home fans cheering for him than away fans. Torres will also be back and will likely receive a cold welcome from the Kop.

PREVIEW

The corresponding fixture last season saw the Reds secure a 4-1 victory courtesy of goals from Henderson, Agger and Shelvey that followed a Michael Essien own goal that gave us the lead, while Ramires struck a consolation for the Blues with the Reds 3-0 up. The two sides shared a 1-1 draw back in November at Stamford Bridge, with Luis Suarez’s second half equaliser cancelling out John Terry’s opener in the first half. Liverpool have won four of the last five league encounters with Chelsea, with two victories coming at Anfield and two at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea currently sit 3rd in the league with 61 points – 11 points ahead of  us in 7th – and 20 points behind league leaders Manchester United. Their tally of eight victories away from home is bettered only by Tottenham who’ve won nine and Man Utd with 12. Rafa Benitez’s side are the second highest scorers in the division with 64 goals scored and have conceded the second fewest with 33.

Liverpool have the third best defensive record at home this season with 14 goals conceded in 16 matches, only Chelsea with 13 goals against them and Man City with 11 goals conceded boast better records. Manchester City are also the only side to have kept more clean sheets than the Reds with 14 compared to our tally of 13, while Chelsea have kept 12 clean sheets.

TEAM NEWS

Goalkeeper: Reina
Defenders: Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique
Midfielders: Lucas, , Gerrard (c), Henderson
Strikers: Suarez, Sturridge, Coutinho

This is without doubt our strongest line up at the moment, and apart from Downing, there shouldn’t be too much doubt about who will start this game.

STATISTICS

Liverpool’s overall league record against Chelsea:

Total – P: 139 W: 64 D: 29 L: 46 F: 216 A: 190 GD: +26
Home – P: 69 W: 46 D: 14 L: 9 F: 146 A: 70 GD: +76
Away – P: 70 W: 18 D: 15 L: 37 F: 670 A: 120 GD: -50

Liverpool’s biggest victories and defeats v Chelsea at Anfield:

Biggest home win (overall): 6-0 (20/4/1935)
Biggest home defeat (overall): 1-4 (twice)

TRIVIA

Three of Liverpool’s current squad are in the top five for most appearances against Chelsea, with Jamie Carragher out in front with 44 appearances. Steven Gerrard is next with 34 and just one goal, while Pepe Reina is fourth with 26. Ian Rush has found the back of the net the most for the Reds with ten goals from 19 appearances but it’s Fernando Torres who has the most prolific record with seven goals in eight appearances against the Blues.

Daniel Sturridge became the third player to sign directly for Liverpool from Chelsea when he completed a £12m move back in January. The other two players to make the switch from Chelsea were Tony Hateley, who made the move to Anfield in 1967 for a then club record fee of £96,000 and went on to score 28 goals in 56 appearances before moving to Coventry City in 1968, and almost 20 years after Hateley, Nigel Spackman, who was signed for £400,000 in February 1987. Spackman made 63 appearances before moving to Queen’s Park Rangers in 1989.

Of the four players to have left Liverpool for Chelsea, three of them have joined the Blues in the past two years. Yossi Benayoun was the first to leave, sold for a fee of £6m in July 2010 after scoring 29 goals in 134 appearances during the three seasons he spent at Anfield. Fernando Torres was then sold for a British record £50m in January 2011 after scoring 81 times in 142 appearances. Raul Meireles followed Torres just seven months later, sold for a fee of £12m in August 2011.

ODDS
LFC win 40%
draw 25%
CFC win 35%

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