GOOD EVENING FROM ANFIELD
Welcome to our live coverage of Liverpool versus Chelsea, a game of great importance in the race for Champions League football.
A scrap purely for a place in the top four is not what these clubs would have hoped for – or expected in the champions’ case – at the start of the season, but with just two months left, only one point separates the fifth-placed Blues from the Reds in sixth.
And few would have envisaged this neck and neck sprint following the Merseysiders’ dominance during the reverse fixture on matchday two, but such has been Liverpool’s campaign horribilis that they are now 33 points worse off than at this stage last year.
However, a win at Sheffield United on Sunday brought an end to a run of four straight defeats, and now Jurgen Klopp’s men must somehow recapture their imperious home form of recent seasons.
The Anfield absentee list is still longer than most, but they are expected to welcome back Alisson this evening after the goalkeeper’s compassionate leave. Fabinho is also in contention, but Diogo Jota remains unavailable despite his recent return to training.
Chelsea are undoubtedly a tougher proposition under Thomas Tuchel than the one that hosted Liverpool back in September.
The Londoners are unbeaten in nine games since their new head coach took charge, and, in that time, only one opposition player has managed to score against them: Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino on target during his loan spell at Southampton.
Thiago Silva remains injured, and there are also concerns over Tammy Abraham after the top scorer picked up a knock in training this week.
However, Callum Hudson-Odoi has recovered from the thigh problem that forced him off at half-time of Sunday’s bore draw with Manchester United.
Tonight’s teams will be announced shortly before the action gets underway at Anfield at 8.15pm.