Premier League
Back
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Luis Suarez faces Branislav Ivanovic for first time since biting him

Luis Suarez is probably the most highly regarded player in England at the moment.

Not just the quality and frequency of his goals, but his enthusiasm, modesty and commitment to his team have given fresh hope to anyone who has had to deal with the awkwardness that comes from biting a rival.

When competitors at the highest level talk of being prepared to give anything to achieve their dream of success, that “anything” rarely extends to sinking their teeth into an opposition full back.

At Stamford Bridge on Sunday then, much of the world’s media will be on the Premier League’s most devastating set of clackers, as Suarez returns to face his victim.

Chelsea are 11/10 to take their revenge with a win, Liverpool are 13/5 to bounce back from defeat and Manchester City with a victory, and the draw is 5/2.

Dental intervention aside, this is a game that Chelsea will expect to win, primarily because they always expect to win at home under Jose Mourinho, who is unbeaten in 69 Premier League matches there.

A record of played nine, won eight, drawn one in the league at Stamford Bridge is the main reason why they are firmly in the top four, in spite of uncharacteristic defensive fragility this season.

And Liverpool, for all their glowing press, have not travelled exceptionally well this year. Chelsea are the last of the top six clubs they are due to visit, and they have yet to record a win, with losses at Arsenal and City, and draws at Everton and Newcastle.

For those with short memories, who have no recall beyond their imperious 5-0 destruction of Tottenham in mid-December, Liverpool’s away form is on a par with that of Southampton and Aston Villa – three wins, three draws, three losses.

That win at Spurs was their only away win in their last six.

Clean sheets on the road are not their forte either, with just two in nine, although only Manchester United and Arsenal have scored more goals away.

In their favour, Liverpool have a terrific record in the league against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with three wins, two draws and a defeat in their last six visits.

Chelsea have won just two of their last 13 Premier League matches against Liverpool.

Yet Liverpool’s squad is thin, as shown by the subs they brought on against Man City – Victor Moses and Iago Aspas – while Chelsea have depth to spare.

With Victor Moses unavailable for this match as a Chelsea loanee, Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers is said to be down to his last 16 first teamers.

For Liverpool to come out on top then, some more Suarez magic will almost certainly be required. And his manager will be praying there’s no repeat of his making a meal of anything in a blue shirt.