Jurgen Klopp made his Liverpool priority extremely clear as his side played in their FA Cup third round replay against Wolves on Wednesday night. The Reds were pegged back at Anfield in an entertaining 2-2 draw in the initial game and were fortunate to get to a replay after late VAR controversy disallowed what later appeared to be a perfectly fine goal.
The rescheduled game added to what is already a packed schedule for teams in Europe, especially with remaining matches to catch up on still. Coming back from the World Cup, Liverpool were still in every available competition but were soon dumped out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of Manchester City.
That did free up the fixture list for Klopp slightly ahead of a key run in the league. For Chelsea this is a point worth noting as the two sides remain close in the league table.
If you had told Blues fans that after 18 games they would be level with last season’s runners-up then they would probably have been delighted. When that means that they sit 10th in the league with only 28 points though, the reality is quite different.
In what can only be billed as a mid-table clash on Saturday afternoon, Chelsea travel to Anfield in a bid to secure back-to-back league wins for the first time since October. They go into the game knowing a win would take them clear of their old rivals too.
Liverpool have been on their own torrid run and lost last time out to Brighton in a 3-0 defeat at the Amex Stadium. Coming in the same week as the rearranged cup fixture, Klopp made it perfectly clear which of the matches he deemed most important as he made eight changes to the side that started on the south coast.
There were wholesale changes to the team rested ahead of the weekend’s testing clash. As for Chelsea, they have a full week to prepare for the trip to Merseyside without interference from other competitions, a matter that could give them the upper hand against Klopp’s men.