Football

Visit of Chelsea brings back bitter memories for Liverpool

Liverpool fans could be excused if they break out into cold sweat in the build-up to this Sunday's crunch English Premier League clash with bogey side Chelsea at Anfield.

Rewind five years to when Liverpool hosted Chelsea with three games remaining, knowing victory would have left them six points clear and a first league title since 1990 almost secure.

The rest, as they say, is history.

In first-half-stoppage time, talisman Steven Gerrard miscontrolled Mamadou Sakho's pass in his own half. He stumbled, allowing Demba Ba to race through alone and score.

Liverpool eventually lost 2-0, threw away a 3-0 lead against Crystal Palace to draw 3-3 a week later, and ended up losing the title to Manchester City by two points.

Chelsea fans will delight in their own version of the "Steven Gerrard song" this Sunday when their side again have the chance to sabotage Liverpool's title ambitions.

With Man City able to go a point clear if they beat Crystal Palace 24 hours earlier in London, Liverpool know only a first home win over Chelsea for seven years will take them back to the top of the table.

Should Juergen Klopp's side take the three points in what is the toughest of their remaining five fixtures, their fans will start to truly believe their long wait for the title is coming to an end.

Champions City, who have a game in hand over their title rivals, are still to play Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in their run-in.

Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea have been unpredictable this season but, after Eden Hazard's superb performance in a 2-0 win over West Ham United on Monday, they will go to Anfield in the top four and eyeing Champions League qualification.

Liverpool's recent home record against Chelsea is lamentable, losing three and drawing five of the last eight at Anfield, with the 2014 defeat the most painful.

City suffered only their second loss in their last 24 games in all competitions when they went down 1-0 to Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-final, first leg on Tuesday, the same night Liverpool beat Porto 2-0 to move closer towards the semi-finals.

Pep Guardiola's side have begun to show a few signs of fatigue as their pursuit of an unprecedented Quadruple reaches its climax.

City will hope to have Bernardo Silva fit against Palace, after he was ruled out against Tottenham through injury. - REUTERS

Football