Not much more than one month ago nobody would have believed that the manager of Chelsea would be more likely to get the sack than the manager of Liverpool when these clubs met. The Saturday lunchtime live TV fixture brings together two clubs in a state of flux with Chelsea heading in one direction and Liverpool the other. It is now make or break for Jose Mourinho has totally lost the plot.
At the start of the month Mourinho was under some pressure but looking safe. The days looked numbered for Brendon Rodgers and the subsequent headline summed up the situation perfectly. It said: Klopp for the Kop After Rodgers Gets The Chop. The Special One is now the favourite in the Premier League Sack Race while Jurgen is winning over the locals on Merseyside.
The match takes place on the back of two contrasting results in the Capital One Cup. Chelsea lost to Stoke on penalties while Liverpool beat Bournemouth 1-0. However, the form is virtually meaningless due to the sides put out by the managers. Arsene Wenger talked a good game but wasn’t bothered that Arsenal lost 3-0 to Sheffield Wednesday in the competition. He has now set his sights on winning the Premier League for the first time since 2003-04 when they never lost a match and were nicknamed “The Invincibles”.
Amazingly Chelsea have lost all five of their penalty shootouts under Mourinho. Another quirky fact is that Stoke have now won their last five. Stoke and Chelsea have come together in the competition in all its guises five times and Stoke have won the lot. Most famously Stoke beat Chelsea 2-1 in the 1972 League Cup Final at Wembley when veteran George Graham scored the winner.
It seemed fitting that Eden Hazard missed the 10th and decisive kick after all the others had been converted. Last year’s best player in the Premier League has been out of sorts this season. The Belgian looked some way back to his best but then missed the crucial penalty. There has been talk of a move away and Mourinho has not helped the situation by saying no player at Chelsea is untouchable.
Chelsea seemed to be putting in a shift for their boss against Stoke but ultimately it was another defeat. If Liverpool beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this weekend it would be a sixth Premier League loss in 11 games and Mourinho could get sacked. There now appears a sad acceptance of the inevitable and the Stoke fans summed up the situation by singing ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’.
Some people believe Chelsea would be making a mistake by sacking Mourinho. However, suffice to say that Chelsea are in a position in the league at this stage of the season from which no club have been champions in May. They have lost five times this time but were beaten two times less when winning the Premier League last season. Only three teams have conceded more goals this season to date. Liverpool have let in 11 goals in 10 matches but scored just nine so there weakness is obvious.
Daniel Sturridge used to be a footballer but now he is more a celebrity face in the crowd. He could be awesome with Chistian Benteke but Firmino looked like Liverpool’s best striker in the Bournemouth match. Sturridge has not played for more than a year and even now there are doubts about his fitness. If others shine Klopp may not given him a decent run and he looks the type get fed up on the bench.
Chelsea and Liverpool have met 173 times of which Liverpool have won 75, lost 61 and there have been 37 draws. Chelsea have won four of the last eight and three have been four draws. Liverpool have scored seven goals over that run and conceded twelve. On current form and the mental state of the respective managers Liverpool can beat Chelsea for the first time since 2012. The Special One could be the unemployed one on Monday morning but I doubt he will claim benefits.