Saturday 10 November 2012
Although he insists his side are confident and in-form, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has labelled Liverpool their "bogey team" ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea are in second place in the Barclays Premier League and have already accumulated 12 more points than Brendan Rodgers's team, but Di Matteo believes that form bears no relevance to this fixture, as Liverpool always turn in an "exceptional" display when they visit west London.
"They are our bogey team because they always seem to play exceptionally well against us and get results," said Di Matteo, whose side have managed just one home Barclays Premier League victory against the Reds in the last five attempts. "It's always a difficult game against Liverpool and it'll be difficult to beat them.
"They are our bogey team because they always seem to play exceptionally well against us and get results”
Roberto Di Matteo
"They play their best game of the season and they find our players at the moment, who might not be at our best, but we're in good spirit, full of confidence and hopefully it'll be a different story."
Despite their strong start to the campaign the Blues have managed just a point from their last two matches and are without the injured England internationals Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, but Di Matteo's charges are buoyed by the return from a four-match suspension of their captain John Terry.
Liverpool may be 11 places worse off than Chelsea but they are unbeaten in their last five Barclays Premier League matches and manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side travel to London full of confidence after strong recent performances.
"Traditionally Stamford Bridge is a very difficult place to go and get a result but we are going there with great confidence," said Rodgers, who enjoyed a coaching spell at the helm of Chelsea's youth academy during Jose Mourinho's tenure. "We know the offensive threats they have but our concentration will be on our own game.
"We have some really top players here that can hurt any opponent on a given day. That will be the objective. For us it is about collecting the points and collecting as many as we can."
One of the top players in question is Luis Suarez, who has scored in his last two matches and produced seven Barclays Premier League goals in total this season.
"We have one of the best strikers in the world in Luis Suarez," Rodgers said. "Luis is up there in that one per cent of world class strikers.
"There is no team in the world who would not want Luis Suarez in it. When I look at what he gives us consistently, I don’t think there’s anyone else in the division who's better.
For more on the fixture, including the managers' press conferences, team news, predictions and previous meetings go to Matchday Live.
4pm Chelsea v Liverpool | #CHELIV | Matchday Live >>
Chelsea: Manager press conference | Provisional squad
Liverpool: Manager press conference | Provisional squad