Liverpool v Chelsea
Barclays Premier League
Tuesday May 8; 20:00
Both Liverpool and Chelsea may choose to rest a number of players after their exertions of the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Liverpool have no new injury worries with Lucas and Charlie Adam the only absentees.
Chelsea will be without John Obi Mikel and Raul Meireles after the pair picked up knocks in Saturday’s game at Wembley. Gary Cahill and David Luiz are also set to miss out.
Ranieri: Chelsea can’t miss Champions League
Former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri believes the Blues cannot afford to miss out on the Champions League this season as they prepare to face Liverpool tonight with their hopes of a top four finish hanging by a thread.
Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat against Newcastle left them four points off the pace of Tottenham, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.
Newcastle’s defeat against Manchester City and Spurs’ draw with Aston Villa have left the door ajar for the Roberto di Matteo’s men, but they must emerge victorious at Anfield and hope both clubs above them slip up in their final games of the season next weekend.
If they fail to secure a top four spot they must beat Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League later this month in order to secure their pace in next season’s competition.
Either way, Ranieri believes Chelsea simply cannot afford to go a year without playing in European football’s leading club competition.
“It is very important for them to stay in the Champions League,” Ranieri told the Evening Standard. “I remember how hard it was to get the club back in it.
“Before Abramovich we didn’t have much money to spend on players. The year before he arrived, the only one to come in was Enrique De Lucas on loan from Espanyol but with the same team as the year before we got back into the Champions League, although it went to that last game against Liverpool.
“It is very hard to get back in the Champions League without the money from playing in the competition. It took me a few years to do it at Chelsea and now they need the funds because they have to change a lot of players.
“They need to bring in younger players and ones with other qualities. Only Juan Mata has the quality to win the one-v-one; they need more than that. They have missed a player like Zola. They need to find another player like him, with his amazing quality. Another [David] Silva, [Samir] Nasri, these kind of players.
“The structure is very strong, they have good players but they need more players with more creativity. When other teams play against Chelsea they sit back and hold position. It is very difficult then to find the right key to open the door.”