Chelsea welcome Liverpool on Sunday with all eyes very much focused on one man, Fernando Torres. The Spaniard’s move from Anfield to Stamford Bridge has prompted much discussion and even pictures of his old Liverpool shirt being burnt on Merseyside, yet a quirk of fate means he should make his first outing in a blue shirt against the men in red.
The good news for Torres is that this is a fixture the striker seems to thrive on. The Spaniard scored seven goals in eight games for Liverpool against Chelsea, including both strikes in the Reds’ 2-0 win at Anfield back in November.
The 26-year-old has vowed not to celebrate if he does find the net on Sunday, but having scored on his Anfield debut, few would bet against Torres being on the scoresheet at Stamford Bridge.
The gloom surrounding Torres’ departure did not last long at Anfield, no doubt helped by the arrivals of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. Suarez then introduced himself to his new fans with a goal in the midweek win over Stoke City to ensure the Kop have a new hero.
Whilst that will undoubtedly have given the Reds a welcome boost, so will their recent form which has seen them win three on the bounce, with three clean sheets to boot, and move up to seventh in the table.
However, their recent Premier League record at Stamford Bridge is poor. The Reds have failed to score on five of their last six visits and have managed just one win since 2004, when they needed Jose Bosingwa to put through his own net to secure victory.
The £50 million man Fernando Torres is expected to make his debut against Liverpool and could be joined by another new boy, David Luiz, who is also available.
Alex, Yossi Benayoun and Yury Zhirkov remain on the injured list but other than that trio manager Carlo Ancelotti has a full squad to chose from and possibly a selection headache over how best to accommodate his new striker.
Possible starting XI: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Essien, Mikel, Lampard; Anelka; Torres, Drogba.
After scoring on his debut against Stoke City, Luis Suarez is expected to make his first start for the Reds. However, fellow new boy Andy Carroll is still some way off making his debut due to a thigh problem.
Christian Poulsen is a doubt with a back problem and a knee injury may prevent Joe Cole from facing his former employers.
Jamie Carragher returns to the squad after recovering from a dislocated shoulder, however Kenny Dalglish has refused to confirm whether he will go straight into the starting line-up.
Possible starting XI: Reina; Kelly, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Kuyt, Gerrard, Lucas, Maxi, Meireles; Suarez.