Chelsea take on Liverpool this evening in a Premier League match that pits two massively underperforming teams against each other in a mouth-watering clash at Stamford Bridge.
Since their horrendous showing in their recent 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa, which has left the Blues in 11th, head coach Graham Potter was sacked after only seven months in charge.
Bruno Saltor has been named as the interim boss until the end of the season and the Spaniard will be desperate to reverse the toxic atmosphere that has consumed the club this calendar year.
Armando Broja, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Thiago Silva remain on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Edouard Mendy, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante, and Wesley Fofana could all return to the starting line-up in what could be a much-changed side for the west London outfit.
We at This is Futbol have predicted the Chelsea starting XI that will take to the pitch in this must-win battle.
How would Chelsea line up against Liverpool?
Despite a ropey performance for Spain against Scotland and registering the second-lowest rating of the starting side (5.9) in the last domestic outing, Kepa will most likely appear in goal as Mendy hasn’t played for over four months.
After the defensive shambles for Villa’s goal at the weekend that allowed Ollie Watkins to open the scoring, it wouldn’t be surprising if Marc Cucurella was dropped and Wesley Fofana took his place. The Frenchman has been carrying a knock but looks set to return as Chelsea desperately crave some defensive solidarity.
Another change in the backline could see Benoit Badiashile replace Ruben Loftus-Cheek. This would be a reshuffle that means James would return to his customary and most effective wingback position, whilst the French U21 captain would slot into centre back. Koulibaly and Chilwell would retain their starting spots.
Fernandez would also keep his place, whilst Mateo Kovacic, who is valued at £30m, could be replaced by 2018 World Cup winner Kante, who could make his first start since August 2022. The 32-year-old, who Joe Cole has previously lauded as “outstanding”, returned as a second-half substitute at the weekend, and could be the injection of dynamism that Saltor will need.
Joao Felix, who was Chelsea’s most lively and threatening attacker at the weekend will start. Whilst Mykhalio Mudryk, who Steven Gerrard has been “really disappointed” with, recorded the lowest rating (5.8) of any Blues player in the recent defeat, with Mount surely deserving of reintegration into the first 11.
Havertz is most likely to be deployed as the striker to lead the Chelsea attack but expect a fluid and interchangeable frontline.
Predicted Chelsea XI (3-4-3): Kepa (GK); Fofana (CB), Koulibaly (CB), Badiashile (CB); James (RWB), Fernandez (CM) Kante (CM), Chilwell (LWB); ason Mount (RW), Felix (LW), Havertz (ST)