Time, as they say, changes. It could be described as its biggest advantage for some, however, for some people – Jose Mourinho currently falls in the same category, it is an enormous disadvantage. Currently under fire, Mourinho will face Jurgen Klopp – a man who is still revered by his faithful. . Thus, for a man who was sitting on a throne last time Chelsea met Liverpool – to the Jose Mourinho of now who looks destined to be sacked, this fixture has taken a 90-degree turn.
Here are five things that have changed since their last meeting.
1. For the first time in over a decade – Liverpool have a manager who can challenge Mourinho
Liverpool as a club boasts of its history, its glory days and most importantly the 5 European Cups. However, since a mere glance at your calendar might suggest you, last notable trophy for the Reds came way back in 2005, more than a decade before from now.
However, that situation is expected to change now that Jurgen Klopp is at the helm. With no disrespect to the likes of Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers, their aura was nowhere near to that of the German when he took reigns at Liverpool last month.
The record of Jurgen Klopp that boasts of winning 2 League titles speaks for itself as a reason for all the smiles he has got from the Anfield faithful since arriving in Liverpool a month ago.
Thus, while Jose Mourinho might not admit that, Liverpool now have a manager that could guide them to the same glory as Mourinho did with Chelsea more than a decade ago.
However, as the recent form of Chelsea suggests, the Portuguese might not be here to watch all that unfold.
2. For the first time in almost three years, Liverpool will be going into this fixture as favorites
If anybody had predicted in summer that Liverpool will be ranked above Chelsea at the end of October, many would have assumed that the Reds will be challenging for the title. Instead, Liverpool are 9th while Chelsea are struggling at 16th.
Last time Liverpool defeated Chelsea in this fixture was three years ago when a former Liverpool manager was at the helm at Chelsea. Rafael Benitez was the manager of Chelsea then, and Liverpool thumped the Blues 4-1 at Anfield. A certain Luis Suarez was playing for Liverpool back then, and that might indicate why Liverpool won with such a staggering margin.
However, while Liverpool challenged for the title in 2013/14 under Brendan Rodgers, the Reds never looked comfortable when playing the blues. With four defeats in the last 6, Liverpool were becoming an easy opponent for the men in blue. But as you might see now, the tables seem to have turned.
A win will send Mourinho to the gallows, a draw and he might still see the same fate. Looking at Liverpool and they will be itching to give Jurgen Klopp a belated welcome party if Chelsea could be beaten on Sunday. Liverpool fans are known for their noise, however, what they would do if they could get Jose Mourinho sacked would be a part of history.
3. Steven Gerrard will not be among the travelling party
With due respect to the legendary status that Steven Gerrard acquired while at Liverpool, he was never their most potent weapon against Chelsea. His performances against the London side were subdued, a mystery that is still unsolved.
In fact, the infamous slip that cost Liverpool the title also came for Gerrard in this particular fixture at Anfield.
However, if you have been watching the Reds this Season, they would jump at the prospect of getting Gerrard against Chelsea on Saturday.
While most of his performances against Chelsea weren’t on the same level as he did against other Liverpool rivals, it was his presence on the pitch that galvanized the Liverpool supporters.
4. Last time it was Brendan Rodgers – now it is Jose Mourinho whose job is on the line
Regardless to what might have happened in this particular fixture last May, Chelsea were already Champions. The future of Brendan Rodgers was still hanging in the balance. However, even a win in this fixture might not have saved him his Liverpool job.
This is not to say that Chelsea does not collaborate in orchestrating the departure of Brendan Rodgers. The record of the Northern Irishman against Chelsea was poor, with no wins in 8 Premier League outings against them. In fact, it was the performance of Liverpool in games like these that stopped Brendan Rodgers’ from acquiring another year at the club.
Thus, while it was Rodgers last Season, now it is Jose Mourinho whose job is on the line. This fixture is going to have a direct impact on where he will end at, not next Season as was the case with Brendan Rodgers, but Mourinho could be sacked within hours if Chelsea loses to Liverpool.
Thus, while they say that revenge is a dish best served cold, Liverpool now have the chance to exact revenge from Mourinho, who denied them from winning their maiden Premier League title in 2014.
5. Form of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa
Coming into this game last Season, Eden Hazard had scored three goals in his last seven appearances for the club. Thus, with 14 goals already under his belt, Eden Hazard entered into this fixture as a man who had nothing to prove, but everything to conquer.
Now, the situation has changed. With just one goal in the first ten appearances, Eden Hazard is fighting to save his reputation at Chelsea. The lowest point of his Chelsea career came against Stoke City at the weekend when his missed penalty became a primary reason of Chelsea being crashed out of the Capital One Cup.
Turning our attention to Diego Costa and the Spaniard seems to be suffering from the same syndrome as his Belgian team-mate. 2 goals in the first eight appearances might seem a bit low-key for a striker, however for Costa, who scored 20 goals last Season, this is disastrous.
Thus, with both Diego Costa and Eden Hazard running out of form, Liverpool will be facing a Chelsea side that has been emaciated due to the form of its two main players.