Big Phil left staring at massive challenge
If Chelsea boss Phil Scolari was under any illusions that Premier League management is easy then his first six months at Stamford Bridge will have come as a rude awakening and, if the Blues don't pick up three points at Anfield on Sunday, then he may already be waving goodbye to the title.
Life had started so sweetly for the former Brazil and Portugal supremo as he led a more ambitious and attacking minded team to the top of the league, yet the good times were not here to stay and just as swiftly as the rise came the fall from grace.
And while squad unrest has not helped matters for Big Phil, the major problem has been a lack of consistency, especially at the once impenetrable Stamford Bridge.
It all means that the once favourite Blues are now languishing behind Alex Ferguson's Man Utd and if a rapid change in fortune doesn't occur soon they may have to concentrate on a battle for second place.
On a positive note, on the road things have gone well, excluding the battering at Old Trafford, and there is cause for optimism when they take on Rafa Benitez's lacklustre Liverpool - in a must win match for both teams!
Liverpool start the game as narrow 6/4 favourites, with Chelsea at 9/4 and the draw, not surprisingly, short at 9/5, and it really is as close as the prices suggest!
Liverpool have become draw specialists of late with seven ties in their past ten Premier League games, while Chelsea have drawn two of the last three away from home - and there is no reason to think another tight match is on the cards.
It is true that both teams have keys that can unlock even the tightest defences and nobody looks to be in better form than Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard, who at 11/2 to score the first goal, looks great value to make it four goals in the past six games.
There is a slight question over Gerrard's fitness following his shock substitution in Wednesday's draw at Wigan but given his reaction it may simply have been a case of Benitez's eccentric tactics.
For Chelsea, Salomon Kalou hit form in midweek with a timely double against Middlesbrough but the Ivorian has still not found his feet at the very top level and could be a man to avoid on scoring betting markets at 10/1 first/last scorer and 7/2 anytime.
As an outside shot, Deco at 16/1 first/last scorer, could be a value bet as his early season performances indicated, when on form, he is a great goalscoring threat when he gets time on the edge of the area.
It really is difficult to tip a winner in this one with the talent and tactics both sides utilise threatening to cancel out each other, however Liverpool did manage to snatch a win at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season and may gain a psychological edge through that.
A repeat of the 1-0 Liverpool win from October could be worth a punt at 6/1 but the way I see it, a 0-0 draw at 13-2 looks a far more inviting proposition, despite both teams being desperate to claim all three points.
With this is mind, the bet of the day could be the 7/4 about less than two total match goals as a defensive game looks like being the order of the day.
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