Luiz Felipe Scolari believes Chelsea can win today’s clash of the invincibles against Liverpool and go on to become his dream team.
Scolari’s side have yet to lose in 12 games since the Brazilian took charge, while Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge undefeated in all competitions this season.
After the anguish of missing out on the Premier League and Champions League to Manchester United last season, Chelsea have started the campaign filled with a renewed sense of purpose by Scolari.
The Blues look the team most likely to end United’s two-year reign as English champions, but Liverpool can make their own case to be taken seriously in the title race after their best start to a Premier League campaign.
With Chelsea ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table on goal difference, Scolari claims the stage is set for the match of the season so far.
“The clubs have the same spirit. They fight until the last minute to win the game,” Scolari said. “They don’t accept that they might lose. Sometimes they have been in bad condition in the last 10 minutes, but changed the result. This is the best thing. They have spirit. They play as a team.”
While Scolari is focused on making his players believe they are invincible, Benitez was taking a typically understated approach to the game of the season so far.
Liverpool have gone 18 years without a league title, but expectations at Anfield are growing that this is the team to can finally end that drought.
Benitez, who has won just four of 19 meetings with Chelsea, accepts that success in west London would be seen as further evidence of Liverpool’s burgeoning title credentials, but the Spaniard has no intention of talking up his team just yet.
“It is too early to talk of titles, but we have the confidence to beat anyone,” Benitez said. “We could go top, which would be a good problem for me then having to keep expectations down. Before the game to talk a lot is not good, afterwards, maybe we will have to keep our people calm.”
With Fernando Torres set to miss out through injury, Benitez won’t make any bold predictions that leave him a hostage to fortune. But the Liverpool boss knows his team have already beaten Manchester United without Torres this season, so they have no reason to fear Chelsea.
Liverpool midfielders Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso are expected to be fit after suffering injuries during the midweek Champions League draw against Atletico Madrid, but Irish striker Robbie Keane faces a late fitness test.
Ashley Cole is set to return for Chelsea, while Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Michael Ballack remain sidelined.
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