Liverpool seek to banish January blues at home to Chelsea

Reuters , Monday 30 Jan 2017

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates (Reuters)

Liverpool will attempt to sweep away the January blues on the last day of a wretched month when they host commanding Premier League leaders Chelsea at Anfield on Tuesday.

Juergen Klopp's side have played eight matches since the turn of the year and won only once - an FA Cup replay against Plymouth Argyle, only to fall to second tier Wolverhampton Wanderers in the fourth round on Saturday.

That came on the back of League Cup semi-final defeat at home to Southampton and a damaging first home league loss to Swansea City which dealt a major blow to their title hopes.

So there could not be a more opportune time to rediscover their mojo than against Antonio Conte's side who are eight points ahead of the chasing pack and 10 clear of Liverpool.

"We have to lift ourselves for Chelsea, that is very important. We all left the dressing room (after the Wolves defeat) feeling so disappointed because we lost again," playmaker Philippe Coutinho said.

"We have another opportunity straight away to bounce back, and it is a good opportunity, a big game against Chelsea."

Liverpool are winless in four home league matches against Chelsea but won at Stamford Bridge this season and several clubs will be hoping Klopp's side can put a spanner in the works of Conte's relentless team.

"We know this type of situation and for sure we must pay great attention. After three defeats a team are very dangerous," Conte, who has never played or managed at Anfield, said.

Arsenal could be the chief beneficiaries of a Liverpool win while Tottenham Hotspur are also looking to make up ground.

Second-placed Arsenal host Watford while Tottenham, nine points behind Chelsea in third place, travel to bottom club Sunderland having taken 22 points from the last 24 available.

Watford have only one win from their last 10 matches and will hope French striker M'Baye Niang, signed on loan from AC Milan, can spark them back into life.

Niang was once at Arsenal on trial and manager Arsene Wenger, who will be in the stands watching because of a four-game touchline ban, knows he could be a threat.

"We have to keep him quiet because he's a guy who can do something special," Wenger said.

Manchester City and Manchester United, both with work to do to get into the top four let alone become serious contenders in the title race, play on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola's City, in fifth spot, are likely to have a much sterner task at West Ham United's London Stadium than they encountered earlier in January when they hammered the Londoners 5-0 in the FA Cup third round.

Jose Mourinho's sixth-placed United are unbeaten in 13 in the league but have drawn their last two matches and must beat struggling Hull City at Old Trafford to stay in touch with the leaders.

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