Loftus-Cheek out, Kovacic and Azpilicueta return – expected Chelsea line-up against Liverpool

Chelsea face Liverpool on Sunday and it is difficult to see Frank Lampard changing much from the 3-1 win over Brighton even though it was a far from comprehensive victory.

Aside from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is still finding his way after his horrendous injury, the Blues impressed individually without always looking particularly coherent as a team.

Kepa was backed by the Blues boss and is sure to retain his place despite his error for Brighton’s goal.

Reece James shone at right-back after one or two rash moments and also impressed when moved into midfield where he scored a fabulous goal. Both centre-backs were dominant and praised by the Lampard for their efforts, and the much-maligned Marcos Alonso was steady.

Cesar Azpilicueta could replace Alsono and may yet get the nod because of his greater defensive abilities in a back four.

In midfield Kante and Jorginho did more than enough to continue, with Jorginho’s calmness under pressure and ability to keep hold of the ball likely to be vital if Chelsea are to beat the reigning champions.

Further forward, Loftus-Cheek is may well be given a breather while he works his way back, so Lampard has the option of both Mateo Kovacic, who returns after suspension, and Ross Barkley.

Kovacic, a standout player last season, may well be the preferred option given his better defensive awareness. Barkley’s natural attacking instincts and goal threat will tempt Lampard with the former Everton man impressing off the bench against Seagulls and also starring in the FA Cup win against the Reds last season.

Kai Havertz will start again, but may play more centrally with Mount wider to utilise his energy more effectively against Liverpool’s high press, while Werner will continue up front having been cleared to play after his knock on his debut.

The 4:2:3:1 formation could also be tinkered, Lampard and Jody Morris having shown no qualms about making changes even after a victory. But the defence is likely to remain as a back four and midfield selections wouldn’t see drastic changes, either in personnel or tactics.

Expected Chelsea line-up:

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