Chelsea manager Antonio Conte hopes to shatter Liverpool’s fragile confidence by inflicting a fourth successive home defeat on the Merseyside club when the Premier League leaders travel to Anfield on Tuesday.
Liverpool have lost three home matches within a week to exit the two domestic cup competitions and leave them fourth in the league table, 10 points behind Chelsea.
“I think that after this game, and there are 15 games, a lot of points, for sure it could be another hit mentally for them,” Conte told reporters on Monday.
“But I repeat there are 15 games after this before the season finishes. For this reason the result is important but it does not decide the season for Chelsea or Liverpool.”
Conte also stressed the importance of the next two games against Liverpool and second-placed Arsenal but urged his side not to let the results define their season.
“This week we will face two great opponents. We must pay great attention, Liverpool is a really good team… After this, we know we have to play 14 games to win the championship,” the Italian added.
Chelsea, who have an eight-point cushion at the top of the table, have excelled in a 3-4-3 formation and Conte insisted he will not change tactics in order to surprise teams.
“There are teams that continue to play with the same system, usually when you change your system a lot you lose your identity,” Conte said.
“It is better for your opponent to know your system, but when you work in one system you have more time to improve it, to find different solutions to improve.”
Conte wants Branislav Ivanovic to stay but admitted the experienced defender had been talking with other clubs while reserve goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is pushing for an exit but will not be allowed to leave until Chelsea find a replacement.