Liverpool are under pressure as they bid to end a 29-year wait for an English league trophy but can help themselves by embracing the challenge in the home stretch of the campaign, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said. Liverpool, who host Chelsea on Sunday, lead Manchester City by two points with five games remaining although the defending champions have a match in hand.
“They are under pressure but that’s normal. If you want to win the Premier League, you have to play under pressure for a long period of time but it is pressure for something positive,” Sarri told the club’s website.
“You can be nervous but also with a great level of motivation so the positive is more than the negative.” Chelsea dented Liverpool’s title push with a 2-0 victory at Anfield in the 2013-14 campaign but Sarri warned his third-placed team that they could face a daunting task on Sunday.
“In this moment we are fighting for the top four so we need points. We know it will be difficult to gain points in Liverpool but we have to try in every way,” Sarri added.
“To face Liverpool is going to be difficult for us but every game now is difficult. They are one of the best teams in England right now, they reached the final of the Champions League last year and at Anfield it is always difficult.
“We know well the risks of this match but we also know that when we are able to play at 100 percent of our potential, we can gain points anywhere. We are in a very good physical and mental condition right now.”
Liverpool’s Henderson credits Fabinho for helping to unlock attacking instinct
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson said his return to a more advanced midfield position had been made easier by Fabinho’s natural ability in a deep-lying role. Henderson has been deployed mainly as a defensive midfielder to shield the back four since Juergen Klopp took charge of the club, but the 28-year-old has impressed since switching to the right of Liverpool’s midfield trio.
He came off the bench to score the final goal in their 3-1 Premier League victory over Southampton last week and helped to create the second in their 2-0 Champions League quarter-final first-leg win over Porto on Tuesday.
“Previously when I played at number six, we didn’t have a defensive midfielder where that was a natural part of his game,” Henderson told Sky Sports.
“Now we do, with the likes of Fabinho, who I’d say is a natural six. You can see he’s played there for a long time, who’s suited in that role.
“That’s the reason why I think the manager now feels I can play slightly more advanced and in the last couple of games he’s given me that opportunity.”
However, Henderson said he was willing to curb his attacking instincts if the team needed him to during the home stretch of the season as Liverpool look to end a 29-year drought for an English league title.
Liverpool, who lead the table by two points having played one game more than second-placed Manchester City, host third-placed Chelsea on Sunday.
“It’s totally about the team, and whatever the manager thinks is best and needs in certain games we’ll just try to do it on game day,” Henderson said.
“It’s been good to have contributed in the last couple of games of course but it’s about winning more importantly.”