Steven Gerrard’s slip gifted Chelsea the lead and a late goal wrapped up victory for Jose Mourinho’s team who will arrive at Anfield with a four-point lead at the top over Southampton and a 12-point advantage to seventh-placed Liverpool.
With Luis Suarez having left for Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge injured, Liverpool have scored 13 goals in 10 league games and back-to-back losses to Newcastle United and Real Madrid have ramped up the pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers.
“We haven’t been consistent enough,” he told a news conference on Thursday. “We are trying to find the balance to score more goals.”
“It will be a tough game for us, they are unbeaten. Chelsea have big experience, players who have been there a long time.”
Rodgers was heavily criticised for putting out a weakened team in their Champions League group match at Real Madrid on Tuesday with Gerrard and England forward Raheem Sterling among the substitutes in the 1-0 defeat by the European champions.
“I put out the best team I thought could get a result against Real Madrid,” Rodgers said. “My players were magnificent on the night.”
Former Liverpool players believe the team selection was at odds with the club’s proud tradition in European soccer’s showpiece competition which they have won five times.
“Criticism doesn’t affect me in any way,” Rodgers said.
“You just have to focus on your job. I make decisions in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club.
“Our idea was to stay in the game for 60 to 65 minutes and then open up the game in the closing stages. I was very proud of the players.”
(Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Ken Ferris)