Chelsea braces for Liverpool's Suarez reunion today

Published: 29 December, 2013 03:38 IST | AFP |

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will come up against Chelsea on Sunday for the first time since being banned for biting the London club's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic last season.

The incident, in a 2-2 draw at Anfield in April, saw Suarez widely castigated, and came at a time when Liverpool were drifting towards a fourth consecutive placing outside the Premier League's top five.

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez

Now, however, they are in the thick of the title race and despite losing 2-1 at Manchester City on Thursday, they visit Stamford Bridge only a point behind Jose Mourinho's side. Suarez, meanwhile, is in the best form of his Liverpool career, having scored 19 times in the 13 games he has played since completing a 10-match ban for sinking his teeth into Ivanovic's forearm.

In stark contrast, Chelsea's three strikers — Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba — have scored only five goals between them. Eden Hazard came to the rescue against Swansea City on Thursday, scoring the game's only goal, but Mourinho has admitted that he would prefer not to have to expose his team to the threat posed by Suarez.

"Maybe Suarez got a little injury," Mourinho joked. “I'm not asking for a big injury. A little injury to stop him playing for four days." However, while Mourinho is aware of Suarez's importance to Brendan Rodgers' side, he says that their strengths do not begin and end with the Uruguayan striker. "He didn't start the season, with suspension, and after that the numbers are fantastic," Mourinho said.

‘Take Liverpool seriously’
"When he came back, it was a big plus. But let's be fair: Liverpool did very well without him when he was suspended. I think they can (win the EPL), because they are good, because Brendan is good, because they have time to prepare the team tactically, because they are not involved in Champions League or even Europa League.”

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