Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is wary of facing Liverpool
Chelsea eased their way into the fifth round of this comfortable win.
There could not be a greater contrast to Anfield – where Jurgen Klopp’s team, turfed out by Wolves after seeing their EFL Cup hopes crushed by Southampton, suffered their third defeat in a week and their season begin to fall apart.
If Chelsea, who have now won 14 of their last 15 games, can win at Anfield tomorrow night, it could all but finish Liverpool’s chances in the title race as well.
But Conte had a stark warning for his side: “Yes, Liverpool will be like a wounded animal. We know football, we know this type of situation.
“When you come to a game after three defeats you are very dangerous. Liverpool’s focus will be very high. We must know this and prepare in the right way.
“Anfield is very difficult for any team. We’ll have great difficulty. They will be angry.”
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Liverpool have lost three straight home games at Anfield
Liverpool inflicted Conte’s first defeat of his Chelsea reign back in September when they won very impressively at Stamford Bridge.
But the Italian then changed his team around and it is the Londoners now in the ascendancy.
He said: “If you remember after that game I said that Liverpool were already a team and Chelsea was not.
“After four months a lot of things have changed. We are growing a lot, improving a lot. We have a good confidence. It will be more difficult for Liverpool if you compare the last game here with this game at Anfield.”
Conte made nine changes from the team that beat Hull, but even so his side were always a class above Championship side Brentford, who never got going.
Willian gave Chelsea the lead with a curling free kick, and seven minutes later Pedro came up on the blindside to make it 2-0 with his fifth goal in his last six games.
Chelsea ran riot against Brentford on Saturday
Branislav Ivanovic, with what looks likely to be his final goal for the club with a move to Zenit St Petersburg or West Brom looming before tomorrow’s deadline, drilled in the third, and Michy Batshuayi’s penalty sealed events.
For goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, too, it looked like a farewell appearance, with a move to Bournemouth imminent in the next 24 hours.
Chelsea are lining up either Celtic’s Craig Gordon or Brighton’s David Stockdale as a replacement.
He said: “That is something that is going to be sorted out in the day or so. It’s about wanting to play.
“If it is under the right circumstances and everyone is happy, then I hope something can get done. I have huge respect for the manager – it is nothing other than wanting to play. We are quite open about it, he knows I am desperate to play, and that’s all it is. If he can make it happen for me he will.”