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Ivanovic: I hope we're ready as Liverpool game is massive for us

Branislav Ivanovic believes Chelsea are a side which relish big matches and has called on his teammates to show fight in tomorrow's Premier League clash with Liverpool and Luis Suarez.

Chelsea's best performances have come in key contests this season – against Bayern Munich and Manchester City, in particular.

In the Blues' most recent meeting with Liverpool in April, Suarez bit Ivanovic on the arm before scoring a 97th-minute equaliser.

Ivanovic, a no nonsense, physical defender, moved on from the biting incident swiftly, but Suarez was suspended, although his 10-match ban has done little to halt his form this season.

"It's going to be a very important game for us, one of the deciding games this season," Ivanovic said.

"We must be ready for the big fight. Our team likes to play big games and big challenges.

"I hope we're going to be ready for Liverpool, because it's a massive, massive game for us."

Jose Mourinho has repeatedly bemoaned the shortcomings of his strikers this season and would love someone as prolific as Suarez.

The Uruguayan has netted 19 goals in 13 Premier League games; Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have scored five times between them.

Mourinho and Ivanovic will be boosted by Chelsea's improved defensive record.

The 1-0 St Stephen's Day defeat of Swansea followed Monday's goalless draw at Arsenal and means for the first time this season the Blues have recorded consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League.

"It's very important for this part of the season to play defensively well," Ivanovic added.

"We have done well in the last two games and it's good for us. We have to keep going. We have to defend as a team."

Mourinho enjoyed a famous rivalry with Rafael Benitez in this fixture during his first spell in charge of Chelsea, with Champions League contests among the most memorable fixtures.

In a competitive Premier League, Mourinho knows the old cliche about no easy games rings true.

He added: "Every game is difficult. The last two matches we played (at home), Swansea and Crystal Palace: 1-0, 2-1. You have to give everything to win matches."

Chelsea face Liverpool without midfielder Ramires, who is suspended for one match after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season against Swansea. Frank Lampard will almost certainly take his place.

Further changes are likely, with the possibility that Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill will return in defence in place of Ashley Cole and David Luiz, while John Terry is in line to make his 600th Chelsea appearance.


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