John Aldridge: Stop one man and Liverpool will beat Chelsea at Anfield this evening
Liverpool goal-scoring great John Aldridge has backed his former club to beat Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday - but only if they nullify the threat posed by Eden Hazard.
Jurgen Klopp's side will draw level with Chelsea if they record a win in the stand-out game of this weekend's Premier League programme, with Aldridge suggesting Hazard's influence on Antonio Conte's Blues is pivotal to their hopes of success.
"Hazard makes Chelsea tick and if you can cut down his influence, you will go a long way to stopping them," states Aldridge.
"He turned in a performance at Anfield a couple of seasons back that was as good as anything I have seen over the last few years. He ran the show and even though the game finished 2-2, Hazard's display was fantastic from first to last.
"He has the potential to be one of the best players in the world, but he doesn't do it on a consistent basis as that is why he is not up there with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest, but he is the big threat to Liverpool this weekend."
Aldridge went on to suggest Chelsea have lost the aura they built up as they stormed to Premier League title glory last season for a variety of reasons, as he pointed the finger at owner Roman Abramovich for destabilising their ship.
"I feel Chelsea have been weakened by a few factors this season and the usual suspects are to blame," he adds. "They have a great manager there in Antonio Conte, who should be getting credit for guiding the club to a Premier League title in his first season and instead, we read stories on a weekly basis saying he is unhappy and might be leaving.
"When you hear that Roman Abramovich is turning up at the training ground, you know something is not right and that fella loves to interfere and only tends to stick his nose in when he is about to get rid of another manager.
"I also feel the club handled the Diego Costa situation badly and his exit has weakened them. Alvaro Morata has done well so far, but he doesn't frighten teams like Costa used to do and that has blunted the Chelsea threat.
"They could win at Anfield because as we all know, Liverpool's defence is hopeless, but I fancy the home side to get the win on Saturday by outscoring Chelsea."