Adam Lallana believes giving the Chelsea players a guard of honour at Stamford Bridge can spur Liverpool to a top-four finish.
The Londoners dealt the Reds a huge blow last season when they won 2-0 at Anfield, a result which effectively cost the Merseyside club a first league title since 1990. Brendan Rodgers has been unable to mount a repeat challenge this time round, with his side currently a whopping 22 points adrift of Jose Mourinho’s men who were crowned champions last weekend.
Chelsea’s first game at Stamford Bridge since clinching the title will be against Liverpool this weekend, and tradition dictates that the visiting team give the newly-crowned champions a guard of honour to welcome them on the pitch. And as frustrating as this will be for the Reds, midfielder Lallana feels they can use this to spur them on to a strong finish to the season.
“We have to use it as motivation,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “Chelsea deserve to be champions. The table doesn’t lie. They have been the best team throughout the season. You have to respect that, whether you like it or not. All I know is we want to go there and spoil the party. We’re looking to go there and cause an upset and put a dent in their celebrations.
“It was disappointing to only get four points out of the games against West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and Queens Park Rangers. We would have been right on their toes, if not ahead of [Manchester] United, if we had performed better but we still have a chance and everyone believes fourth place is still possible. We have to take maximum points from our three remaining matches.”
Liverpool are currently four points behind fourth-place United, who suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to West Brom last weekend, with just three matches left to play. As well as their trip to Chelsea, Rodgers’ side travel to Stoke City on the final day after a visit from Crystal Palace next weekend. Louis van Gaal’s side head to the Eagles this weekend, followed by a home match against FA Cup finalists Arsenal before they wrap up their campaign with the journey to relegation threatened Hull.
Do Liverpool still have a realistic chance of finishing in the top four, or have Brendan Rodgers and his players left it too late to catch Manchester United?