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Chelsea’s Conte: David Luiz Will Start Against Liverpool

The Brazilian defender will make his first start since returning to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League
Lucas Leiva and David Luiz. Meme creators have downloaded “Yakety Sax” in anticipation.
Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images

After a brief holiday in the French capital, David Luiz Moreira Marinho is back where many feel he belongs: behind English war hero John Terry on the depth chart in the Premier League, home of the biggest names and the biggest hair. Having returned to Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain on Deadline Day, the Brazilian international will now be handed an opportunity to start against Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool when red and blue face off against each other at Stamford Bridge on Friday.

A Gary Cahill-David Luiz partnership was always looking likely once John Terry hobbled off the pitch in clear discomfort, having strained ligaments in his foot, following the conclusion of Chelsea’s visit to Swansea. The only question was whether manager Antonio Conte had any reservations about throwing the defender so quickly into a high-profile encounter featuring a notoriously aggressive and fluid set of Liverpool attackers. Conte’s response on that point was quite clear:

Tomorrow, David Luiz will play for the first time with us and we are confident about him. We expect him to play very well, we know he’s a good player. We are working to put him in the best condition to give us the best of him.

When new players arrive they need time to adapt to a new concept but tomorrow we need to play David Luiz. He’s worked a lot on defensive situations and when we are in possession. I have confidence in him.

The confirmation from Conte won’t have come as a great surprise to Klopp, and regardless of who starts up front for Liverpool, it should be quite an interesting contest. It is somewhat well documented that Luiz is as much capable of sublime, commanding performances on the biggest stages as he is of completely losing the plot.

Conte will no doubt seek to tip the scales in favor of the former by surrounding Luiz on his return to the Premier League with savvy veterans. Liverpool supporters, on the other hand, will be hoping Klopp can tease out the Playstation version of Luiz with the wealth of mobile attacking options at his disposal.

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