Thomas Tuchel is ready to face fellow German boss Jurgen Klopp for the first time since 2016 as Chelsea travel to play Liverpool on Thursday.
This is also the first time that the duo, who both managed Borussia Dortmund and Mainz, have met in English football following Tuchel’s arrival in January.
The two sides are separated by just a single point as things stand in the table, meaning that a victory for either could prove crucial in the battle for a top-four place.
Tuchel has turned things around at Stamford Bridge since his appointment but – despite Liverpool’s form – a win on Thursday will be his biggest achievement in the job to date.
Here’s who the Blues’ German could pick to face the champions at Anfield…
After being rested for the game against Newcastle, Mendy has played every minute and has kept an impressive six clean sheets in his last nine games.
Club captain Azpilicueta has been a regular since Tuchel arrived, and will be key in combatting the Reds’ lethal strike force.
Danish defender Christensen has put in man of the match worthy displays against both Atletico Madrid and Manchester United, and will expect to start again against Liverpool on Thursday.
The German defender has become a regular under his fellow countryman, and will likely start again on the left of the Blues’ back-three.
James hasn’t started as regularly as he did under Frank Lampard but may get the nod against Liverpool as he is a more defensive option at right wing-back then teammate Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The England international has faced fierce competition from Marcos Alonso at left wing-back, but may be preferred to the Spaniard for his defensive qualities in a game that promises to test Chelsea’s backline.
The Italian has impressed since Tuchel took charge, and will likely start on Thursday as Chelsea will aim to dominate the middle of the pitch.
Tireless midfielder Kante is likely to start in order to aid the defence and try to combat Liverpool’s counter attacking threat.
Mount has arguably been Chelsea’s player of the season so far, and seems undroppable on current form. The game against Liverpool will give him the chance to test himself against the world’s best.
The German didn’t start against Manchester United but could return against Liverpool. His pace in behind may give the Blues the edge in what could be an evenly matched encounter.
The Frenchman hasn’t started regularly this season, but has impressed whenever he is given the chance and looks set to start once again Thursday.