Chelsea Vs Liverpool: Will David Luiz be hero or villain?

Erratic Brazilian centre back will be centre of attention as he makes second debut against 'high-octane' Liverpool

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(Image credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Friday night football will be back with a bang tonight when unbeaten Chelsea welcome the title hopefuls Liverpool to Stamford Bridge in what is the biggest clash of the weekend.

Both sides are in fine form and have been scoring goals freely in recent weeks, so the game promises to be a belter.

Chelsea look reborn under Antonio Conte with both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa back in the groove, and the Blues have scored at least twice in every game this season. But Liverpool have also been irresistible on many occasions this season, putting four past Arsenal on the opening weekend and sweeping Leicester aside 4-1 last weekend.

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"Unlike certain other encounters between these sides in recent times, there's no league title or place in the Champions League final at stake, but the game will be no less intense for that," says Simon Brotherton of the BBC, who says he is expecting "a close, high-octane encounter".

There is also the small matter of a first meeting between the "two most animated and excitable managers in the Premier League", says the Daily Mail.

The fixture has a history of managerial emnity thanks to the rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez. "This time is different, and the beginning of a new era in this very modern English rivalry as the eccentric styles of Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte come face to face," says the paper.

But despite the histrionics on the sidelines and the form of players like Hazard, Costa, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, the main talking point will be the performance of defender David Luiz, who will make his second debut for the Blues after returning to Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain in a shock Deadline Day transfer, two years after being sold.

His return has divided opinion, and Jonathan Wilson in The Guardian describes him as "a player whose greatest asset is arguably that he is instantly recognisable in silhouette". He describes him as the Dionysus of defenders – "wild, charismatic and emotional... indomitable but reckless, an inspirational liability".

With John Terry and Kurt Zouma unavailable, Conte has no choice but to pair the eccentric Brazilian with Gary Cahill.

How he fares against Liverpool's marauding band of attacking midfielders remains to be seen.

"Liverpool are intense, relentless and look incredibly threatening this season – with only a few smart summer signings, Klopp has created a fast-paced attacking machine, crammed with creative goalscorers and devastating on the counter," says JJ Bull of the Daily Telegraph.

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