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Liverpool aim for rebound performance against Chelsea

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The Sports Network
12/27/2013 2:41:39 PM
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London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Liverpool will go in search of a rebound performance on Sunday when Brendan Rodgers' men face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Reds have been exceptional this season, leaning heavily on the attacking prowess of Luis Suarez, who leads the Premiership with 19 goals scored, and Daniel Sturridge, who has nine tallies.

But the holiday period of fixtures was always sure to test the club's top four credentials as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day.

The Reds outplayed City for large portions of Thursday's match and opened the scoring when Philippe Coutinho found the back of the net from a tight angle in the 24th minute.

City responded with an equalizer seven minutes later when Vincent Kompany outmuscled Martin Skrtel on a corner kick and nodded the ball down into the bottom right corner, past the outstretched arm of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

The winner came for City in first-half stoppage time when Alvaro Negredo slipped through on goal and hit one with the outside of his boot that Mignolet misplayed and it rolled into the net.

Despite the loss, Rodgers praised his team's effort as they gave City their toughest test on home soil this season.

"I was very proud of the players, I thought they were absolutely outstanding," Rodgers said. "They really took the game to a team that is a top, top side full of top European players.

"We're disappointed not to have won the game, never mind losing the game. We showed great confidence and belief, scored a wonderful goal and could have had a few more. We have things to learn from the goals we conceded, which were disappointing.

"I am very proud of the team. I was here at the Bayern Munich game when Bayern were outstanding, but apart from that every other team Manchester City have played here - really good sides as well - they've scored a hatful of goals against.

"Everybody walking away from the stadium would feel we at least deserved a point from tonight - and we're disappointed we haven't won."

Chelsea is coming a 1-0 Boxing Day victory over Swansea City as an Eden Hazard goal in the 28th minute was enough to allow the Blues to extend their unbeaten streak in league play to three matches.

Jose Mourinho's strike force of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Willian and Samuel Eto'o have struggled to score consistently, something that is beginning to wear on the Portuguese manager.

"They kill me," Mourinho said. "Every game I'm tired in the end.

"At halftime we all should be relaxed with a comfortable result and we weren't and the first thing that happens in the second half was probably the biggest chance of the game.

"You don't score, you finish feeling you are going to concede. But the boys, they worked hard defensively and in the last part they looked comfortable in their control of the game."

Also in the Premiership on Sunday, Everton will shoot for a bounce-back effort against Southampton at Goodison Park after suffering a shock 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on Thursday, while Newcastle United hopes to build on their best performance of the season -- a 5-1 destruction of nine-man Stoke City -- when they host Arsenal at St. James' Park.

In Sunday's final fixture, Tottenham goes for a second win under manager Tim Sherwood when the club hosts Stoke City at White Hart Lane.

On Saturday, West Ham United welcomes West Bromwich Albion to Upton Park following a 3-1 loss to Arsenal, while Aston Villa battles Swansea City at Villa Park.

Hull City hosts relegation-battling Fulham at the KC Stadium, Manchester City faces Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium, Norwich City welcomes defending champions Manchester United to Carrow Road and Saturday's lunchtime fixture sees Cardiff City host Sunderland at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Branislav Ivanovic Luis Suarez (Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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