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How can Frank Lampard outwit Jurgen Klopp in tactical battle as Chelsea face Liverpool?

The last week may have given Frank Lampard some food for thought ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Liverpool.

Wednesday night’s game will be yet another huge one between the two clubs.

This will, of course, be an occasion that will go down in Liverpool history as they will get their hands on their first top-flight title for 30 years at full-time.

For Chelsea, it is the 90 minutes before that which will be more important.

Chelsea need one more win from their final two games to guarantee the Champions League football their staying power deserves.

They have been in the top four since October, defying the pre-season doubts to force themselves into the Champions League picture and remain there.

Though in Liverpool and then Wolves on the final day the Blues have not been handed the most straightforward of matches to claim the points they need.

Their last game and Liverpool’s, though, will have offered some encouragement.

Lampard reverted to a back three for the first time since February and the switch paid dividends in Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

Lampard outwitted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the first time in four attempts this season, in part due to the switch.

Chelsea’s pressing was a big factor too, as they pushed high and refused to let United get into their flow.

The extra, third body in central defence – Cesar Azpilicueta lining up alongside Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger – helped shore up a backline which has been unsettled and shaky at times this season.

Deploying them as wing-backs also suited Reece James and, in particular, Marcos Alonso who is better going forward than defending.

The three at the back system has been one Lampard has made use of throughout the season.

It has not been full proof and worked every time but has certainly been a feature of some standout results and performances.

The 5-2 win at Wolves, their first Champions League win of the season at Lille, two wins against Tottenham, one at Arsenal and most recently against United.

It was also a system Liverpool struggled to find a way through against Arsenal.

Once they went behind at The Emirates last week, Liverpool continued to dominate possession but could not claw their way back into the game against a dogged Arsenal defence.

The Gunners flooded the central areas and left minimal gaps for Liverpool to exploit. The wide areas were free but Arsenal had the bodies in the box, and more strength, to handle all things aerial.

Where Arsenal struggled, though, was their failure to give Liverpool something to think about at the other end. To give their overworked defence time to catch their breath with sustained possession in Liverpool’s half.

In Olivier Giroud Chelsea do have a forward capable of giving them a platform to build attacks on.

Lampard has shown his tactical flexibility throughout his debut season at Chelsea, also using a 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, so has a number of possible setups up his sleeve.

But the two reminders of the value of a three-at-the-back formation could also be timely as he bids to keep Chelsea on course for the Champions League at Anfield.

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