Stamford Bridge is set to stage a massive clash between Chelsea and Liverpool on Sunday, as both sides look to try and secure a place in the top four before the end of the campaign.
Chelsea are currently fifth on the table with 66 points to their name. They are just coming off a narrow 0-1 victory against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Liverpool on the other hand, are third on the table, a point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and 6 points head of Chelsea.
However, Liverpool have played 36 games this season, while Chelsea and Tottenham have only played 35. In their last game, the Reds succumbed to a 4-2 loss at the Stadio Olimpico against AS Roma on Wednesday, but ultimately secured a place in the Champions League final after going through 6-7 on aggregate.
Team News & Tactics
Antonio Conte is only expected to miss out on the services of David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu. Marcos Alonso is back available for selection tomorrow, having served his 3-match suspension and the Blues are expected to deployed in a 3-5-2 formation.
Antonio Rudiger, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta are all expected to retain their places in the back three, with Marcos Alonso coming back into the starting XI at left wing-back and Victor Moses setting up shop on the opposite flank.
N’Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas are all expected to start in central midfield. Bakayoko and Kante are both likely to retain their places in the squad to add more defensive solidity and also combat Liverpool’s high pressing style.
Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud are expected to start upfront despite failing to get on the scoresheet in their last outing together versus Swansea. Willian and Pedro will likely be brought on to add an injection of pace in the attack if needed.
Probable Starting XI(3-5-2): Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger; Victor Moses, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, N’golo Kante, Marcos Alonso; Olivier Giroud, Eden Hazard
Jurgen Klopp will not be able to call upon the services of Emre Can, Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, who have all been sidelined with injury. Adam Lallana has returned from injury and even trained with the trained with the squad, but is unlikely to start tomorrow.
They are expected to lineup in their usual 4-3-3 formation, with Loris Karius starting in goal. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are expected to start at fullback, with Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk retaining their places in the center of defence.
Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are all expected to retain their positions in the starting XI and set up shop in midfield, with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah making up the front three.
Probable Starting XI(4-3-3): Loris Karius; Trent Alexander-Arnold; Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren; Andrew Robertson; James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane
- Liverpool have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 Premier League matches against Chelsea.
- Chelsea have failed to beat Liverpool in their last 6 meetings across all competitions, drawing 4 and losing 2.
- Chelsea have won of only 2 of their 9 Premier League games against current top 6 opposition this season, drawing 3 and losing the remaining 4.
- Liverpool have won only 1 of their last 4 Premier League away games.
- Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has scored 4 goals in the last 5 Premier League matches in which he has started against Liverpool.
Player To Watch
With an astounding 43 goals and 15 assists in 49 games this campaign, who could possibly warrant more attention than the Egyptian wizard himself? He is one goal away from setting a new Premier League record of scoring 32 goals in a single campaign.
Including his goal at Anfield earlier in the season, Salah has scored 4 goals in 5 games against Chelsea across all competitions and he will be certainly looking to add to his collection when he visits his old stomping ground tomorrow.
1. Chelsea to win @ 2.25
2. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.57
3. Olivier Giroud to score anytime @ 2.60
1. Marcos Alonso to score anytime @ 4.75
Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool
A victory for Liverpool tonight would effectively destroy Chelsea’s hopes of making it into the top four by the end of the season. So needless to say, nothing less than all three points will do if the Blues want to be battling it out in Europe’s premier competition come next season.
Should Jurgen Klopp’s men lose at Stamford Bridge, it would make it significantly harder for them to secure their place in the top four ahead of both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, as they have played a game more than both of their London rivals.
Chelsea have been churning out victories in recent weeks despite not playing well while Liverpool will undoubtedly enjoy a boost in confidence after their qualification to the final of the Champions League.
The Reds, however, have a few injuries to deal while the fatigue from their midweek trip to Rome will also factor into their performance. It would suffice to say that both sides won’t be lacking in motivation and will be at their very best on the night. Considering all factors, we predict a tense 1-1 draw at the SW6.