The marquee Premier League fixture of the weekend will bring an end to Gameweek 6, as Chelsea host Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
After the fireworks of Saturday, comes Sunday’s games, with four of the ‘Big Six’ teams on display. All eyes, though, will be on the match in West London, as Chelsea play hosts to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, with the Reds hoping to continue their perfect start to the Premier League season.
Chelsea have blown hot and cold under the tutelage of Frank Lampard in the early stages of the season. Their inconsistent nature has been on full show over the past week, as after thrashing the tricky Wolves at Molineux, the Blues were narrowly beaten by Valencia at home in their opening UEFA Champions League fixture of the season.
Liverpool, too, will be reeling from a midweek defeat, with Napoli handing them a 2-0 loss at San Paolo, their first of the season. But, in the Premier League, Jurgen Klopp & co. have been on a roll, having won all five of their games so far. The Merseyside club though, will be eager to continue that run, with Manchester City trimming the gap down to two points with a 8-0 rout of Watford.
Chelsea and Liverpool have already clashed once this season, with the Reds just about edging Frank Lampard & co. in penalty shootouts to lift the UEFA Super Cup. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Premier League encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Mason Mount is the big worry for Frank Lampard ahead of the visit of Liverpool. The English midfielder, who has been in fine form at the start of the season, picked up a minor ankle injury in the midweek fixture and will face a late fitness test to determine his availability for Sunday’s game.
Judging by Lampard’s comments during his pre-match press conference, it looks likely that Mount will only make the bench against Liverpool. In his stead, Christian Pulisic should return to the starting lineup, although Mount’s ingenuity will be sorely missed by Chelsea.
Pulisic will be deployed on the right side of the Chelsea attack, with Willian lining up on the opposite flank. Tammy Abraham should lead the line once again for the Blues even though he was well past his best against Valencia.
The big news ahead of this weekend’s clash with Liverpool is that N’Golo Kante has returned to training. Another player who is back in training is Emerson Palmieri and the return of the duo should prompt Lampard to revert to the 4-3-3 formation.
Kante will be a part of the three-man midfield unit, joining Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park. While Jorginho will pull the strings as the deepest of the three midfielders, Kante and Kovacic will be tasked with pressing high up the pitch and link up with the front men.
Emerson ought to be Chelsea’s left-back, with Cesar Azpilicueta starting on the opposite flank. Fikayo Tomori should keep hold of his place at the heart of the defence, with Andreas Christensen likely to be his partner. Kepa Arrizabalaga will take his place in goal for the hosts and should be kept busy by the dangerous Liverpool attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Tomori, Christensen, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pulisic, Abraham, Willian
Unlike his opposite number, Jurgen Klopp does not have any fresh injury concerns to contend with ahead of the trip to the capital. Against Chelsea on Sunday, the Liverpool boss will continue to be without Alisson Becker (calf) and Nathaniel Clyne (knee).
In Alisson’s absence, Adrian will continue to man the goal for Liverpool, with the defensive line in front of him likely to remain unchanged. Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson though, will be eager to make amends, having come through a rare occasion when they were both sub-par.
Meanwhile, Naby Keita (hip) and Divock Origi (ankle) are closing in on their returns from their respective injuries, but are unlikely to make the starting lineup against Chelsea. Back to Klopp’s team selection, and the midfield unit should see one shuffle.
James Milner is expected to return to the bench, making way for Georginio Wijnaldum to return to the starting lineup. Fabinho is the resident holding midfielder for Liverpool and the Brazilian will be key in breaking up the Chelsea attacks before they reach the defence. Jordan Henderson should keep hold of his place, with the Liverpool captain’s tenacious presence being key for the visitors.
Up ahead in attack, there is no looking past the tremendous trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, each of whom will be keen on rediscovering their best touch after struggling to impose themselves in Naples.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
1. Liverpool to win @ 2.00
2. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.53
1. Over 4.5 Match Goals @ 4.33
- Chelsea have been victorious in just one of their last nine Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D5 L3).
- Liverpool could become the first club to win their opening six games in consecutive top-flight seasons.
- Chelsea have beaten the team starting the day top of the Premier League 18 times – three more than any other side.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in a Premier League club record 22 games (W18 D4). However, the Reds have won just one of their last 12 league games away to other ‘Big Six’ teams (D6 L5).
- Frank Lampard will be the 16th different Chelsea manager to face Liverpool in the Premier League. None of the last six have won their first league meeting with the Reds, since Carlo Ancelotti did so in October 2009 (D3 L3).
Player to Watch
He might have struggled to make his mark in Europe this week. But, it has been an electric start to the season for Tammy Abraham, who just cannot stop scoring in the Premier League. Heading into this weekend’s round of fixtures, the English striker was on top of the scoring charts, having already netted seven goals.
But, the decisive penalty he missed in the shootout against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup last month will be fresh in Abraham’s mind. As the Reds get set to pay Chelsea a visit, revenge will be on the agenda for the in-form hitman.
And, with Liverpool uncharacteristically struggling at the back, the opportunity is perfect for Abraham to strike. Is redemption on the cards for the Chelsea number nine? Or will it be another evening to forget against Liverpool for Abraham?
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
Having suffered midweek defeats, both Chelsea and Liverpool will be keen on bouncing back immediately. The Blues will take the game to the visitors and with their defence being extremely fragile, opportunities will present themselves to the Premier League leaders on a consistent basis.
All things considered, there is unlikely to be any shortage of goalmouth action, especially with both sides desperate to garner all three points. But, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson can be expected to tighten up after their midweek gaffes and the gulf in quality in defence tips the scales in Liverpool’s favour.
Expect an end-to-end affair that will produce many moments of splendour. But, in the end, Liverpool should hold on for all three points, only if ever so slightly, which is why The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Jurgen Klopp & co.