Venue – Stamford Bridge, Chelsea
Referee – Paul Tierney
Date & Time – Sunday, September 20th @ 16:30
Current Odds – Chelsea 21/10, Draw 13/5, Liverpool 6/5
Liverpool have won their last three Premier League meetings with Chelsea. Yet, this weekend’s game is likely to be one of the toughest tests Jürgen Klopp and his side have faced in recent seasons. Chelsea have delved deep into the transfer market this summer, adding quality in defence, midfield and attack. With that fresh impetus, however, comes pressure and Frank Lampard will be expected to achieve results this season with his team of stars. They’re still not Liverpool, though…
Chelsea started their season off with an impressive 3-1 win at Brighton on Monday night. Goals from Jorginho, Reece James and Kurt Zouma gave them all three points at the Amex Stadium.
Kai Havertz and Timo Werner both made their debuts for The Blues and will be expected to start again on Sunday against the Premier League champions.
Liverpool got the win they needed against newly-promoted Leeds United last Saturday. Marcela Bielsa’s men gave the champions plenty of scares and played some fantastic football but they couldn’t live with the in-form Mohamed Salah on the day.
Sunday’s game is a huge one in terms of laying down an early marker for the season ahead and Liverpool will need to be at their absolute best against a new-look Chelsea side that could really click into gear this season.
Chelsea Team News
Frank Lampard is without Ben Chilwell, Billy Gilmour and Hakim Ziyech for Sunday’s fixture while Thiago Silva is also a major doubt. Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner are recovering from knocks but should be able to feature.
Lampard could opt for a midfield pairing of Mateo Kovačić and N’Golo Kanté with Reece James and Marcos Alonso playing as wing-backs.
Kai Havertz was played in a more advanced role than he’s used to against Brighton on the right-side of attack. He could start there again on Sunday with Timo Werner in the middle and Mason Mount cutting in from the left of the front three.
Liverpool Team News
First things first – Thiago Alcântara, who should have completed his signing before the end of this week – will not be registered in time to play any part at Chelsea.
Liverpool are without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who suffered a knee injury during pre-season. The attacking midfielder should be available for selection before the end of the month, however. He may even get some minutes in next Thursday’s EFL Cup tie at Lincoln City.
Kostas Tsimikas and Xherdan Shaqiri are both pushing for full fitness and will hope to be part of the matchday squad on Sunday.
I think Klopp will go with his favoured midfield from last season with Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum providing energy and stability.
Joe Gomez should keep his place alongside Virgil van Dijk in central defence despite a nervy start against Leeds for the young defender.
Mohamed Salah will hopefully be in red-hot form again after his opening day hat-trick last weekend. He will be in attack with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané.
Chelsea XI (3-4-3) – Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rüdiger; James, Kanté, Kovacic, Alonso; Havertz, Werner, Mount
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 5-3 in a pulsating encounter at Anfield back in July. It was the night The Reds were presented with the Premier League trophy. Goals from Naby Keïta, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gini Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Liverpool the win. Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic were Chelsea’s scorers on the night.
Last season at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool won 2-1 thanks to goals from Alexander-Arnold and Firmino while Kanté scored the hosts’ consolation strike.
Willian and Ross Barkley were the scorers back in March when Chelsea knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 home win.
CHELSEA 2 – 2 LIVERPOOL
This game could have it all, including plenty of action on the sidelines following Lampard’s behaviour at Anfield in July. The two sides will be playing very positive football with fantastic pace and individual talents on display. This means there’s likely to be plenty of goalmouth action and maybe plenty of goals. I think it’s going to be a tough game for The Reds and a score draw could be on the cards.