Liverpool vs Chelsea Preview - Huge clash at Anfield in race for Premier League top-four spot
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Craig Pawson
Date & Time – Thursday, March 4th @ 20:15
Current Odds – Liverpool 5/4, Draw 13/5, Chelsea 2/1
It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for Liverpool with more lows than highs so far. Yet, with so much of the team missing huge chunks of the season, it’s great to still be involved in a battle for a top-four finish while also still going strong in Europe.
Thursday night’s game is a huge match and could have a massive effect on how things look come May. Let’s hope for a strong Liverpool performance and a first chink in the armour for Thomas Tuchel’s Blues.
Liverpool won 2-0 at Sheffield United on Sunday. It brought an end to a four-game losing streak in the Premier League for The Reds and kept them within touching distance of the coveted top four.
With some players coming back from injury now, the mood around the camp is also sure to be lifting so a strong finish to the season is not out of the question for this squad.
Chelsea are still unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel, having won six and drawn three in all competitions since the German coaches arrival at Stamford Bridge in January. They have scored 10 goals and conceded just twice in that period.
Last weekend, Chelsea were marginally the better team but could not find a breakthrough at home to Manchester United. The game finished 0-0 and left Chelsea fifth in the league, one point ahead of Liverpool and one behind West Ham and the top four.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool will be without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joël Matip, and Jordan Henderson.
The good news is that Naby Keïta returned to action as a late substitute against Sheffield United. Diogo Jota is also back in full training but missed the trip to Bramall Lane due to an illness he picked up after travelling to Sheffield for the game. Jota hasn’t played since mid-December so the best he can hope for on Thursday is a cameo appearance late in the match. It’s great to have Jota back in contention though.
James Milner also came on late at Sheffield United so he is back in the hunt for a place in the starting eleven. Fabinho is likely to feature against Chelsea as well.
Adrián put in a solid performance on Sunday but Jürgen Klopp has said that he expects Alisson Becker to return between the sticks for Liverpool against Thomas Tuchel’s side.
Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak played well together in the last match but Klopp may opt to bring Fabinho straight back in. I think it will be Kabak and Fabinho in central defence for this match.
Gini Wijnaldum, Thiago Alcântara, and Curtis Jones have become the regular three starters in Klopp’s midfield with all the injuries throughout the squad. Keïta and Milner are available again but I expect the midfield trio to remain the same for Thursday’s starting lineup.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané will start yet again in the forward line.
Chelsea Team News
Thiago Silva and Callum Hudson-Odoi are the only two injury concerns for Chelsea.
Hudson-Odoi picked up a slight knock in their 0-0 draw at Manchester United last weekend. Silva has been out since his injury in the first half of their 1-0 win against Spurs in early February. He is close to a return but is unlikely to feature against Liverpool.
Thomas Tuchel has been using a 3-4-2-1 formation for Chelsea so far with either Timo Werner or Olivier Giroud leading the line in attack. I think it will be Werner who starts up front at Anfield with Kai Havertz and Mason Mount just behind him.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Fabinho, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Chelsea XI (3-4-2-1) – Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger; James, Kanté, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Havertz; Werner
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 2-0 when the sides met at Stamford Bridge earlier this season. Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen was sent off in first-half injury time after a professional foul on Sadio Mané. Liverpool’s number 10 then went on to score both goals for the visitors in the second half.
Last season’s clash at Anfield was on the night The Reds would be presented with the Premier League trophy after the game. It was a high-scoring and hugely entertaining game with Liverpool winning 5-3. Frank Lampard had a go at Jürgen Klopp and the Liverpool bench. That worked out very well for him, didn’t it? The goals that night came from Naby Keïta, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gini Wijnaldum, Bobby Firmino, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chelsea’s goals were scored by Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham, and Christian Pulisic.
LIVERPOOL 1 – 1 CHELSEA
Liverpool were no doubt much-improved last weekend but Chelsea have shown a certain solidity since Thomas Tuchel took over in January. They are unbeaten in 9 games so this will be a very tough fixture for Jürgen Klopp’s makeshift Reds team. I think a score draw is a likely result at Anfield this week.