Chelsea v Liverpool Season Opener Preview

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Match day one of upcoming season

Match day one of upcoming season follows the most dissatisfying campaign in the era of Jürgen Klopp, after the perhaps strangest summer since the Premier League’s inception. The rise of the Saudi Pro League has sent shockwaves through all western football, which has seen players flock to the Middle East to guarantee their hefty retirement funds. The 2023/24 campaign now begins with a raft of players already departed, as well as the recent and surprise departures of both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

The Chelsea Availability

The huge spending west London side enters this season after a horrid 12th place finish last year. The ownership, management, playing squad, and recruitment have all been an embarrassing mess since the takeover, which now leaves the new first team coach, Mauricio Pochettino, a huge task of sorting a working system from his well-paid squad of players. In terms of injuries and availability for the home side, Christopher Nkunku, Benoit Badiashile, Wesley Fofana, and Marcus Bettinelli are all ruled out, whereas both Armando Broja and Chukwunonso Madueke are doubts for Sunday’s game.

The two-time Champions League winners starting lineup should not be too far from the below link, one that will soon see Robert Sánchez hoping to oust Kepa in the Chelsea goal. Additionally, Axel Disasi, Marc Cucurella, Trevoh Chalobah, Malo Gusto, Malang Sarr, and Ian Maatsen will be hoping to push their way into the well-stocked starting defense. The midfield options are currently offering less depth, especially given Lesley Ugochukwu and Andrey Santos are the only viable alternatives for selection in their double pivot. In the attacking midfield and wing positions, Noni Madueke appears the only other option available, as Romelu Lukaku, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Hakim Ziyech all continue to be pushed to the Stamford Bridge exit.

The Liverpool Availability

Liverpool comes into this game with some real points to prove, as they continue their summer squad rebuild. In terms of availability, Thiago Alcântara and Stefan Bajčetić are back in team training, yet will surely not be risked yet. The rest of the squad is fit and most are firing, which may lead to the below starting eleven on Sunday afternoon.

The likes of Curtis Jones and Darwin Núñez may well be viable alternatives to Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota, but other than that, this should be the team which kicks off the reds season. The lack of a left-sided defender means Andy Robertson will continue in the side despite some poor form, whereas Trent will no doubt be pushing to step into midfield whenever the opportunity arises. Caoimhin Kelleher should once more be the understudy to Ali, whilst Joe Gomez, Joël Matip, and Konstantinos Tsimikas offer coverage to the first-choice defensive group. The midfield is looking light in terms of numbers, with Curtis and Harvey Elliott the other players fully fit and available right now. The forward line is a plethora of brilliance, one which should see many incarnations incorporated. I hope to see Ben Doak awarded a substitutes role, given his explosive cameos in recent weeks.

How Will This Contest Play Out

The game will be enthralling and is surely the must-watch game of the weekend. I do not know how Chelsea can be coordinated enough to keep a hostile Liverpool attack at bay, however, the visitors seem determined to give up as many chances as humanly possible. The fluidity and attacking patterns of play from a more familiar front three will edge this contest, with the reds having too many goals on the pitch. I am glad to be getting this fixture so early in the campaign, as the blues will inevitably become a force to be reckoned with. I just do not see that being any time soon.

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