Chelsea picked up a decent victory at Anfield in midweek, but can they follow that up with a home win against the Reds? Liverpool lost for the first time this season in that EFL Cup encounter, which saw an impressive comeback from Maurizio Sarri’s men. Once again Eden Hazard was the star of the show, and there’s going to be expectations on him in this weekend’s biggest Premier League clash.
As predicted, the first meeting between Sarri and Klopp was an incredible clash of styles. The passing play by Chelsea dominated possession, but Liverpool’s dynamic attacking play helped them create chances without seeing too much of the ball. We’re expecting more of the same on Saturday, when the two managers are likely to return to their first choice sides as two of the top three in the top flight meet.
Team News: Can Sarri Keep the Ball Rolling?
Sarri’s approach to team selection is starting to become clearer, as he handed out opportunities in the visit to Anfield. The Blues kept just three of their first choice 11 in their side for the clash with Liverpool. Alvaro Morata got another opportunity up front, while Cesc Fabregas played in the Jorginho position, running the midfield. We expect things to return to normal this weekend, with Sarri quickly settling on a clear preferred line-up. We don’t expect him to make any major switches from that team ahead of his biggest test so far.
Like Sarri, Klopp made his fair share of changes for the cup game in midweek. Daniel Sturridge started, and scored, against his former club. However, he should drop back down to the bench here. Simon Mignolet started in goal, while he switched up their defence and midfield. Again, Liverpool will expect to switch back to their first choice side for this trip. Klopp doesn’t tend to change personnel for big clashes like this, so we expect him to try his usual approach.
The Reds had won every game they’d played this season before their midweek loss. Of course, they won’t be too worried about the EFL Cup, given that they’re focusing on a European run and a Premier League title push. So far, they’ve kicked off well in both competitions. The Reds beat PSG in their opening European clash of the campaign, and last weekend brought their sixth win of the season in the league.
Liverpool are the only side to have a perfect record in the Premier League, following Chelsea’s draw at West Ham on Sunday. They currently sit two points clear, although they’re being chased by both Man City and Chelsea. The Reds are the team to beat so far this term, and Sarri’s side will be looking to do just that, and to put themselves in a great position in the early stages of the title race.
Chelsea v Liverpool Head to Head
It’s hard to look past the latest result when it comes to head to head between these two sides. Chelsea have struck a significant blow to their rivals right on the eve of this game, if only due to the proximity to the league clash, and the Blues will be out to build on that in Saturday’s clash. At Stamford Bridge the pair have traded wins over the last few years, with Antonio Conte’s Chelsea winning 1-0 in this fixture last term. However, Sarri will be taking a very different approach this time around, which he’ll hope will be enough to prevent the Reds walking away with another three points this weekend.
- Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea, Sept 2018
- Chelsea 1-0 Chelsea, May 2018
- Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea, Nov 2018
- Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea, Jan 2017
- Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool, Sept 2016
- Chelsea Draw No Bet – Evens with Coral
- Eden Hazard to score – 15/8 with Betfred
Despite being the away side, Liverpool have been priced up as favourites here. The Reds may have lost in midweek, but the bookies are confident in their full strength side. You can back Liverpool at 7/5 with bet365 for the points, while the Blues sit out at 15/8 with BetVictor. Ladbrokes have the draw at priced at 5/2, so clearly we’re in for a close encounter. It does have a similar feel to Man City’s trip here last season. Pep Guardiola’s side got early plaudits, but they proved themselves with a win at Chelsea. That narrow 1-0 win wasn’t the most stylish of the season for City, but is was key. Will Liverpool’s title challenge receive a similar boost when they make the trip to London?
While Liverpool are favourites, it’s hard to look past the way Chelsea stepped up with Eden Hazard on the field. He was able to take the Blues up a notch in terms of quality, and that could be crucial once again here. While Liverpool are returning to their first choice side, they’ve got to find a way past a Chelsea team who have easily clicked with Sarri’s approach. With their first choice midfield three on the pitch, taking possession of the hosts won’t be easy. We think the improvement for the Blues is being underestimated here, so we’re backing a home win on the Draw No Bet market. Chelsea are still available at evens with Coral on that market, which combines value with a little bit of safety.
We see Hazard making another big impact on this game, given that he continued his strong form against Liverpool. He’s still the top scorer in the Premier League with five goals in six matches, and the way he’s stepped up of late makes him a real threat here. Liverpool have had clean sheets this term, but their defence remains suspect. They’re vulnerable at the back, and that’s something which Hazard can exploit. Despite his goal in midweek and a strong start, the Belgian is a huge 15/8 with Betfred to score any time in Saturday’s encounter. At that price, we have to get Hazard onside ahead of this clash.