Chelsea are back in Premier League action early this “weekend”, as they take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Friday night. The Blues dropped two points in their last game, but can they get back to winning ways? They’ll have to be careful here, as the Reds have shown they are capable of raising their game when they come face to face with the bigger sides in the division.
Blues fans will remember this fixture last season, when Jose Mourinho’s side were beaten 3-1. They had a 1-0 lead, but they sat back on it a little too much and were ultimately punished for it. If there’s any positives to take from the Swansea result, it’s that the same won’t happen this time around.
While Antonio Conte’s men did blow a lead against Swansea, it wasn’t through being too defensive. They didn’t take their chances to make it 2-0, and that is what cost them. Given that they have one of the best attacking records in the league, they shouldn’t worry too much about their scoring rate. Keep playing that well and the results will come.
Liverpool have shown flashes of brilliance under Jurgen Klopp this term – and in general – but that’s been their problem for a while now. They were good enough to go to City and win 4-1 last November, but they’ve struggled for consistency. A 4-1 win over Leicester last weekend showed what they’re capable of, but they also lost 2-0 at Burnley this season.
The Reds seem to perform better against better sides, when games are more even. They thrive when counter-attacking, but struggle with possession. They were completely dominant at Turf Moor, with over 80% of the ball, but they couldn’t find a way to score. Expect them to be better when they head to Stamford Bridge.
While Conte was expected to bring Italian defending, so far his side have recorded just one clean sheet. Their backline has been wildly open in the early games. That may change now the boss has more bodies to choose from in defence, but it’s hard to see David Luiz and Marcos Alonso making things any more solid than the current back four.
The Blues will have to guard against the counter, so expect Nemanja Matic to play slightly deeper this time around. He and N’Golo Kante will be key for the Blues here. Oscar will also have to put a shift in alongside those two in central midfield. The defence will need protection, but it may also need a few changes.
John Terry limped out of the Liberty Stadium, and he could miss this game given the tight turnaround. The Blues may have needed a change any way, given the pace of Sadio Mane and co. Luiz will need to keep his head if he does play, as the high Liverpool press could cause him problems.
This could be a pretty tough clash, the Reds are used to digging in for these bigger games. The Blues will have to do a lot to stop the attacking talent in Klopp’s side. They may have to sit a little deeper in this one, and because of that we’re backing a 1-1 draw.
LCN Verdict: 1-1 Draw