Chelsea head to Liverpool this week fresh from dropping their first points of the season. A 0-0 draw with West Ham on Sunday was a setback for Maurizio Sarri’s side, and now they meet the only team in the Premier League who have a 100% record. The Blues kick off their EFL Cup campaign on Wednesday night, but can they end Liverpool’s good form? Jurgen Klopp’s side have started with seven wins in their matches across all competitions this season. They have set the early standard for a tilt at the title, although there’s still some way to go.
This a huge challenge for Sarri and his men, as it’s their biggest game of the campaign to date. They’ve got an eye on another meeting with Liverpool this weekend, with that Premier League clash coming at Stamford Bridge. It’s going to be a huge week for the new man in charge of the Blues, especially as he tests himself in a new competition. He also has to make major decisions about team selection, and that’s going to be a really interesting factor surrounding this clash.
Team News: Selection Test for Sarri
Last week’s trip to PAOK in the Europa League showed Sarri’s resistance to rotation. We all expected some major changes, given Chelsea’s supposed lack of interest in Europe’s second tier trophy. It was refreshing to see a manager who wants to win any trophy, but will that policy extend to this competition? There are plenty of fed up players desperate for minutes within the Chelsea squad. Will they get a chance to feature in this Carabao Cup tie? Or is this going to be a strong Chelsea side featuring on Merseyside?
It could well be a mix of both. Eden Hazard is one who could be a surprise inclusion. Sarri is likely to make a couple of changes, but given the respect he showed PAOK, a clash with the Premier League leaders isn’t one he’s going to take lightly. They left the Belgian behind in the trip over to Greece, but he should make the clash at Anfield, with a few changes likely for the Blues.
Jurgen Klopp has never been one to hide his desire to change players for cup clashes. His team selections in the FA Cup have long gathered criticism, following some bold moves. We saw him even rotate for the Champions League clash with PSG, so Klopp could make some moves in this encounter. If anyone is likely to make sweeping changes for Wednesday, then it’s the hosts.
Liverpool have made a perfect start to the new Premier League season, with 18 points and 14 goals from their first six matches this season. They also swept aside PSG in the Champions League, claiming a 3-2 win over the Ligue 1 winners. However, they’re likely to face a bigger test against the Blues. Chelsea look like a well-oiled machine after just seven games under Sarri, while PSG looked like strangers at Anfield in that defeat.
So far, Jurgen Klopp’s side are setting the standard in the Premier League. A 3-0 win over Southampton on Saturday showed their progress, and they’ve managed to win three straight home league games without conceding a goal. Of course, this is going to be a much changed side, so a lot of the elements which have made them so strong this season will be changed. Is that move going to allow the Blues to continue an impressive record in their visits to Anfield, or will Klopp’s second string show the strength in depth that Liverpool have lacked for years?
Liverpool v Chelsea Head to Head
Chelsea managed to get two credible results against the Reds last season. They were solid across both games, but that was a very defensive display from Antonio Conte across both clashes. This time, Sarri leads the side with a possession based style, which will prove to be quite the counterpoint to the dynamic, and more direct, style of the Reds. Having drawn 1-1 in four straight meetings at Anfield, that’s a score to keep an eye on.
- Chelsea 1-0 Chelsea, May 2018
- Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea, Nov 2018
- Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea, Jan 2017
- Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool, Sept 2016
- Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea, May 2016
- Both Teams to Score – 8/13 with bet365
- Eden Hazard to Score – 21/10 with Ladbrokes
The Reds come into this clash as the clear favourites, having been cut down to odds-on for this clash. They’re 10/11 with Coral to win this tie, while the Blues are 11/4 with BetVictor to get the victory. The draw is the same price with Betfred, so this is likely to be a close game. As we mentioned, rotation is likely here, with changed up sides bringing in bodies who aren’t quite as sharp. Hopefully that will give us an entertaining battle at Anfield, but will it bring a win for the Blues?
With four straight games here bringing 1-1 draws, we have to look at goals in this clash. Regardless of who starts up front, Liverpool have a goal threat from the way they play. They have options going forward, while they face a Chelsea side who have looked really strong in attacking areas this season. We expect the Blues to pose a threat in this trip, especially if Sarri is going to be reluctant to make too many changes to his usual starting 11.
We expect Sarri to take Eden Hazard along here, and he should offer a significant threat going forward. That has us backing both teams to score in Wednesday’s cup tie, which is good value at 8/13 with bet365, with recent form pointing to a repeat. We’re also going to back Hazard to find the net here, and he is priced at 21/10 with Ladbrokes to score on Merseyside.