Liverpool continue to face the necessity of winning every game to keep the pressure up on rivals Manchester City. Even if Crystal Palace have managed to take points off the Citizens by the time the Reds kick off against Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, the value of a win cannot be understated in the context of the finish line for the league title.
Liverpool vs Chelsea Preview and Prediction
The task won’t be simple, however, with Chelsea in need of maintaining a slender 5 points lead over their top 4 rivals having played one match more.
Fact of Interest:
- Liverpool haven’t beaten Chelsea in their last five competitive encounters. Their last win over the Blues was in September 2016’s 2-1 win away at Stamford Bridge.
- Incredibly, Liverpool’s last win at home against Chelsea dates back to May 2012, with Chelsea winning three of the eight matches played at Anfield since.
- Liverpool have won 14 of 16 home league games this season, a record second only to Manchester City’s 16 from 17. Their 10 goals conceded is the joint fewest goals conceded at home by all sides thus far this season.
- Liverpool are the only side who remain unbeaten at home this season. This record extends to 37 home matches including last season’s excellent record. They’ve scored 19 goals in their last 6 home games, the best goal return of any side in their last 6 home matches.
- Liverpool haven’t failed to score at least 1 goal in their last 12 league home matches. Only Manchester City has succeeded in preventing the Reds from scoring at Anfield.
- Chelsea has the 5th best away record in the league with 9 wins from 16 matches. Their recent away form in all competitions has improved to 3 wins from their last 4 following a 4 game away losing streak from January in early February.
- Both Liverpool and Chelsea have scored almost two thirds of their goals in the second half of matches thus far this season. Additionally, both clubs have scored nearly a third of the goals in the final 15 minutes of matches thus far this season.
- Sadio Mane has scored 2 goals in 10 matches against Chelsea, but has failed to score any in 6 matches against the Blues while playing for Liverpool.
- Mohamed Salah has scored 4 in 8 matches against Chelsea, but only once in 4 matches while wearing Liverpool red, and has failed to score against the Blues in his last 3 matches.
- Roberto Firmino has never scored against Chelsea, having featured against them in 6 matches.
- Eden Hazard has scored 7 goals in 17 matches against Liverpool, and has scored in his last two matches against the Reds.
- Pedro has never scored against Liverpool, having played in 5 matches against them.
Both Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain have continued training since recent return from long injury but neither player appears to be close to being included in the matchday squad. Chelsea have no injury concerns at present.
Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:
Liverpool remain locked to a 433 shape, relying heavily on experiments in midfield personnel to manage the issues with creativity and chance creation. This has included several adjustments, the most recent of which has featured captain Jordan Henderson employed in an advanced box to box midfield role rather than as the core anchor midfielder. The most difficult of their remaining opponents is likely to attract a first choice lineup akin to the squad employed at Anfield against Porto on Tuesday. Thus, Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk and Robertson should be employed in defence as per the preferred continuity. Klopp has tended to favour a midfield trio of Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum in recent big matches, and while Fabinho’s value has been obvious, it won’t be too surprising if the Brazilian starts off the bench. As usual, the formidable Liverpool front 3 of Salah, Firmino and Mane should start again, with all 3 players fresh off recent goalscoring form.
Sarri, like Klopp, has also established a settled tactical system under a 433 configuration, but the Italian has tinkered far more with the details to address the lack of goals across the team. Kepa, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, and Luiz should retain their slots, but there’s a chance that the improving Emerson could be preferred to Alonso at left back. The consistent attacking productivity of Ruben Loftus-Cheek may well earn him a starting berth alongside Jorginho, and Kante instead of the more robust minded Barkley or the more technically adept Kovacic, both of whom haven’t done much to impress of late. Eden Hazard’s recent form makes him an obvious starter against the Reds, but Sarri’s choices in the other two forward positions aren’t as straight forward. The expectation is for struggling Argentine Gonzalo Higuain and young starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi to repeat their recent starting berths though.
Match Facts & Summary
|Head to Head||Liverpool||Chelsea|
|Current Season Record||Played 33, Won 25, Lost 1||Played 33, Won 20, Lost 7|
|Current Season Top Scorers||Salah (18), Mane (17)||Hazard (16), Pedro (8)|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches||Liverpool 2 Wins, 5 Draws, Chelsea 3 Wins|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches at Anfield||Liverpool 2 Wins, 5 Draws, Chelsea 3 Wins|
|Last Season’s Result||Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea|
|Odds of Interest (as at 10 Apr)||Liverpool||Chelsea|
|Odds – Result (Draw = 3.06)||0.63||4.11|
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Chelsea’s recent record at Anfield makes for sober reading for the Reds, especially given that Liverpool likely cannot afford to drop even a single point, especially given Manchester City’s game in hand and the importance not to waste any home games in the title race. Chelsea’s form has been improved as well, and the Blues have a solid set of options both to start and come off the bench to play a tight and concise game, pressuring Liverpool defensive transitions effectively and dangerously.
Liverpool’s mentality remains a critical factor. Their recent matches have been an obvious advertisement of this with the winning goals against Fulham, Spurs and Southampton all arriving in the final 15 minutes. That the Reds have the ability to win ugly through high pressure direct football is useful, so even if Chelsea have the capacity to punish such an approach from Liverpool through their dangerous wide forwards, Liverpool’s defensive prowess appears well primed to manage such risks.
For Liverpool, Chelsea represent a difficult, but accessible opponent, and one that Klopp will need to mastermind a victory against to keep up the pressure for the title race. Chelsea have equally substantial stakes, but they may yet find an even greater logic to considering the away trip to Old Trafford at month end as the crucial fixture to define where they end in the table. Liverpool continue to have the spectre of a missing league championship hanging over every league result; as much as Hazard’s brilliance and Chelsea’s squad pose a compelling argument for a score draw at the least, it’s hard to bet against the Reds’ home form and the end of a winless streak at home since 2012.
Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change. View the latest EPL Betting Odds