Can Liverpool End Their Poor Run of Form Against the League Leaders?
Last updated: January 27, 2017 by Leon Marshal
|Last season:||Liverpool 1 – 1 Chelsea|
|Competition:||The Premier League|
Back in September, Liverpool became the first team to beat Chelsea in the league. The defeat lead to Chelsea stuttering in the following game against Arsenal, losing by 3 goals, before Antonio Conte switched to the 3 at the back formation he is known for. This worked wonders and Chelsea went on a 13 game winning streak. Liverpool remain the only team to have beaten Chelsea at home this season, but their great start has suffered a bad run of its own. Two consecutive draws were followed by a shock defeat to Swansea last week, as the Reds are now with 1 win in their last 7 games in all competitions.
Going out of the EFL Cup last week is yet another blow to Liverpool, whose poor form has conspicuously coincided with the departure of Sadio Mané to the African Cup of Nations. Critics point to fatigue being the main cause of the poor results. Klopp’s gegenpressing style had drawn praise from most while it launched them into second place, but pundits now point to the extensive effort required leading to exhaustion for many of the players. Either way, there should have been sufficient rest for the squad leading up to this game, so Klopp will be expecting a spirited performance. Win this and Liverpool could go back to within 7 points of Chelsea, while also making things much tighter at the top.
Chelsea’s winning streak came to end against an impressive Spurs side earlier this month, but it’s a testament to their character that they bounced back impressively. Back to back wins and clean sheets hint that the loss was a minor mishap, rather than any sort of extended temporary blip. They really are the team to beat and should Liverpool not manage that here, then it would be hard to look at anyone other than Chelsea to be champions. Diego Costa’s exclusion from the match day squad at Leicester two weeks back has now been forgotten, as the striker came straight back into the first team to score against Hull last week. With a full strength squad to choose from, Antonio Conte must be going into this one full of confidence.
The biggest concern for Jürgen Klopp will be the fitness of Nathaniel Clyne. The defender has a rib injury and is doubtful for the match, but Klopp remains optimistic the player may be passed fit. Matip has been cleared to play though and should start alongside Lovren in defence.
Sadio Mané looks set for an extended stay at the African Cup of Nations, although Philippe Coutinho is back to full fitness. Klopp will have to decided whether to opt for Firmino in a false 9 position, or go with either Sturridge or Origi as a striker.
Antonio Conte can smile upon a full strength squad to choose from. It’s unlikely he’ll make many changes though, with the main question being whether Pedro or William will start in the third attacking spot.
The spat involving Costa a few weeks back has passed over and he looks fine, suggesting there perhaps wasn’t ever any back injury to speak of. He marked his return with a goal and will be looking to get on the scoresheet once again.
|Liverpool (4-2-3-1):||Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Can, Henderson, Lallana, Firmino, Sturridge, Coutinho|
|Subs:||Wijnaldum, Klavan, Moreno, Lucas, Karius, Origi, Woodburn|
|Chelsea (3-4-3):||Courtois, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Matic, Kante, Moses, Hazard, Costa, Pedro|
|Subs:||Begovic, Fàbregas, Zouma, Aké, Willian, Batshuayi, Chalobah|
So far this season
|Liverpool this season||Chelsea this season|
|7 (6)||(at home) Wins (away)||10 (8)|
|6-1 vs. Watford||Biggest win||5-0 vs. Everton|
|2 (4)||(at home) Draws (away)||0 (1)|
|3-4 vs.Bournemouth||Biggest Defeat||0-3 vs. Arsenal||Sadio Mané (9)||Top scorer||Diego Costa (15)|
|Adam Lallana (7)||Assist Leader||Nemanja Matic (6)|
|Y34, R0||Discipline||Y45, R0|
|3||Failures to score||2|
|15||Both Teams to Score Games||7|
|14||Over 2.5 Games||14|
|8||Under 2.5 Games||8|
- After a great first half of the season, Liverpool have lost their way and are now without a win in their last 7 games in all competitions.
- Chelsea stumbled a few weeks ago with defeat against Spurs, but refound winning ways with consecutive victories, adding two more clean sheets to bring the tally to 13.
- Liverpool are still scoring goals freely though. Just 3 failures to score so far in the league mean that they have every chance to grab a goal here, but they face the best defence in the league that also has form on its side.
- Chelsea have also been scoring plenty as well as keeping clean sheets. They’ve featured 14 over 2.5 goals games, despite competiting in just 7 in which both teams have scored.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|16/09/2016||Premier League||Chelsea 1 – 2 Liverpool||Lovren 17′|
|11/05/2016||Premier League||Liverpool 1 – 1 Chelsea||Hazard 32′|
|31/10/2015||Premier League||Chelsea 1 – 3 Liverpool||Ramires 4′|
|10/05/2015||Premier League||Chelsea 1 – 1 Liverpool||Terry 5′|
|27/01/2015||League Cup||Chelsea 1 – 0 Liverpool||Ivanović 94′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Despite their poor form of late, home advantage has lead to the bookies offering Liverpool as favourites. If Matip slots back into defence then things should tighten up there, but stopping Chelsea’s attacking trio will still be no easy task. They’ll have to improve all over the field if they want to win this one, which seems may be just beyond them.
Liverpool might have beaten Chelsea once this season, but we see that as more reason that Chelsea will not let it happen again. You can get up to 21/10 for Chelsea to win, but we would urge a little more caution here. A Chelsea Draw No Bet gives us insurance and you can get this at odds of 21/20 at Betway.