The European Champs Head to Anfield
Last updated: August 25, 2021 by Leon Marshal
|Last Meeting:||Liverpool 0 – 1 Chelsea|
It’s red against blue in the big game at the weekend as the reigning European Champions Chelsea travel to the 2018-19 Champions Liverpool. With both teams enjoying a 100% start to the new season, something has to give. Will it be Klopp or Tuchel celebrating on Saturday night?
Liverpool has arisen from the ashes of last season’s slog that was plagued with injury to their key players that exposed their lack of depth. However, Virgil Van Djik has already returned to the side to help them keep two clean sheets in the opening two games. The maestro was a serene and calm presence alongside Joel Matip for a side that has now managed four consecutive shutouts in the league. Captain Jordan Henderson also graced the starting eleven, with the side enjoying a full camp. Things are looking more positive, and Liverpool has also found a gem in the impressive Harvey Elliot; the 18-year-old looked assured in his first start.
Jürgen Klopp’s side looks like a team with something to prove after last season’s misfortunes that saw them drift far from the title challenge, even coming close to failing to qualify for Europe. A perfect start winning 3 – 0 in the opening match against Norwich following up with a 2 – 0 win against Burnley shows how prepared they are for this campaign. It’s all clear that the Merseyside outfit means business; they recorded seventeen shots in the second half alone against Burnley.
Diogo Jota has been the surprise package to the magical front three giving them some spark. Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah, and Roberto Firmino have been a constant figure in the Reds frontline, but you would feel they needed some shake of and rotation. Jota is the perfect candidate to juggle things, rewarding his manager with two goals in the opening two games. Mohammed Salah, who missed out on the golden boot by one goal (twenty-two) last season, scored and provided two assists on match day one. He was the brightest player in the team last season, but the frailties in defence meant they didn’t get maximum points from their games. The Egyptian maestro had the ball in the net in the game against Burnley, but VAR ruled it out for a close offside.
There was a huge selection crisis with Andy Robertson returning from injury with Konstantinos Tsimikas, who gave a man of the match performance, providing Jota’s assist for the Jota’s opener. When Liverpool gets on their stride, it’s hard to stop them, and apart from doubts over Fabio Tavares (personal reasons), James Milner (knock) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (personal reasons), Klopp has a full-strength squad to pick from.
Chelsea won at Anfield while Liverpool won at Stamford Bridge as the teams shared the spoils equally last season. The Premier League has, for the last four years, been a two-horse race (Liverpool and Man City). The Blues fired legend Frank Lampard, bringing in Thomas Tuchel, who had spells in Germany with Borussia Dortmund and in France with PSG. A successful start to his managerial spell at Stamford Bridge that felt like a managerial bounce led them to a Champions League triumph. The pressure is now off Havertz, who can now concentrate on creating goals with a clinical finisher in Lukaku now in the team.
Two of Chelsea’s players (Cesar Azpiliqueta and Antonio Rudiger) have been nominated for defenders of the season. Ngolo Kante and Jorginho have been selected for both midfielders and men’s player of the year. Their goalkeeper Edouard Mendy challenges for the best man with the gloves. The nomination is recognition of the strength and talent of the squad Chelsea posses with some of the best players in Europe. The German will be contending for the Men’s coach of the year despite joining the team just halfway through the season. Tuchel praised Lampard for having a hand in assembling most of the players, thus making his job easier when he joined the London outfit.
Romelu Lukaku feels like the final piece of the puzzle to lead the attack. Timo Werner failed to impress since making his big-money move from RB Leipzig, but the Belgian attacker who was quick to make his debut and scored the opener in their 2 – 0 win against Arsenal. The standards were low in the Chelsea team last campaign, with their top scorer Jorginho scoring just seven goals in the entirety of last season. Although Lukaku has scored over 20 league goals in a season three times in his career (25 with Everton and 23 and 24 for Inter the last two seasons), we wouldn’t bet against him achieving similar numbers this season with Chelsea, especially with the link-up play with Mason Mount and Havertz.
After a perfect start, Chelsea top the Premier League beating Crystal Palace 3 – 0 and Arsenal 2 – 0. They continue their impressive defensive record of last season and would be exciting to see how they perform against one of the best team in the league. A win here will affirm their aspirations to go all the way, especially after having a successful start without last season best player Ngolo Kante which shows their depth. They look like a team that has a chance to win all the games they play that can bully defenders, play tiki-taka, and have diverse tactics.
Liverpool has almost a fully fit squad with captain Henderson starting and Fabinho also available to face Chelsea.
Robertson is fully fit, but his replacement Tsimikas has been excellent in his absence.
Hakim Ziyech has fully recovered after scoring and limping off injured in their Super Cup triumph.
Lukaku made his debut, scored against Arsenal with less than a week of training, and will lead the line at Anfield.
|Liverpool (4-3-3):||Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Djik, Robertson, Henderson, Keita, Elliot, Salah, Firmino, Mane|
|Subs:||Adrian, Thiago, Gomez, Konate, Jones, Minnamino, Milner, Origi, Kelleher, Jota, Fabinho|
|Doubtful:||Tavares, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain|
|Chelsea (3-4-2-1):||Mendy, Rudiger, Azpilicueta, Christensen, James, Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Mount, Havertz, Lukaku|
|Subs:||Arrizabalaga, Silva, Hudson-Odoi, Chalobah, Kovacic, Zouma, Chilwell, Ziyech|
So Far This Season
|Liverpool This Season||Chelsea This Season|
|2 (1)||Wins (away)||2 (1)|
|3 – 0 v Norwich||Biggest Win||3 – 0 v Crystal Palace|
|0 (0)||Draws (away)||0 (0)|
|Jota (2)||Top Goal Scorer||Alonso (1), Lukaku (1)|
|Y0, R0||Discipline||Y1, R0|
|0||Failures to Score||0|
|0%||Both Teams to Score Games||0%|
|50%||Over 2.5 Goals||50%|
|50%||Under 2.5 Goals||50%|
- Liverpool and Chelsea have played forty-eight professional games, The Reds have twenty-three direct wins against the Blue’s twenty-one wins, and fourteen draws between them.
- This season, Jota has scored in both games with the best tally of goals on the pitch, while Salah has been involved in three goals (one goal, two assists).
- Lukaku is Chelsea’s best scorer in front of goal, with Havertz, Mount, and Ziyech tasked with supplying the Belgian maestro.
- This fixture could be one of the most important games in this campaign, even at this early stage. A win for either side would be a statement of intent.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|04/03/2021||EPL||Liverpool 0 – 1 Chelsea||Mount 42’|
|20/09/2020||EPL||Chelsea 0 – 2 Liverpool||Mane 50’|
|22/07/2020||EPL||Liverpool 5 – 3 Chelsea||Keita 23’|
|03/03/2020||FA Cup||Chelsea 2 – 0 Liverpool||Willian 13’|
|22/09/2019||EPL||Chelsea 1 – 2 Liverpool||Alexander-Arnold14′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Liverpool will be pleased with their start to the campaign, although anything but wins against Burnley and Norwich would have been a huge surprise, especially with the returnees after injury. This game is Liverpool’s first big challenge, and it will be interesting to see how they perform against the European champs.
Chelsea is the choice for winning the Premier League this campaign for many pundits, and it’s not difficult to see why. The signing of Lukaku has reinforced an already strong team, and he could be the missing piece of the Premier League jigsaw for Thomas Tuchel.
This game is tough to call, and it’s easy to write a compelling case for either side. Both have plenty of goals in the team, and both are strong defensively. Chelsea looks stronger when comparing players like for like, but Liverpool has the home advantage with a full house of supporters. We are going for a 2-1 win to Liverpool that is available at 10/1 with William Hill.