Match Preview – Liverpool vs Chelsea

Posted on by Matthew T

Two of the Premier League’s giants, with 100% records to start the new season, meet on Saturday as Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Anfield. With some intriguing battles all over the pitch, we preview the match, provide the latest team news and provide our prediction of the outcome.

Match Preview – Liverpool

Liverpool have begun the new season in positive spirits as they look to bounce back from last season’s disappointing title defence. The return of leader Virgil van Dijk in central defence has certainly been a major factor.

After a comfortable 3-0 win on the opening weekend away to newly-promoted Norwich City, the Reds followed that up with a 2-0 victory over Burnley back in front of a packed Anfield. Although these are two fixtures that the title challengers would be expected to win anyway, the manner in which they have won them, will have pleased manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool celebrate after scoring in their 2-0 win over Burnley
Liverpool celebrate after scoring the opener in their 2-0 win over Burnley

Two wins from two, and no goals conceded, mean that Liverpool head into this important fixture with the disappointing memories of last season put to bed already.

Match Preview – Chelsea

In a completely coincidental manner, Chelsea have begun the new Premier League season in identical fashion to their hosts on Saturday. They too have started with two wins from two, and no goals conceded, in a 3-0 win on the opening day and a 2-0 victory last weekend.

Also like their hosts, Chelsea scraped into the Champions League places on the final day of last season, although this mattered little in the end after the Blues lifted the Champions League trophy itself later that same month. But Thomas Tuchel has his sights firmly set on the Premier League title this season, despite his refusal to admit so in public. The return of Romelu Lukaku adds a much-needed fear factor and clinical side to their forward line too.

Chelsea celebrate their win over Arsenal
Chelsea’s returning striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates opening the scoring against Arsenal

As mentioned above, Chelsea opened the new Premier League campaign with a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, thanks to goals from Marcos Alonso, Christian Pulisic and Trevoh Chalobah. This result was then followed by a comprehensive 2-0 victory over London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last weekend. Lukaku scored inside 15 minutes on his second debut for the club in this one.

Team News – Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has a decision to make at left-back for the visit of Chelsea. Kostas Tsimikas has performed admirably in Andy Robertson‘s absence, but with the Scotsman returning to the bench last time out, he will be expected to come into the starting lineup in an important fixture.

Andy Robertson
Andy Robertson will be expected to return to the starting lineup

Teenage star Harvey Elliott also performed impressively against Burnley last time out. However, he is also likely to be replaced for a match of this magnitude. Thiago Alcantara could be the player to come into the starting lineup in his place.

Fabinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed last weekend’s win over Burnley due to family circumstances, and it remains to be seen whether they will return to the squad in time for Saturday.

Team News – Chelsea

Meanwhile, for the visitors, N’Golo Kante returned for his first minutes of the new league campaign in last weekend’s victory. After coming on as a 72nd minute substitute, Thomas Tuchel may be tempted to throw him in from the start due to his exceptional performances on the big occasions. Mateo Kovacic is the one who would make way for him.

USA international forward Christian Pulisic missed the win over Arsenal last weekend after testing positive for COVID-19. He entered a period of self-isolation from the Wednesday prior to that match so may be in contention for a place on the bench depending on the severity of his symptoms.

Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic may return in time for the trip to Anfield

Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has missed the opening two league matches after contracting COVID-19 himself. Despite appearing to have no future at the club coming into pre-season, Loftus-Cheek featured regularly in friendlies. Therefore, he may earn a spot on the substitutes bench should he have recovered in time.

Manager Thomas Tuchel has a decision to make in his forward line for the trip to Anfield. After scoring on his second debut for the club since returning from Inter Milan, Romelu Lukaku will start up front. However, Kai Havertz returned to the starting lineup against Arsenal but struggled after missing some fantastic openings. Tuchel may bring in Timo Werner, who caused havoc with his pace in behind in this fixture back in March.

Expected Lineups

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson – Thiago, Henderson, Keita – Salah, Jota, Mane

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy – Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger – James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso – Mount, Werner – Lukaku

Match Prediction

This will be a tight affair between two sides that have looked fantastic in the opening matches of the season. Both have started with two wins without conceding a goal so this match really could swing either way! You would be a brave person to take a punt on this one that is for sure. I am going to remain cautious and go for a 1-1 draw, with a fascinating tactical battle to take place.

Editor’s Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea

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