EPL: Chelsea v Liverpool Preview

EPL-Chelsea-Liverpool-Preview

Our writer takes an in-depth look at the mouth-watering clash between Chelsea and Liverpool.

Chelsea will look to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact as they host Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Friday night. The Reds won this fixture 3-1 when the teams met at Stamford Bridge last season, but Antonio Conte’s side ran out 1-0 winners when the sides met in pre-season. 

Chelsea v Liverpool | Friday 16 September | Stamford Bridge | 21:00

To Win (90 Mins) 

Chelsea 12/10 | Draw 49/20 | Liverpool 43/20



Chelsea
Diego Costa capped a bustling display by scoring from an 81st-minute overhead kick to earn Chelsea a 2-2 draw at Swansea last Sunday. The Blues should have secured the win by half-time, such was their dominance. Even in the calamitous second half, they spurned several chances. They had a whopping 28 shots to Swansea’s six, but gifted Francesco Guidolin’s side two terrible goals. The result left Chelsea in second place on 10 points, two behind leaders Manchester City – the only team with a 100 per cent record.

Antonio Conte’s charges will be looking to return to winning ways against Liverpool, a side they haven’t beaten in their last five competitive meetings. Conte’s main goal will be to tighten the defence with David Luiz expected to come into the side. Gary Cahill – who was at fault for gifting Swansea’s second goal – would have been the most likely to miss out against Liverpool. However, the sight of captain John Terry leaving the ground on crutches may mean Cahill will partner Luiz. Branislav Ivanovic is another option at centre-back if Conte wants to bring Marcus Alonso at left-back.

N’Golo Kante will anchor the midfield adding steel and grit to the side, while Willian, Nemanja Matic, Oscar and Eden Hazard will player higher up in the middle. Hazard brings creativity and invention and he could be  a nuisance for Jurgen Klopp’s men. When he’s in the mood, few defences can live with his movement, pace and blurring array of tricks.

Trim, fit and energetic, Costa looks back to his bristling best. Hustling, harrying and making a general nuisance of himself. The Brazil-born Spain international has four goals in as many matches and he’ll look to add to his tally.



Liverpool
Four matches into the new Premier League season, and Liverpool have accumulated seven points. Over that stretch, Jurgen Klopp's men have been visitors to two of the other clubs expected to contend for top four spots, and have hosted last year's league champions. A thrilling 4-3 victory over Arsenal followed with a shocking 2-0 loss at newly-promoted Burnley. The Reds earned a commendable 1-1 draw away to Tottenham and were at their full-throttle best against Leicester City, winning 4-1. Klopp has challenged his team to consistently meet the standard set by the performance against Leicester for the rest of the season.

Klopp will be sweating on the fitness of centre-half Dejan Lovren after he was forced to sit out last weekend’s victory over Leicester. Germany international Emre Can was also ruled out of that game and remains a doubt against Chelsea, while Mamadou Sakho’s place at Liverpool continues to raise questions. Whether Sakho is in the process of regaining his match fitness or has been cast aside by a frustrated Klopp remains unclear. Klopp’s main concern is defence having shipped seven goals already.

Sadio Mane has enjoyed a sensational start since joining Liverpool in a £30 million deal from Southampton. The Senegal international has been involved in five goals in his four appearances, with two goals and three assists. The 24-year-old’s stunning solo effort at Arsenal was a sign of things to come, and he was again a key figure against Burton and Leicester .The speed, movement, end product and intensity that he has brought to the team has been unbelievable, and he will cause Conte’s side a lot of problems. Mane will provide a constant threat and pester Chelsea’s defence with excessive pace, quick feet, brilliant creativity and an eye for goal.

Liverpool have some goalscoring players in midfield in the form of Mane, Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho – each player with two goals to his name. Firmino offers a threat in the final third as he has the ability to score goals and create opportunities for his team-mates. He could cause Chelsea’s defence plenty of problems as he drifts between the lines which may cause the opposition to leave space unattended.



Verdict: Draw + Both Teams To Score (29/10)
It’s been difficult to separate these sides with four draws coming in the last five clashes. Chelsea are unbeaten this season and extremely difficult to beat at home, while Liverpool relish the games against the big teams, which has been evident this season. Both teams have defensive issues with Chelsea keeping just one clean sheet, while Liverpool still awaits theirs. I’m going for the Draw & Both Teams To Score at 29/10.

Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets

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