A classic Premier League fixture returns to the line-up this weekend with Chelsea heading to Anfield to play Liverpool. With both teams in good form domestically, it looks set to be a brilliant match-up with Antonio Conte and Jurgen Klopp going head to head in the dugout. The Blues have a very good record at the home of the Reds recently and haven’t lost there since 2012 – a game that took place just days after Chelsea beat Liverpool in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. It’s the Premier League game of the weekend so here’s all you need to know.
It remains to be seen whether Conte opts to go with David Luiz, who scored a wonderful free kick in this fixture last season, or Andreas Christensen at the centre of his back 3. Victor Moses is scheduled to make his return from a hamstring injury and is expected to replace Davide Zappacosta at right wing-back. Michy Batshuayi faces a race against time to be fit enough to make the squad with an ankle injury that he sustained on international duty with Belgium. Joel Matip could miss out with injury but Adam Lallana could make a long-awaited return to a Liverpool side that will be looking to bounce back from their collapse in Seville midweek.
The game will be won and lost in midfield with the two sides evenly matched in that department. Chelsea’s trio of Cesc Fabregas, Tiemoue Bakayoko and N’Golo Kante come up against the likes of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Philippe Coutinho and it’ll be up to Bakayoko and Kante to stop the little Brazilian working his magic. Mo Salah is on fire at the moment and Marcos Alonso and Gary Cahill (provided he starts on the left of the back 3) will need to be well aware of the danger he poses. Antonio Conte may choose to go with Antonio Rudiger instead of the club captain given the pace difference. After his impressive form of late, Eden Hazard will be relishing the challenge of battling with Joe Gomez when he pulls out onto the left-hand side. The England international is having the best spell of his career and will take some beating, the rest of the Liverpool defence, however…it remains to be seen.
Chelsea’s record against Liverpool
As I said earlier, Anfield has almost been like a second home to the Blues over the last few years. In their last five outings, Chelsea have won two and drawn the other three. And in those last five games, Steven Gerrard made his famous slip, Luis Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic, Eden Hazard scored a stunning solo goal and David Luiz sent a free kick in off the post. It’s been quite a story and the next chapter comes on Saturday as the Blues look to move a bit closer to Manchester City and open up a bit of a gap to a chasing pack that includes their opponents.