The English Premier League is back, and it doesn’t get any bigger than this as Chelsea host champions, Liverpool in a crunchy match day 2 premier league clash at Anifield on Sunday afternoon.
Both of these sides came into the 2020-21 Premier League season with big expectations, yet neither were at their best on the opening weekend of action.
Liverpool edged newcomers, Leeds United 4-3 in an entertaining high scoring encounter courtesy of a Mohammed Salah hatrick.
Chelsea, despite not at their best managed a 3-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.
Jurgen Klopp and Frank Lampard have seen something of a rivalry develop between themselves since the latter’s appointment as Chelsea manager last summer.
A touchline spat the last time both teams met in July followed by a series of media-fuelled jabs which revolved around the Blues’ big summer spending.
Chelsea has recruited new players this summer although concerns are there regarding the goalkeeping department as they will be facing an in-form Mo Salah who scored a hattrick in the previous game.
Liverpool on the other hand, had a quiet transfer window not until yesterday when they confirmed the signing of UEFA Champions League winner, Thiago Alcantra.
There are also fresh reports that the Reds are near to completing the signing of Wolves attacker, Diogo Jota.
There was concern over Werner when he was spotted with an ice pack on his thigh after the game against Brighton, but he played the majority of that match with the problem and has been passed fit for this game against the club he nearly joined instead of Chelsea.
Lampard has confirmed that fellow new signings Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva remain unavailable, though. Christian Pulisic and Billy Gilmour both misses out from the encounter.
Mateo Kovacic’s red card in last season’s FA Cup final ruled him out of the Premier League season opener, but he is now ready to come back into the fold and could take the place of Jorginho, despite his goal against Brighton.
New signing, Thiago will not feature following his arrival having not yet trained with the team, but fellow new signing Kostas Tsimikas is expected to be available again after recovering from coronavirus.
Xherdan Shaqiri is also pushing for a return from his latest injury, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a longer-term absentee.
Chelsea: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma; James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Havertz, Mount, Werner.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino.
Match Records and Head to Head
Chelsea have lost each of their last three Premier League meetings with Liverpool; only once before have they lost more in a row against the Reds in the competition (four between November 2010 and May 2012).
After winning just one of their first 16 Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge between 1992-93 and 2007-08 (D4 L11), Liverpool have since won six of their last 12 league games away at Chelsea (D3 L3), including three of five under Jürgen Klopp (D1 L1).
Only Liverpool themselves (22) have won more Premier League matches against the reigning champions than Chelsea (15 – level with Manchester United); indeed, the Blues are unbeaten in their last 13 home league games against the previous season’s title-winning side (W7 D6), winning each of their last three in succession.
Excluding games on the opening day of a season, this will be Liverpool’s first Premier League match against a side starting the day above them in the league table since October 2018, a 0-0 draw against Manchester City.
Chelsea finished the 2019-20 Premier League season with six consecutive home victories, last winning seven in a row at Stamford in Bridge in the competition in December 2017 under Antonio Conte.
Since their 2019-20 title win was confirmed in June, Liverpool have conceded 15 goals in their eight Premier League games (W5 D1 L2) – their previous 15 league goals conceded came across a 23-game spell.
The corresponding league fixture saw Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino get the goals in a 2-1 Liverpool win almost exactly a year ago to the day, meaning that the Reds have now lost just one of their last six top-flight visits to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea Premier League form: W
Liverpool Premier League form: W
This promises to be an entertaining encounter and goals are much expected to flow.
Klopp’s side have comparable firepower, and a more characteristic defensive display could be enough for them to take all three points from this match.Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool