Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs Liverpool
Chelsea take on Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday in one of the games of the weekend as the two sides look to add to their opening day victories in the Premier League.Predicted teams
Chelsea Predicted XI vs Liverpool
Arrizabalaga; James, Christensen, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Kovacic, Kante, Barkley; Havertz, Werner, Mount
Liverpool Predicted XI vs Chelsea
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, ManeChelsea vs Liverpool Preview
There were victories last weekend for two of the clubs tipped to challenge at the top of the table but it was far from plain sailing for both Chelsea and Liverpool last time out.
Frank Lampard’s side managed a 3-1 victory at Brighton and Hove Albion but struggled to control the game and were reliant on some slightly fortunate goals to get the win. The Seagulls had more shots and a greater share of the possession while Chelsea appeared disjointed at times. However the Blues had the quality to grind out a win, particularly in Reece James’ 25-yard screamer to edge his team ahead after the home side had equalised.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was back between the sticks having lost his place to 38-year-old Willy Caballero at the end of last season but looked short on confidence; flapping at crosses and wasteful in possession. Also struggling to live up to expectations was Chelsea’s new record signing Kai Havertz who recently arrived from Bayer Leverkusen for around £75million. The attacking midfielder was deployed on the right against Brighton, with Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek preferred in the central role, but struggled to make any real impact on the game. Chelsea are without a number of wide players so it seems likely that Havertz will start there again on Sunday.
The more impressive of Chelsea’s new signings again Brighton was Timo Werner who won the penalty for his side’s opener despite getting little service for much of game. The Germany striker looked sharp throughout and his pace and intelligent running caused the Brighton backline problems.
Werner’s directness could be a key weapon for Chelsea as they look to upset the reigning champions and they will take heart from Liverpool’s shaky start last weekend.
Jurgen Klopp’s men beat Leeds United 4-3 at Anfield but were undone by some direct passing that left their defence exposed at times. Trent Alexander-Arnold had only recently returned to training and looked off the pace as he was easily beaten for Leeds’ opener and Virgil van Dijk made a careless mistake to gift a goal to Patrick Bamford.
Like Brighton, Leeds had more of the ball but were just undone by pieces of individual quality. Mohamed Salah began the season in sizzling form with a hat-trick and looked as good as anyone on the Premier League’s opening weekend. The Egyptian emphatically converted two penalties and scored another with a brilliantly instinctive effort lashed into the top corner. He has only scored twice in six league games against Chelsea but will be confident of adding to that tally against his former club this weekend.
Liverpool have a great Premier League record against the Blues in recent seasons and did the double over them last campaign with a thrilling 5-3 win in their final game at Anfield. In fact, they have only lost once in their last 11 league fixtures against Chelsea, a run stretching back to Brendan Rogers’ time in charge.Chelsea vs Liverpool: Injuries and Suspensions
Chelsea have had a very busy transfer window but they are still without a number of their expensive new signings due to injury. Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech will not be fit to make their league debuts for the club, while Thiago Silva has only just returned to training so will not be ready in time.
The Blues will also be without Christian Pulisic, who caused Liverpool problems in the fixture back in July, due to a hamstring injury. Werner picked up a knock against Brighton but Lampard confirmed that he is fine to play.
Liverpool fans will be desperate to get a first glimpse of Thiago Alcantara after his long-speculated move was finally confirmed, but Sunday will probably come too soon for the Spaniard having only recently returned to pre-season training with Bayern.
Captain Jordan Henderson managed to shake off a knee injury in time for the Leeds match but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still out, with his expected return date still unknown. Kostas Tsimikas is able to return to the squad after a period of self-isolation having tested positive for Covid-19 while away on international duty.Chelsea vs Liverpool: What the managers said
Frank Lampard (Chelsea): "The positive of Brighton was we showed resilience and organisation and won the game. We can improve on it. Players will feel that. Long way to compare where we are this year compared to last year. Liverpool will always give you a tough match. We have to push. That's the challenge in front of us.”
Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool): "We don't know a lot about Chelsea at the moment. We are very early in the season. We've had an intense week and worked on decisive stuff.
"Last season we played Chelsea often and it was always difficult. [Their] Last game vs Brighton, you have to be decisive in key moments and that was the story of the game."Prediction
The first meeting of two top teams in the 2020/21 Premier League season should be a cracker. Chelsea struggled through their win over Brighton but have the pace and quality on the break to exploit Liverpool’s high line and they caused plenty of problems in the recent game at Anfield. There was a bit of touchline disagreement between the two benches the last time these sides met and it will be a lively affair on Sunday, even without fans in attendance. The Reds should have enough to get the three points but after a few defensive lapses last weekend it promises to be a close game. 2-3