Liverpool host Chelsea in the English Premier League at Anfield on Saturday in the early kickoff. Both sides sit on 28 points, some 10 points off the top four. The Reds have lost five of their last 11 league matches whilst Graham Potter’s Chelsea have lost six of their last nine fixtures in all competitions.
The Reds got a morale-boosting 1-0 win at Wolves in the FA Cup third-round replay in midweek. That stopped a three-match winless run which included a 3-1 loss at Brentford, a 2-2 draw at home with Wolves (FA Cup), and a 3-0 loss at Brighton.
In their last 11 Premier League matches, Jurgen Klopp’s side have been beaten five times. Prior to the defeats at Brentford and Brighton, Liverpool had won four in a row albeit whilst still giving up numerous good chances in each match. A 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest and a 2-1 home loss to Leeds came before that four-match winning run.
Liverpool Team News
At the back, Virgil Van Dijk is out so it’s expected to be Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate at centre-back in preference to Joe Gomez. Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, and Luis Diaz are injured in the forward areas but Darwin Nunez is set to return alongside Cody Gakpo and Mo Salah.
In midfield, Harvey Elliott could start with Fabinho showing a big dip in form. Jordan Henderson would drop into the holding role. Naby Keita and James Milner are fit again and represent other midfield options at Klopp’s disposal.
A draw here and a Newcastle win would see the gap to the top four stretched to 12 points. Liverpool, therefore, needs to play to win this fixture to keep in some sort of proximity to Newcastle.
If trailing, Klopp could throw on extra attacking players to try to win the match. He won’t settle for a draw
Chelsea have been struggling for form for a long time. In the Premier League, they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 in their last match to make it two wins in 10 in the league. They’ve lost five of the last eight and have drifted to ten points off the top four. Prior to the World Cup, they were very poor displays to lose 4-1 at Brighton, 1-0 at home to Arsenal, and 1-0 at Newcastle.
Since the resumption, Chelsea have won 2-0 at home to Bournemouth and drawn 1-1 at Nottingham Forest. League and FA Cup defeat followed to Man City (1-0 and 4-0 respectively) before losing 2-1 at Fulham prior to the win at home against Palace.
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea have loads of injuries to contend with. Reece James and Ben Chilwell are absent as wingback and Wesley Fofana is in central defence. N’Golo Kante and Denis Zakaria are still out in central midfield so it’ll be a straight choice between Mateo Kovacic and Conor Gallagher.
Graham Potter has to decide if Benoit Badiashile starts at the back, and also between Lewis Hall and Marc Cucurella at left-back. Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling, and Armando Broja are out injured, whilst Joao Felix is suspended after a red card on his debut. New signing Mykhailo Mudryk will surely start on the left flank after his arrival.
Chelsea will play to win as they need three-point hauls to have a chance of finishing in the top four. It could be quite a circumspect approach with Mudryk and Havertz leading counter attacks.
A draw would usually be a good result at Anfield. In their current form, Potter would probably accept it to avoid pressure mounting on him. In reality, a win is needed or the Champions League hopes will be fading fast.
Liverpool have lost 5 of their last 11 PL matches
LFC have conceded in 8 PL matches in a row (13 goals leaked)
Liverpool have lost just once in 30 home PL matches
Theses sides have drawn their last 4 meetings
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 9 of Chelsea’s last 11 PL games
Chelsea have lost 6 of their last 9 matches in all comps
The Reds are struggling at the back but they barely lose at home in the league. Chelsea are capable of an upset here and tends to play out low-scoring matches of late. It’s a difficult match to call.