Liverpool host Chelsea in the English Premier League at Anfield on Wednesday. The Reds sit top of the table and face a Blues side languishing in ninth place, a full 12 points off the top four. These teams have drawn their last seven meetings in all competitions.
Liverpool tops the table going into round 22 and are unbeaten in 14 league matches. The frustration of a 0-0 draw at home to Man Utd (29 shots and 3.16 xG) has been channelled into some fine results. They beat West Ham 5-1 in the Carabao Cup at Anfield, and then drew 1-1 with Arsenal and won 2-0 at Burnley.
A record 7.11 xG was produced in a 4-2 home win over Newcastle before winning 2-0 at Arsenal in the FA Cup. Since then, the Reds have progressed to the Carabao Cup final, 3-2 on aggregate vs Fulham (2-1 home win, 1-1 draw away). They won 4-0 at Bournemouth between those two legs and over the weekend, they pumped Norwich 5-2 in the FA Cup fourth round.
Liverpool Team News
Jurgen Klopp has Andy Robertson back from a shoulder injury. He may feature from the bench again with Joe Gomez covering at left back. Fullback Kostas Tsimikas and forward Mohammed Salah are both out injured and Wataru Endo is unavailable due to international duty.
Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic remain injured in midfield, but Dominik Szoboszlai is fit and available to start. Virgil Van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold are fit to return to the XI.
The Reds are expected to be pumped up as Jurgen Klopp’s farewell tour continues. Expect a very intense start from the players and the crowd.
Nothing less than a win will do in this match.
The Blues are certainly enjoying some improved form. After a 2-1 loss at Wolves on Christmas Eve to make it three away league losses in a row, they’ve lost just once in seven fixtures. They beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at home in the league and won 3-2 at Luton after a late scare.
After thrashing Preston 4-0 in the FA Cup, they lost 1-0 at Middlesbrough. A 1-0 home win over Fulham preceded a 6-1 win over Boro in the second leg to progress 6-2 on aggregate in the Carabao Cup semis. Last Friday, Chelsea played well but could only draw 0-0 at home to Aston Villa in the FA Cup.
Chelsea Team News
The Blues are without Reece James and Levi Colwill in defence but Malo Gusto is back. Ben Chilwell should return to the starting XI for this one. Wesley Fofana is out long-term.
In attack, Nicolas Jackson has completed his international duty, but this match comes too soon. Armando Broja is pushing to lead the line with Cole Palmer another option as a false nine. Christopher Nkunku is fit enough for a bench role, but midfielders Romeo Lavia and Lesley Ugochukwu are ruled out.
Mauricio Pochettino would take a draw from this match.
He could start five defenders to be solid and hard to beat. Don’t expect an open and attacking approach at a rocking Anfield.
Liverpool’s last 53 home league matches have seen just 1 loss (40 wins, 12 draws)
Liverpool have scored 30 goals in their last 11 league matches at home
The last seven meetings between these sides have ended in draws
Chelsea have lost 5 of their 10 away league matches this season
Chelsea have lost 3 of their last 4 away EPL fixtures
Despite the recent trend of draws in this fixture, it’s hard to look beyond a Liverpool win. The stadium will be rocking, and the Blues will try to be solid and ruin the Klopp farewell tour.