This weekend’s Premier League action begins with a matchup between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime between two legendary English teams that are mired in mid-table obscurity.
Even though the hosts have a game in hand over their capital counterparts, the ninth-placed Reds and 10th-place Blues only have 28 points from their top-flight outings approaching the halfway point of the season.
Preview of the match Just a few days after Liverpool’s “worst” game, a 3-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion, Jurgen Klopp got his wish for a response when the Reds traveled to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday for a FA Cup third-round replay.
As the Merseyside giants finally claimed their first victory of 2023 at the fourth attempt, Harvey Elliott’s incredible goal secured Liverpool’s place in the fourth round and another trip to the Amex Stadium to face Brighton.
When Liverpool lost at the Amex, it was the first time since 1993 that they had lost consecutive league games at the start of the year. Without European competition, the Reds could not have a remarkable turnaround in the coming months because they are two points behind Brighton in seventh and another 10 away from the Champions League spots.
Keeping a clean sheet for the first time in seven games at Molineux was a sight to behold, as was Liverpool’s dominance of the Premier League at home. They have only lost one of their last 32 games at Anfield and have scored 23 goals on home turf so far this season, more than Manchester City.
Since their 1-0 defeat to Fulham in March 2021, Klopp’s team hasn’t lost at home in the Premier League. This weekend, he will be in charge of his 1,000th game as manager, and he probably wants to get a priceless three points to celebrate in the right way.
When it comes to highly regarded teams finally winning their first game of the year, Graham Potter’s Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 1-0 despite being in debt to both Thiago Silva and Kepa Arrizabalaga during their visit.
At Stamford Bridge, where new signing Mykhaylo Mudryk was unveiled after Chelsea pipped Arsenal to the highly rated Ukrainian attacker’s signature—their fifth acquisition of a busy winter window—the two capital counterparts were separated by Kai Havertz’s header with 64 minutes remaining.
Chelsea are just about clinging to their top-half spot in the Premier League after avoiding a fourth game without a win. They are 10th, behind Liverpool on goal difference and with the same gap to the top seven and Champions League spots.
Even though Potter has only won two of his last ten Premier League games, the Chelsea board continues to back him, and the Blues have gone five games without a win away from home in the top flight since beating Aston Villa in October.
Last season, Liverpool and Chelsea played to a draw in both Premier League games before the Reds beat Chelsea on penalties in the FA Cup and EFL Cup finals. However, Klopp’s team cannot rely on their ability to score from 12-yard range in this game.
Team news: Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino, Luis Diaz, and Arthur won’t be back for Liverpool yet. However, manager Jurgen Klopp thinks that Darwin Nunez will be ready to play against the Blues in time for the game.
As Fabio Carvalho leaves the field, Nunez’s return should see Cody Gakpo return to the wide position. Kostas Tsimikas was injured at Molineux but was always expected to lose his spot to Andrew Robertson.
In addition, Alisson Becker, Joel Matip, Mohamed Salah, and Fabinho will return. Despite Stefan Bajcetic’s impressive FA Cup performance, Fabinho is expected to replace him.
Mudryk, a recent signing for Chelsea, will have a chance to make his Blues debut at Cobham. Given that Kai Havertz was missing from training on Wednesday for no apparent reason, Mudryk may be called upon to start right away.
However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a better fit to take Havertz’s place, and a full Chelsea treatment room still includes ex-Liverpool player Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell, Christian Pulisic, Edouard Mendy, N’Golo Kante, Reece James, Armando Broja, and Denis Zakaria.
Benoit Badiashile and Lewis Hall can both rest assured that they will keep their positions in the backline, and Joao Felix, a player on loan from Atletico Madrid, will serve the second of a three-game Premier League suspension after being sent off against Fulham.
The possible starting lineup for Liverpool:
Alisson; Robertson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip; Thiago, Elliott, and Fabinho; Gakpo, Nunez, and Salah are possible starters for Chelsea:
Kepa; Hall, Silva, Chalobah, and Badiashile; Jorginho, Kovacic, and Gallagher; Recent Performances of Ziyech, Aubameyang, and Mount Despite those two consecutive defeats to begin the year, Liverpool can take solace in the fact that this Saturday’s match will be played on their own turf. They have scored 79 goals in their last 32 Premier League games at Anfield, averaging 2.5 goals per game, and have only lost one of those games.
Despite the fact that the home team has won just three of the last 17 Premier League matches between the two teams—seven draws and seven losses—two of those victories have occurred at Anfield in 2019 and 2020.
They are also rapidly approaching Klopp’s previous highs of nine defeats (2020-2021) and eight defeats (2015-2016) across a campaign with six losses already this season in the Premier League (also against Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Arsenal, and Man United).
The Chelsea away day woes have already been briefly discussed, but they really are quite drastic. Although they have lost four of their six such games, including defeats in each of those matches they played on the road, they are looking to win consecutively in the Premier League for the first time since October, when they managed to string together a run of four victories on the back of victories against West Ham, Crystal Palace, Wolves, and Aston Villa. However, they have lost to Southampton. Perhaps the change in kick-off time will be to their advantage because this Saturday marks the first time they will be playing in the 12:30
Prediction of the Match: Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool In the FA Cup, Liverpool’s defense had to deal with a lot of pressure from Wolves, but they held out well and showed a significant improvement in their resilience, which will be useful against a Chelsea team that is still having trouble getting results on the road.
We have faith that Liverpool will continue their excellent goal scoring streak at home and send Chelsea back to London with zero points, with the support of the Anfield crowd and the anticipated return of Nunez.