The bookies have Liverpool down as favourites for this clash, perhaps understandably given Jurgen Klopp’s side remain the only side to realistically threaten Man City at the top of the table in recent seasons, but in truth there’s little to separate the two teams.
The Reds have edged the head-to-head meetings since 2019/20 with a W3-D3-L2 record, though both tussles this season have ended in stalemates and Chelsea have a habit of delivering trophies on a consistent basis.
Three of four encounters since the start of last season have been level at the break, and throwing Man City into the mix, nine of 13 clashes between the elite English sides over this period have seen the first half end in a draw.
Neither side are used to suffering defeats. Chelsea have lost just twice over 90 minutes from 32 matches since the start of October (W19-D11-L2), triumphing either in extra time or on penalties on all three occasions that called for a decisive winner.
Liverpool have only tasted defeat once in 23 appearances (W18-D4-L1), including victories in each of the past nine as they’ve made progress in the cups and narrowed Man City’s lead in the table.
Liverpool have certainly been boosted by the returns of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah from the Africa Cup of Nations, with the capture of Luiz Diaz only strengthening their forward line.
Roberto Firmino looks set to miss out here, but Diogo Jota should recover in time after missing the last two games, so Liverpool are virtually at full strength even if Klopp has confirmed that Caoimhin Kelleher will start between the sticks instead of first-choice Alisson.
Cesar Azpilicueta To Be Shown A Card
Chelsea are hardly down to the bare bones, but the trio of Mateo Kovacic, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson Odoi are all doubts ahead of this one, while the continued absence of full-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell is a real blow with the English duo providing width and quality delivery.
That should see Cesar Azpilicueta continue at right-back, where he could potentially struggle up against the pace, power and directness of Sadio Mane.
It would certainly come as no surprise if the experienced Spaniard committed a tactical foul or two and picked up a booking here.
Kai Havertz To Score Anytime
Romelu Lukaku has suffered without that service from the wings and having been dropped for the midweek win over Lille, not even featuring from the bench, he my once again find himself amongst the substitutes.
That’s especially the case given Kai Havertz impressed, opening the scoring in that game, and the German has a good track record of scoring goals in big games.
He bagged the only strike in last season’s Champions League final, set Chelsea on their way in the semi-finals as he opened the scoring in their first-leg with over Tottenham in this competition, while he also netted in the recent Club World Cup final against Palmeiras.
He’s already got a goal against Liverpool this season at Anfield, and may be one to keep an eye on in the goalscoring markets.
Mo Salah To Score Anytime
Although Havertz is a worthy shout, Liverpool have conceded just three goals in 10 games and Mo Salah will fancy his chances even more.
The Egyptian has bagged 27 goals in 31 appearances this season to date, including four from the Red’s past three outings, while he’s already scored in both clashes with Chelsea this season.
MO SALAH TO SCORE ANYTIME
KAI HAVERTZ TO SCORE ANYTIME
CESAR AZPILICUETA TO BE SHOWN A CARD
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