These two sides are locked on 28 points in the last two slots of the top half of the table, though Liverpool boast the better goal difference and possess a game in hand. Both sides are struggling for results, though the situation at Chelsea is particularly concerning after posting a dire W3-D1-L7 record since late October in all competitions.
All three victories were picked up at Stamford Bridge, against Dinamo Zagreb, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, while a point was claimed away at Nottingham Forest. The Blues did find the net in defeats to Brighton and Fulham, but they failed to land a blow when going down to top-four outfits Man City (thrice), Arsenal and Newcastle.
Although Liverpool’s W3-D1-L3 record from December onwards leaves a lot to be desired, it’s worth noting that only two of these games were played at Anfield, as all three defeats came on their travels.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been a bit hit and miss in their encounters with the top sides this term, winning seven of 11 clashes with the traditional “Big Six”, Newcastle and European duo Napoli and Ajax, while losing the other four. Each defeat came away from home, though they only took a first-half lead in three of 11 games overall as they’ve been slow starters.
Liverpool To Win And Both Teams To Score
Both sides have their share of absentees at present. Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota have long been attached to the treatment table, while fellow attacker Roberto Firmino is a doubt for Liverpool, so a front three of Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez and Mo Salah appears inevitable here. Elsewhere, Virgil van Dijk is a huge loss in defence, as can be demonstrated by the few games he’s missed this season.
League One side Derby took Liverpool to penalties in his absence, Man City put three past them in their December League Cup meeting, while Brentford and Brighton also scored three times each in the Red’s past two league games. Wolves managed to score twice at Anfield in the FA Cup and were unlucky not to get the job done, and though they did fail to fire in the replay at Molineux, it’s worth noting that the midlands club have desperately struggled for output over the past few seasons.
Graham Potter could field an entire 11 of injured or suspended players right now, with Edouard Mendy, Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell, Reece James, N’Golo Kante, Denis Zakaria, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Joao Felix and Armando Broja all missing.
Around six or seven of those would legitimately be starters, though at least Potter can call upon solid defensive acquisition Benoit Badiashile and new £88m signing Mykhailo Mudryk. It remains to be seen if the Ukrainian will justify his eye-watering transfer fee, but he’ll be a dangerous weapon from the bench if he isn’t let off the leash from the start.
Despite Chelsea’s struggles in the final third and especially against the top sides, Liverpool’s backline has failed to convince and the absence of van Dijk leaves the prospect of a clean sheet unlikely. However, their record at Anfield still needs to be respected, where they’re an impressive W19-D3-L1 in the league since November 2021. Still, there were 10 clean sheets from the first 12 games in this run, compared to just three from the last 11.
LIVERPOOL TO WIN AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
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