The late kickoff in the EPL on Saturday sees Antonio Conte’s Chelsea travel to Anfield to take on free-scoring, but free-conceding, Liverpool, in a match that should light up our screens.
Here’s a quickfire guide to everything you need to know ahead of the game.
Liverpool has had the edge over Chelsea in recent meetings, having taken four points off the Blues last season.
The Reds have taken at least a point from five of their last six games with Chelsea (two wins, three draws, one defeat), with the last three meetings between the two sides at Anfield all finishing in 1-1 draws.
Remarkably, you have to go all the way back to May 2012 to find the last Liverpool win over Chelsea at Anfield, when Jordan Henderson was among the scorers in a resounding 4-1 victory.
RECENT EPL FORM
Both sides are in excellent form in the Premier League, and if you look at their recent play across all competitions, you can see that both sides are heading into the weekend in red-hot goal-scoring form. Liverpool has scored three or more in each of their last five games in all competitions, while Chelsea scored four goals in each of their last two.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
With a shade under a third of the season already gone, Chelsea sits nine points behind runaway leaders Manchester City and are desperately trying to hang on to the coattails of Pep Guardiola’s men. With City away at Huddersfield on Sunday, defeat for Chelsea at Anfield would be unthinkable if Antonio Conte’s men have any designs on overtaking the Sky Blues in the second half of the season.
Liverpool, meanwhile, sit three points behind Chelsea, in fifth, and can draw level with the Blues with a victory on Saturday evening.
WHO SAID WHAT?
Check out the pre-match press conferences from both managers, as Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte faced the media ahead of this weekend’s match.
WHERE WILL THE MATCH BE WON (AND LOST)?
With both sides in superb form in front of goal, the result here will be determined by the men at the other end of the field.
While the two sides’ “goals for” tallies are just one apart (24 for Liverpool, 23 for Chelsea), the “goals against” column make for more significant reading. Chelsea has conceded just 10 goals so far, seven less than Liverpool, who have struggled to keep things tight at the back this season.
WHAT DO THE FORMER PLAYERS THINK?
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard and Chelsea terrace hero Frank Lampard offer their predictions ahead of the match.
THE MEN MOST LIKELY…
…to test the opposition’s keeper: Mohamed Salah
Liverpool’s Egyptian winger (and former Chelsea forward) has become a constant threat to opposing goalkeepers this season. He’s currently leading the EPL scoring charts with nine goals, and he has hit more shots on target than any other player in the EPL this season (26). Whenever he’s in possession and in sight of the goal, expect him to threaten the scoreboard.
…to score a big-price first goal: Marcos Alonso
Chelsea’s left-back has proved to be just as effective going forward as he is in defense. The Spaniard is currently the EPL’s top-scoring defender, with three. He’s +1600 to open the scoring at Anfield this weekend.
…to use his head to get ahead: Alvaro Morata
The Chelsea hitman is tied for second in the EPL in goals with eight but, unlike his fellow striking rivals, half of those goals were scored with his head. Indeed, Morata tops the list of headed goal scorers so far this season with four, and he will be a constant threat to the Liverpool defense, both on the ground and in the air.
The +110 on Liverpool looks too stingy to consider here. The Reds have the home advantage but haven’t been able to turn that into wins against Chelsea for the last five years, and after watching the Reds throw away a 3-0 lead in Seville in midweek, it’s hard to invest in a home win at that short a price.
The smart bet here is the draw, and at +250, it’s a pick that’ll offer the most bang for your buck.
[Main image credit: Airviews Photography on Flickr]