Chelsea vs Liverpool Odds, Pick | Sunday Premier League Preview
Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Darwin Nunez of Liverpool
Chelsea vs Liverpool Odds
|Over / Under|
-188 / +150
The highlight match of the opening weekend of the Premier League has some extra juice because of the current transfer situation of Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo. Both Chelsea and Liverpool are competing to sign the young Brighton star, with Liverpool and Brighton agreeing to a fee but Caicedo reportedly preferring Chelsea, who is offering a higher per week wage.
These two sides have played a series of high-profile matches in the last few years, and the last four between them have all ended goalless. They played two 0-0 draws in both the EFL Cup and FA Cup finals in spring 2022, and Liverpool won both on penalties.
The Blues were the better side overall in both matches last year, but their poor finishing led to them settling for 0-0 draws.
Both clubs are expected to trend upward this year relative to last — Liverpool are much healthier to start the season while Chelsea have appointed new manager Mauricio Pochettino and cleared out a lot from the club's roster.
Given both clubs' current roster situations, Sunday should be an open and high-event contest.
There’s no team in the entire Premier League that had higher variance in 2022-23 than Chelsea following a poor 2021-22 campaign that saw them finish 12th with a barely above-average expected goal difference.
Multiple managers, hundreds of millions spent in the transfer window and a ton of attacking options couldn't help them get results.
The Saudi Arabian league paid a bunch of money to Chelsea to clear out a lot of the deadwood from the club. As a result of that and other sales, the Blues return less than half of their minutes from last year.
Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic are all gone, which also means that Chelsea lost more than half of their xGproduction from last season.
The two main pieces that were set to replace the shots for Chelsea were Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig and Nico Jackson from Villarreal.
Jackson is expected to be the main central striker, but his 2.31 shots per 90 at Villarreal last year suggests that he’s not quite good enough to be a true striker for a top-four competitor in England.
Jackson adds other value through shot creation and ball carrying, but there’s no 15-20 goal player on this team right now. Nkunku picked up a serious knee injury in training and is out for multiple months.
Jurgen Klopp has so many attacking options to pick from for the opening week that it's difficult to see how he fits all of the Reds' top players into the team. Mohamed Salah is a nailed-on starter, but some combination of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo are expected to make up the rest of the front three.
Since Liverpool haven't yet signed a defensive midfielder, he has no real choice except to play Alexis Mac Allister, Curtis Jones and Dominik Szoboszlai as the midfield three.
All three of those players are young and athletic and can press effectively, but none of them are defense first or ball winners by nature. That could leave Liverpool dangerously exposed in transition defense, which has been a common theme throughout their preseason tour.
The cracks were clear for the Reds on the road last season in the opening match at Fulham when Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk getting exposed repeatedly at Craven Cottage.
Liverpool's defense away from home last year was a bottom-half unit, and there's nothing in the current profile and squad that suggests they'll be any better.
The Reds were also one of the worst set piece efficiency teams in the league — alongside Chelsea — and you'd expect both to improve and regress back toward the mean naturally in that area.
Chelsea vs Liverpool
Betting Pick & Prediction
This match is more likely to resemble a basketball match with the frequent transitions, frenetic pressing and lack of a real midfield for either team.
The Chelsea projected starting midfield of Enzo Fernandez and Conor Gallagher is also short on defending and ball winning, and that's going to make it really difficult for the Blues to track all of the midfield runners Liverpool are sure to push forward as much as possible.
I bet the over 2.5 at -130 and would bet it up to -150, but the market has pushed the total up and a bit out of range in that market. I'd target both teams to score in the first half at +275 as this game should be relatively competitive and wide-open in midfield.