Liverpool visit Chelsea on Saturday evening looking to quickly “strike back” after their League Cup defeat to the Londoners.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool
Saturday, September 29, 2018 — 5.30pm (BST)
Referee: Andre Marriner
After the starter that was the midweek cup clash, it’s now time for the main course.
The Reds’ 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Anfield was an evening to forget but it will not be looked upon as anything close to a disaster come May.
The ongoing wait for silverware made it slightly tough to stomach, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side have bigger fish to fry this season.
Last weekend’s comfortable 3-0 win at home to Southampton made it six league wins on the spin – seven would be a priceless start; one only ever achieved once in the Premier League.
Chelsea dropped their first points of the campaign at West Ham last week, drawing 0-0, but they are a top side who will fancy their chances of quickfire back-to-back victories over the Reds.
It is likely to be one of those trademark top-six meetings where ruthlessness in front of goal, not making mistakes and getting the rub of the green from referees proves so crucial.
Klopp will know that his first-choice team can cause their opponents all sorts of problems, but it will be a tough 90 minutes where a draw would be just fine.
With Man City almost certainly top of the league by the time kick-off arrives, this is going to be a big test of both sides’ title ambitions.
This fixture last season: Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool
Liverpool are still without the injured quartet of Adam Lallana (groin), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Divock Origi (ankle) and Rhian Brewster (knee), while key man Virgil van Dijk could be out with a rib problem.
Klopp made eight changes on Wednesday evening and a similar amount are to be expected again, with very few, if any, keeping their places.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Gini Wijnaldum are expected to return, with the former recovering from illness.
James Milner should keep his place in midfield despite playing in the League Cup, which means Klopp must then choose between Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita, with Fabinho still not ready for Premier League action.
Henderson represents the safer option, with Keita still adjusting to life at Liverpool, meaning the captain is favourite to get the nod.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all fit and raring to go – Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge are decent options from the substitutes’ bench.
Eden Hazard, match-winner on Wednesday, will return to Chelsea‘s starting lineup, with the Belgian the man the Reds need to stop.
A host of other key men should also return, including Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud, but Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Pedro are all major doubts for Maurizio Sarri’s side.
Last 5 away to Chelsea
Lost 1-0 – May 2018 (Giroud)
Won 2-1 – September 2016 (Costa; Lovren, Henderson)
Won 3-1 – October 2015 (Ramires; Coutinho x2, Benteke)
Drew 1-1 – May 2015 (Terry; Gerrard)
Lost 1-0 – January 2015 (Ivanovic)
Away fans’ pubs: Courtfield Tavern.
One piece of advice for visiting fan: There’s an excellent curry house called Masala Grill close to the stadium which is worth checking out.
Did You Know?
Only one team in Premier League history has won its first seven matches in a season – Jose Mourinho’s title-winning Chelsea side back in 2005/06.
Can Liverpool match that feat on Saturday?
Chelsea – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-1 vs. Liverpool
Drew 0-0 vs. West Ham
Won 1-0 vs. PAOK
Won 4-1 vs. Cardiff
Won 2-0 vs. Bournemouth
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 2-1 vs. Chelsea
Won 3-0 vs. Southampton
Won 3-2 vs. PSG
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Won 2-1 vs. Leicester
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, Klopp said he is happy with his options, should Van Dijk miss out:
“He (Van Dijk) is a world-class player, and if you miss a world-class player it’s not cool.
“But Dejan Lovren played his first game after 10 weeks. He played an outstanding game (against Chelsea). (Joel) Matip has been out injured for a long but played two games in a row, which is fantastic.
“If Virgil is fit and can play, then he will play. If not, then obviously we have options and that’s really good.
“We could play football before Virgil van Dijk, and we can play without him, thank God. Bit I prefer that he is fit and available.”
TV & Live Blog Info
The much-anticipated clash is live on BT Sport, with coverage getting started at 5pm (BST). Kickoff is at 5.30pm.
Chris Williams is given the task of keeping you entertained on our matchday live blog, with lots of pre-game content from 4.45pm and minute-by-minute updates during proceedings.