Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Premier League (19) | Anfield
January 21, 2023 | 12.30pm (GMT)
Having seen Liverpool consistently fail to perform, there will be an expectation that some of Liverpool’s youngsters are involved against the west London side.
1. Forcing their way in
After a fantastic showing in holding midfield, Stefan Bajcetic will consider himself unlucky if he doesn’t start on Saturday.
The manager hinted at the possibility, saying, “it doesn’t look like we have to be careful” with the deployment of the 18-year-old.
Harvey Elliott who got the only goal at Molineux, also staked a claim to start.
2. Nunez ready for return
3. Mudryk in the mix but no Felix
Chelsea‘s big spending looks set to continue long after the Roman Abramovich era.
Joao Felix and Mykhailo Mudryk are two big names to have signed for the Blues this month, with the latter costing over £88 million including add-ons, taking their monthly spend to £190 million…so far.
Mudryk has been training this week and could start on Saturday after Potter said there was “a chance” he could make his debut.
Felix, however, won’t be available – the loanee from Atletico Madrid was sent off on his debut for a studs-up tackle on Fulham‘s Kenny Tete.
Chelsea will also be without Edouard Mendy, ex-Red Raheem Sterling, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, Armando Broja and Christian Pulisic.
Possible Chelsea XI: Kepa; Chalobah, Badiashile, Silva, Hall; Kovacic, Jorginho, Gallagher; Ziyech, Aubameyang, Mount
4. 1,000 and counting
Saturday’s fixture will be Klopp’s 1,000th as a manager.
Across 23 seasons, he’s managed three clubs and has gone down a legend at both Mainz and Borussia Dortmund. He took the latter back to the top of European football, reaching the Champions League final and winning three major honours.
At Liverpool, he boasts the best win percentage (62%) of any manager in the club’s history and has won every trophy on offer except the Europa League.
We hope there are another 1,000 games, but just with the Reds of course!
5. Potter in need of some magic
Some have described Liverpool’s current predicament as a crisis but Chelsea are in an even deeper hole than Liverpool at the moment.
Since Graham Potter took over in September, there’s been turmoil behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge.
Todd Boehly’s new ownership has several implemented changes in the backroom staff including a turnover in medical personnel.
Things haven’t gone well on the pitch either and Chelsea languishes in 10th, level on points with Liverpool having lost a game more.
The Blues are currently on a run of two wins in their last nine games across all competitions, while Liverpool have four in the same period.
6. Avoiding the unwanted record
Liverpool have played two Premier League games in 2023 and have won neither. The last time the Reds opened the calendar year with the same record was 1993.
And not since 1953 have they lost the first three, a record that has been in place 70 years and one we don’t want to see re-written anytime soon!
With this match heralding the halfway stage of the season, let’s hope the Reds make sure they start the second half with momentum and confidence and not with less than 30 points for the first time since 2014/15 (28).
7. “The beard is now really grey”
Klopp was in a jovial mood for his pre-match press conference and when asked about taking charge of his 1,000th game on Saturday, he said:
“I am really blessed, three fantastic clubs gave me an opportunity to do my job.
“When you come in somewhere you never know how it will go and I’m really lucky.
“The beard is now really grey, it wasn’t when I arrived here. I’m not sure if that’s because of the age or because of Liverpool!”
8. The lunchtime kick-off
They’re universally unpopular among supporters but a win does get the weekend off to a flyer.
The match kicks off at 12.30pm (GMT) on Saturday but despite the early start, the Anfield crowd will be up for it given a renewed sense of positivity off the back of a better performance in the FA Cup.
It’s the fourth time that the Reds have kicked off at this time so far this season.
Two draws and then a defeat against Nottingham Forest mean we’ve taken just two points from a possible nine when the Reds have been picked for the Saturday lunchtime match.
9. Michael Oliver in charge
England’s most highly-rated official has been appointed to this one.
It’s the first time Michael Oliver will have taken charge of Liverpool since the Reds lost their unbeaten home record to Leeds, back in October.
John Brooks is on lead VAR duties.
10. How to follow the match with This Is Anfield
Liverpool vs Chelsea is live on BT Sport 1 with coverage getting underway at 11.30am before kick-off at 12.30pm.
This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog will also be in full swing, with Sam Millne providing minute-by-minute updates from 11.45am.
Come on you Redmen!