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Preview: Chelsea vs Liverpool – prediction, team news, line-ups

Tuesday’s Premier League action draws to a close with a mouth-watering contest between out-of-sorts heavyweights Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. 

Both sides slumped to morale-damaging defeats over the weekend and will be desperate to redeem themselves to fans in what will surprisingly be a mid-table showdown.

When it looked like Chelsea could be on the verge of recovery, March’s international break disrupted Graham Potter’s bid to get his side’s faltering Premier League season back on track.

Aston Villa stunned the Blues 2-0 in west London on Saturday, knocking them down from a three-match unbeaten league run (W2, D1) and condemning them to the bottom half of the table in the process.

Faced with the risk of missing out on a top-half finish for the first time since 1995/96, Chelsea will be out to feast on Liverpool’s travel sickness when the two out-of-form giants collide on Tuesday. 

Despite grabbing an early lead against Manchester City last weekend, the Reds suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, losing precious ground on the Premier League top four.

But more importantly, Saturday’s battering in Manchester marked Liverpool’s eighth league defeat on hostile turf this season, accounting for their worst loss tally away from home under Jurgen Klopp. 

Another underwhelming defensive display left Klopp fuming at his backline, as he told the Independent his men were lucky to concede ‘only four’ in the aftermath. 

Match Preview

Not long after it appeared Chelsea had turned the corner following a disappointing start to the new calendar year, the Blues are seemingly back in a place they thought they left behind. 

After Everton’s last-gasp equaliser held Potter’s side to a 2-2 draw in their last Premier League outing before the international break, Villa added insult to injury, putting the under-pressure manager at risk.

The last time Chelsea started a top-flight matchday in the lower reaches after 29 games was in 1995/96, which perhaps best illustrates the type of season they’re having. 

Potter desperately needs a standout result in the Premier League to throw his stuttering managerial career in west London a lifeline, and Liverpool may be able to offer just that.

In these uncertain times, beating Liverpool would still be a massive achievement for Chelsea, especially as they’ve gone winless in their last four league duels at Stamford Bridge (D2, L2). 

But the Blues may not fancy the time slot after picking up just three wins in their last 13 Premier League fixtures held in midweek (D6, L4), while they’ve lost both such match-ups in 2023.

Unlike their hosts, one of Liverpool’s rare strengths this season has been their stellar form in midweek league outings, having won their last nine such contests on the trot since going down to Leicester City in December 2021.

Some traditions are made to be broken, and given the Reds’ abysmal form in 2023, Klopp will have every reason to be worried about his side’s prospects in the capital. 

The Merseysiders have already suffered five defeats in their 11 top-flight matches in 2023 (W4, D2), one more loss than they had in the whole of 2022 (W24, D7).

On top of Liverpool’s indifferent five-game form in the Premier League (W2, D1, L2), including back-to-back defeats in the lead-up to this match, the Reds lament a sub-par away record. 

Compared to the 30 points they’ve accrued at home this season, Klopp’s underachievers have returned only 12 from 14 top-flight travels (W3, D3, L8), last beating Newcastle United on the road in February.

Since an emphatic 2-0 triumph at St James’ Park, Liverpool have lost two of their last three league games outside Anfield (D1), scoring just once during that stretch. 

Player to Watch: Joao Felix

With Chelsea drawing a blank in four Premier League home outings since the turn of the year, it would be a little wonder if they fail to score. But if there’s a player to shake things up at the Bridge, it’s Atletico Madrid loanee Joao Felix.

Although he’s only netted twice in eight league appearances for the Blues this year, the Portuguese forward has been their most flashy performer, outshining the club’s leading scorer Kai Havertz.

Player to Watch: Mohamed Salah

After picking apart Manchester United in a historic 7-0 rout in early March, Mohamed Salah has turned on a ‘stealth mode’ again, although he opened the scoring against Man City at the weekend.

With 12 strikes under his belt, the Egyptian is Liverpool’s top scorer in the Premier League, plus he’s bagged four goals in 11 league outings against Chelsea. 

Premier League Form 

Chelsea: LDWWL

Liverpool: LLWWD

Team News

This game will come too soon for Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, defensive leader Thiago Silva and second-string striker Armando Broja, as all are out with injuries. 

Question marks still hover over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Wesley Fofana and Raheem Sterling, so Potter may face a selection headache going into this match.

As for Liverpool, Stefan Bajcetic, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara are still in the treatment room, leaving Klopp with the same midfield options that were outclassed at the Etihad on Saturday.

On a more positive note, long-term absentee Luis Diaz could make the matchday squad for the first time since October after returning to training.

Chelsea potential starting line-up:

(3-4-2-1): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly, Reece James; Ben Chilwell, Enzo Fernandez, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek; Mason Mount, Joao Felix; Kai Havertz.

Liverpool potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Fabinho, Harvey Elliott, Jordan Henderson; Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez, Mohamed Salah. 

We Say: Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool

Chelsea and Liverpool shared the spoils in a drab 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture in January, but we expect them to produce a slightly more eventful performance on Tuesday.

While neither side would benefit much from another stalemate, it’s hard to give anyone the upper hand, and there’s no doubt both managers would take a point rather than lose, given the circumstances. 

Potter will urge his players to be more clinical in front of goal after failing to score from 27 attempts against Villa.

Klopp will be desperate to plug Liverpool’s defensive leaks, but he may have to wait for a better opportunity. 

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