Chelsea vs Liverpool preview
A wounded lion is always dangerous. But what if the battle is between two wounded lions? That is the question on everyone’s mind as Chelsea host Liverpool in a game that would generally decide the destination of the title. However, now, this is between two teams seeking to regain self-respect and momentum after their dismal seasons have been marked by two huge losses.
Liverpool come on the back of a 4-1 battering by Manchester City. Meanwhile, Chelsea fans are all asking the same question- “Will Graham Potter be sacked?”, after they were humbled again at home, this time in a 0-2 loss to Aston Villa.
Both these teams need a win urgently. Because a draw won’t do a world of good for either, this promises to be an exciting affair.
Chelsea vs Liverpool – Team news
Chelsea are nursing injuries to key players like Thiago Silva, Raheem Sterling, and Mason Mount. However, Mason Mount could return to the first team after making the bench in the defeat to Aston Villa. There are no other injury worries in the Chelsea camp. Cucurella might be taken out of the firing line after another torrid outing against Villa.
Chelsea won their first three Premier League games under Graham Potter.
Since: W4 D7 L8
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 1, 2023
Graham Potter might have to do some slight rotating as this fixture falls just 3 days after the home loss to Aston Villa. With a UCL fixture against Real Madrid also in sight, and the PL campaign going nowhere, only the prestige of the opponent would stop Potter from making some changes.
Predicted Chelsea lineup: Arrizabalaga, Reece James, Koulibaly, Badiashile, Enzo Fernandez, Kante, Kovacic, Chilwell, Felix, Mount, Havertz
Liverpool, on the other hand, have their own injury problems in Thiago, Bajcetic, and Gomez. However, Darwin Nunez could return to the starting lineup after making an appearance off the bench against Man City. Eyes will be on Luis Diaz if he can shake off his injury and make the bench. Elsewhere, the team picks itself as Klopp has a trusted batch of players he trusts to play through a bad patch.
Predicted Liverpool lineup: Allison, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Elliott, Henderson, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez
Chelsea vs Liverpool – Key players
Mateo Kovacic and Reece James – Chelsea
Mateo Kovacic’s silky dribbling skills make him one of the world’s best midfielders at playing through the press. Liverpool’s suffocating “Gegenpressing” makes it difficult to play through them without the danger of losing the ball in a vulnerable position.
The Whole of Chelsea’s midfield will be under pressure against Liverpool’s intense press but Kovacic can act as a safety valve to progress the Blues forwards. If Liverpool manage to control Kovacic’s dribbles, they would nullify the Chelsea attack to a great extent, but not fully.
That’s where Reece James comes in. The flying wingback is given ample freedom to bomb forward in Potter’s system. He has added goals to his game and along with Chilwell, provides attacking thrust from deep. Liverpool’s attacking fullbacks have been found out in their defensive work this season so Chilwell and James would fancy their chances in this duel.
Andrew Robertson & Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
If Reece James is a key player for Chelsea, the Liverpool man tasked with stopping him automatically becomes one to watch out for. Robertson had a nightmare against Manchester City but his mental fortitude means he will look to come out aggressive and put things right against a frail Chelsea outfit. If he put his stamp on the left wing and push James back, the battle on this wing could define the result of this game.
A 10/10 Grealish performance ⭐
4-1 and it's done & dusted for Liverpool 🙃#MCILIV #MCFC #LFC pic.twitter.com/ei6TlbnT3D
— FootTheBall FC (@FootTheBallFC) April 1, 2023
On the other wing, Mohamed Salah will once again be the talisman. The Egyptian was one of the few players to come out of the Man City game with some credit to his name. A well-taken goal took his tally to 23 goals in all competitions this season. Salah has been the one constant in Liverpool’s topsy-turvy season. He would look to take advantage of Chilwell’s forays forward by getting at the end of Van Dijk’s balls over the top.
Chelsea vs Liverpool prediction
Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge is no longer a fortress. The outfit from London looks to be in free fall. Despite Liverpool going through troubles of their own, their record against big teams this season has been very good.
An early goal could decide proceedings as both teams come in this one with a vulnerable state of mind. However, Liverpool look the stronger team mentally. Expect them to pile on the misery on Chelsea in a close game where Chelsea try but fail to match their opponent’s level. FootTheBall predicts Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool.