Premier League Preview: Liverpool Winning Run To Continue Versus Chelsea
Looking to Bounce Back
Liverpool face Chelsea in the Premier League this weekend and will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing midweek defeat to Napoli by extending their hundred percent winning run in the Premier League. Liverpool will be hoping to maintain the gap that they have opened at the top of the Premier League by beating Chelsea. The Reds have a strong record against Chelsea under Klopp. They have only lost twice including in last season’s third-round Carabao Cup fixture. In the most recent fixture, Liverpool triumphed on penalties in the UEFA Super Cup last month. This should provide a psychological boost.
The front three will be hoping to replicate their Newcastle display rather than the blunted Napoli performance. All three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will expect to start, with squad options, such as Xherdan Shaqiri or Rhian Brewster, more likely to be on the bench with a view to starting in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday. Salah scored a stunner last time out against Chelse. He will be hoping to get on the scoresheet against his former club again.
Changes in Defence and Midfield
Liverpool are still without long-term absentees Alisson Becker and Nathaniel Clyne, while Sunday’s fixture will come too soon for Naby Keita who returned to training on Friday. As such Adrian will continue to deputise. Meanwhile, the defence in front of him should remain unchanged. Instead, Klopp will make wholesale changes in midweek. However, there is a fixture clash in the Carabao Cup. The Liverpool U21s are involved in against Fleetwood Town on Wednesday. This could see Joe Gomez replace Trent Alexander Arnold at right-back against Chelsea.
Fabinho’s quality will likely see him as one of a few squad members to be asked to start all three of Chelsea, Newcastle and Napoli though there could be rotation elsewhere in midfield. Captain Jordan Henderson will be hoping to retain his place after a solid individual display in midweek while Georginio Wijnaldum will be expecting to replace James Milner in the starting eleven. Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both also represent solid options in the middle of the park and have an outside chance of starting.
Squad Options in Attack Will Have to Wait
Upfront, it is hard to see past the brilliant front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino retaining their places. Firmino’s brief rest against Newcastle prior to Divock Origi‘s injury in addition to Salah and Mane’s high fitness levels having not been involved for their countries over the international break means that starting them against Chelsea should not be a problem. The gulf in quality between these three and the attackers in reserve means that they must start in games of this calibre for Liverpool to maintain their perfect start. The opportunity to rest them will come in midweek against MK Dons. Here, squad players such as Shaqiri will have to wait for their chance.
Predicted XI: Adrian, Trent Alexander Arnold, Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino