MX23RW : Thursday, February 21 00:37:56
Sep 26, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Anfield
Attendance: 45,503
Sturridge (58')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Palmieri (79'), Hazard (85')

Preview: Liverpool vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of the EFL Cup tie between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield.

Liverpool head into Wednesday's EFL Cup tie with Chelsea looking to extend their winning run in all competitions to eight matches.

Chelsea dropped their first points of the new Premier League season against West Ham United on Sunday, but the Blues are also undefeated since the opening weekend of the campaign.


An understated Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League game between Liverpool and West Ham United on August 12, 2018© Reuters

Liverpool have enjoyed the perfect start to the 2018-19 campaign, with seven wins, 17 goals and four clean sheets coming from their opening seven fixtures.

Those statistics have been put together with just 16 players being handed time on the pitch in either the Premier League or Champions League, but that approach will change for Wednesday's fixture.

Jurgen Klopp has claimed that he will name a strong starting lineup for the visit of Chelsea, but the short turnaround ahead of the meeting between the two clubs in the league on Saturday will inevitably lead to a number of players being rested.

Nevertheless, Klopp will regard this competition as a realistic opportunity to win his first trophy with the Merseyside giants due to the strength-in-depth that he has at his disposal.

Some of the fringe members of the team may miss out through injury, but Klopp is unlikely to be shy in introducing one or two youngsters into the fold after their performances against high-level opposition during pre-season.

The club's supporters will be excited about the likely full debut of Fabinho, who has had to remain patient on the sidelines due to illness and the form of the rest of Liverpool's midfield.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge will be aware that this is their platform to stake a claim for more minutes in the Premier League, despite having impressed when being given opportunities during the opening six weeks of the campaign.

Some clubs competing in Europe may regard this competition as a distraction, but whoever represents Liverpool on Wednesday evening will be motivated to convince Klopp that they deserve to be considered as more than bit-part players and are ready to deputise should any of the first XI fail to maintain their recent impressive form.

Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW


Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri celebrates after watching his side beat Huddersfield Town on August 11, 2018© Reuters

New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has previously suggested that he has been waiting to give minutes to more members of his first-team squad, but the Italian still went with a familiar side for last week's Europa League clash at PAOK.

However, Sarri's decisions on that evening would suggest that more alterations will be made for Wednesday's game as he attempts to manage a squad of more than 25 players.

Some of the dilemmas have been taken out of Sarri's hands due to injuries, but consideration will also be given to Chelsea arriving back late from Greece on Friday.

Tiredness could have played a factor in Sunday's goalless draw with West Ham United, with the Blues arguably fortunate to come away with a share of the spoils against their London rivals.

That could have reminded Sarri that he may have to rely on other options sooner rather than later, and that is likely to lead to alterations in both his defence and midfield.

A total of 19 players have been used in seven matches since the opening weekend of the Premier League, with the most recent member of the squad to join that list being Gary Cahill.

The long-serving defender has hinted that he will request to leave Chelsea during the January transfer window if he is not provided with enough minutes on the pitch, and Wednesday night is an opportunity to show that he deserves more minutes at the back.

Alvaro Morata will also hope to improve on one goal coming from 395 minutes of action, although Olivier Giroud has only provided the same return in 15 minutes less than his fellow attacking teammate.

Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWD

Team News

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho in action during a pre-season friendly with Bury in July 2018© Reuters

Klopp has confirmed that goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will start for Liverpool, and the Belgian stopper is likely to be joined by Fabinho.

Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno could feature in defence, while teenager Curtis Jones may be drafted into the team if Klopp rests each of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Dominic Solanke is likely to only be fit enough for a place on the bench, and the game is expected to come too soon for Adam Lallana and Divock Origi as they continue their recovery from injury.

Chelsea are likely to be without each of Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Pedro for the trip to Anfield.

Andreas Christensen, Cahill and Cesc Fabregas should all be provided with starts, as should Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi after they failed to make the 18-man squad in Europe last week.

Eden Hazard will feature in the group which travels to the North-West of England, although the playmaker could be left on the bench ahead of Saturday's Premier League showdown.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Moreno; Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Shaqiri, Sturridge, Jones

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Caballero; Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, Palmieri; Drinkwater, Ampadu, Fabregas; Moses, Morata, Hudson-Odoi

Head To Head

Wednesday's clash represents the 180th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Liverpool registering 77 victories in comparison to 62 wins for Chelsea.

However, it is Chelsea who have done a solid job in nullifying Klopp's side in recent matches, with the Blues undefeated in the last three encounters.

Liverpool's last success against the West Londoners came in September 2016, when they prevailed by a 2-1 scoreline at Stamford Bridge.

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We say: Liverpool 3-2 Chelsea

Anything could happen in this match given the changes that both managers are expected to make. We feel that should lead to an entertaining encounter on Merseyside, with Liverpool's extra quality in the final third potentially proving to be the difference.

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Who will win Wednesday's EFL Cup tie between Liverpool and Chelsea?

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah celebrates with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane after opening the scoring during his side's Premier League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion on August 25, 2018
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