MX23RW : Sunday, October 21 23:37:57
Sep 29, 2018 at 5.30pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Chelsea
1-1
Liverpool
Hazard (25')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Sturridge (89')
Timeline
25'     E. Hazard (M. Kovacic)
(Tripping) S. Mane        39'
65'     A. Morata (O. Giroud)
(M. Salah) X. Shaqiri        66'
73'     V. Moses (Willian)
(Tripping) J. Milner        77'
(J. Henderson) N. Keita        78'
81'     R. Barkley (M. Kovacic)
(J. Milner) D. Sturridge        86'
(X. Shaqiri) D. Sturridge        89'

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

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of the Premier League clash between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

Two of the Premier League's three remaining unbeaten sides face off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening as Chelsea play host to early pacesetters Liverpool.

Three days on from their eventful EFL Cup third-round tie at Anfield, which the Blues edged late on, the sides do battle all over again with three league points on the line.


Chelsea

Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri celebrates scoring against Liverpool in their EFL Cup clash on September 26, 2018© Reuters

Chelsea emerged victorious from their midweek cup tie on Merseyside thanks to the individual brilliance of star man Eden Hazard, who sent in the free kick for Emerson Palmieri's leveller before taking matters into his own hands five minutes from time.

If not for Hazard's standout display, the Blues would almost certainly have crashed out of the domestic cup, fresh on the back of dropping their first league points at West Ham United last weekend.

As it is, the Londoners have enjoyed a near-perfect start to life under Maurizio Sarri, winning seven and drawing one of their opening eight fixtures in all competitions, having also overcome PAOK in last week's Europa League opener.

Sarri initially claimed that he would need a few months to instil his favoured style of play on his new group, and while he has continued to play down title talk, the fast start made by Chelsea means that they must surely be considered serious contenders this term.

The form of Hazard, combined with the passing ability of Jorginho and the combative nature of Chelsea's other midfield options, means that the six-time English champions should certainly enjoy a better campaign than last time out when finishing outside of the top four entirely.

In the view of Sarri, regaining a Champions League berth and challenging for silverware would equate to a good first season at the helm, but even winning two major trophies in two seasons was not enough for the man he succeeded in West London.

The biggest concern for Sarri is the risk of fatigue setting in, with the Blues having to factor in Europa League matches this season - unlike two years ago when storming to the title - which made the Italian's decision to field such a strong squad at PAOK last week all the more surprising.

Chelsea were made to pay with their below-par showing at the London Stadium a few days later, but a number of fringe players stepped up when needed at Anfield on Wednesday, and Sarri's men now have a big chance to strike a second blow on rivals Liverpool in this early-season blockbuster.

Recent form in Premier League: WWWWWD
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWDW


Liverpool

Joel Matip celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Southampton on September 22, 2018© Reuters

Defeat to Chelsea in the week was the first blemish for Jurgen Klopp in his third full season in charge, with his side being made to pay the price for a sluggish performance in the final stages of the match.

In truth, the Reds did not look like relinquishing their lead prior to Emerson converting from close range, but complacency was allowed to creep in and now a big showing is needed at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Liverpool were tipped as serious title contenders even before a ball was kicked this term, thanks to a perfect summer transfer window that saw Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri arrive, and they have lived up to the hype so far.

West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton have all tried and failed to take points off Klopp's charges, with 17 goals being scored by the Reds and just two conceded.

Klopp appears to have found the perfect formula for a sustained title charge, and it could be argued that his biggest challenge now is keeping supporters' expectations in check. As pointed out by club legend Phil Thompson this week, however, there is no hiding from the fact that a major trophy simply needs to be added to the collection this season.

Liverpool's last major success came in the EFL Cup six years ago; since then they have finished eighth, seventh, sixth, eighth, fourth and fourth in the top flight, while also falling just short in three major finals.

There is a real sense on Merseyside that the English football heavyweights are on the brink of achieving something special, but the Reds still need to prove that they can last the whole season playing in this demanding style of Klopp's.

If the trip to Wembley Stadium earlier this month, and the subsequent 2-1 win over Spurs, allowed Liverpool to prove that they are the real deal this season, then Saturday's showdown in the capital presents a further chance to hammer home their title credentials.

Recent form in Premier League: WWWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWL


Team News

Ross Barkley in action with Naby Keita during the EFL Cup clash between Chelsea and Liverpool on September 26, 2018© Reuters

Both managers made eight changes to their starting lineups for Wednesday's EFL Cup tie, with full debutant Fabinho one of five Liverpool players to make their first start of the season.

Each of those fringe players will likely make way for this second clash between the teams in three days, as Klopp reverts back to something close to the side that saw off Southampton with ease last time out in the league.

Shaqiri was taken off at half time in that 3-0 win to give Liverpool more midfield control, however, and he will likely be sacrificed here, leaving James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Keita, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to battle it out for the three midfield berths.

Daniel Sturridge did his chances of inclusion no harm with his acrobatic finish to open the scoring in midweek, but he was also guilty of missing a sitter and is unlikely to have done enough to squeeze one of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino out of the side.

In terms of the hosts, Mateo Kovacic, Cesar Azpilicueta and Willian were the only survivors from the stalemate at West Ham, and all three are expected to retain their places in the side this weekend.

Pedro has been suffering from a shoulder injury sustained against PAOK, giving Willian an extended run in the side, while Olivier Giroud is now the first-choice option through the middle due to Alvaro Morata's poor form in 2018.

Jorginho and second-half substitute N'Golo Kante should return to the side after starting on the bench at Anfield, meanwhile, and Kovacic is still favourite to get the nod over Ross Barkley on the left of the midfield three.

Sarri may have a big call to make in the heart of defence, though, as Antonio Rudiger is carrying a knock picked up against West Ham, potentially leading the way for a first league start of the season for club captain Gary Cahill.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Alonso, Luiz, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Kovacic, Jorginho, Kante; Hazard, Giroud, Willian

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Robertson, Van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Salah


Head To Head

Following their EFL Cup third-round loss, Liverpool have now won just two of their last 14 meetings with Chelsea in all competitions, although those two triumphs did come at Stamford Bridge.

This will be the 58th meeting between the sides since the turn of the millennium, making this the most contested fixture in English football during that time.

The Blues won this corresponding fixture 1-0 in May thanks to Giroud's first-half goal, making it four matches without defeat for them since going down 2-1 here in September 2016.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool

This intriguing encounter at Stamford Bridge really could go either way, with both teams enjoying impressive starts to the 2018-19 season. Chelsea may have two points fewer than Liverpool after six Premier League matches, but their victory at Anfield in midweek ensures that they just about have the momentum heading into what is arguably the pick of this season's fixtures to date.


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Who will win Saturday's Premier League meeting between Chelsea and Liverpool?

Chelsea
Draw
Liverpool
Chelsea
39.6%
Draw
11.0%
Liverpool
49.5%
Cesc Fabregas in action for Chelsea on August 7, 2018
Read Next:
How Chelsea could line up against Liverpool
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City97202632323
2Liverpool97201631323
3Chelsea96302071321
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs9702167921
5Arsenal86021910918
6Bournemouth95221612417
7Watford95131312116
8Everton94321512315
9Wolverhampton WanderersWolves943298115
10Manchester UnitedMan Utd94231516-114
11Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton93241013-311
13Burnley92251017-78
14West Ham UnitedWest Ham9216814-67
15Crystal Palace9216511-67
16Southampton9135614-86
17Cardiff CityCardiff9126819-115
18Fulham91261125-145
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield9036418-143
20Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9027614-82

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