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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Chelsea, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With their 100% starts to the season on the line, Liverpool and Chelsea prepare for a blockbuster Premier League clash at Anfield on Saturday evening.

Jurgen Klopp's side saw off Burnley 2-0 in gameweek two, while Chelsea eased to victory at Arsenal by the same scoreline.


Match preview

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pictured on August 8, 2021© Reuters

With the Anfield faithful returning to the scene of the crime in the 2020-21 season, Klopp insisted that Liverpool would not be out for revenge against Burnley, who ended the Reds' 68-game unbeaten home run in the top flight last term.

Lightning would not strike twice for Sean Dyche's men on Merseyside, as Diogo Jota's header and Sadio Mane's calm finish either side of the half-time whistle propelled Liverpool to a comfortable win after their equally dominant success over Norwich City on the opening weekend.

Starting as they mean to go on, Liverpool's back-to-back wins and clean sheets have seen them rise to third in the rankings - level on points and goal difference with Chelsea and West Ham United - and Klopp's men will endeavour to once again take advantage of Manchester City and Manchester United's early slip-ups.

Victory over the Clarets marked Liverpool's seventh in a row in the Premier League - the last four of which have seen Klopp's men record shutouts - and the Reds' bright attacking contingent have helped their side score at least two goals in each game during that hot streak.

Also unbeaten in 12 Premier League matches since going down 1-0 against Fulham back in March, a Liverpool side with a near-empty medical room certainly have the look of title challengers once again, although their opponents are equally desperate to reclaim the crown.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel celebrates with the Champions League trophy on May 29, 2021© Reuters

There were no prizes for guessing who would make the net ripple first at the Emirates Stadium last week, as Romelu Lukaku up against Pablo Mari and Rob Holding certainly spelled trouble for the Arsenal defence.

The £97.5m man's physical presence proved impossible for the Gunners to deal with as he bullied his way through to tap home Reece James's cross in the 15th minute, and James soon went from provider to goalscorer to put the tie to bed with 35 minutes on the clock.

Thomas Tuchel's side may not have made a lot of additions this summer, but the re-signing of Lukaku may have given the Blues the attacking edge that they need to turn into genuine title contenders, although that tag will certainly be put to the test against the 2019-20 champions this weekend.

It has been 11 years since Chelsea last opened a Premier League campaign with three wins and three clean sheets on the trot, but having restricted Arsenal and Crystal Palace to a combined 10 shots earlier this month, Tuchel's resolute defence will aim to replicate such performances against one of the most famed attacks the country has to offer.

Mason Mount scored the only goal as Chelsea prevailed 1-0 at Anfield last term, but that defeat represented only Liverpool's second in 13 league games against Chelsea, who had previously failed to win in five on the Merseyside turf.

Liverpool Premier League form:
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Chelsea Premier League form:
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Chelsea form (all competitions):
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Team News

Fabinho warms up for Liverpool in April 2021© Reuters

Liverpool lynchpin Fabinho was not involved against Burnley following the death of his father, and it remains to be seen if the Brazilian will return in time to face Chelsea, while Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain is expected to come back after the birth of his child.

Kostas Tsimikas's performances caught the eye during Andy Robertson's absence, but the Scottish defender was fit enough to make the bench last time out and is sure to return to the first XI here.

Harvey Elliott played the full 90 minutes against Burnley but may drop out for the more experienced Thiago Alcantara for a game of this magnitude, while Jota will hope to keep his place up top over Roberto Firmino.

Chelsea's only two concerns at the minute are COVID-positive pair Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with N'Golo Kante and Hakim Ziyech both fit enough for cameo roles at the Emirates.

Mateo Kovacic will likely drop out for the fit-again Kante this week, but that may be the only change that the Blues make following their dominant performance against Arsenal.

While James has returned at right-back, Ben Chilwell remains on the bench as Marcos Alonso - who at one point did not appear to have a future at the club - aims to continue his solid start to the campaign.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mane

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Havertz; Lukaku


SM words green background

We say: Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea

Something has to give in this crunch battle between two of the league's eye-catching performers, but the calibre of their respective early opponents must be taken into account.

Tuchel's staunch rearguard will consider themselves fortunate if they do not concede against the Reds, but with attacking threat coming from all areas, we think the Blues' firepower will help them maintain their perfect start to the season at the expense of Liverpool's.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Liverpool vs Chelsea

Liverpool
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Draw
16.1%
Chelsea
36.8%
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Michail Antonio celebrates scoring for West Ham United against Leicester City in the Premier League on August 23, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea86111631319
2Liverpool85302261618
3Manchester CityMan City85211631317
4Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton843185315
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd84221610614
6Everton7421138514
7Brentford8332107312
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves840488012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs7403610-412
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham73221410411
11Leicester CityLeicester83231314-111
12Aston Villa83141212010
13Arsenal7313510-510
14Crystal Palace7142811-37
15Southampton8143610-47
16Watford8215715-87
17Leeds UnitedLeeds8134715-86
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle7034816-83
19Burnley8035513-83
20Norwich CityNorwich8026216-142

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