SBN - Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Chelsea vs Liverpool Preview

Chelsea vs Liverpool Preview

Chelsea striker Timo Werner and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for; the first powerhouse clash of the English Premier League season is upon us as champions Liverpool travel to west London to lock horns with Frank Lampard’s newly-assembled Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The last meeting between these clubs was an absolute humdinger as everyone was treated to one of the most exciting matches in recent times. Liverpool won 5-3 but fans were given a taste of what American Christian Pulisic is capable of in a brilliant 30-minute cameo against one of the best teams across Europe.

Liverpool will be aiming to continue their dominance, but as we know successfully defending the Premier League title is not an easy thing to do. The Reds will face stronger competition this term, with many of the chasing teams significantly strengthening their squads, none more so than Chelsea, who have spent well over £200m.

We’re in for a mouth-watering contest. Lampard’s side did the Reds a favour by beating Manchester City last season which allowed Liverpool’s title celebrations to begin, however, this time around there won’t be any favours as Lampard seeks his first league victory as manager against the Reds.

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English Premier League
Sunday 20 September 
Stamford Bridge 
17:30

To Win
Chelsea 22/10
Draw 26/10
Liverpool 23/20

Chelsea

Chelsea are still on the hunt for a goalkeeper with Senegal’s number one Edouard Mendy expected to complete his transfer from French club Rennes. Kepa Arrizabalaga hasn’t completely convinced Lampard yet that he can consistently deliver at this level with schoolboy errors occurring too regularly, but to be fair to the Spaniard, a goalkeeper is usually only as good as the defence in front of him.

Thiago Silva will be crucial in helping Lampard shore up last season’s leaky defence. The Brazilian centre-back who represented his country 89 times, often as captain, is a world class defender and in my opinion, the Premier League will fit him like a glove. The Blues reportedly arranged a friendly against Wimbledon behind closed doors to properly prepare “The Monster” for Liverpool.

Mateo Kovacic is set to return after serving his suspension to partner N’Golo Kante in the Blues engine room. A double-pivot midfield will be needed to cope against Liverpool’s pace on the counter if Chelsea don’t opt to start a back-three.

Pulisic is expected to recover and take his spot on the left-flank after missing the opening game against Brighton, while Chelsea fans will be hoping to see Kai Havertz play in his favoured number 10 role. 

Die Mannschaft’s striker Werner suffered a slight knock (dead leg) at Brighton but will be ready to face Liverpool, who were strongly linked to his signature for months but the deal never materialized. 

Lampard will be sweating on the fitness of Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech, but this encounter may come a week to soon for the pair to feature. I won’t be surprised to see Olivier Giroud come into the starting lineup against the Reds.

The Frenchman brings something different to the game with the traditional “old-school” number nine possibly occupying Virgil Van Dijk who was given the run around by newly-promoted Leeds United.

When France met Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League, Giroud physically dominated Van Dijk and eventually got the winner by outmuscling the defender to unleash a powerful volley in the net for the win.

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Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s men could consider themselves fortunate that Mohamed Salah became the first Liverpool player to register an opening-day hat-trick since John Aldridge in 1988, while also equalling Teddy Sheringham’s record of scoring on the opening day of the English Premier League in four successive seasons.

The “Egyptian King” bailed out the Reds against Leeds United after their highly-rated defence conceded three goals at Anfield – Chelsea had previously did that. Klopp will be hoping Salah can put in another stellar performance like he usually does when he visits his old employers at the Bridge.

There are worrying signs at the heart of defence after Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds exposed frailties by not showing respect to the much stronger opponent, forcing a high press that didn’t give goalkeeper Alisson and his defenders much time on the ball to play out from the back, like they usually do with the reigning-champions looking like they still need to gain more fitness and match sharpness.

Virgil Van Dijk uncharacteristically made an error leading to goal while Trent Alexander-Arnold was a shadow of himself, but the duo has proven that they are class players who now need to pick themselves up and continue working hard to achieve their target of defending their crown.

In order to play the German tactician’s brand of football, the team needs to be in peak physical condition that looks likely to only take affect following a month of matches.

The “Gegenpressing”, the overlapping full-backs as well as captain Jordan Henderson’s combative yet assuring presence in midfield are all vital to the way the team sets-up and if these factors are countered properly, you really fancy your chances compared to when this team is fully firing and smoothly operating as a well-oiled machine.

Despite signing 24 players for £435,750,000 during his five-year tenure as Reds boss, Klopp criticised the way Chelsea have been signing players following the end of their transfer ban. Surely this wouldn’t have gone down well Lampard’s troops, especially their new-signings.

These comments don’t regularly befit a champion which leaves us to consider whether Klopp is rattled by the level of improvement his direct opponents have been making while his club is standing still, waiting for others to overtake them. 

Probable line-ups:

Chelsea 4-3-3: 
Arrizabalaga; James, Silva, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Kante, Kovacic, Havertz; Pulisic, Giroud, Werner.

Liverpool 4-3-3: 
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane.


Prediction: Half-time/Full-time: Chelsea/Draw (13/1)
Considering the previous defensive performance from Van Dijk and company, I’m expecting Chelsea to take the lead in the first half and Liverpool to claw back in the second half with both teams sharing the spoils. Back Chelsea-Draw in the Half-time/Full-time market at 13/1 odds or you can just take a straight draw at 26/10.

Written by Bryan Naicker