Chelsea vs Liverpool – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 4th April 2023
As part of our midweek Premier League predictions, we take a look at Liverpool’s visit to Stamford Bridge. The last 5 matches between this pair have resulted in draws in normal time. Number 6? Read on with our Chelsea vs Liverpool prediction.
Chelsea vs Liverpool Match Preview
Chelsea meet Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in this midweek battle. Chelsea come into the game in a desperate state. They had an xG of 2.88 to 0.88, 69 per cent possession, and 27 shots to five against Villa at the weekend at the Bridge. However, as the story has often been for Chelsea this season, they could not convert their dominance into an end product. It suited Villa to play on the counter, scoring two goals to win 2-0. While Chelsea dominated the stats, you wouldn’t say it was undeserved on Villa’s part because their game plan worked perfectly. Chelsea have now only won six of 14 home league games, which is unacceptable.
Chelsea have won only two of their last nine games – against struggling Leeds and Leicester. In eight of their previous ten, fewer than three goals have been scored in the match, so they have not typically been involved in high-scoring league games since the World Cup. This statistic indicates a pattern of being unable to score and resultantly being hit on the break. Graham Potter’s sacking arrived after the Villa defeat, which had been coming for a while. Truthfully, his possession-heavy style was admirable but did create a tactical advantage for counter-attacking sides because Chelsea were profligate in front of the goal, which encouraged teams to transition against them.
Liverpool travel south to London with similar woes. After a spell where they won four of five games and kept clean sheets in all five (culminating with that magnificent 7-0 destruction of bitter rivals Man Utd), the Reds have gone backwards again. A meek Champions League surrender in the Bernabeu against Real Madrid when already far behind in the tie was joined by a slightly surprising defeat at Bournemouth and a 4-1 hammering by Man City at the weekend. Liverpool took the lead through a beautiful curling Salah shot at the Etihad, but City recovered and deserved their win.
Jurgen Klopp has acknowledged that his previous achievements have kept him in a job. He must try to find something from his players when coming up against interim coach Bruno Saltor in this game. The Chelsea man is exceptionally inexperienced, so Klopp has a massive advantage in this area. With just three wins and 12 points from their 14 away games this season, there are no starker contrasts in the division than Liverpool in terms of home and away performances. They have 30 points at Anfield, which points to how strong they are in their unique stadium. However, they will be uncertain again heading into this game as it is another fixture on their travels.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Mendy, Fofana, Sterling, Aubameyang
Will Not Play: Azpilicueta, Silva, Broja
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Ramsay, Bajcetic, Keita, Diaz, Thiago
Chelsea vs Liverpool Lineups (Predicted)
Chelsea (3-5-2): Arrizabalaga; Cucurella, Badiashile, Koulibaly; Chilwell, Kovacic, Fernandez, Kante, James; Felix, Havertz
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Tsimikas, Van Dijk, Konate, Alexander-Arnold; Fabinho, Henderson, Milner; Nunez, Gakpo, Salah
Chelsea vs Liverpool Analysis
As stated, both teams are struggling. Therefore, the midfield contest in this game will likely be cagey and uncertain between two teams that are bereft of confidence. Both teams have averaged 59 per cent possession this season in the league, so it is difficult to ascertain the game’s flow. As the home team and fresh from Potter’s sacking, we expect there to be more onus on Chelsea to try to control the game. Therefore, Chelsea will likely have marginally more possession. However, we would be surprised if they enjoy a significant territorial advantage over their visitors.
Chelsea may revert from 3-4-3 to 3-5-2 with Kante fit again after a very long injury layoff. This system would allow them to match with Liverpool in midfield and not allow the Merseyside club a numerical advantage. Whichever combination of players starts, both midfields must display an ability to hold onto the ball under pressure, as both sides may be pressing relatively high. The game is tricky to predict because of each side’s form difficulties. It could be a slow, uninspiring game low on quality. However, despite underperforming, both teams still retain much talent, so it could also be a high-octane, intensely paced affair.
Fernandez, Kante and Kovacic must be strong and brave on the ball to avoid the Liverpool press. We have predicted Henderson and Milner both to start. Generally, Klopp would avoid playing both veterans from the start; they give him experience but fewer legs with which to play a fast style of football. However, the two could start together with options in midfield short for Liverpool due to both injuries and neglect. If so, they must squeeze every drop of their experience to try to stop Chelsea from finding passing lanes, as Kovacic’s playmaking is a danger. Fabinho will likely be crucial for Liverpool despite his poor recent performances; he must block any passing lanes Chelsea look for.
Generally speaking, this should be a game where neither team dominates for long spells because both are evenly matched in talent, form and the ability to control games. We anticipate a cagey, competitive affair.
Both teams have struggled defensively this season. Chelsea have conceded 30 goals and Liverpool 33, so they’re letting in goals at a rate of about just over one per game. This situation could be better for teams that have prided themselves on being defensively resolute and attacking-minded in the past. Therefore, the match could be decided by defensive mistakes or which team catches fire in the final third come the day. Both teams must consequently try to find their attackers as often as possible.
Chelsea have Chilwell and James as wing-backs. If they do indeed play three in midfield, the two will have more licence to join Felix and Havertz in the attack. They must support as often as possible, raiding up and down the line to deliver cutbacks and crosses or progress into the box. At the same time, Liverpool’s midfielders will shift over to cover the spaces, which might create more gaps in midfield. In this sense, Kovacic and Kante might have more freedom to make driving, incisive runs and to use their energy to find passes into the forwards. Felix and Havertz will play as false nines; both must use creativity and cuteness to beat the Liverpool defenders and get shots on goal against Alisson.
Liverpool similarly must try to be penetrative in attacking segments. Tsimikas will probably start at left-back, and he and Alexander-Arnold’s runs and crosses down the flanks are vital. Alexander-Arnold was again defensively suspect against Man City – the forwards and Chilwell will look to exploit him down that side. However, Trent must also try to fulfil his attacking duties, delivering the ball into the box for Nunez and Gakpo to attack. The ability of Salah and Nunez to run and dribble at pace on the counter-attack could be vital, especially if Chelsea overexpose themselves.
Nunez, Salah, Gakpo, Jota, Elliott, Fimrino and the full-backs will likely play major or lesser parts in the game. They are all responsible for being creative and finding gaps in possession and transitions to test Arrizabalaga. It is vital for Chelsea that their back three remain compact and keep spaces from developing where Liverpool can hurt them. Generally, we expect both defences to be nervous and vulnerable to pace, trickery and ingenuity.
This match is very tough to predict. Given both teams’ form woes and Liverpool’s horrendous away record, anything could happen. Equally, Chelsea have been mediocre at home this season. We are tempted to predict a drab 0-0 where both teams cancel each other out, as in the reverse fixture and a couple of the previous fixtures. However, we are going to predict a high-scoring draw. Given Chelsea’s problems at Stamford Bridge and Liverpool’s deficiencies on the road, both teams could be leaky here.
Of course, much will depend on how the attacking units function when predicting this draw. However, there is enough talent on the pitch and bench in attacking areas for both teams to find joy against suspect defences. The width and set pieces are crucial. These teams have been so evenly matched in recent years, with them drawing their previous five games in all competitions and the score being level at half-time in all those games. Hence, another draw is likely between two clubs fighting for form and confidence, but if there is to be a winner, we favour Liverpool slightly.
Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
Chelsea vs Liverpool Betting Tip – Draw Odds:
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