Chelsea v Liverpool – Rose Bowl, Pasadena at 04:00 live on CTV / LCFCTV

Chelsea and Liverpool go head to head in the early hours of Thursday morning at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena as part of the 2016 International Champions Cup. The two Premier League sides prepare for the new season in this high profile friendly with high hopes of major honours in the upcoming campaign.

This time last year, the Blues were current champions, but after a disastrous season, which saw them finish 10th and sack boss Jose Mourinho before Christmas, they now have ex-Italian manager, Antonio Conte at the helm. Chelsea improved under interim boss Guus Hiddink after Mourinho’s departure, but fans will be expecting Conte to get them back to the top and challenge for their fifth Premier League crown.

The Pensioners come into this match on the back of their first pre-season win, a comfortable 3-0 victory over Austrain side Wolfsberger AC. Goals from Traoré, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah led Conte to his first win as Chelsea boss after suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of SK Rapid Wien in his debut.

The Italian hasn’t had long to implement his philosophy and will again use this match to get a clearer idea of which players will suit his strategy. Conte is likely to add to the current squad before the Summer transfer window closes to add to the 2 new recruits already acquired, Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante.

Jurgen Klopp began his first pre-season as Liverpool boss with a win over Tranmere Rovers. That was followed by 3 more wins over Fleetwood Town, Wigan Athletic, and finally Huddersfield for a perfect start to the German managers Summer.

The former Borussia Dortmund boss took over at Liverpool from Brendan Rodgers last October but could only lead the Merseysider’s to an 8th place finish, missing out on European football this season. They did make the Europa League final, but lost to Sevilla 3-1 having led at half time.

It was a disappointing season for Liverpool, but Klopp’s philosophy he masterminded at Dortmund was starting to take shape and without the distraction of European football, a lot is expected from the Reds this campaign. They have already added to the squad with new signings Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum who should bring power and speed to the side and should feature in this friendly.

Although the result will not matter too much to either manager, it’s a good opportunity to give the players a good test and gain some momentum ahead of the Premier League season. For Conte it will be another chance to assess his players in just his 3rd match in charge.

As with all friendlies we need to approach with caution, but I make Liverpool the value bet on the Asian Handicap betting market here. They have more games, and wins, under their belt and I’m expecting a strong starting XI.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Liverpool +0.25 at 1.85

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @SC457.

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