Liverpool v Chelsea – Anfield at 17:30
Saturday’s evening kick-off sees Liverpool welcome Chelsea in what will be one of the season’s most intriguing games.
Contrasting midweek fortunes
Both of these teams were in action in Europe in midweek, but with contrasting fortunes. Chelsea ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against Azerbaijani side Qarabağ. Antonio Conte’s side was always going to be favorites for that much, but in a round of matches that threw up some surprising results, including Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to Basel, the Blues showed a professional attitude to get the job done.
The same could not be said for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. When they went into half-time 3-0 up, everybody was asking how many the Reds would score in the second half. Instead, they only left with a point after letting Sevilla back into the game, conceding 3 in the second 45. It was a performance that emphasized the lack of professionalism and responsibility within the Liverpool side.
Big decisions for Klopp
With the visit of Antonio Conte’s Champions to Anfield, Jurgen Klopp faces huge selection dilemmas. The biggest of all comes in defense, an area which constantly seems under questions. Despite a solid start to the season, Alberto Moreno seemed to return to his former ways upon his return to former club Sevilla, with at two of the goals coming from his mistakes. It will be a big call for Klopp, with former Red Craig Bellamy stating that Klopp yielding the knife on Moreno on Saturday could “kill his career.”
The other big decision comes at center-half. Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan showed their lack of concentration and strength in conceding three second-half goals – an embarrassing collapse. Should Klopp turn to Joe Gomez, who has impressed at right-back this season and put in a man of the match performance for England at center-half against Brazil? It’s a big call for the German to make.
Mo Salah vs Chelsea
One of the stories of the season in the league has been the form of Liverpool’s summer recruit Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian joined the Reds from Roma and has taken to life back in the Premier League better than anybody could’ve predicted.
Salah, of course, joined Chelsea in January 2014, but only made 13 appearances before being shipped off to Italy, first with Fiorentina and then Roma. It will be interesting to see what reception Salah gets from the visiting Chelsea fans, who will no doubt feel begrudged that yet another star wasn’t given a chance at the club and is now flourishing at a Premier League rival.
This will be a tight game, but I think that Liverpool’s home edge gives them the advantage. The Reds have done well under Jurgen Klopp against their top 6 rivals and the German will be hoping that continues to distract from the collapse in Spain.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Liverpool -0.50 at 2.160
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