After the season’s first international break, both Chelsea and Liverpool returned to hit the ground running last weekend.
But after their midweek Champions League setbacks, both teams will be looking to bounce back at Stamford Bridge in the final Premier League of the weekend on Sunday afternoon. After their goal scoring exploits so far this season, it was ironic that both teams failed to find the net when it really mattered in their respective defeats at the hands of Valencia (0-1) and Napoli (0-2)
- Game: Chelsea v Liverpool
- Venue: Stamford Bridge
- Kick-off: Sunday 22nd September @ 4.30pm
Even before their home defeat to Valencia, it had looked like being a topsy-turvy season for Chelsea under Frank Lampard — but their fans certainly won’t be starved of entertainment at both ends of the pitch.
Since opening their account with a resounding 4-0 beating at the hands of Manchester United, Chelsea have alternated frustrating home draws with Leicester City and Sheffield United with two thrilling wins on their travels, following up their 3-2 win at Norwich with last weekend’s emphatic 5-2 success at Wolves.
Before their disappointing result in Italy, Liverpool had laid down their statement of intent this season, with five straight league wins leaving them with the last remaining 100% record to open up a five-point cushion at the top of the Premier League.
Home wins over Norwich City (4-1) and Arsenal (3-1) alternated with a 2-1 success at Southampton and a 3-0 victory at Burnley. Last Saturday they had to dig a little deeper to battle back from a goal down to beat Newcastle United 3-1 at home.
Sports Betting Odds
The Bookie odds reflect the likelihood that Chelsea’s suspect defence to be exposed by Liverpool’s slick high tempo game. They have installed Liverpool at firm favorites, with odds generally around even money on an away win.
That might just add a little value to the prospect of Chelsea’s own expansive game, exploiting Liverpool’s own defensive frailties.14/5 from William Hill and 11/4 from Unibet is bound to create some interest, with the price of a draw hovering around the same mark.
With two such attacking teams on show, the goals market is sure to attract attention, with Unibet’s 6/4 on Over 3.5 Goals likely to be popular.
Team Facts & Analysis
This scene is seemingly set for a goal-fest — but previous pre-Lampard encounters suggest otherwise.
Only one of their last five meetings has seen either team score more than one goal (Liverpool’s 2-0 win at Anfield last season), while the fixture has only produced over 2.5 goals just once in the last seven.
Liverpool have lost just one of their last five trips to Stamford Bridge, winning three, while last season’s visit saw Daniel Sturridge (remember him?) score a memorable long-distance screamer to earn a late 1-1 draw.
At Chelsea, Lampard has had no problem turning towards the younger members of his squad, and has been rewarded with some impressive performances, especially going forward. Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount were both shipped out on loan to the Championship last season, but Lampard’s faith has seen that duo share ten of Chelsea’s eleven goals so far this campaign.
Mount’s attacking play to grab three goals has been reminiscent of Lampard himself, although he might be a doubt after being withdrawn early on in Tuesday’s defeat. Meanwhile, Abraham has been electric in scoring seven in his last three league outings, following up two braces with last Saturday’s hat-trick at Wolves.
Under Lampard’s management, Chelsea seemed to have been freed from the shackles imposed under Conte and Sarri. But their attacking licence has come at a price. Chelsea’s eleven goals might have been bettered only by Liverpool and Manchester City — but they have also conceded eleven, for the worst defensive record other than the equally entertaining Norwich City.
Chelsea’s last nine games prior to their midweek outing produced no less than 45 goals at an average of 5 per game, of which Chelsea scored 24 and conceded 21. There were no clean sheets at either end during those games, and only in the 1-1 home draw with Leicester City did Chelsea’s defence leak less than two goals. That includes encounters with newly promoted teams Norwich, where Chelsea won 3-2, and Sheffield United (2-2 at home), which has to be of concern for the Blues’ coaching staff.
Liverpool still do not quite look themselves without the injured Alisson in goal. And their defence was again found wanting in the early stages last week when they allowed Newcastle to take an early lead, and again in Naples on Tuesday, when even the dependable Virgil van Dyck looked out of sorts.
However, they continue to impress in the final third, and particularly in transition when they break with slick, often breath-taking pace.
Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season has stretched their run of consecutive Premier League wins to fourteen since they were kept quiet by Everton in their goalless Merseyside derby in early March. Those 14 straight league wins have produced 40 goals, with Mohammad Salah (9), Mane (12) responsible for more than half. But last weekend it was the enforced early introduction of sub Roberto Firmino that sparked Liverpool’s recovery, as his sublime skills and flicks unlocked the Newcastle defence time after time.
On their Premier League travels Liverpool are unbeaten (W7, D3) since suffering their only league defeat of the season at Manchester City in early January. In all competitions, they have won nine out of their last ten away games, a run spoiled only by their 3-0 Champions league defeat at Barcelona (and we all know what happened in the return leg!).
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