Premier League champions Liverpool are set to conduct their official trophy-lift on Wednesday night, after the completion of their scheduled fixture against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side. The Reds are coming into this tie on the back of an embarrassing 2-1 defeat to London side Arsenal last week, and Jurgen Klopp will undoubtedly be looking to put things right when the Blues visit Anfield. Although they’re guaranteed to lift the trophy irrespective of the result, the reigning European champions will definitely be more satisfied if they could go into the celebrations with a win against Chelsea to show for their efforts.
The Blues haven’t been in the greatest run of form in the league over the last few weeks, but their recent FA Cup semifinal victory against Manchester United is sure to have reinvigorated their spirits. A win against Liverpool guarantees Chelsea a place in next season’s edition of the UEFA Champions League, and that should be enough motivation for the Stamford Bridge side to bring out their best. There’s no denying that this fixture is going to be more important to the visitors, especially considering that the likes of Leicester City and Manchester United are still hot on their tail in the hunt for the top-four.
Here Is The Liverpool Vs Chelsea Tactical Preview:
Liverpool Vs Chelsea Tactical Preview
The Reds haven’t looked like the same team from the first chunk of the season since the resumption, and this has led to multiple questions about their motivation levels and a possible degree of complacency that seems to have crept in. Despite this, the Reds are likely to try and break this Chelsea defence down with their usual brand of free-flowing attacking football. Klopp will demand the likes of Mane and Salah to use their pace and directness to put pressure on the Chelsea back-line. Winning the midfield battle will be of utmost importance to the home side as well, as allowing the likes of Kovacic to control the engine room could spell disaster at the back.
Frank Lampard’s decision to switch up his formation and move to a back-three against United was received quite positively by the Blues’ faithful. It wouldn’t be overly surprising to see the London club deploy a similar group of tactics against the league champions, albeit unlikely. The manager will be well-aware of the fact that controlling the midfield area could make or break this tie for either side, meaning that he’s sure to ask Kovacic to get on the ball and make things happen as much as possible. Also, the full-backs are likely to take up extremely advanced roles, with a consistent amount of defensive work-rate distributed across the entire eleven.
Midfield playmaker Jordan Henderson has been ruled out of this tie with a knee problem, and his absence is sure to have a negative impact on the amount of control they’re able to grab in midfield. Joel Matip’s injury also means that the role of Virgil Van Dijk’s partner is likely to fall onto the shoulders of young Joe Gomez again for this tie. A hamstrung James Milner completes the Reds’ injury list at this point, but there’s every chance that the versatile midfielder will be back in time to make the squad for this outing.
Predicted Lineup: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane
The biggest injury concern for Lampard going into this vital Premier League fixture comes in the form of a doubtful N’Golo Kante. Although the initial assessment of the Frenchman’s injury predicted a return last week, the World Cup winner was unfit to even make the bench against United on the weekend. Although he could still make it back in time, a start is looking unlikelier by the hour. The only other real issue for Lampard at this time is the assured absence of young Billy Gilmour, who initially burst onto the scene by putting up a near-perfect display against Liverpool in the FA Cup prior to lockdown.
Predicted Lineup: Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Zouma, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount; Willian, Giroud, Pulisic
For all the excellent work that they’ve done all season, it must be conceded that the Reds’ last few fixtures have yielded questionable performances. Formerly of Chelsea, Salah has shown in the past that he can change a game with just one moment of brilliance. The Egyptian will need to be at his absolute best on Wednesday to give the Anfield club even the slightest chance of having a comfortable matchup against Chelsea.
Lampard gave Christian Pulisic a well-deserved rest on the weekend, and the American speedster would unquestionably be raring to go against the league champions. Despite this, it was the performance of Mateo Kovacic that caught the eye against United. The Croatian’s passing and movement in midfield have been key to the Blues’ progress, and his performance could decide how this fixture ends up panning out.