Both Chelsea and Liverpool have lost the plot in recent games despite a strong start to their Premier League campaign. Manchester City are now the runaway league leaders and the Blues, thus, must secure a win at Stamford Bridge to stay in the title hunt.
The Reds, meanwhile, settled for a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the reverse tie and the ongoing injury and covid issues have put them on the back foot ahead of locking horns with the European champions. Jurgen Klopp, too, will miss the trip after a suspected positive COVID-19 test and Liverpool, thus, must come up with a monumental effort to be back to winning ways.
Thomas Tuchel would stick to his usual ‘back three’ formation to frustrate the Merseysiders. Their swift counter-attacking movements, as well as crossing game down the wide, might cause menace in the Liverpool backline. Romelu Lukaku might spearhead the attack and convert those opportunities with his powerful presence inside the box.
Mohamed Salah has blanked in back to back games and the fans would demand a scoring return amid Sadio Mane’s disastrous run of form down the left-hand flank. The ‘gegenpressing’ would be crucial against a steady midfield of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic and the presence of Fabinho as a ‘number 6′ would matter a lot in terms of stopping the hosts’ counter-attacks and swift attacking transitions.
Chelsea have their first-team fullbacks Reece James and Ben Chilwell ruled out with their respective hamstring and knee injuries. Andreas Christensen and Timo Werner are also sidelined for the time being, however, both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Thiago Silva are in contention for a weekend return after recovering from minor fitness issues.
Chelsea Predicted XI
Edouard Mendy; Trevoh Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger; Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Marcos Alonso; Mason Mount, Kai Havertz; Romelu Lukaku.
Liverpool are likely to miss the services of Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino with suspected covid reasons. Thiago Alcantara, Nat Phillips, Harvey Elliott, Divock Origi, Adrian and Takumi Minamino are unavailable through injuries, whereas Andrew Robertson is suspended after his marching order against Tottenham Hotspur.
Liverpool Predicted XI
Caoimhin Kelleher; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Kostas Tsimikas; Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita; Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota.
Chelsea would rely on in-form Mason Mount for goals, along with Lukaku who is in the headlines for a controversial recent interview demeaning the London giants. The Belgian must do everything to fix the broken relationship with the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Apart from Salah, Diogo Jota is in fine form in front of the goal. Having said that, the pinpoint crosses and overlapping runs of Trent Alexander-Arnold might make a difference in this engaging encounter.