On the back of their first defeat of the season, Liverpool travel to the capital as they look to continue their 100% start to the Premier League season by overcoming a massive hurdle in Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Both clubs were in action in the Champions League during the week. The Reds were defeated by Napoli away from home while the London club lost by a single goal to Spanish side Valencia.
The results don’t reflect on the sides domestic form, however, with Liverpool sitting top while Chelsea have done well to amass eight points from 15, all things considered.
Lampard’s appointment marked a new era for Chelsea. Unable to make any summer transfers, the ex-Derby boss had to rely on existing players as well as a few brought through from the academy.
They season has gone as expected given the amount of young talent on show. All 11 of their league goals so far have been scored by a player from the academy. This, however, could be viewed as a bad thing as 10 of these 11 goals have been scored by two players.
After their heavy defeat at Old Trafford they went undefeated, picking up of their eight points in the four games since. A convincing win over a lacklustre Wolves side has glossed over their performances a little, though.
Draws against Sheffield United and Leicester City, both at home, were unconvincing with the away sides given opportunities to score. At Norwich they were twice pegged back in the first half before an excellent solo effort from Tammy Abraham gave Frank Lampard his first three points as Chelsea manager.
Liverpool were defeated by a resolute Napoli side in the Champions League on Tuesday. A dubious penalty and a rare mistake from Virgil van Dijk handed the Italian side a 2-0 win and an advantage in Group E. The Reds performed well on the night, but profligacy in front of goal and a dominant performance from Kalidou Koulibaly saw Jürgen Klopp’s side fail to score for the first time since March.
Domestically, Liverpool have been perfect. Five wins from five have seen the Reds claim a commanding five-point lead over title rivals Manchester City. The Citizens are suffering from a defensive crisis at the minute and the next six weeks could prove to be pivotal in deciding whether the title ends up in Manchester or Merseyside.
Frank Lampard had the luxury of having N’Golo Kanté back in training this week. The French midfielder was head and shoulders above any other player when the two sides faced each other in the Super Cup just over a month ago, but is not expected to be ready to start this one. Mason Mount will also face a late fitness test if he has any hope of being involved. Antonio Rüdiger joins them as a major doubt.
With the lack of an experienced defender, Lampard could be left with no option other than to field three young central defenders. César Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are also their only fit senior full-backs.
If Kanté does miss out then Mateo Kovačić will join Jorginho in midfield. The Italian has looked better as part of a midfield two when partnered with the Frenchman, but will likely have the Croat at his side for this one. Christian Pulisic and Willian will probably flank Tammy Abraham up front as Chelsea look to get a new name on the scoresheet.
For Liverpool, Andy Robertson was visibly hampered by injury throughout the 90 minutes in Naples. He would be a big miss in such an important fixture so he could retain his place. If not fully fit, James Milner is the main candidate to replace him though the omission of Yasser Larouci from the u23 on Friday could mean a surprise inclusion for the young left-back.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could replace Jordan Henderson, with Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho completing the midfield. Naby Keïta returned to full training but it is likely he will play in midweek against MK Dons.
The usually front three will start, the trio have started the season on fire, and we hope they continue their fine form into the weekend.
Jürgen Klopp has a decent record at Stamford Bridge. He has won twice, drew once and lost one in the four games he has managed Liverpool against the Blues. Those victories, however, came in his first two visits meaning a win is overdue.
Chelsea are full of exciting young players who will take risks senior players may not, which could lead to a mistake and an opportunity to counter.
Tammy Abraham is in excellent form and is the top goal scorer in the league with seven. Mason Mount is another dangerous player in and around the box, playing similar to how his manager did the young man drifts into the box late hoping to be on the end of a knock down. While the duo may be inexperienced Matip, van Dijk and Fabinho must be alert throughout the game.
I think Liverpool will win at Stamford Bridge, the match will be a close one, but I think we will have too much quality for Chelsea. Chelsea’s inexperienced defence will prove costly and I see a convincing 3-1 victory.