Liverpool travels to London to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their penultimate league match of the Premier League season. Chelsea will be the fresher of the two teams, having not played in midweek and Liverpool as we all know was involved in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League against Roma.
Liverpool have been terrific this season, but their away form has not been consistent, they only managed to win just half of their away matches on the road this season. Liverpool is stuck in the third position on the Premier League table following last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Stoke, while Chelsea begins the weekend 6 points behind the Reds, but with a game in hand.
Chelsea’s hopes of a top-four finish remain very much alive following last weekend’s 1-0 win at Swansea which is their fourth consecutive win in all competitions. Cesc Fabregas scored the only goal of the match in the fourth minute. A late goal from Willian earned Chelsea a 1-1 draw at Anfield in November’s reverse fixture, after Mohamed Salah had given Liverpool the lead just after the hour-mark.
Liverpool is riding high in the Champions League after reaching the final but Chelsea could yet still prevent them from qualifying for next season’s competition. Tottenham is favourites to finish third after Liverpool dropped points against West Brom and Stoke City, while Chelsea knows anything less than a win at Stamford Bridge will all but extinguish their faint hopes of finishing fourth.
Jurgen Klopp’s side booked their spot in this season’s Champions League final after a hard fought 7-6 aggregate win over Roma on Thursday night. Liverpool lost Wednesday night’s second leg 4-2, with goals from Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum, but qualified thanks to their 5-2 victory in the first leg, Liverpool will face Real Madrid in the final at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev on 25th of May.
Chelsea Team News
Marcos Alonso is available for selection after a three-match ban for violent conduct, while David Luiz remains sidelined with a knee injury but could recover before the end of the season. Danny Drinkwater is still out with a calf injury and Ethan Ampadu is also not available with an ankle problem.
Liverpool Team News
Joel Matip, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are out with long-term injuries. Emre Can is out with a back injury but is hoping to be available for the Champions League final. Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to keep his place in the side as Joe Gomez remains doubtful.
Chelsea starting XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Willian, Alonso; Hazard; Giroud
Liverpool starting XI: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Chelsea vs Liverpool: Head to head
Chelsea is still very much in the running to claim a top-four spot and that will be the catalyst that should drive Conte’s men to finish the season as strongly as they can. The blues are enjoying something similar to a mini-revival with three consecutive wins in the league, they know that anything short of the three points against Liverpool will effectively end their top-four hopes.
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Liverpool will be travelling to London full of confidence after booking a place in the finals of the Champions League and with the knowledge that a top-four finish for Liverpool still hangs in the balance after recording two consecutive draws against West Brom and Stoke City respectively.
There is a top-four spot to play for by both teams, hence the match will be taken very seriously, Chelsea players are well rested and should be in better shape than the Liverpool players who exerted themselves mid-week in the Champions League.
It promises to be a very tight match, and I believe Liverpool will still be basking in the euphoria of a Champions League final qualification and with most of their players very much tired from playing so much football, the Anfield lords might not be able to match a determined and wounded Chelsea team that is desperate for a top-four finish, my prediction is a 2-1 win for Chelsea.