Liverpool vs Chelsea: Traditional title challengers are shockingly competing in A mid-table supremacy – it’s a must win
WHO would have thought by the time this clash between Liverpool and Chelsea TODAY came around we would be seeing a battle for mid-table supremacy?
Injuries have killed any realistic chance of a title charge for either side – but some fans are shouldering more blame on the managers at present.
Jurgen Klopp might have delivered Liverpool to a historic title triumph in 2019/20, but over-reliance on some of those same players hasn’t helped things this season.
Some of the youngsters he has brought into the first-team squad – the likes of Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho – have shown glimpses of their talents.
But would they form part of a title-winning XI now? The jury is well and truly out.
Chelsea were taken over by Todd Boehly, sacked boss Thomas Tuchel and poached Graham Potter from Brighton.
The neutrals among us were pleased to see one of the giants of English football giving a big change to an Englishman.
But even by his own admission, Potter has found it tough going at Stamford Bridge.
He has been hammered by a succession of injuries that have meant he has never been able to put out the same XI.
But Blues fans, backed by their new billionaire, want so much more than what they are seeing right now.
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Who will win the mid-table mediocrity clash? Will new £88m signing Mykhailo Mudryk feature for Chelsea? SunSport runs through the key things to watch and provides a big match prediction.
What is their form like?
Liverpool looked to be getting their season back on track – until successive losses against Brentford and Brighton.
Klopp’s side have won three and lost two of their last five Prem games.
Chelsea ended a three-game winless run by beating Crystal Palace last time out 1-0.
In their last five games they have won two, lost two and drawn one.
What is the team news and any injuries to worry about?
Liverpool‘s season has been hit by a whole host of injuries.
Roberto Firmino, Arthur Melo, Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz are all ruled out.
Darwin Nunez and Konstantino Tsimikas are battling to shake off niggles for the game.
Chelsea‘s medical room is even busier.
Edouard Mendy, Christian Pulisic, Armando Broja, Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Denis Zakaria, Raheem Sterling and N’Golo Kante are all crocked.
Joao Felix will miss the game after being sent off on his debut against Fulham. But new £88m signing Mykhailo Mudryk is set to feature – thought might have to wait on the bench.
Who will be the star men?
It’s almost impossible to tell who will finally step up to the plate for Liverpool at the moment.
They are desperate for some genius from Mo Salah – surely it is time for him to find his scoring boots?
Mason Mount is pretty much the only certainty in the Chelsea XI at the moment.
Boss Potter is clearly a big fan, and will be relying on the England man to get his team motoring.
What have the managers said?
Asked if the players who helped Liverpool beat Wolves in the FA Cup have played themselves into contention for the Chelsea game, Klopp said: “Yeah, yeah. I don’t think it will be right after one game to say, ‘That will be the team for the next eight weeks.’ Let’s have a look.
“We are not in a casting show. But, of course, the door is open to everyone. Whoever fights has a good chance to play.”
Speaking after ending their bad run by beating Palace, Potter said: “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved because it’s nice to get a win.
“I thought we played better than when getting no points against Fulham [in the 2-1 defeat on Thursday].
“And then when you get the red card for João Félix, who’s probably the last person you think is going to get a red card in that game, you think we’ve done something wrong in terms of luck.
“But you have to keep going and you have to deal with the bad times, deal with the tough situations, accept the criticism that comes your way and take your responsibilities. That’s what we’ve tried to do.”
What are the odds
Odds courtesy of Betfair.
When is Liverpool vs Chelsea?
Liverpool will host Chelsea at Anfield TODAY, January 21.
The Premier League match kicks off at 12.30pm.
Is Liverpool vs Chelsea on TV and what channel is it on?
The game WILL be shown on TV, BT Sport have the rights to this mouthwatering clash.
How can I live stream the match?
You can stream this Premier League clash via the BT Sport app or on the BT Sport website.
You’d think both teams would not settle for anything less than a win in their current predicament.
Injury problems could see it being a bit hell for leather at times, and we are going to go for the not-so-brave option of a draw – Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea.
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