Chelsea v Liverpool, Sat 28 September, 5:30pm

Sadio Mané expected to threaten

Chelsea v Liverpool, Sat 28 September, 17:30, BT Sport 1

Form:

This game will lay down a marker in the season for both sides. Liverpool will arrive in London with a 100% league record – seven games, seven wins – while Chelsea’s record is six wins and one draw.

For me, Liverpool and Man City have impressed the most in the Premier League so far this season and look a step ahead of the others. Chelsea are, so to speak, a refreshing, bubbling-under work-in-progress under an attack-minded Maurizio Sarri.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool is the strongest he has put together in his time at Anfield. The strike-force of Salah, Firmino and Mane is as good as any around and is now backed up by an excellent keeper, a more-solid defence and a stronger midfield. What’s not to like?

Even the league stats point to Liverpool. In the last ten league encounters at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool’s record is Won 5, Drawn 2, Lost 3, scoring 12 goals and conceding ten.

If you extend the stats to all competitions, Liverpool have won just twice in the last 15 meetings between the sides, with seven of them being drawn.

The Match:

Whatever way you choose to look at things – and I prefer to take league head-to-heads in isolation – in only three of those 10 games did either of the sides fail to score and none of the games ended 0-0.

In ten of the last 12 league meetings (at Anfield or Stamford Bridge) both sides scored, but only once did either side score more than two goals in one game (Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in the league, 2015, when they won 3-1). Furthermore, both sides have scored in six of their last seven meetings in the league at Stamford Bridge, but only four of them yielded over 2.5 goals.

In fairness, Chelsea are also very strong in midfield and attack, although they look a little shaky in central defence and their new keeper Kepa has yet to be seriously tested. That will surely come to an end on Saturday.

Remarkably, this will be the 58th meeting between Liverpool and Chelsea since the turn of the millennium, making it the most-played fixture in English football this century.

Right now, Liverpool look a stronger side than Chelsea, with Chelsea’s defence being a potentially weak point.

Team News:

Liverpool – Virgil van Dijk picked up a rib injury against Southampton last Saturday but is expected to be fit. Dejan Lovren is ready to play again and Adam Lallana is not far away from match fitness. Dom Solanke is fit again. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a long-term absentee.

Chelsea – Pedro is nursing a shoulder injury and Ruben Loftus-Cheek has met with another injury setback. Cesc Fabregas is fully fit again.

Pedro is liked by Sarri, who said after the 0-0 draw at West Ham last Sunday that Chelsea ‘missed his energy’. If he’s available, he is likely to play.

Verdict:

Based on the stats, 0-0 looks unlikely, with both sides to score seeming likely (currently 1/2, which is a little short to recommend as a bet).

Eden Hazard, Pedro, Salah and Mane all arrive in good goal-scoring form so take your pick in the scorer markets. I’ll side with Mane at 13/2 as first scorer and, of course it is a ‘Double The Odds On First Scorer Bets’ match with us, so if the first scorer scores again in the game, we’ll double the odds of that player to score the first (usual t&c).

A suggested scoreline is 2-1 to Liverpool (9/1)

Quoted prices correct as of 09:28 28/09/18


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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article