It would be an understatement to suggest that July has been below par for Liverpool. Yes, the elusive Premier League title triumph has been a factor for a set of players who would presumably rather like to be lying on a beach somewhere right now, but there is still professional pride in finishing the season strongly – as well as the possibility of winning 100 points, of course.
Well, that dream is over after the 1-2 loss against Arsenal last week, which was the third game in their last five in which Liverpool have dropped points.
It was perhaps testament to the malaise among the Reds’ players that both of the Gunners’ goals can be attributed to the most reliable performers in the Liverpool squad. Virgil van Dijk gifted Alexandre Lacazette the first with a woeful back pass, and Alisson’s rash clearance allowed Reiss Nelson the simple task of doubling his side’s lead.
It was frustrating for the fact that both goals could have been avoided, and also because Liverpool had dominated the opening half hour. Sadio Mane had fired the Reds into an early lead from Andy Robertson’s cross, and a number of other chances were spurned as they sought to extend their lead.
The second half was a bizarre spectacle, with the Gunners keeping all eleven of their players behind the ball in a very un-Arsenal like showing. But Liverpool could not break down the red wall in front of them, and were thus condemned to their third league defeat of the campaign – and their second in a fortnight.
On Wednesday the Reds take on another in-form London club in Chelsea, who will be looking to claim a positive result to boost their Champions League hopes.
Liverpool Team News
We’re expecting Jurgen Klopp to name his strongest possible side here, no rotation, for a number of reasons.
The first is that Liverpool will receive the Premier League trophy on Wednesday in a special ceremony on the pitch at Anfield, and it really would be rather embarrassing if the Reds have lost against Chelsea at that point – the sheer definition of party pooping.
And then you think about how the Blues are splashing the cash at the moment – they could be a force to be reckoned with during the 2020/21 campaign. You suspect Klopp will want to put them in their place here.
Let’s not forget the primary motivation too: nobody at Liverpool FC will want to let this history-making season end on a sour note. It would rock the ship somewhat leading into the next campaign, which could in theory get underway in no more than six weeks.
So as for his starting eleven here, Klopp will be without the injured Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip, while James Milner is still thought to be touch-and-go after his thigh injury.
We’re expecting the normal back four to keep their places, while in midfield Fabinho could anchor behind Gini Wijnaldum and Naby Keita.
The fab three will surely start in attack too as Klopp leaves nothing to chance.
Some sides have really thrived off the break afforded by the pandemic -Liverpool not being among them, and Chelsea can certainly be categorized in that camp.
A run of form reading W5 D0 L2 has galvanized their hopes of a Champions League place, and indeed they are up as high as third now thanks largely to Leicester’s woes.
That said, the Blues have beaten some rather beleaguered sorts in Norwich, Aston Villa and Watford in that run, while you always fancy that you’re going to beat Crystal Palace on any given day.
They’ve shipped three each against Sheffield United and West Ham too, so clearly there are vulnerabilities to Frank Lampard’s side.
Liverpool vs Chelsea Betting Tips
We’re expecting a much better showing from Liverpool on Wednesday, especially with that glistening Premier League trophy ready to be hoisted, and so a Reds victory has to be the play here.
Chelsea are fragile at the back, that is unmistakable, and a fired-up Liverpool can take full advantage.
However, the Blues are a vibrant force going forward, and they will certainly fancy their chances of scoring at least once at Anfield – after all, they could do with at least a point to further their top four claims.
And so the smart betting play explains itself: Liverpool to win and both teams to score at generous odds of 5/2.