Once upon a time winning a point at Stamford Bridge would have been classed as a decent result. These days? Not so much.
But Liverpool should cling heartily to the point earned from the 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday evening as they were thoroughly outplayed from the get-go.
The Reds, who have been one of the Premier League’s most mesmeric attacking forces in recent years, managed just two shots on goal from within Chelsea’s 18-yard box, and neither caused Blues keeper Kepa any undue concern.
At the other end, the hosts created a catalogue of chances, and Chelsea really ought to have been out of sight as early as the 12th minute but both Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic shelled glorious opportunities.
Jurgen Klopp made a raft of changes to his starting eleven, with Joe Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, while the ill Virgil van Dijk was replaced by Joel Matip.
He was ultimately rewarded with a clean sheet, although this was a Liverpool defence that got by on the seat of its pants rather than via a commanding display of rearguard action.
Bobby Firmino and Curtis Jones were also given rare chances to impress from the off, and while the former was one of Liverpool’s better players on the night, there was a spectacularly low bar for that particular accolade.
Chelsea had the ball in the net twice, both correctly ruled out by VAR, while Kovacic missed another good chance in the second period as the Blues looked to make their dominance count.
But in the end they, in customary fashion this term, were unable to finish off their chances, and Liverpool headed home with a point they scarcely deserved.
It’s testament to how far the Reds have fallen this season that they are underdogs for a Premier League game at Anfield on Sunday: there’s not many times that’s been in the case in recent years.
But league leaders Arsenal are the visitors, and they will be hoping to heap more misery on Klopp and co.
Liverpool Team News
Although on paper Klopp was rewarded by his team reshuffle with a clean sheet and a point, he will know that his side got away with one at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
The manager seems convinced that Van Dijk will have recovered in time, so we expect the Dutchman to return in place of Matip, while a reaction from being ‘rested’ might just see Trent and Robertson return to the starting eleven with gusto.
It’s hard to know what Klopp’s intentions are with his midfield – Harvey Elliott was left out of the squad entirely in midweek, and given Arsenal’s form and strength it’s possible that Thiago will be pressed into a quick return from injury alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
The front three of Firmino, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez simply didn’t work against Chelsea, so expect Mo Salah and Cody Gakpo to return with a point to prove against the Gunners.
Fifth favourites to win the Premier League title before a ball was kicked, Arsenal now find themselves an odds-on jolly with nine games left to play.
They face some tough fixtures, such as this one and a huge date with Manchester City, but the trophy is all but in their hands.
The reason that they are clear at the top of the table is that they have been consistently good. The Gunners struggled in early February, but have since bounced back with seven consecutive Premier League wins on the spin – a run in which they have blasted a whopping 23 goals.
Liverpool vs Arsenal Betting Tips
Given Arsenal’s form and Liverpool’s lack of it, it’s amazing that we can the Gunners at a price as long as 11/8 here.
They are averaging three goals per game scored at the minute, while Liverpool simply cannot restrict the flow of chances created by their opponents – Arsenal really are a worthy favourite here.
What is interesting about the Gunners is that, despite their dominance, they have only kept three clean sheets in their last ten Premier League games. Liverpool, presumably with Salah and Gakpo restored to the starting eleven, should be good for a goal, and so Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals seems the best plan at odds of 5/6.
If goals are the order of the day alongside an Arsenal victory, how about trying our luck in the correct score market? We can back the Londoners to win 2-1, 3-1 or 3-2 at 10/1, 18/1 and 22/1 respectively.