A true English thriller. That’s what you get anytime Liverpool and Chelsea meet. Not because the side’s are packed with the best of the best of English talent, but rather because of the high-octane, all energy encounters this fixture has become synonymous with.
Saturday’s late fixture promises to be no different with both sides finding the kind of form their blockbuster managers crave. To make the clash even more mouth-watering, Mo Salah will face his former employers in the form of his life.
The Egyptian has been sensational for the Reds this season and is fast becoming Jurgen Klopp’s leading man, a thought that would’ve had you outlawed in Merseyside had you uttered it a few months ago with Philippe Coutinho still very much front and centre. The Little Magician’s head has clearly been turned by the prospect of life in Barcelona, but few Reds fans appear bothered with his potential departure from Anfield.
The real question that will be answered by 21:30 on Saturday is whether Klopp can block his porous defence. Liverpool were “Istanbulled” in midweek squandering a 3-0 lead at Sevilla and now face Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata and a re-invigorated Cesc Fabregas who is nearing his best.
Antonio Conte has defensive problems of his own where he plays his own version of speed dating as he seeks out a partner for Gary Cahill. Conte had the same issue when Manchester United arrived a few weeks ago but passed that test on the invention of his frontline and the engine of N’Golo Kante.
If his forwards fail then this game could very well be an entertaining end-to-end affair where the goalkeepers come squarely into focus. If that is the case then Chelsea are the front runners as they dominate that mini-battle hands down with Thibaut Courtois far superior to Simon Mignolet.
The Blues arrive three points to the good and a win is a necessity if they want to stand any chance of going the distance with Manchester City. Liverpool’s hope of challenging for the title are, in all reality, over but a win will be a massive boost to their top four hopes as well as providing some much-needed confidence for future “top six” clashes.
Picking a winner is anyone’s game, but choosing Mo Salah to be an anytime scorer is almost an exact science (12/10).
After that, both team’s scoring seems almost as likely (6/10) while Chelsea snatching a late winner (9/1 to win by the exact score 2-1) could make the neutral smile.