Liverpool will try to avoid any slip-ups capable of derailing their quest for the Premier League title when they host Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday (16:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).
With just five matches left for them to play, Liverpool hold a two-point advantage over Manchester City at the top of the table. City still have a game in hand and will be the champions if they win all six of their remaining fixtures.
Sunday’s match is, on paper, the toughest of those Liverpool have to come. Afterwards, they face two of the bottom three, 15th place Newcastle and a potentially tricky final-day encounter at home to a Wolverhampton Wanderers side who have taken plenty of big-club scalps this season. It is also a fixture that holds bad memories for them.
Liverpool’s last league title triumph came in 1990. The closest they have come since was in the 2013-14 season, when a free-scoring front three powered them to 101 goals and a total of 84 points that saw them finish just two shy of champions City. It was Liverpool who had held the advantage going into the final few matches of the season.
That all changed with their 1-2 home defeat to Chelsea at the end of April of that year. An ill-timed slip from long-standing club captain Steven Gerrard allowed Chelsea in behind to take the lead, and Liverpool were unable to turn things around thereafter. With that result, City pulled level and went on from there on the win the title.
Liverpool are unlikely to better their goal total from that campaign given that they would need to average almost four goals a match to do so. They are otherwise on course to break their Premier League-era records for points, goal difference and goals conceded. On a per-match basis, this is likely to be their best season in terms of points.
Whether that will be enough to topple City remains to be seen, but all Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp and his players can do is ensure that they do their bit by winning all five of their remaining fixtures. That starts with the visit of a Chelsea side who are actually unbeaten in each of their last six league visits to Anfield.
Maurizio Sarri’s side could also do with taking all three points on Sunday. A run of three consecutive victories in the league, most recently in a 2-0 win at home to West Ham on Monday, has pushed them up into third, but they have played a match more than the other three contenders. Tottenham Hotspur in fourth and Arsenal in fifth would overtake them with victories in their respective games in hand.
Given that they still have to go to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United (sixth, five points behind them) before the end of the campaign, they cannot really afford to come away empty handed. Their record away to other top-six sides doesn’t make for encouraging reading. They have lost all three of their trips to date, all by two or more goals.
Sarri’s side have made a near clean sweep of the bottom half of the table, winning 16, drawing two and losing just one of their 19 matches against those sides. Their record against the top half also isn’t particularly great, despite home wins or draws against all of the top six. In addition to the aforementioned away defeats to top-six sides, they have lost three, drawn two and won once home and away to the teams between seventh and 10th.
Despite good underlying statistics, better to varying degrees than the other teams scrapping over the final two Champions League qualifying places, it is this inability to put together a series of good results against teams in the top half of the table that is likely to be the major impediment to Chelsea getting the points they need to claim a top-four place.
Chelsea have failed to score in four of their last six away matches in the Premier League while Liverpool have what is currently the best defensive unit in the division. In combination with an attack that is always capable of getting a goal or two that should be enough to see Liverpool to a victory that would keep the pressure on Manchester City.
Our Preview’s Liverpool vs Chelsea Betting Tips Verdict
- Bet on Liverpool to win to nil @ best odds of 2/1 with BetVictor.