Liverpool will look to regain their place in the top four on Thursday night as they host Chelsea, who are also trying to break into the Champions League spots, at Anfield (8:15pm). Can the Reds win back-to-back games for the first time in over a month? Read on for Just Bookies’ EPL match preview with betting tips and odds to find out.
It has been an up and down 2021 so far for Liverpool, with arguably more downs that ups. The champions have slipped not only out of the Premier League title race, but also out of the top four and are now scrapping to qualify for the Champions League via the traditional route. Thursday’s hosts have lost four of their last five league matches, though they made a timely return to the winner’s circle last time out, beating Sheffield United in relatively uncomplicated fashion by two goals to nil.
As for Chelsea, well, it’s been a tepid start to life under new manager Thomas Tuchel. Since the arrival of the German, the Blues haven’t set the world alight, but they have been well-organised, they’ve been smart on the ball and have been difficult to face, which is why they’ve drawn three and won six in all competitions.
Anfield no longer a fortress?
For a long time, teams were fearful of going to Anfield. Even without the bellow of the famous crowd, Liverpool had made their home a fortress, one that was seemingly impregnable. Who knows, maybe a trip to face the Reds on their own patch still strikes fear into the hearts of opposition players, but it must be said that the fear factor seems to have waned in recent times. Since the turn of the year, things have certainly changed. The champions have now gone six consecutive matches (in all competitions) without winning at home, which was unfathomable just a short while ago.
Defensive improvements for visitors
Under Tuchel, Chelsea have done a much better job of preventing teams from scoring. It is not that they have suddenly become better at defending, but a change of approach has allowed them to control games more, which in turn has meant that they’ve nullified the opposition threat. Since the new boss arrives, the Blues have kept seven clean sheets in nine matches and have conceded a total of just two goals.
Not only have Chelsea limited the number of goals conceded, but they have also, thanks to the new approach mentioned in this preview above, seriously limited the number of chances conceded. In the Premier League under Tuchel, Thursday’s visitors have surrendered an average of just 0.42 expected goals.
Reds lacking a cutting edge
It seems strange to say that the champions are struggling to find their feet in the final third, but that has been the case for Liverpool in recent weeks, especially at home. Liverpool have scored just one goal in their last five home matches, scoring just two in their last six. It is fair to say that they have been unlucky on occasion, and their creativity hasn’t been terrible, at least an average of 1.55 expected goals for in their last six at home is far from poor, but the fact that they have not been able to get the ball in the net enough is a problem. It is particularly worrying ahead of a match against a Chelsea side that has given little away of late.
Is it worth supporting a lack of goals?
Make no mistake about it, there will be plenty of attacking talent on the Anfield turf on Thursday evening, but the recent efforts of both make it hard to go against a low-scoring game in the betting, especially at an early price of a little over even money.
As touched on above, Chelsea have done a fantastic job of nullifying their opposition, conceding very few chances and few goals. As a result, only one of their seven league games under Tuchel has seen a total of three or more goals. Moreover, both teams have scored in just one of Chelsea’s seven Premier League fixtures under their new manager. If we combine this with Liverpool’s lack of goals at home of late, coupled with the fact that five of their last six home games have seen less than three goals go in, then ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ really starts to appeal.
Mane to net?
For those looking for something more player focussed, ‘Sadio Mane to Score Anytime’ catches the eye at odds of 23/10. The Liverpool forward hasn’t had a vintage year in terms of goals, but he remains a very threatening player. Moreover, if we scratch beneath the surface, he’s posted some solid figures. Mane averages 2.81 shots per 90, while he also averages a pleasing 0.48 expected goals for per 90 minutes. Such numbers are the mark of a player who, sooner or later, will start finding the net with regularity. At appealing odds, the man who averages 0.50 goals per game in a Liverpool shirt, is worth siding with to find the net.
So the betting tips conclusion for this Liverpool vs Chelsea preview is:
- Go under 2.5 goals @ 21/20 with Betfair.
- Back Sadio Mane to score at any time @ best odds of 23/10 with BetVictor.
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Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.