Liverpool can take another step towards the Premier League title by avoiding defeat when they host Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday (14:05 BST, live on Sky Sports).
Liverpool come into the fixture on the back of 11 consecutive victories that have seen them overtake Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea to move to the top of the table, with 80 points from 25 wins, five draws and five defeats.
The Reds continued their streak with a 3-2 win away at Norwich last weekend. Raheem Sterling was their star performer, scoring twice and providing an assist for Luis Suarez. They were 2-0 up within the opening quarter hour, but suffered a few scares in the second half, with Norwich twice reducing the deficit to one either side of the third Liverpool goal.
It was Liverpool’s second successive victory by a 3-2 scoreline and the 15th time in their last 16 league matches in which they have scored two or more goals. Goalscoring has generally been their strong suit this season, with a collection of sharp and nimble forwards combining to score 96 goals at a league-high rate of 2.74 per match.
Brendan Rodgers (pictured) has elected to forego defensive stability in favour of allowing his forwards to flourish, a decision that at this moment in time, with Liverpool’s first league title since 1990 in sight, looks a correct one. The prolific scoring of Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez et al has generally proved sufficient to overcome his side’s defensive deficiencies.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured Jose Enrique (knee) and suspended Jordan Henderson. Victor Moses, on loan at Liverpool from Chelsea, is unable to take part due to the terms of his loan agreement. Sturridge (hamstring) will return to the squad after the missing the win over Norwich.
Chelsea travel to Anfield knowing that anything less than three points would all but end their title bid. They are second in the table, five points behind Liverpool, with 75 points from 23 wins, six draws and six defeats. Even if they do win, they would still need both Liverpool and Manchester City to slip up elsewhere in order to be crowned champions.
The Blues come into the match on the back of a 0-0 draw away to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. That result followed a controversial 2-1 home defeat to Sunderland last weekend, in which Chelsea missed numerous chances before succumbing to a late penalty from Fabio Borini.
It was unsurprising that Jose Mourinho chose to lean on the solidity of his defence against Atletico Madrid, as defending has been his side’s primary strength this season. Chelsea have the best defensive record in the league, while last weekend’s defeat to Sunderland was the first time since early December that they had conceded more than once in a league match.
Chelsea’s attack has rarely been as impressive, particularly against defensively aligned opponents, as in recent 1-0 defeats to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace and the late January 0-0 draw with West Ham. The lack of a consistent goalscorer up front has proved problematic, with the attacking midfielders able to cover some, but not all of the deficit.
Mourinho is without the injured Petr Cech (shoulder) and suspended Ramires for this match. He has made it clear that the second leg of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final with Atletico Madrid is more important to him that this fixture and is therefore unlikely to risk Eden Hazard (calf), John Terry (ankle) or Samuel Eto’o (knee).
Liverpool v Chelsea Betting Tips
Chelsea won 2-1 when these sides met at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, with goals from Hazard and Eto’o taking them to victory, while last season’s equivalent fixture ended in a 2-2 draw following an injury-time equaliser from Suarez. There have been five wins for Liverpool, three for Chelsea and two draws in the last 10 meetings in all competitions.
In reality it is Manchester City, rather than Chelsea, who pose the biggest threat to Liverpool winning the league title. City are six points behind with a game in hand, meaning that if Liverpool lose on Sunday the two teams would finish level on points if both won their remaining matches. A point would be enough for Liverpool to control their own destiny.
This match is a meeting between two sides with widely diverging styles, pitting, as it does, the team with the best goalscoring record in the division against the team with the best defence. There are sure to be some nerves inside Anfield and amongst the Liverpool players, but with Chelsea unlikely to be at full strength we would expect the home side to emerge victorious.
- Back Liverpool to win @ 7/10 with Coral or Paddy Power.
- Liverpool are always quick out of the traps, particularly at home, and are one of only two Premier League sides to have scored more first half than second half goals this season. We expect to see an open start to the game, with two or more first half goals a real possibility. Back over 1.5 first half goals @ best odds of 6/4 with Stan James.
Bookies Special Offers On Liverpool v Chelsea
- If a red card is shown at any time during the Liverpool v Chelsea match, BetVictor will refund losing Correct Score, First/Last/Anytime Goalscorer, Half-Time/Full-Time, Scorecast & Spincast bets as a free bet up to £25. Visit BetVictor.
- Coral are offering Liverpool to win at 7/2 for new customers only and just to a maximum bet of £/€10. To get the offer you need to sign up with the firm between these times: From 5pm UK time on Friday (April 25) to 2.05pm UK time Sunday (April 27). Visit Coral.