Liverpool have failed to impress this season and are likely to face further difficulties when they host league leaders Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday (12:45 GMT, live on BT Sport).
The Reds come into the match on the back of a 1-0 defeat away to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday. They are seventh in the Premier League table, with 14 points from four wins, two draws and four defeats.
Liverpool performed competently in Madrid. They defended deep and, by sacrificing numbers in the final third, looked more secure than in recent matches. Brendan Rodgers rested a number of his regular starters after last weekend’s unimpressive 1-0 defeat away to Newcastle, in which Liverpool failed to turn their domination of possession into chances.
Best Match Betting Odds
6/5 Chelsea (Coral, BetVictor, Stan James, Boylesports)
5/2 Draw (Bet365, BetVictor, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Stan James, Boylesports)
5/2 Liverpool (BetVictor, Betfred, Stan James, Boylesports)
It was a familiar story for the Reds, who have been unable to adapt effectively to the summer departure of Luis Suarez. Their cause has not been helped by the early-season injuries suffered by Daniel Sturridge, but their heavily reduced goal output (less than half their per-match average of last season) will nevertheless be of great concern to Rodgers.
Liverpool are taking less shots than last season and also getting fewer of their efforts on target. Most tellingly, they are taking two less shots per match from inside the penalty area. In defence, they are conceding marginally less efforts on target but individual errors are proving costly, leading them to concede broadly the same number of goals per match.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured John Flanagan (knee), while Jose Enrique (knee), Mamadou Sakho (thigh) and Sturridge (calf) are all doubtful.
Chelsea travel to Anfield on the back of a sloppy performance in a 1-1 draw away to Maribor in the Champions League on Wednesday. They are four points clear at the top of the Premier League table, with 26 points from eight wins, two draws and zero defeats.
The point in Slovenia maintained Chelsea’s unbeaten record in all competitions but it was far from an impressive performance by Jose Mourinho’s side. He did rest a few of his regular starters but still had every right to be disappointed with a display that lacked the vigour evident in the majority of his side’s performances this season.
Chelsea are the Premier League’s top scorers, with an average of 2.6 goals per match. This is in complete contrast to last season, when they were comfortably outscored by both Liverpool and title winners Manchester City. Summer signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa (pictured) have added additional creativity and intensity to the team’s attacking play.
The Blues had the best defensive record in the Premier League last season and have largely been able to maintain a similar degree of solidity despite their high-scoring start to the new campaign. They are conceding roughly an extra goal every three matches compared to last season but are still giving up exactly the same number of shots on target.
Mourinho has no confirmed absentees for this match but John Obi Mikel (knock) and Loic Remy (muscle) are doubtful.
Liverpool vs Chelsea Betting Tips
Chelsea all but ended Liverpool’s title hopes with a 2-0 win in last season’s equivalent fixture and were also victorious in the return at Stamford Bridge. Those wins were two of just three for the Blues in the last 10 meetings between the sides in all competitions. Liverpool have won five times in the same period, including a 4-1 win at Anfield late in the 2011/12 season.
Liverpool have struggled for consistency in the early months of the campaign, with their summer signings failing to make a positive impact on the starting XI. They have dropped points in three of their five home league matches and appear unlikely to improve that record against a Chelsea side very much capable of exploiting their defensive deficiencies.
Chelsea look to have very few chinks in their armour, as illustrated by their unbeaten start to the season in all competitions. Fabregas and Costa have slotted in seamlessly and greatly improved the team’s attacking potency. The Blues have drawn away to both Manchester clubs so far this season, but they can be expected to take all three points against Liverpool.
- Back Chelsea to win @ best odds of 6/5 with BetVictor, Coral or Boylesports.
- Costa has scored nine goals in eight league starts for Chelsea this season and will be keen to get on the scoresheet after missing the draw with Manchester United through injury and then having a goal incorrectly disallowed against Maribor on Wednesday. Back Diego Costa to score at anytime @ best odds of 6/4 with Ladbrokes. That is unlikely to last considering it is as short as 4/6 with one firm. The next best is 6/5 with BetVictor.