Liverpool vs Chelsea: Tussle for a Champions League spot

Red vs Blue. North vs South. Liverpool vs Chelsea has a rich history of delivering excellent matches. Both sides are jostling for the Champions League qualification. This means today’s match is one of the most important in recent history between the Blues and the Reds. Let’s hope the quality of the match can honour the great Ian St. John, who passed away recently.

Chelsea have started life under Thomas Tuchel currently unbeaten so far. The notable achievements include impressive victories over Tottenham and Atletico. However, they were frustrated last time out against Manchester United and currently sit outside the Champions League spaces.

Jurgen Klopp’s team won their last match against Sheffield United, to halt a 4-game losing streak. They’ve gone from title challengers to scrapping for Europe in six weeks. Tonight’s match, Liverpool vs Chelsea has a lot at stake for both sides.

Liverpool vs Chelsea: Recent Form

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s team have not enjoyed 2021. Since the turn of the year, a string of poor results has seen them suffer. They’ve lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup. Outplayed by Manchester City in the Premier League. To compound this run, their last match at Anfield was a disappointing 2-0 loss to Merseyside (and European football) rivals Everton. Improbable injury issues aside, they’ve been porous and ponderous, especially in recent games. Besides Mo Salah, many players are struggling to recapture the blistering form that propelled them to the title last season.

However, there is some cause for optimism for the Reds. They looked impressive on Sunday, albeit against a limited Sheffield United. They’ve also taken a comfortable lead in their Champions League tie against RB Leipzig. A win against Chelsea tonight could re-invigorate their season and help them push on to achieve success, albeit not the one they were hoping for as recently as December.

Chelsea

It seems hard to believe, but just six weeks ago, Chelsea slipped to the disappointing 2-0 loss against Leicester City. Since then, everything has changed. Frank Lampard has left. Thomas Tuchel has arrived. Slowly and steadily, Chelsea have clambered up the table back into European contention. A number of players: Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, Jorginho and even Kepa Arrizabalaga have had chances for redemption.

Andreas Christensen will likely start again at Anfield.
Andreas Christensen is another player with a new lease of life. Image Credit: Clive Rose via Getty Images.

Tuchel’s football has hardly been swashbuckling. With an emphasis on defensive solidity, Chelsea have kept clean sheets in all but two of his matches to date. However, the goals have not been flowing freely. The Blues are yet to score more than twice against an opponent under Thomas Tuchel. You suspect this will need to change if Chelsea are to achieve their own aspirations this season. Certainly, Tuchel needs to get a tune out of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. His fellow Germans have underperformed so far for Chelsea and they will need to improve as we approach the business end of the season.

Liverpool vs Chelsea: Ones to Watch

Christian Pulisic

Christian Pulisic lit up Anfield last season. Coming on as a second-half substitute, he stormed past Fabinho, Alexander-Arnold and Gomez to roll the ball to Abraham for a tap-in. Later on, his terrific touch and control saw him swivel and crash a strike past Alisson to reduce the deficit to 1.

Christian Pulisic will hope for a chance to recapture his form from last season.
Pulisic speeds through. Image Credit: Phil Noble via Getty Images.

Sadly, Pulisic has not hit this form in 2020-21. A persistent injury has minimised involvement, but even when he has played, he’s lacked the dynamism and invention that lit up Project Restart. The American has just one Premier League goal this season, coming back against Leeds in December.

However, he’s back to full fitness now and surely eager to prove a point. What better way to impress your new boss by getting one over on your old one?

Thiago Alcantara

Thiago’s signing was met with much fanfare last season. In the peak of his powers, the elegant Spaniard traded Bavaria for Merseyside. His debut saw him impress as a substitute against Chelsea, setting a record for most passes made in 45 minutes.

Both Thiago and Timo Werner have points to prove in Liverpool vs Chelsea.
Both Thiago & Timo may want to wind the clocks back… Image Credit: Michael Regan via Getty Images.

Since then, it’s been downhill. First injuries robbed him of a significant portion of the season. Thiago’s return to fitness has coincided with Liverpool’s slump. His languid style of play – controlled and intricate – appears to juxtapose the physical control and dominance enforced by last season’s regular midfield of Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Henderson.

Thiago needs to put in a performance in a big match to remind everyone how good he is. Tonight against Chelsea, Liverpool fans will be hoping this comes to fruition.

Liverpool vs Chelsea: Predicted Lineups and Injury News

Liverpool

Predictably, Chelsea face Liverpool just as a number of key players are returning for the Reds. Long-term absentees Joe Gomez, Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip are missing, as well as club captain Jordan Henderson. However, Klopp can call upon Fabinho and Alisson again. He’s also hopeful to have influential attacker Diogo Jota available at Anfield.

Liverpool vs Chelsea - Liverpool Predicted Lineup

Chelsea

For a few tantalising hours, it seemed like Chelsea might be able to have a full squad fit for the trip to Merseyside. However, Thomas Tuchel quashed those hopes yesterday. Thiago Silva continues to be absent for the Blues and Tammy Abraham allegedly has issues with his ankle. However, Callum Hudson-Odoi could play a part tonight, having recovered from his own knock on Sunday.

Liverpool vs Chelsea - Chelsea Predicted Lineup

Liverpool vs Chelsea: Match Details

  • Liverpool vs Chelsea, Premier League
  • Kick-Off: 20:00 GMT
  • 4th March 2021
  • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: Referee: Martin Atkinson. Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett. Fourth official: Anthony Taylor. VAR: Paul Tierney. Assistant VAR: Constantine Hatzidakis.

Final Thoughts

A pivotal match for both sides. If Chelsea win, and follow it up with victory over the other Merseyside club on Monday, they’ll be in a great position. A point favours neither team, with West Ham above them having favourable fixtures in the forthcoming weeks. Liverpool really need a win, otherwise they face slipping away further from the Champions League spots, especially with Spurs in close proximity.

Written and edited by Rob Pratley

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