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    Liverpool vs Chelsea Match Preview


    Two Premier League heavyweights meet at Anfield on Saturday evening as Liverpool and Chelsea both battle it out with the aim of maintaining their excellent recent form.

    Third-place Chelsea have won six of their past seven matches in all competitions, while their fifth-place opponents were on a run of four straight wins before their midweek capitulation against Sevilla in the Champions League.

    Liverpool recorded a famous win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the early stages of last season, although it didn't prevent them from finishing 17 points adrift of last season's champions come the end of the campaign.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool have been in excellent form in recent weeks having won three consecutive games in the Premier League, while they also stand on the brink of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2008-09.

    Although The Reds haven't faced top-half opposition since the 4-1 mauling against Tottenham in October, they have recorded emphatic victories over Huddersfield, West Ham and Southampton by an aggregate 10-1 scoreline to move up to fifth-place.

    It appeared as though Klopp's side were set to win for the fifth successive time in all competitions on Tuesday, having led 3-0 at half-time, but Sevilla fought back to secure a famous draw courtesy of a 93rd-minute equaliser.

    The result means that Liverpool still have work to do in order to reach the last 16 of the Champions League, although a draw or victory at home to Spartak Moscow on December 6 would be enough to secure progression.

    Klopp has since defended the part that Albert Moreno played in the defensive unravellings, with the under-fire full-back widely criticized for conceding both the free-kick and penalty which gave Sevilla a foothold back into the game.

    The German manager said: "I could look at my selection, maybe I might have changed things earlier. I've told him I still trust him 100 per cent."

    Liverpool will certainly need to defend better against Chelsea on Saturday if they are to stretch their unbeaten run against The Blues to six matches, with their opponents scoring 46 goals from 20 matches in all competitions this season.

    By contrast, The Reds have conceded 28 times from 20 matches in all competitions in 2017-18 although they could be boosted by the return of defender Joel Matip who has missed the previous two games with a thigh problem.

    Chelsea

    Although it appears as though Chelsea have not hit the dizzy heights that they managed last season, the club were only three points better off at the same stage of the campaign in 2016-17.

    Antonio Conte's side made the worst possible start to their title defence, losing 3-2 at home to Burnley on the opening day, but recovered in spectacular style by taking 13 points from the next 15 available with wins over Spurs, Everton, Leicester and Stoke.

    The Blues then suffered back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Crystal Palace, either side of an international break, and trailed leaders City by nine points at that stage of the campaign having finished 18 points above them last season.

    However, Chelsea have won all four of their subsequent league matches since that low-point in their season, although the third-place Blues still trail City in the league table by the same deficit as well as Manchester United by a single point.

    Conte's team have also made it through to the last 16 of the Champions League from a tough group containing Atletico Madrid and Roma, while wins over Nottingham Forest and Everton have secured the club's passage through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

    Alvaro Morata, who cost a club-record £58 million, has been the most impressive of Chelsea's six summer recruits having scored nine goals in all competitions, including the headed winner against Manchester United on November 5.

    The Spaniard was part of a £185 million summer spending spree which also saw the arrivals of defenders Antonio Rudiger (£29 million) and Davide Zappacosta (£23 million) and midfielders Tiemoue Bakayoko (£40 million) and Danny Drinkwater (£35 million).

    Chelsea haven't beaten Liverpool in any competition since a 1-0 triumph in a League Cup semi-final back in January 2015, while they last recorded a victory at Anfield in November 2014 with Gary Cahill and Diego Costa scoring the goals in a 2-1 win.

    Liverpool Team News

    Joel Matip is expected to make his first start for The Reds since the international break in-place of Ragnar Klavan, with manager Jurgen Klopp saying there is a "big chance" that the former Cameroon international will play.

    Emre Can is doubtful with a muscular problem, although the German international was only used as a substitute in Tuesday's 3-3 draw against Sevilla at the expense of Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson, who occupied the central midfield positions.

    One player close to making a comeback is midfielder Adam Lallana, who hasn't played all season having sustained a thigh strain in the summer and he could make his long-awaited return on Saturday as a substitute.

    Nathaniel Clyne, who also hasn't played for the club this season, remains sidelined with a back injury, while reserve goalkeepers Adam Bogdan (knee) and Danny Ward (back) are also currently on the sidelines.

    Chelsea Team News

    Victor Moses could make his return to the Chelsea line-up after sustaining a hamstring injury against Crystal Palace on October 14, which has kept him out of action for the past six weeks.

    Alvaro Morata is expected to return to the starting XI after appearing as a second-half substitute in the 4-0 win against FK Qarabag, while Tiemoue Bakayoko should also play after also spending Wednesday night on the bench.

    Willian and Pedro are the players likely to miss out, while Antonio Conte has to decide which of his central defenders will make way for the return of Gary Cahill after the England international was also rested in midweek.

    Three players who will not be featuring on Saturday are striker Michy Batshuayi, winger Kenedy and attacking midfielder Charly Musonda, who remain on the sidelines with ankle, muscle and knee injuries respectively.

    Head-to-head

    Liverpool haven't lost in the last five meetings with Chelsea, winning two and drawing three, although The Blues were also unbeaten against Saturday's opponents in eight matches between November 2012 and May 2015 (winning four and drawing four).

    The sides famously met 24 times in five seasons between 2004-05 and 2008-09, including on 10 occasions in the Champions League, with Chelsea winning 10 of those matches and Liverpool coming out on top seven times.

    Both teams are tied on 19 wins apiece from 50 Premier League encounters, while they also met in the finals of the 2005 League Cup and the 2012 FA Cup with Chelsea winning both matches by the solitary goal.

    The Reds, however, lead the way in terms of overall meetings having won on 77 occasions compared to Chelsea's 61, while 39 of the 177 meetings between the two sides have ended in draws.

    Score Prediction

    Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs Chelsea Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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