04/03/2021 – Liverpool vs Chelsea Predictions

Preview

A potentially pivotal match in the Premier League top-four race takes place at Anfield on Thursday when champions Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Merseyside.

The hosts sit one place and one point behind their visitors, and victory for either team would be enough to lift them into the Champions League spots with fourth-placed West Ham United not in action in midweek.

The top-four race is not one either of these clubs would have gone into the season hoping to be involved in, and certainly not one they would have expected to be chasing, with ground still to make up at this stage of the campaign.

However, both teams – and Liverpool in particular – have been forced to temper their expectations over the course of the season and securing Champions League football next term is now the sole priority for both as far as their league ambitions are concerned.

Liverpool

Normally, a fixture at Anfield would mean good news for the reigining champions. However, it’s not that pleasant of a venue at the moment.

Liverpool’s slide down the table has been more recent, winning just two games out of 11 prior to Sunday’s much-needed 2-0 triumph over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

A Curtis Jones strike and Kean Bryan own goal ensured that the champions ended a four-game losing streak in the Premier League, and the challenge for Jurgen Klopp’s side now is to build on that and get their season back on track.

Plenty of problems still exist for Liverpool, though, not least a scarcely-believable run of form at home which has seen them lose their last four Anfield outings.

Liverpool’s winless run at Anfield now stretches back seven games to December 16, and they have scored just once in their last five matches at Anfield, having netted in each of their 42 outings prior to that. However, the Reds dominated Chelsea in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge and they’ll be hoping to do the same once again.

Chelsea

Tuchel is yet to taste defeat since taking over as manager, winning six and drawing three of his nine games at the helm – only Jose Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari, with 10 games and 12 games respectively, have enjoyed longer unbeaten starts as Chelsea boss.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that is the fact that Chelsea have conceded just two goals in those nine games – they shipped 12 in their final nine under Frank Lampard – giving Tuchel a firm foundation to build upon.

The task now will be to improve the team’s balance going forward; while they have only conceded twice, they have also only scored 10 goals in those nine games and drew a blank last time out against Manchester United.

There are still question marks as to whether Tuchel has actually improved Chelsea and a fixture like this could shed more light on a likely answer.

How the match could go

The last time Chelsea visited Anfield there were goals galore (5-3) and Liverpool ended the night by lifting the Premier League trophy aloft. Thursday’s showdown is likely to be very different. The fortress that was Anfield has been destroyed in the space of four games, while it is difficult to see this Chelsea team shipping five goals under Tuchel given the watertight start they have made since the new boss took over. There have only been three goalless draws between these two sides in the Premier League era, so goals are likely. But while a top-four spot awaits the winner, defeat would be a huge blow for either side’s Champions League hopes and it’s a game that could play out to a draw or see one team just slightly edge the game.

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Tip: Both teams to score

Chelsea might have been much better defensively but we can see Liverpool getting at least a goal in this one. The same goes for Liverpool who have only one clean sheet in their last five outings. Given what a victory could mean for both sides, we expect both teams to put out their best foot and that should translate to goals at both ends. In the same vein, we are more likely to see a winner as well after 90 minutes. Bet9ja have 1.62 odds, Bet365 have 1.66 and 1xbet have 1.70.

Over 2.5 Goals

Expecting at least three goals in this game is a rather bold call. However, we’re backing this to happen.  Both teams might go into the match with a cautious approach but an early goal in the first half could pretty much change the course of the game. It also remains to be seen if Alisson would feature in goal for Liverpool after he sadly lost his father recently. If Adrian starts for Liverpool, then it could leave Chelsea with some motivation upfront. Bet9ja have 1.78 odds, Bet365 have 1.80 and 1xbet have 1.87.

Penalty: Yes

In the past six games, Chelsea have been awarded the most penalties in the Premier League. Coincidentally, Liverpool have conceded penalties of late, including one against Everton in the Merseyside derby. On the flip side, the Reds also boast enough pace in attack to cause problems for Chelsea at the back. It’s a game that could be well set up for ‘counter-attacks’ and we have a good hunch a penalty will be awarded to one of both sides. Bet365 have 2.10 odds, 1xbet have 2.30 and Bet9ja have 2.75 odds.

Anytime Goal-scorer (Liverpool)

Salah

Despite failing to score in his last two games, he remains the league’s top scorer with 17 goals to his name. He’s the man who makes things tick for Liverpool and you can bet the Reds would have a good day if he has a good day as well. At Anfield, he’ll be the most likely player to get a goal for either side. Bet365 have 1.83 odds while Bet9ja have 2.15.

Firmino

Ideally, Mane would have been the next best name for a goal at Liverpool but the Senegalese has looked below average for a good part of this season. Firmino has been more of a goal threat and was even unlucky to see his strike against Sheffield last time out given as an own goal. The Brazilian scored last time at Anfield against Chelsea and he’ll be hoping to repeat the same. Bet365 have 2.87 odds for him to score while Bet9ja surprisingly have theirs at 4.00.

Anytime Goal-scorer (Chelsea)

Giroud

Since the arrival of Tuchel as Chelsea boss, Giroud has been the most consistent Blues performer upfront. It is true that Chelsea have struggled to score goals of late but the Frenchman remains the focal point for his side. His aerial threat could also come in handy especially if Adrian features in goal ahead of Alisson. There is value with the Frenchman as Bet365 offer 2.50 odds while Bet9ja have it better at 3.00.

Mount

Last time out, Timo Werner was benched and Tammy Abraham didn’t even make the match-day squad. Meaning, only Giroud looks to have sure spot at the moment among Chelsea forwards. With that in mind, we are going to midfield where Mason Mount has been another consistent performer for the Blues. He is never afraid to take a shot from range or try out for the extraordinary. His willingness to get on the end of things makes him a value bet to get a goal at Anfield. There is more value with the Englishman, Bet365 offer 4.33 odds while Bet9ja have theirs at 4.50.

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