Match: Chelsea vs Liverpool
Date: 2nd January, 2022
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
Time: 10 PM IST
Chelsea and Liverpool clash to close gap on Manchester City
The Premier League 2021/22 title race was a three-way affair between Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in the initial phase of the competition, but the Cityzens have managed to build a gap with the other two, thanks to their impeccable consistency.
The Reds and the Blues have dropped plenty of points in the last few weeks and any more slip-ups can prove to be fatal. Hence, when Chelsea and Liverpool will clash on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, both teams will be desperate to get all three points.
Chelsea are currently placed at the second position in the league standings, having picked up 42 points from their 20 matches. Thomas Tuchel’s team won eight of their first ten matches, but in their last 10 outings, they have secured only four wins.
December has been a very harsh month for the reigning European champions, as they have won only two of their last six matches in the Premier League. Three teams managed to restrict them to draws, while West Ham United handed them a 3-2 defeat.
Liverpool are currently third in the standings with 41 points from 19 matches, but they have played one match less than the Blues. They did not have a particularly great start, as they won six of their first eleven outings.
A run of six consecutive victories helped Jurgen Klopp’s men to close the gap down on Manchester City, but poor performances in their last two matches, which saw them drawing against Tottenham Hotspur and losing against Leicester City, has once again pegged them back.
Chelsea: D W D D W L (Premier League)
Liverpool: L D W W W W (Premier League)
Thomas Tuchel will be missing many of his key players for this match. Both of his first-choice wing-backs, Reece James and Ben Chilwell are out with long term injuries. Besides them, Brazilian defender Thiago Silva and English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek are nursing muscular problems.
Both of them will face a race against time to regain fitness ahead of this match, while Danish defender Andreas Christensen is also doubtful with a back injury. German attacker Timo Werner has recovered from COVID-19, but given the severity of his infection, he is unlikely to feature.
Jurgen Klopp is also dealing with a long list of absentees. Andrew Robertson will miss this match as he is serving a two-game suspension. The Scottish left-back joins Divock Origi, Nat Phillips, Adrian and Harvey Elliot in the absentees’ list.
Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara and Takumi Minamino are nursing muscular and thigh problems respectively and there is no certainty on the availability of the duo. To top of it all, Klopp has also mentioned that three of his players have tested positive for COVID-19, without naming names.
Chelsea: Edouard Mendy; Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah, Antonio Rudiger; Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso; Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku.
Liverpool: Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Konstantinos Tsimikas; Fabinho, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson; Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane.
CHE vs LIV Top Picks
Mohamed Salah: Forward, Liverpool
We still don’t know if Mohamed Salah is among those to have tested positive for the virus, but if he is not, the Egyptian King will be the number one choice for captaincy. Salah has scored 22 goals in 25 matches this season, 15 of which have come in the Premier League itself.
He has scored one goal each against ten teams – Norwich City, Chelsea, Leeds United, Crystal Palace, Brentford, Manchester City, Watford, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Newcastle United. Besides that, he also has scored a hat-trick against Manchester City and a brace against Everton.
Romelu Lukaku: Forward, Chelsea
Despite stirring up controversy recently by openly saying how he is not very happy with the situation at Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku is expected to be the Blues’ focal point of attack against the Reds. He has scored 5 goals in 13 Premier League appearances.
The Belgian frontman has scored one goal each against Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion, while he has scored a total of three goals across two appearances against Aston Villa. Besides that, Lukaku has also scored two goals in the Champions League – both against Zenit St. Petersburg.
Captain & Vice-Captain Selection
Salah is in spectacular form in front of the goal and he is a no brainer for captaincy. For vice-captaincy, we have selected Romelu Lukaku, who has scored both of his last two Premier League appearances for Chelsea.
MPL Fantasy XI
Goalkeeper – Edouard Mendy
Defenders – Trent Alexander Arnold, Cesar Azpilicueta, Konstantinos Tsimikas
Midfielders – Mason Mount, Jorginho, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson
Forwards – Mohamed Salah (C), Romelu Lukaku (VC), Sadio Mane
Note: The players recommended here need not be a part of the Playing 11 on game day. Users are advised to do their own research also and follow official sources and create their teams.