Among the many Liverpool and Chelsea fixtures in the Premier League era, one that fondly strikes everybody’s minds, not so much for Liverpool fans, is the game when Steven Gerrard slipped and Liverpool lost 2-0 in arguably one of the most crucial junctures of the 2013-14 title chase. While fans continue to argue whether or not that moment was the one that determined the title, Liverpool were ahead in the title chase until then, but weren’t after that.
Nearly a decade later, there are very different men at helm and barely a handful of individuals still in both teams, including James Milner who was a benefactor of Gerrard’s slip as that helped him get a winner’s medal with Manchester City. Unfortunately for the supporters of both fans, the clubs are not even in the top six right now and are a long distance away from Champions League positions, let alone contending for the title.
For Jurgen Klopp and Graham Potter, the onus now is clearly on being in the best possible competitions for next season. While Chelsea are down to competing in just two competitions, Champions League and Premier League, Klopp’s side are also alive in the FA Cup after a narrow win against Wolves across two matches.
Quite a lot of people are beginning to believe that Klopp has run out of gas at Anfield and his highly-energetic team has now lost all the onus to survive at the level they did. They played 63 matches last season, reaching the final of every cup competition they competed in and were thoroughly fatigued by the extensive footballing calendar, which also includes a FIFA World Cup in the middle of nowhere. This is what Jurgen Klopp believes, at least.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that Liverpool are entering this game having lost their last two Premier League matches. They were on away trips to Brentford and Brighton, and on both occasions, they conceded three goals each while scoring just one against the Bees. The likes of Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo are yet to hit the road running, but they have shown glimpses of why their boss trusts him.
There are multiple players in the defensive unit who are currently missing for the club, which adds to the dismay. Fabinho, one of their pillars in the Premier League and Champions League-winning campaigns back in the day, has not been in the best of form which left Jordan Henderson to take up that role more often. There problems have piled up aplenty, but a victory against one of the oldest rivals for the Reds can go a long way in boosting the morale.
For the Londoners, everything has been a little spooky and confusing. Right from the moment when they let go of manager Thomas Tuchel, which came as a surprise to many as not everybody felt he had run his course entirely, to the extensive money spent, which accounts for nearly 600 million pounds since the take over led by Todd Boehly – there is plenty happening off the field, but not great things on it.
Chelsea were put to test in most of their recent matches against the traditional top six opponents, out of which they only emerged with a positive result against Manchester United, where they picked up one point. Against Manchester City, they lost recently at home courtesy of a solo goal by Riyad Mahrez and were ripped apart by the same team at the Etihad in the FA Cup.
However, onfield form has not been a factor for Todd Boehly, who has been relentlessly spending money in the transfer market. They have already added Mykhailo Mudryk and Benoit Badiashile to the roster in January and are keen on supporting Project Potter with as much financial backing as possible.
Their recent form in the Premier League is possibly the biggest concern for Potter. Chelsea have won just two matches in their last 10, including five defeats and three draws. The Blues are winless in five consecutive away fixtures and are in desperate need of turn in fortune.
LIV vs CHE, Premier League 2022/23
Date: January 21, 2023
Time: 6:00 PM IST
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool
Liverpool Premier League form:
Liverpool form (all competitions):
Chelsea Premier League form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
Liverpool wins: 80
Chelsea wins: 65
Liverpool team news:
None of Arthur, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino or Virgil van Dijk will be back for Liverpool just yet, but Klopp is expecting Darwin Nunez to bounce back from an unspecified issue in time to line up against the Blues.
Nunez’s return should see Cody Gakpo revert to a wide role as Fabio Carvalho makes way, while Kostas Tsimikas suffered a knock to the back at Molineux but was always expected to cede his place to Andrew Robertson. Alisson Becker, Joel Matip, Mohamed Salah and Fabinho will also be among those to return, with the latter expected to come in for Stefan Bajcetic, despite the 18-year-old’s impressive performance in the FA Cup.
Mohamed Salah was not at his razor sharp best in the FA Cup fixtures against Wolves, but he remains to be their leading goal-scorer this season with 16 strikes across all competitions.
Chelsea team news:
Over at Cobham, Chelsea’s big money signin Mudryk will be in contention to make his Blues debut, and he could potentially be pressed into action straight away, as Kai Havertz was not seen in training on Wednesday for reasons we are not aware of as yet.
However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a more natural replacement for Havertz, and a full-capacity Chelsea treatment room still includes ex-Liverpool man Raheem Sterling alongside Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell, Christian Pulisic, Edouard Mendy, N’Golo Kante, Reece James, Armando Broja and Denis Zakaria.
Atletico Madrid loanee Joao Felix will serve the second of a three-game Premier League suspension after his sending off at Fulham, while Benoit Badiashile and Lewis Hall can both feel confident about keeping their places in the backline.
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Konate, Robertson; Elliott, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Chalobah, Badiashile, Silva, Hall; Kovacic, Jorginho, Gallagher; Ziyech, Aubameyang, Mount
Liverpool have lost just two of their last 15 Premier League matches against the Blues, wherein they’ve won six times and drawn seven times. However, their most recent defeat against them came at the Anfield when Mason Mount’s solo strike took the side past a struggling Merseyside unit. Well, the Reds find themselves struggling aplenty even now, but the situation is equally dire for Chelsea as well.
Last season, both the home and away fixtures finished in a draw between Liverpool and Chelsea. For the Reds, they are yet to win a Premier League match since the turn of the year and they might be facing an embarrassing possibility of going the entire month without a victory, that too in the beginning of the year.
Liverpool’s defensive woes have led their downfall this season and have not maintained a cleansheet in their last eight matches in the league. Their previous best streak of a similar kind was when the side had not even signed Lloris Karius, the man who was in charge of the sticks before Alison Becker came in. In 2016, they had gone nine games without a cleansheet in the league, which is the longest run for them under Klopp.
Kai Havertz had scored at the Anfield last year and he would be desperate to add to that tally with multiple senior forwards missing for the side. Graham Potter would be praying for the German to be at his best, and might introduce his newest addition to the arsenal in the form of Mudryk at some point in the match, or even surprise everyone by starting him.
Our prediction for this match is a 1-1 draw.