Liverpool host Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea side on Saturday evening looking to make it seven league wins from seven.
Jurgen Klopp’s side got their sixth league victory of the season last week after comfortably seeing off Southampton at Anfield. This thanks to an own goal from Wesley Hoedt, a header from Joel Matip and a goal from Mo Salah.
This weekend’s opposition are also unbeaten themselves this campaign, however their 100% record came to an end last Sunday when they drew 0-0 away at West Ham United.
Antonio Rudiger came off in that game against the Hammers and is a doubt for the game at Anfield, along with Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek who will face late fitness tests.
Predicted Liverpool line-up
Alisson was rarely tested against Mark Hughes’ side with the Saints having just one shot on target all game. We did get to see the ‘keeper’s importance in relation to distribution though. He completed 86.4% of his pass attempts and completed all of his nineteen passes attempted in the defensive third.
Trent Alexander-Arnold looks like he’s starting to slowly get back to his very best. The talented full-back was a constant threat down the right-hand side all game and even provided the assist for Joel Matip’s goal in the twenty-first minute. Despite the strong performance from Matip, it wouldn’t surprise me if Joe Gomez came back into the side against Chelsea. There will definitely be minutes for Matip to impress even more though as the fixture list hots up. Virgil van Dijk was typically just as impressive at the weekend and thankfully it looks as though his rib injury is nothing to worry about too much. The Dutchman will have a vital role at the weekend in neglecting the potential threat caused by either Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud. Water is wet, grass is green, Andy Robertson was phenomenal again.
Gini Wijnaldum is the form of his life at the minute and there’s absolutely no reason why he should be stopped. Despite standing at just five foot and seven inches tall, the ex-Newcastle man seems to have the ability to outmuscle nearly anyone that comes near him off the ball. In his first full start for the Reds, Xherdan Shaqiri showed how vital he can be to this Liverpool side. The Swiss man was brought off at half-time, however he was certainly one of the most creative influences in the game so hopefully, we get to see more of him soon. For me, Jordan Henderson is one of the most deceiving players I’ve ever seen play for the Reds. The Liverpool captain looked to have had an uninfluential came on first viewing but his stats would disagree with that. Henderson completed 90% of his passes in the final third and completed twenty-two of his twenty-five forward passes.
Despite concerns over his form this season, Mo Salah showed against Southampton that he’s very much getting back to his best. His awareness to run in on Shaqiri’s free-kick for the third goal is why the Egyptian is so brilliant and is the reason why he scores so many. Sadio Mane didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet but the Senegalese international was just as brilliant and was a constant threat all game. The star of the front three for me was Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian’s link-up play is something teammates dream of and you’ll struggle to find a Liverpool chance that Firmino is not involved in. Finally, we are starting to see the chemistry between that terrific trio that we saw all across last season.
This is probably Liverpool’s toughest test of the season. I said that a fortnight against Tottenham but they’ve struggled to show their best form this season, whereas Chelsea have and on their day can probably take out any side in the division. The Reds are the same though and if the front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah show up, it could be a long day for that Chelsea backline.
On the other hand, Eden Hazard is undoubtedly one of the best in the world and most of Maurizio Sarri’s side’s attacking play will come through the Belgian. This game will be built on whether both sides can neutralise the main creative sources.
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea