Chelsea v Liverpool – Opposition Preview

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Written by: Daniel Ghorbal @danghorbal

Just over a month on from a memorable Super-cup victory in Istanbul against Sunday’s opponents, Liverpool take on Frank Lampard’s Chelsea again but this time domestically, with the reds looking to regain momentum after a disappointing 2-0 defeat in Naples on Tuesday night. Since Adrian’s penalty winning-save in Turkey, Chelsea have picked up 8 points from the 4 games that followed, notably beating Europa League side Wolves 5-2 at Molineux, an impressive score-line against a Wolves side that did not concede 5 in one game in the entirety of the last campaign.

Tammy Abraham scored his first Chelsea hat-trick that day, with 3 well-taken finishes that underline his ability to deliver in the Premier League. Contrary to this, Abraham has scored his 7 goals against Norwich, Sheffield United and Wolves, so it will be fascinating to see how he fairs against Virgil Van Dijk come Sunday. For Abraham, having players in and around him that provide quality service is the key, being a player that thrives upon good interplay. Against a Liverpool side full of quality, it is vital that Abraham does not become isolated within the game, similarly to what I said about Newcastle striker Joelinton.

Mason Mount is one of the players that offers Abraham this support, a young starlet that Lampard knows well after his promising loan-spell at Derby County last season. Mount has made an electric start to life in the top flight, scoring 3 goals and standing out in every game that he has played for the club. Unfortunately for Mount, he picked up a knock on his ankle in Tuesday’s defeat against Valencia and it is hard to judge whether he will be fit to play on Sunday as of yet. In the likelihood that Mount is left out, Ross Barkley is the like for like replacement, however I think Lampard will opt for Pedro, the veteran with experience in games of this calibre. Although Chelsea like to play a possession-based game, sitting in and playing on the counter attack may be what Frank decides to implement this weekend, so a more orthodox 4-3-3 with 2 of Willian/Pulisic/Pedro out wide may be the more favourable option.



 

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For me, the stat of the season so far is that Chelsea have scored 11 league goals this season, all of which were scored by Englishmen under the age of 21 (Abraham x7, Mount x3, Tomori x1). Even more interestingly, all 3 of the players that have popped up with goalscoring contributions all played in the Championship last season, with Mount and Tomori at Derby with Lampard. The former, Fikayo Tomori, was the Rams’ player of the season in a campaign that was agonisingly close to ending in promotion. Despite only starting twice this season, he has made an immediate impact to the Chelsea side, in addition to scoring an eye-catching wonder-goal, one that will definitely be a nominee for goal of the season come May. With David Luiz’ sudden departure, the ownness is on Tomori to step up when required, especially with Antonio Rudiger suffering from reoccurring injury problems too.

Ultimately, the result of this game will boil down to who turns up on the day. If Liverpool are at their best, they will beat Chelsea, nonetheless the Blues have many players capable of causing issues, none more so than Tammy Abraham. Both Klopp and Lampard will be hoping for a reaction after midweek defeats in the Champions League, and it is sure to be a thrilling encounter at Stamford Bridge.

Written by: Daniel Ghorbal @danghorbal

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