Tuesday, October 20
Sep 20, 2020 at 4.30pm UK

Christensen (45+1')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Mane (50', 54')

Preview: Chelsea vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Chelsea vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:414875: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League showdown between Chelsea and champions Liverpool, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

The standout fixture in the second gameweek of the new Premier League season sees champions Liverpool visit Stamford Bridge to take on rivals Chelsea.

Both teams made winning starts to their 2020-21 campaigns, with Chelsea overcoming Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool squeezing past newly-promoted Leeds United in a seven-goal thriller.

Match preview

Both of these sides came into the 2020-21 Premier League season with big expectations, yet neither were at their best on the opening weekend of action.

Chelsea's significant summer spending spree has resulted in some people tipping them to challenge for Liverpool's crown this season, although if they are to close that gap then they will need to improve on Monday night's performance at the Amex Stadium.

Similarly, if Liverpool defend like they did against Leeds on the opening day then it would take a remarkably high-scoring season at the other end of the pitch for them to retain their title.

Crucially, though, both sides ultimately won the game, which is something Liverpool made an art of doing while not at their best last season, whereas Chelsea often dropped points in such games.

In Chelsea's defence, many of their new arrivals did not feature against Brighton and will not be ready again in time for this contest, with German internationals Timo Werner and Kai Havertz the only players to be handed their debuts.

Frank Lampard will be confident that the duo could wreak havoc if Liverpool allow them as much space as they allowed Leeds, and it was less than two months ago that Chelsea visited Anfield and scored three times before heavily bolstering their attacking ranks.

Of course, the problem in that most recent meeting between the two sides was that they conceded five times, and defence remains the great concern for the Blues going into the new season.

The imminent arrival of Edouard Mendy could help in that respect, with Kepa Arrizabalaga again not covering himself in glory for Brighton's equalising goal at the Amex.

Had Lewis Dunk's goalscoring radar also been working then Monday's contest could have easily ended differently for Chelsea, and Lampard will warn his side that Liverpool will not be so merciful in front of goal.

However, victory over the champions would be an early statement of intent for their season and, having become only the third club to pass the 2,000-point mark in the Premier League on Monday night, they will fancy their chances of adding to that tally in upcoming games against West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace and Southampton too.

Having watched the early game-of-the-season contender at Anfield on the opening weekend, Lampard will at least be confident of creating chances against a Liverpool defence which, although the best in the league last term, has looked far less impenetrable recently.

Since ending their 30-year wait for the title back in June, the Reds have shipped 15 goals in their eight Premier League games - as many as they had conceded in their previous 23 prior to that.

Some of that can perhaps be attributed to taking their foot off the pedal having won the title with seven games to spare, but the new season has hinted at those same problems - they surrendered the lead on three separate occasions against Leeds, while even in pre-season they fell 2-0 down to both Red Bull Salzburg and Blackpool due to a disorganised backline.

Liverpool will know better than anyone what damage Werner could do if that is the case again, having scouted him intensively before ultimately deciding against a move due to the financial implications of lockdown.

The arrival of Thiago Alcantara will sate the Liverpool fans' desire for a big-name signing, though, and even without the treble-winning Spain international the Reds would still have fancied their chances of outscoring most teams as they did against Leeds.

While the defensive record will be a concern, the flip side of the coin is that Liverpool have scored 11 goals in their last two outings including the pre-season drubbing of Blackpool when they stormed back from a two-goal deficit to win 7-2.

Mohamed Salah was the best player on the park on the opening weekend with a sharp and ruthless display which even prompted comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo from pundit Gary Neville.

Considering their five-goal haul against Chelsea in their last meeting, Jurgen Klopp will be confident that his side have enough firepower to make it two wins from two this weekend, but any trip to Stamford Bridge is difficult.

It comes as part of a tricky start to their defence in general too; having been run close by Leeds, Liverpool now face Chelsea, Arsenal and Merseyside rivals Everton in three of their next four league games, so if they can get through that run unscathed then there will be no doubting their title credentials again.

Chelsea played an important role in that title triumph, of course, with their win over Manchester City leaving Liverpool unassailable at the top and then providing the opponents on the day the Reds finally got their hands on the trophy - an eight-goal thriller only adding to the occasion.

As ever, there will be no love lost between the two rivals, though, and there will also be a watchful eye on the touchlines after Lampard and Klopp became embroiled in a heated row the last time they faced off.

Chelsea Premier League form: W

Liverpool Premier League form: W
Liverpool form (all competitions): LW

Team News

There was concern over Werner when he was spotted with an ice pack on his thigh after the game against Brighton, but he played the majority of that match with the problem and has been passed fit for this game against the club he nearly joined instead of Chelsea.

Lampard has confirmed that fellow new signings Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva remain unavailable, though.

Mateo Kovacic's red card in last season's FA Cup final ruled him out of the Premier League season opener, but he is now ready to come back into the fold and could take the place of Jorginho, despite his goal against Brighton.

Defenders Reece James and Kurt Zouma were both on the scoresheet too and will hope to have done enough to keep their places, although Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger do provide greater experience having both surprisingly been left out of the starting XI last weekend.

Christian Pulisic was the main dangerman the last time these two sides faced off but he misses out this weekend, while Billy Gilmour is a long-term absentee.

Liverpool will no doubt be looking to test Kepa as often as possible, with the world's most expensive keeper having now conceded nine of the past 13 shots on target he has faced in the league, and a league-high 19 from outside the box since joining in 2018.

Former Chelsea man Salah will be licking his lips at those statistics as he aims to extend his latest record; Liverpool have now won the past 35 league games in which Salah has scored, overtaking Wayne Rooney's record.

Thiago will not feature following his arrival having not yet trained with the team, but fellow new signing Kostas Tsimikas is expected to be available again after recovering from coronavirus.

Xherdan Shaqiri is also pushing for a return from his latest injury, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a longer-term absentee.

Fabinho will be pushing for a starting berth in order to provide more protection for a back four which was exposed and at times in disarray against Leeds.

At one end, Virgil van Dijk scored his 10th Premier League goal for Liverpool - more than any other centre-back in the competition since his club debut in January 2018 - but at the other end he made his second error leading directly to a goal in his past four Premier League games, more than he registered in his first 154 appearances.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; James, Rudiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Kante, Kovacic; Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Mount; Werner

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Head To Head

These two sides faced each other on four occasions last season, with Liverpool winning both Premier League meetings and the UEFA Super Cup but being knocked out of the FA Cup by Lampard's side.

The corresponding league fixture saw Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino get the goals in a 2-1 Liverpool win almost exactly a year ago to the day, meaning that the Reds have now lost just one of their last six top-flight visits to Stamford Bridge.

Indeed, home and away Liverpool have now won the last three league meetings, and victory on Sunday would see them triumph in four such matches on the bounce for the first time since 2012.

We say: Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool

This promises to be a fascinating contest. Chelsea are still something of an unknown entity with their new arrivals bedding in and working their way up to fitness, but they certainly have the firepower to hurt Liverpool if the visitors' defence is leaky again.

Klopp's side have comparable firepower and more, though, and a more characteristic defensive display could be enough for them to take all three points from this match.

Goals should hopefully flow whatever happens, and we cannot split the two teams in what we expect to be an entertaining draw.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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