Following the gritty win at Wolves that reminded us all what this side should look like in terms of intensity, Liverpool now turn attentions towards a floundering Premier League campaign. The Reds host fellow strugglers Chelsea on Saturday (12:30pm GMT). Here’s a preview of the game.

It was a much better showing in the FA Cup on Tuesday night, with a much changed side fighting its way over the line to seal qualification for the fourth round after a Harvey Elliott stunner early in the first half. That victory and performance could serve as a springboard for what’s to come.

It has to really, with Jürgen Klopp’s men facing some huge fixtures in the coming weeks. The next four opponents at Anfield reads: Chelsea, Everton, Real Madrid and Manchester United. If this campaign is to be salvaged, we must see an uptick in form when the Blues visit on Saturday.

It has been an almighty drop off for both sides since the keenly contested League Cup and FA Cup finals last season. Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup in August before taking the Reds to the wire in both Cup competitions, losing out on penalties.

Thomas Tuchel outfit threatened to make it a three horse race for the Premier League title in the early months of the campaign before falling away and finishing in third place. The upheaval at the club as Roman Abramovic was forced to sell certainly didn’t help.

New owners came in and it looked like a fresh start was afoot. The manager was backed to the tune of £250m as several big name players were signed. Six league games later, the German who had led the club to Champions League triumph a year earlier, was sacked.

Todd Boehly, intent on a hands on approach to running the club, appointed Graham Potter from Brighton. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Englishman. After winning each of his first three league games (and staying unbeaten in his first five), he’s lost five of the subsequent seven.

The only victories in that time have come at home to promoted Bournemouth and Fulham. Chelsea have only managed six goals in their last eight. They simply aren’t creating or scoring anywhere near enough. They are bottom half in the league for big chances created (26), xG (22.5) and actual goals scored (22).

They have tried to remedy that by going big again this window. About £150million has been spent to bring in Joao Felix (on loan), Mykhailo Mudryk (who could make his debut at Anfield), Fofana, Santos etc, not to mention further defensive reinforcement in Badiashile.

Both sides are coming off the back of confidence boosting 1-0 victories, but a victory on Saturday could truly reignite the season. In this battle of the underperforming giants, the side that makes the fewer errors will come out on top.

Klopp boasts an impressive record against Chelsea. In his time at the helm on Merseyside, he’s come up against the Londoners on 19 separate occasions across all competitions. His side have won nine of those meetings (including penalty shootouts), drawing six times and losing just four.

In the league last season, both meetings ended in a stalemate (1-1 at Anfield & 2-2 at Stamford Bridge). That game at Anfield seems a lifetime ago. Chelsea, who were defending champions of Europe at the time, held out for a draw despite playing the entire second half with ten men following a Reece James sending off.

Another draw here will see the two sides fall even further off the pace. They’re level on points at the minute, locked in 9th and 10th place, 10 points off Newcastle United in fourth. You can’t help but feel whichever side loses here will have to write off the season and start planning towards the next.

Team News

For Liverpool, Van Dijk (hamstring), Firmino (calf), Arthur (thigh), Jota (calf) and Diaz (knee) remain absent. Darwin Nunez meanwhile is expected back in training today having missed the last two games with a hamstring complaint. Should he get through the sessions unscathed, he will be in contention to play.

Chelsea have an injury list that even surpasses their hosts. Fofana (knee), Sterling (hamstring), Mendy (finger), Zakaria (thigh), Pulisic (knee) and Broja (knee) are all out injured. Joao Felix is also suspended following his sending off at Fulham on his debut.

The trio of Reece James, Ben Chilwell and N’golo Kante returned to training yesterday following prolonged spells on the sidelines. They are unlikely to be rushed back here and could sit this one out.



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