Liverpool vs Chelsea predictions: Fresh-faced Blues could rattle Reds
- Liverpool have lost their last two league outings, conceding three goals in each defeat
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last two trips to Anfield
- Recommended bet: Double Chance - Chelsea or draw
After correctly predicting both teams to score with over 2.5 goals in the Manchester derby last week, Simon Barlow now assesses Liverpool's clash with Chelsea this weekend.
Liverpool and Chelsea are languishing in ninth and 10th positions respectively, 10 points off the Champions League places, ahead of Saturday's lunchtime Premier League clash at Anfield.
After back-to-back league defeats at Brentford and Brighton, Jurgen Klopp said he had waited "ages" for the Reds, who have a game in hand over the Blues, to win with a positive performance.
That finally came after he called up several younger players for Liverpool's 1-0 victory over Wolves in Tuesday's FA Cup third-round replay.
Chelsea, meanwhile, ended a four-game winless run when they took the points at home to Crystal Palace last weekend on an afternoon where they paraded new signing Mykhailo Mudryk.
Graham Potter fielded a much-younger line-up than in Chelsea's previous games and may give youth its head again in what could be a pivotal clash for both clubs' seasons.
Stefan Bajcetic and Harvey Elliott are pushing for starting roles after impressing in Liverpool's win at Molineux.
Klopp could axe a couple of his underperforming midfielders from the Brighton defeat with Fabinho most at risk of being relegated to the bench.
Naby Keita and Joe Gomez could also keep their places after performing tidily in midweek, while the home manager's attacking options should be boosted by the return of Darwin Nunez from injury.
Kostas Tsimikas (back) picked up a knock against Wolves and will need to be assessed, but Andy Robertson is likely to return at left-back.
For Chelsea, Mudryk may lack the match sharpness to make his debut from the start because the winger has not played competitively since November.
Potter is also expected to resist the temptation to throw full-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James, who have been out of action for some time, straight back into the fray.
James, 23, has been missing for over a month with a knee problem while 26-year-old Chilwell has been out since early November due to a hamstring injury.
The Blues boss is likely to make a couple of tweaks to his last line-up for the Anfield clash, with Marc Cucurella and Mateo Kovacic earning recalls for Trevoh Chalobah and Carney Chukwuemeka.
Liverpool's 3-0 reverse at Brighton was their first defeat in the last 33 Premier League games that kicked-off at 3pm on a Saturday — a run that dated back to a 2-0 loss at Hull City in February 2017.
The Reds have now lost their first two games of a calendar year in the Premier League for the first time since 1993.
By beating Palace, Chelsea avoided the ignominy of losing four successive matches in all competitions for the first time in 30 years.
The average age of Potter's starting XI against the Eagles was 25.6 — more than three years younger than the teams he fielded against Nottingham Forest and Manchester City earlier this month.
Mudryk netted three times in the Champions League group stage for Shakhtar Donetsk, which is more than any Chelsea player has managed in the competition.
The Ukraine international has scored seven times in his last eight league matches for Shakhtar and averaged a goal or assist every 65 minutes in the Ukrainian league this season.
Potter has left Anfield with good results on each of his last two visits with Brighton and could make it a hat-trick with an improving Chelsea side.
The Blues were the better team at Fulham before the Joao Felix red card put them on the back foot and there was a solid look to them last Sunday.
It will be interesting to see how Potter integrates new boy Mudryk into an attack that has produced just three goals in their last five away trips, but Chelsea have only had one defensive disaster class on the road this term — at Brighton.
That is exactly what Liverpool put their travelling fans through at the Amex Stadium last week and Klopp's side have only managed to keep three clean sheets at Anfield from nine Premier League outings this term.
The midweek win at Molineux was a step in the right direction, but opponents Wolves are the top flight's lowest scorers in 2022-23.
Chelsea have much more quality in midfield and cleverness in attack, which can enable them to hold out for a draw or maybe even nick all three points on Saturday.