It’s the Special One against the Normal One on Saturday as new Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp takes his team to Stamford Bridge to face Jose Mourinho’s struggling Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime.
WILL IT BE HALLOWEEN HORROR SHOW AT THE BRIDGE?
Records are tumbling at Stamford Bridge; unfortunately it’s for all the wrong reasons, as Chelsea’s defence of their Premier League crown turns into a shambles. Week in, week out, beleaguered coach Jose Mourinho attempts to take the heat out of the situation by dominating the press headlines, but the facts are there plainly to see, as his team sits sixth from bottom of the current league table. The best online sports betting websites will offer you *21.00 for the reigning champions to finish in the bottom half; that those odds are being offered at all, is a sad indictment on the club’s current plight. Defeat last weekend to their capital rivals West Ham United was followed by a League Cup exit (after penalties) in midweek at Stoke City. Saturday is now a must win game for Mourinho’s team or a change at the helm seems inevitable.
LEAGUE CUP WIN GIVES KLOPP SOMETHING TO BUILD ON
Eliminating Premier League new boys Bournemouth from the League Cup would not normally be a call for too much celebration but for Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp, it marked his first win in charge of the Merseyside giants. Now the self-confessed “Normal One” heads to the capital on Saturday looking for his first league win since he took over earlier in the month. Successive draws away at Spurs and at home to Southampton last week, has given the German tactician a solid if less than spectacular start, but with Saturday’s opponents in such disarray, he will think that his side will never get a better chance to take three points from the champions.
Belgian international goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Serbian defender Branislav Ivanović are both unavailable due to injury, which means that Asmir Begović will once again deputise between the posts whilst Kurt Zouma should slot in at right-back. Controversial Spanish striker Diego Costa suffered a rib injury in the defeat at Stoke in midweek and his participation on Saturday could be in doubt along with fellow countryman Pedro, who the press reported this week is apparently regretting his move to the capital (the best football betting guides currently price him at *3.10 to be an anytime scorer on Saturday).NemanjaMatić could return in midfield having served his suspension.
Ivory Coast defender KoloTouré becomes the latest injury victim for Liverpool joining Jordan Henderson, Danny Ings, Jon Flanagan, Jordan Rossiter and Joseph Gomez in the treatment room at Anfield. England international Daniel Sturridge is close to a return to fitness and looks likely to get a place on the bench on Saturday. Belgian striker Christian Benteke is also struggling for fitness, but he is expected to lead his sides attack at Stamford Bridge.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Begović; Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Zouma; Matić, Ramires; Hazard, Fàbregas, Willian; Costa
Liverpool (4-2-3-1) Mignolet; Moreno, Sakho, Škrtel, Clyne; Can, Leiva; Milner, Firmino, Coutinho; Benteke
HEAD TO HEAD
The last three meetings between these two in all competitions have ended in draws and the visitors have also drawn their last three league games. Despite Chelsea’s poor start to the new campaign, Stamford Bridge is still a fortress for them, remaining undefeated in 35 of their last 38 league fixtures on home soil. Their recent league record is not so impressive however, only winning two of their last six outings.
Chelsea 2.05 Draw 3.50 Liverpool 3.60
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)