Liverpool vs Chelsea: Two traditional title challengers shockingly battle for mid-table supremacy – it’s a must win

Liverpool vs Chelsea: Two traditional title challengers shockingly battle for mid-table supremacy – it’s a must win

WHO would have thought by the time this clash between Liverpool and Chelsea came around we would be seeing a battle for mid-table supremacy?

Injuries have killed any realistic chance of a title charge for either side.

But three points could restore any slim push for a Champions League spot.

  • Kick-off time: 12:30pm GMT
  • Live stream: BT Sport
  • TV channel: BT Sport 1
  • Liverpool XI: To follow
  • Chelsea XI: To follow

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Graham Potter has found it tough going since taking over as Chelsea boss
Graham Potter has found it tough going since taking over as Chelsea bossCredit: Getty
Jurgen Klopp has cut a frustrated figure at times for Liverpool this season
Jurgen Klopp has cut a frustrated figure at times for Liverpool this seasonCredit: AP

What is their form like?

Liverpool looked to be getting their season back on track – until successive losses against Brentford and Brighton.

Klopp’s side have won three and lost two of their last five Prem games.

Chelsea ended a three-game winless run by beating Crystal Palace last time out 1-0.

In their last five games they have won two, lost two and drawn one.

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What is the team news and any injuries to worry about?

Liverpool‘s season has been hit by a whole host of injuries.

Roberto Firmino, Arthur Melo, Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz are all ruled out.

Darwin Nunez and Konstantino Tsimikas are battling to shake off niggles for the game.

Chelsea‘s medical room is even busier.

Edouard Mendy, Christian Pulisic, Armando Broja, Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana, Reece James, Denis Zakaria, Raheem Sterling and N’Golo Kante are all crocked.

Joao Felix will miss the game after being sent off on his debut against Fulham. But new £88m signing Mykhailo Mudryk is set to feature – thought might have to wait on the bench.

A Liverpool XI without Virgil van Dijk is just not the same Liverpool
A Liverpool XI without Virgil van Dijk is just not the same LiverpoolCredit: PA

Who will be the star men?

It’s almost impossible to tell who will finally step up to the plate for Liverpool at the moment.

They are desperate for some genius from Mo Salah – surely it is time for him to find his scoring boots?

Mason Mount is pretty much the only certainty in the Chelsea XI at the moment.

Boss Potter is clearly a big fan, and will be relying on the England man to get his team motoring.

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What have the managers said?

Asked if the players who helped Liverpool beat Wolves in the FA Cup have played themselves into contention for the Chelsea game, Klopp said: “Yeah, yeah. I don’t think it will be right after one game to say, ‘That will be the team for the next eight weeks.’ Let’s have a look.

“We are not in a casting show. But, of course, the door is open to everyone. Whoever fights has a good chance to play.”

Speaking after ending their bad run by beating Palace, Potter said: “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved because it’s nice to get a win.

“I thought we played better than when getting no points against Fulham [in the 2-1 defeat on Thursday].

“And then when you get the red card for João Félix, who’s probably the last person you think is going to get a red card in that game, you think we’ve done something wrong in terms of luck.

“But you have to keep going and you have to deal with the bad times, deal with the tough situations, accept the criticism that comes your way and take your responsibilities. That’s what we’ve tried to do.”

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SunSport prediction

You’d think both teams would not settle for anything less than a win in their current predicament.

Injury problems could see it being a bit hell for leather at times, and we are going to go for the not-so-brave option of a draw – Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea.

  • Predictions?

    Tough one to call, this.

    Both teams have been underwhelming this season, compared to their usually brilliant standards, so it makes it really tough to see how this one is going to go.

    Given that they are the home team, Liverpool may have a slight advantage today, but Chelsea may be fired up after the big money signing’s they have made, and players will be keen to show that they deserve to stay in the side.

    At SunSport we are going to call a 2-2 draw.

    What do you think?

  • Money Mudryk magic?

    Step aside, money Mase.

    They is a new MM in town, and Mykhailo Mudryk is here to set SW6 alight.

    The Ukrainian arrived in London for a big transfer fee, and it is expected that he will be involved in the side today that takes on Liverpool.

    Having trained with the team this week, it remains to be seen if he will be thrusted straight into the starting eleven – à la Joao Felix – or if he will make his impact off the subs bench.

    He will no doubt be eager to get up against Trent Alexander-Arnold on the left wing, who has shown defensive frailties this season, as both sides today have in general, to be fair.

    Mykhailo Mudryk has been getting stuck straight in at Cobham this week.
    Mykhailo Mudryk has been getting stuck straight in at Cobham this week.Credit: Getty
  • Good morning! Welcome to Liverpool vs Chelsea!

    Good morning football fans, and welcome to SunSport’s coverage of Liverpool against Chelsea, a match up that has provided some cracking games in the past.

    This is the first time that the two sides have met this season, and it is shaping up to be another brilliant game, with both sides under performing so far this season.

    We could see a debut for Chelsea’s new big money signing Mykhailo Mudryk, but it remains to be seen if he will be in the starting XI today.

    This tie has produced some special moments over the years, as Liverpool fans will be hoping ex-Chelsea man Mo Salah can recreate his stunner against The Blues in 2019.

    As for Chelsea fans, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a moment like Eden Hazard’s other-worldly dribble through half the team before slotting it into the back of the net in 2018.

    Stay with us here on SunSport for a complete build up to kick-off at 12:30pm, as well as live coverage of the game when it begins.

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Lloyd Canfield

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