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Chelsea vs. Liverpool: Preview, Team News, and Ways to Watch

The Reds travel to Stamford Bridge in their third away trip to top six opposition in less than a month.

International Champions Cup 2016 - Chelsea v Liverpool Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

After an encouraging start to the season - the Burnley loss aside - Liverpool take on rivals and fellow hot-starters Chelsea. The game is a replay of the most inexplicably ill-tempered and violent pre-season match this summer, in which Chelsea turned out 1-0 winners following a dour, foul-ridden display. Jürgen Klopp and Antonio Conte will again do battle to see who can expend the most calories without actually going onto the pitch.

The teams are coming off very different results, with Chelsea having had to dig their way out of a hole against Swansea on Sunday, after dominating early but failing to convert their chances, while Liverpool routed Leicester City in another impressive attacking exhibition. Even so, the expectation is that Conte's men will present one of the Reds toughest challenges all year, and Klopp went out of his way to pain them as favourites ahead of the game.

Predicted Liverpool line-up (4-3-3):

Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mané, Sturridge, Firmino

The big question for this match is whether Philippe Coutinho returns to the starting XI or if Klopp keeps faith with the front three that demolished reigning champions Leicester on Saturday. Chelsea are certainly going to be more aggressive than the Foxes were but at the same time are unlikely to leave as much space between the defensive and midfield lines, especially now that N'Golo Kanté has moved to London. Patrolling the deep midfield alongside Nemanja Matic, the Frenchman has contributed to a Blues midfield that is nigh impenetrable on the defensive end. This includes the spaces in which Coutinho normally thrives, and as such, it seems plausible that the diminutive Brazilian might be kept on the bench as a potential gamechanger. That the Reds are in a position where the little magician might not be missed speaks volumes of how well the other attackers have performed this season.

With Emre Can back in training, but not yet deemed match fit, the midfield will probably remain unchanged, and Jordan Henderson will be trusted to continue his improved understanding of the deep single pivot role, supported by the boundless energy of Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum, in a midfield constellation that has shown signs it is beginning to gel.

At the back, Dejan Lovren has been cleared to play and will replace Lucas Leiva, partnering Joël Matip in central defence, where they will have to contend with the most unlikeable frontman in the whole of the Premier League, Diego Costa. The naturalised Spaniard is in great form, scoring four and assisting one already this season. There is always a chance that Alberto Moreno - now shorn of his ridiculous topknot, although whether his new look is any improvement is debatable - will return to the left-back spot at some point, but it seems improbable that it will be against the one-two punch of Branislav Ivanovic and Willian. On the opposite side, Reds fans will hope that Nathaniel Clyne shakes off his rusty to start to the season in time to face a reinvigorated Eden Hazard.

For Chelsea, the injury to captain John Terry and continued injury absence of Kurt Zouma means a start for David Luiz at the back, marking the Brazilian's first involvement for the Blues since his £32m return this summer. While Conte has had his team looking immensely solid defensively, conceding the fewest shots of any team in the league, Luiz is the kind of mercurial character who is as likely to contribute to his team;s downfall with a moment of madness as he is to carry them forward with a moment of genius. Sadio Mané will be lurking.

Liverpool can go into the weekend in second place, tied on points with one of the league favourites, or they can be six points behind five weeks into the season. With a top tier starting to form in the table, this game carries an air of importance with it already.

Kickoff is set for 8PM BST/ 3PM EST tomorrow on Sky Sports 1 in the UK and NBC Sports Live/NBCSN in the US. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, TSN in Canada, SuperSport 3 Africa in Kenya, and Astro SuperSport 3 in Malaysia are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.

We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.

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