Chelsea vs Liverpool
| Tuesday, April 4th |
Premier League | Stamford Bridge
8PM BST / 3PM EST
Once again, Liverpool are presented with an opportunity to right a wrong, attempting to overturn Chelsea — a team they’ve played out five consecutive draws with over the past 20 months — as they look to bounce back from an uninspired performance and terrible result, falling 4-1 to Manchester City at the Etihad on the weekend.
The Blues aren’t exactly flying high themselves, having lost 2-0 at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, a result that saw the Villans overtake their opponents in the table, and Graham Potter sacked after only seven months in charge at the bridge. Interim manager Bruno Salto is tasked with — at least until the next big-name head coach is brought in — getting a massive group of talented players currently mired in mid-table to come together and perform, and the Reds should capitalise on their opportunity to get one over a team in disarray.
The hosts will have to make do without Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana, Cesar Azpilicueta, Armando Broja and Thiago Silva, but they have about 6 million players under contract so should be able to field a decent XI nonetheless.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner; Gakpo; Jota, Núñez, Salah
For the Reds, with only three days between matches, some rotation is to be expexted, although it is unlikely to come at the back, where Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are set to flank a centre-back pairing of Ibrahima Konaté and Virgil van Dijk.
In midfield, Naby Keïta and Thiago are out, as is young starlet Stefan Bajcetic, opening the door for a James Milner start, alongside one of Fabinho or Jordan Henderson. A 4-2-3-1 formation doesn’t seem out of the question, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Cody Gakpo take up the ten role behind the front three.
Up top, the match comes just too soon for Luis Díaz, who will be involved again either against Arsenal this weekend, or at Leeds two weeks from now, but Diogo Jota, Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah are all available, and it is plausible that all three will start, as Jürgen Klopp will hope to take all three points back to Merseyside.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “I am pretty sure Chelsea, the players, want to show a reaction, whatever, it always is. When you saw the Bayern game against Dortmund, there was a reaction for whatever reason. That’s it.”
Bruno Saltor: “We are representing Chelsea. A club with an amazing history, it is about winning, it is about dominating and what we need to do is prepare for the game. Preparation helps a lot for performance and that is what the players need to focus on.“
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant referees: Gary Beswick, Dan Cook
Fourth official: Andre Marriner
VAR: Chris Kavanagh, Nick Greenhalgh
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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 the action as it happens.