CHELSEA VS. LIVERPOOL
|Sunday, August 13th |
Premier League | Stamford Bridge
4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST
Well this certainly will make for an interesting backdrop to Liverpool’s first match of the season, won’t it? With Liverpool and Chelsea fighting in the transfer market behind the scenes, the Reds will travel to London to battle them on the pitch as well. Narrative! Storylines! Etc!
Liverpool will officially debut their much changed midfield with new players Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister both likely making appearances. The Reds had a so-so preseason in Singapore and Germany, scoring a lot but also conceding a lot. All of those conceded They’ll be looking to start this new chapter off strong.
Thiago Alcantara, despite rumours of joining half of last season’s first team in Saudi Arabia, will remain at the club for now. He didn’t play at all during the preseason and will likely not see action on Sunday due to his hip injury. Because Jürgen Klopp currently has no defensive midfielder at his disposal, it will likely be either Curtis Jones or Mac Allister who temporarily fill that role until this transfer drama resolves itself.
Liverpool haven’t lost an opening game in the last 10 seasons. However, they haven’t won against Chelsea in their last seven meetings. In fact, their last four encounters have ended in goalless draws — objectively the worst scoreline for an opening match.
Both teams have had huge turnovers and new players to bed in. Chelsea are taking out Argentinian manager Mauricio Pochettino for a spin, following the failures of Graham Potter and Frank Lampard in the dugout.
Despite the names being on everyone’s lips, neither Roméo Lavia nor Moises Caicedo will be on the pitch for either team on Sunday.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Curtis Jones, Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai; Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz
Could be Jones, could be Harvey Elliott to round out the midfield. Could be Gakpo or Diogo Jota up front. Expect to see Alexander-Arnold resume his role as an inverted fullback, helping out in the midfield on the attack. As mentioned, Thiago will be out along with Stefan Bajcetic.
For Chelsea, Pochettino is missing Wesley Fofana and summer signing Christopher Nkunku. On the other hand, he’ll have Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, and Armando Broja all back after they missed the preseason through injury and illness.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “It’s a home game for them, the first home game after a long break, if you want, after a disappointing season, that’s all clear. So they want to show up, definitely. New manager, Poch is a top manager, so they will show up. We have to be ready. We have to be absolutely ready. The football they played you can see it - Poch is there.”
Mauricio Pochettino: “We cannot say [Klopp] is the best but he is one of the best, top five world managers. I have a great relationship with him, he was so nice when I left Tottenham, one of the best messages that I received. He’s doing a fantastic job with Liverpool. So happy, because he deserves, his backing from the club.”
Referee: Anthony Taylor. Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn. Fourth official: David Coote. VAR: Darren England. Assistant VAR: Simon Bennett.
Kickoff is set for 4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST tomorrow. Stick with The Liverpool Offside team to keep yourself up to date with team news and match buildup, live updates, and post-match reaction. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account and have your say on the action as it happens.