Liverpool vs Chelsea
| Wednesday, January 31st |
Premier League | Anfield
8:15PM BST / 3:15PM EST
Following an uninspiring draw — but aggregate win! — at Fulham and a 5-2 smackdown of Championship Norwich in consecutive domestic cup games, it’s back to the Premier League, as Liverpool host Chelsea in a game that is likely to be much closer than the table might suggest.
It’s been a rough start to his Chelsea tenure for Mauricio Pochettino, as the Blues languish in tenth place despite a billion pounds of transfer spend in the past 18 months. The club’s underlying metrics have been far superior to their actual results, and odds are, if they stick with their manager, improvement in the latter is inevitable, but Todd Boehly is a man of impulse, and while there have been no concrete rumours of a Poche departure, this writer’s summer prediction of a February 1st dismissal is still alive.
The talent on the squad is undeniable, however, and while injuries to Christopher Nkunku ensure the likes of Mykhailo Mudryk and Armando Broja might start, the Reds will have to contend with players like Raheem Sterling, Cole Palmer, Enzo Fernandez and Moisés Caicedo, while Nicolas Jackson could be back in the squad after Senegal were eliminated from the African Cup of Nations on Monday.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, van Dijk, Robertson; Mac Allister, Jones, Szoboszlai; Diaz, Darwin, Jota
For the Reds, the injury situation is improving, and we might see both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson start together for the first time since October 8th, while Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté should anchor the central defence.
In midfield, Alexis Mac Allister is training normally and should be fit and good to go, while Dominik Szoboszlai featured at the weekend and is expected to start. The pair are likely to be partnered with one of Curtis Jones and Ryan Gravenberch. Wataru Endō is still away with Japan at the AFC Asian Cup, while Thiago is back in full training but nowhere near match fit.
Up top, only Mohamed Salah is missing, as he is still under treatment for the hamstring issue that took him out of Egypt’s AfCoN campaign, but Diogo Jota and Darwin Núñez will be looking to continue their burgeoning partnership, flanked by one of Luis Díaz and Cody Gakpo.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We played them on the first matchday, obviously there we were not great that day and they were pretty good and we got a draw, which was fine for us that day. We were not over the moon with our performance but the point was alright. So, we have to do better but we are different as well since then and that’s the good news.”
Mauricio Pochettino: “I don’t like to be honest to bet. No. For us, we want to win. I want to win.”
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant referees: James Mainwaring, Scott Ledger
Fourth official: Andy Madley
VAR: John Brooks, Sian Massey-Ellis
Kickoff is set for 8:15PM GMT/3:15PM 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.