The media can’t get enough of the ‘Gerrard Slip’ ahead of this weekend can they?
Can’t ignore that Sunday is a huge, huge game and the parallels with the 13/14 Liverpool vs Chelsea clash are plain to see. Demons can be put to bed at Anfield when Maurizio Sarri’s side roll into town as The Reds look to maintain this challenge on two fronts.
Form Labs are here to provide the betting preview ahead of the game with tips & pointers to consider on where it may be worth putting your money on Sunday.
BOTH SIDES IN GREAT FORM
We’ve got some momentum behind us at a crucial juncture with six wins on the bounce, while we even kept a clean sheet midweek hosting Porto, and so there’s every reason to think this clash will have an entirely different outcome to the late horror fixture between us and the Blues in 2013/14.
Chelsea may have grabbed their own midweek win away at Slavia Prague, though a 1-0 success is hardly much to brag about, while domestically they’ve lost five of their last seven on their travels as the exceptions came in narrow 2-1 wins over Championship-bound outfits Cardiff and Fulham.
HENDERSON’S ROLE SIGNIFICANT
We all know that Maurizio Sarri will set out in his unshifting 4-3-3 shape, and as many teams have worked out this season, pressurizing the (in Maurizio Sarri’s opinion) undroppable Jorginho is key to prevent them getting a foothold in possession.
Although Jurgen Klopp will be seeking many turnovers close to opponents’ goal via the high press, it will be interesting to see what midfield he goes with nonetheless. With Andy Robertson back from suspension, James Milner will return to central duty, but there’s only room for three in the engine room and he’ll face competition from Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Giorgio Wijnaldum, and now Naby Keita – with the latter netting for two games running as he finally appears comfortable in a Liverpool shirt.
Either way, they’ll be credible options from the bench to turn the game if needed, and Klopp’s pulled off that particular trick a few times this season, most recently noticeable against the Saints as he brought on Henderson and Milner to great effect.
Given Henderson has been revitalized in the last couple of matches with more freedom to get forwards, we suspect Fabinho will be handed the holding role to make the most of the captain’s burst of form, while Wijnaldum will probably get the nod over the versatile Milner.
The team news is looking pretty good for both sides. Chelsea were able to hand Eden Hazard a rest away in Prague, though the Belgian did come off the bench after an hour with the game still goalless, only really emphasising how much rebuilding of the squad they’ll have to do if he departs for Madrid this summer.
Beyond that, the only absentees are players like Danny Drinkwater, Ethan Ampadu, Jamal Blackman and Marco van Ginkel, none of whom would have got a look in here.
Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues his recovery and played in a friendly against Bury behind closed doors this week, while Joe Gomez even made the bench against Porto – though we wouldn’t want to throw him in too early with so much at stake even if Joel Matip hasn’t been at his best recently.
This team has more quality and steel about it than previous squads, with the likes of van Dijk and Henderson emerging as real leaders though by no means the only ones.
Momentum should carry us through, but we think both teams will register here given our lack of clean sheets recently, combined with the fact that Hazard looks like a man on a mission to secure Madrid’s obvious interest.
Chelsea have only drawn one blank in their last 10 across all competitions, and the win and both teams to score appears the likely outcome.
*Odds are subject to change