English Premier League preview: Liverpool v Chelsea – Anfield – Sunday, April 14, 2019 – 16:30hrs GMT
Liverpool v Chelsea Predictions
Liverpool v Chelsea Preview
Liverpool have just five Premier League games remaining in which they need to inch ahead of Manchester City if they are to wear the English football crown for the 2018-19 season. On the path to achieving so, Jurgen Klopp's Reds face their toughest of those five outings when they host a resurgent Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday, April the 14th. After a home draw with Wolverhampton and a shocking loss to Everton at Goodison Park, Maurizio Sarri's Blues have recovered admirably, winning their last three Premier league games on the trot and also overpowering a difficult Slavia Praha 0-1 away in Prague in a 1st leg UEFA Europa League clash and setting themselves up nicely to enter into the semi-finals.
Barring a temporary hiccup of a 0-0 draw with Everton on March 3, Liverpool have sailed through the four Premier League games following that with wins and look to have secured a place in the last four of the Champions League with a 2-0 first leg lead over Porto.
A Tale of Two Strikers
Saturday's clash at Anfield will be a battle between two prime strikers – Mohammed Salah and Eden Hazard.
After a patchy beginning to the season, Hazard has been in sublime form of late, while on the other hand, Salah is yet to find the kind of form he showed in the previous season. Hazard has been involved in more goals than any other player in the 2018-19 Premier League season, his 16 goals layered with 12 assists. He has found the back of the net from just 38 shots on target compared to Salah's 53, while he has completed 46 more dribbles than the Liverpool forward's 121. No wonder Real Madrid desperately want this mercurial 28-year Belgian.
Liverpool Player Form
Liverpool could have Adam Lallana back in the fold for the Sunday's Anfield game after a minor muscle injury. Andy Robertson should return after serving a one-match European suspension. James Milner could feature in midfield after his brief role as a left-back. Long-term absentee Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks to be on a brink of a comeback. Dejan Lovren who surprisingly made his first start for more than three months may have to give way to Joel Matip in the central defense.
Liverpool's starting XI could look like this:
Alisson (goal); Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Matip, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino
Chelsea Player Form
Chelsea welcomed back Marcos Alonso from an injured hamstring against Slavia Praha. The 28-year old Spanish wing back delivered with a late winner. N'Golo Kante, David Luiz, Hazard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Gonzalo Higuain who were all rested for Europa clash at Prague will make a start at Anfileld.
Kepa (goal), Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Emerson, Kante, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Higuain, Hazard.
Liverpool are favourites to win Sunday's game. However Klopp's men haven't been at their scintillating best of late. Liverpool's defense could be severely test by the speed and guile of Hazard.
The Reds have incidentally conceded a goal at least in each of their previous four Premier League outings.
It's vital for both teams to win. For Liverpool a negative result (that includes a drawn game, too) would mean relinquishing their title prospects to Manchester City who are just two points behind but have six matches remaining. For Chelsea it would be important to cling onto to a hard-fought place in the Top Four. The Blues are in the 3rd place currently with 66 points, just 2 ahead of Tottenham Hotspurs' 64.