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Chelsea v Liverpool: Safety-first Blues to suffocate another title rival

| 28.12.2013

Both Chelsea and Liverpool face the second stern scrutiny of their Premier League title credentials in the space of seven days, with home advantage granting the capital club 11/10 favouritism.

According to Jose Mourinho, he isn’t just making Chelsea better, he is constructing a more attractive side, certainly compared to that ghastly Rafael Benitez, who played David Luiz in midfield and even had the audacity to win the Europa League.

However, almost every time that the half-Special/half-Happy One is invited to a pageant to show off his new beauty queens, he enters them cosmetics-free, resulting in Plain Jane 0-0 draws with Man United and Arsenal, and a 1-1 with Tottenham.

With Liverpool possessing the division’s second thorniest attack – Luis Suarez alone has outscored eight teams, despite allowing them a five-game headstart – expect Mourinho to again shun the sex appeal of three attacking midfielders for three ugly sisters in the centre.

The Reds, 5-0 thrashers of Tottenham on their last London jaunt, are 5/2 shots, but Mourinho has never lost a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge.

As at Old Trafford, the Emirates and White Hart Lane, Chelsea will likely view a point as satisfactory at 12/5, confident that they can pickpocket points off the league’s lesser lights more effectively than their adversaries. They have harvested 28 of an available 30 against those in the bottom half so far.

Under 2.5 goals looks a gorgeous proposition at 21/20, especially as the Blues are finally reacquainting themselves with the defensive talents that have made them so successful.

The twin shutouts against Arsenal and Swansea were their first in succession in over three months, and another is a 21/10 prospect.

West Brom are the only English visitors to have been permitted two goals at the Bridge. Five of the other eight were afforded one, while three received no charity. A goalless draw is therefore an intriguing runner at 12/1, with 1-1 the shortest-priced selection at 13/2.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune