Liverpool v Chelsea: Klopp’s men face knockout blow in title race
Given recent form, Liverpool would much rather have hosted Chelsea a month ago, but as it is, we’re about to find out a great deal about the character of Jurgen Klopp’s men at Anfield tonight.
The Reds have won just one of their last eight games in all competitions – and that came away at League Two Plymouth.
Klopp and Liverpool have lost three straight games at Anfield – seeing his side booted out of both domestic cup competitions in the process – while a bid for the Premier League title has turned into a desperate scrap to maintain a hold on a top four place.
For Chelsea, the title is looking more and more secure with each passing week, and Antonio Conte’s Blues hold an eight-point lead ahead of the midweek action.
But Liverpool’s poor form this season hasn’t come against the big teams. If anything, their performances against their nearest challengers have been the Reds’ saving grace.
The Merseysiders are unbeaten against the top six this season, and picked up three points at Stamford Bridge back in September.
Indeed, since Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers in the Autumn of 2015, Liverpool have lost only once in 14 meetings with the other five at the sharp end of the table.
But with four of the last nine league meetings ending in a draw, plenty will fancy a share of the spoils at 11/5.
Punters will be piling into both teams to score at 8/11 however, with both goalkeepers beaten in 11 of the last 13 meetings in all competitions.
Plus, Chelsea haven’t struggled in front of goal at Anfield, netting in each of their last six meetings.
And should the west Londoners continue that form, don’t be surprised to see the goals flow early on.
Of their 18 Premier League victories this season, the Blues have been winning at the break in 11 of those games, suggesting there could be plenty of value in the 5/2 on Chelsea winning the first-half.
And another theme of Chelsea’s season has been two-goal wins. 11 of their 18 successes have come by a two-goal margin, and given Liverpool’s ropey defence, the 8/1 on the away side to win by two goals should prove popular.
And for all of Liverpool’s attacking prowess this season, Diego Costa leads the first goalscorer betting at 4/1.
The Spaniard has been in sensational form this season, and is no stranger to stealing the headlines in this part of the country, having bagged the winner back in 2014.
Roberto Firmino looks a good shout at 11/2 to break the deadlock, after his impressive double against Swansea.
But it’s another Liverpool ace who intrigues us here.
The Reds have desperately missed Sadio Mane, but after the forward’s missed penalty ensured Senegal went out of AFCON, the former Southampton man could return tonight.
It remains to be seen whether Klopp feels the need to bring Mane into action, but having failed to win a Premier League game without him this season, we reckon there’s plenty of reason to back Mane to score last at 7/1.
It’s been a dismal January for Liverpool, but if they lose here, or they can add the Premier League to the Emirates FA Cup and EFL Cup as trophies they squandered in the past four weeks.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing