While Liverpool are basking in European glory having reached the final four and beaten Roma convincingly in the 1st leg of the UEFA Champions League clash, their home run has has been patchy over the last fortnight. The Reds are under threat of losing their third spot on the Premier League table to Tottenham Hotspur. This comes on the heels of two absolutely shocking draws against the bottom two of the table, West Bromwich and Stoke City, the latter being home at Anfield. Liverpool’s task has been made harder by their forthcoming trip to Stamford Bridge where they play a buoyant Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s men are in with a fair chance of their only silverware this season after entering the finals of the FA Cup. Contrary to Liverpool’s lackluster domestic form, the Blues have won their last three previous Premier League outings on the trot, the last one being a 0-1 away at the Liberty stadium against Swansea City. Eden Hazard looked sharp and so did Arsenal import Olivier Giroud. Willian and Alvaro Morata, both of whom were introduced in the dying minutes of the Swansea game, could well start of against Liverpool on Sunday at the expense of Tiemoue Bakayoko and Emerson.
Liverpool watchers were surprised to see a full-strength side play at Anfield in the 0-0 draw against Stoke City in the light of the team’s crucial trip to Rome for the 2nd leg semi-final clash on Wednesday. The talismanic Mo Salah, who was expected to be rested ahead of the critical European outings spent the entire 90 minutes on the pitch in both of Liverpool’s drawn games. Interestingly, Jurgen Klopp had made as many as five changes in the 2-2 draw against bottom -scrapers West Bromwich. The German coach is not likely to take any chances against Chelsea and adopt his customary formation of 4-3-3 with Salah, Firmino and Sadio Mane taking up striking positions with Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold playing behind the attacking trio.The Reds will miss the services of the brilliant Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wings, most probably out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
A slightly jet-lagged Liverpool will be playing at Stamford Bridge within days of their trip to Italy, but will be happy to come out of the clash even with a point.
For Chelsea to close the six-point gap with the visitors will mean winning many more matches on the trot and praying for Liverpool to slip up badly in their forthcoming outings. The Reds have the disadvantage of having played a game more than their Sunday rivals, but as of now they look to hold on to the Top four whatever the outcome of the May clash.
Given Liverpool’s patchy recent form in the Premier League and a back-to-form Chelsea, bookmakers seem to be wagering on a win for the hosts.
Recommended Tip: Chelsea to win best odds 5/4 @ William Hill
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