Chelsea vs Liverpool Prediction and Preview
Chelsea host Liverpool on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge. What was a top-four clash just one season ago has now become a battle of mid-table mediocrity. But with the prospect of European football still on the cards for both sides – not forgetting the managerial turmoil in west London – it’s still a game dripping with narrative. We preview the match and reveal the Opta supercomputer’s thoughts in our Chelsea vs Liverpool prediction.
Chelsea vs Liverpool: Quick Hits
- Despite poor recent away form, Liverpool predicted to beat Chelsea (40.2%).
- This will be the latest in a season Chelsea will have played a match while in the bottom half of the table since 1995-96.
- Chelsea’s winless Premier League home run against Liverpool to extend to five games.
Both sides endured such terrible weekends last time out in the Premier League that it’s hard to know where to start with this one.
But let’s begin with the home side. Saturday’s dismal 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa dropped Chelsea into the bottom half of the table and marked the end of Graham Potter’s tenure after just over six months (206 days to be exact) in charge of the club after joining from Brighton.
Potter’s spell at Chelsea was the shortest of any permanent manager at the club, and with a return of just 1.27 points per game, it marks the joint-lowest points-per-game return of any manager to take charge of 20 or more games for Chelsea in the Premier League alongside Glenn Hoddle.
Bruno Saltor will take charge in the interim and his first task will be to lift the Blues out of the bottom half of the standings. With this their 29th match of the season, it’s the latest into a campaign they’ve played a league match while in the bottom half of the table since their penultimate fixture of 1995-96 (11th place – 1-1 vs. Spurs).
Chelsea have wretched recent head-to-head form against Liverpool, too. They’ve won just twice in the sides’ last 16 Premier League meetings and are winless in their last four home league matches.
Saturday was also extremely unhappy for Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side were downed 4-1 by title-chasing Manchester City in a performance that the manager described as “unacceptable”. Defeat at the weekend marked their third consecutive loss in all competitions and they now sit eighth in the table.
A really tough 2023 has all but ended hopes that Liverpool will end the campaign with a trophy. They’ve lost five of their 11 league games in 2023, more than the Reds lost in the entirety of 2022 and now the promise of Europa League football is the only thing keeping them going.
Liverpool haven’t finished outside the top four since Klopp’s debut season in 2015-16, but that’s something that looks like a real possibility in 2023.
Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea: 21 January 2023 (Premier League)
These two sides drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this year at Anfield. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, with a total of 26 shots and 3.1 expected goals racked up on the day. In fact, only two fixtures this season (Liverpool away to Everton and Newcastle at home to Crystal Palace) have seen a higher cumulative expected goals tally in a match that remained goalless.
Kai Havertz thought he’d poked Chelsea into an early lead, but his opening goal after just two minutes was chalked off by VAR. Mykhailo Mudryk was introduced off the bench for his Blue’s debut and came closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half, slaloming through Liverpool’s defence before hitting the side-netting.
Sharing the spoils has become a regular occurrence between Chelsea and Liverpool, with their last five matches in all competitions ending in draws. The Reds have never drawn six in a row against an opponent before, while, as a top-flight side, Chelsea last did so against Burnley between August 1954 and February 1956.
This fixture marked Jürgen Klopp’s 1,000th game of his managerial career while it also saw César Azpilicueta make his 500th appearance for Chelsea in all competitions, becoming the first non-English player to reach that milestone for the club. Stefan Bajcetic (18y 91d) also became the youngest player to start a Premier League game for Liverpool since Ben Woodburn against Stoke City in April 2017 (17y 175d).
Given Chelsea’s recent form, it’s unsurprising why they’ve parted ways with Potter. The Blues have won just twice in their last nine EPL matches and have won just one of their last five at home. They’ve been extremely blunt in front of goal too – being held goalless in three of those five matches.
Goals have been a problem all season for the west London side. They have scored just 29 goals from 355 shots in the Premier League this season, with their shot conversion rate of 8.2% their lowest on record in a single campaign in the division (since 1997-98).
Meanwhile, the Reds are finding their away trips especially difficult. They’ve won just once in their last seven competitive away games and are currently on a three-game losing away run in all competitions. They’ve picked up just 12 points on their travels in the Premier League, fewer than two sides in the relegation zone (Leicester City and Southampton).
Things don’t get easier for Liverpool either, with four of their next eight games coming against sides in the top half of the table (Arsenal, Tottenham, Fulham, Brentford) as well as reverse meetings against Leeds and Nottingham Forest who they lost to in the reverse fixtures.
Player to Watch
Chelsea: N’Golo Kante
Perhaps the only good thing to come out of Saturday’s defeat to Aston Villa was N’Golo Kante making his first Premier League appearance since August. The dynamic French midfielder has been out with a long-term hamstring injury.
While there’s little chance he plays 90 minutes in midweek, there’s a chance he starts in place of Mateo Kovacic and his presence alongside Enzo Fernandez could puncture the despondent and stale atmosphere surrounding the Bridge. His running could help provide some much-needed protection to a Chelsea defence that is feeling the absence of Thiago Silva. Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly didn’t cover themselves in glory, while Ben Chilwell is only just back from a long-term injury himself.
There’s also a chance Raheem Sterling is fit to appear against his former club after he returned to training last week. He’ll likely be matched up against Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool: Mohamed Salah
While Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez have flashed in moments and with Luis Diaz a long-term absentee, Mohamed Salah has been Liverpool’s most consistent player this season. He has a team-high 23 goals in all competitions for the Reds and his opening strike against Man City, a confident finish from a Diogo Jota setback, at the weekend was his 12th in the Premier League. With seven league assists to boot, Salah also leads this side in the creative department too.
He’s scored four goals in 11 Premier League games against Chelsea – the only player to score more times against the Blues after having previously played for them in the competition is Kevin De Bruyne (five).
Chelsea vs Liverpool Prediction
Despite their recent struggles on the road, the supercomputer likes Liverpool in this one, giving them a 40.2% of winning on Tuesday. The Reds have excellent recent form over Chelsea, and have also have won 13 of their last 14 midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) Premier League games, including each of the last nine in a row since a 1-0 loss to Leicester in December 2021.
Chelsea have won just three of their last 13 midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) Premier League games (D6 L4), losing both such games so far in 2023.
What’s more, the Champions League is realistically Chelsea’s last chance to win a trophy in 2022-23, and their best chance to qualify for the competition again next season. They’re set to face Real Madrid in the first leg of the quarter-finals next week.
Given the supercomputer predicts they’ll finish tenth in England, Chelsea will likely be putting all their eggs in that UCL basket.
The model backs Liverpool to salvage their season somewhat, giving them a 45.3% of playing European football next year. Of the chasing pack, only Manchester United, Newcastle and Spurs are given a higher chance of doing that.
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