Chelsea vs Liverpool – Match Preview

By
Updated: September 16, 2016
Manchester United vs Chelsea

Chelsea vs Liverpool – Two seemingly different football ideologies, which translate to similar playing styles on the pitch, clash on Friday evening at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea host Liverpool in their first high-profile English Premier League fixture of the season.

Positioned second and sixth in the English Premier League standings after four matches, these two clubs are trying to usher in a new era as they look to re-build after a disastrous domestic campaign last season. Chelsea have already flirted briefly with the league leader’s position before the 2-2 draw at Liberty Stadium; Liverpool demonstrated their attacking might when they scored four goals each against Arsenal and Leicester City.

Team News

John Terry joins Kurt Zouma on the sidelines, which ensures David Luiz will make his second Chelsea debut at home. Liverpool will be without Emre Can, Ragnar Klavan and Sheyi Ojo.

Tactics

Football enthusiasts can expect an intense, fast-paced game with both Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte adopting a ‘high press’ strategy in all their matches. Both these sides have registered the highest number of passes in the final third, Chelsea’s 597 passes only secondary to Liverpool’s 628.

Jurgen Klopp is known for his teams playing with an explosive quality, quick breaks combined with a positional fluidity across the front three. In Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino, Klopp can find the pace, precision and positional awareness his forwards are always known for. Adam Lallana has stepped up tremendously this season, the Englishman finding a new lease of life ever since Klopp took charge at Anfield.

The arrival of Georginio Wijnaldum has added a bit of creativity into the midfield and provided Liverpool with another passing outlet into the central third, especially because Klopp prefers his full-backs using the width of the pitch while “the two wingers and a forward stay very narrow in a line”. With Klopp closing in on a year’s managerial reign, what has been surprising though is the lack of consistency among the Kops, especially without the ball.

Simon Mignolet has been at the forefront of Liverpool’s defensive struggles – his 50% save percentage being a nightmarish statistic for Klopp. The fact that James Milner is favored at left back over Alberto Moreno, who fell out with former Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers as well, speaks volumes of the technical quality Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal.

Going into the match at Stamford Bridge, Jurgen Klopp would be wary of the fact that Chelsea are coming into this game on the back of one of their most dominant attacking displays. The London club registered 28 shots against Swansea in their last game and have won the ball back in the final third on a staggering nineteen occasions through the course of the season, most by any English Premier League club.

Chelsea owe the quality during transitions to one player – N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman has been such a dominant force in this short time that the likes of Nemanja Matic and Oscar have found the rhythm of play which was so elusive last season. From mopping up loose balls to acting as the anchor when Chelsea are without the ball, Kante has been the conduit for most of Chelsea’s exploits so far.

“I always thought this team needed to find a good balance when you have possession of the ball and when you have not. Oscar is a good player with great technique and can do both phases, offensive and defensive. Now I ask him to always stay focused in the game because he is an important player for Chelsea. He is a good passer and he can score goals. He is in my plan and in Chelsea’s plan.”

– Antonio Conte, to Chelsea’s official website.

Yet, Chelsea have not been completely reassuring while the other team has had the ball. There have been momentary lapses of concentration with indecisive defending. Against a Liverpool side boasting of skillful passers and quality finishers, these could pose a problem. With both sides overflowing with attacking riches, it will come down to defensive grit and temperament when it comes to earning a decisive result in this match.

Television/Scheduling Info

The match will be played on 16th September at 20:00 local time and all the television scheduling info could be found here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *