Liverpool v Chelsea: Match Preview

Historically, matches between Liverpool and Chelsea would have equated to title deciders, cup finals and Champions League classics, so it is a clear highlight of the struggles of both clubs that they meet in a mid-table fixture at Anfield on Saturday. Both managers need a positive result to alleviate the mounting pressure on their respective roles.

Victory for Graham Potter’s side last Sunday against Crystal Palace provided a momentary respite and the £88.5m acquisition of Mykhailo Mudryk, plus the return of Reece James to first-team training this week, has helped lift the mood ahead of the trip to Merseyside.

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Mudryk could make his debut on Saturday, and a statement win over their old adversaries could help Chelsea shift the narrative and spark their season into life. The Chelsea manager could certainly be tempted to put his new signing up against Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who endured a torrid afternoon in his side’s 3-0 defeat at Brighton.

Jurgen Klopp faces a rebuilding job at Liverpool, not too dissimilar to the operation that Chelsea are currently undergoing. Both clubs are dealing with a crippling injury list and in danger of falling out of the race for European qualification entirely, unless their form improves dramatically, with both sides sitting 10 points behind fourth-place Newcastle prior to kick-off on Saturday .

Chelsea have launched a medical review into their injury crisis but the fitness issues at both clubs are no surprise, given they each played 63 matches last season. James and Ben Chilwell returned to training this week, but Chelsea will take a cautious approach with both, especially James, after he broke down on his last comeback over Christmas. Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic Wesley Fofana, Edouard Mendy, Denis Zakaria and Armando Broja are all out injured, while Felix is suspended.

Liverpool will be without Virgil van Dijk, Luis Diaz, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota. They beat Wolves 1-0 in the FA Cup on Tuesday but are still reeling from their hammering at Brighton last weekend.

Times may be turbulent at both clubs in this current period, but if history is anything to go by, tomorrow’s game has the potential to be a Premier League classic, with the potential three points being seemingly more important than ever.

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