Chelsea v Liverpool betting
Chelsea: League Position: 4th, League Form: WWLLW
Coming into a game like this in seasons just gone there would be talk of Chelsea’s resilience, their defensive stability and their big game ability, most likely leading to a clean sheet and a low scoring victory. But those days are gone, and none more was this emphasised than when Arsenal visited Stamford Bridge. Conceding five goals at home is something Chelsea fans could barely have pondered even in their nightmares.
Chelsea v Liverpool odds
It is quite difficult to know where to place them now. Are they title contenders or just top four fighters? Recent form is not great with defeats by QPR and Arsenal followed by a tight 1-0 away win at Blackburn, with a 1-1 draw with Genk in the Champions league in between. There just is not that presence of victory that Chelsea once had, and the scent of blood has been captured by their opponents of late, no longer scared of Chelsea.
Of course their season is nowhere from over, and although they are not the same side they were they are still a heavyweight. Players like Mata and Meireles have awoken the attacking instincts in the squad, and if they can click into gear in the middle of the field then Torres and Sturridge can punish opponents, whilst Lampard still has that knack for important midfield goals. Just ask Pepe Reina, who conceded the only goal in Spain’s midweek defeat to England, a header knocked in by Lampard.
Liverpool: League Position: 6th, League Form: WDDWD
Liverpool’s perceived weakness for the past few seasons has been their away form. As of recent results, there seems to be a change in their ways. Three good away wins have pushed them up to sixth in the table.
They will go into this game knowing they have the players to inflict damage. The silky skills of Luis Suarez are a constant threat to defenders, even if he has missed more than he has scored this season. However, if you take away the goals of Luis Suarez, the rest of Liverpool’s players have managed to score just six goals from open play in 11 Premier League matches. Their team-sheet reads like a list of goalscorers and creators, Suarez, Carroll, Kuyt, Gerrard, Adam, Downing et al, yet even with their intent they are lacking a finish. Somehow only 23% of their games have ended with over 2.5 goals. Although this may be down to Suarez’s accuracy; the Uruguayan striker has had 51 shots in the Premier League this season but has scored only four goals.
The defence has been a cause for concern. They are constantly guarded by the ever improving Lucas in midfield, and have restricted opponents to the least amount of shots in their games this season. However, they throw away points, mainly down to poor defending. Cruising against Norwich the game was turned by the muscle of Grant Holt, who bullied the Liverpool backline and ran in unopposed before beating ‘keeper Reina to a header eight yards out that nestled into an empty net.
Similarly to Chelsea, Liverpool are not poor in form, but they have struggled entirely to convince, as draws with both Swansea and Norwich will show on the Reds count. They can be got at, and even when leading against Manchester United they were outdone once the cavalry arrived.
Match Prediction: DRAW – 3.6 Victor Chandler
Recent defeats, most tellingly the free-scoring Arsenal loss, have shown up Andre Villas-Boas’ Chelsea as a team that can be taken on. Coming into a big tie like this, full of stories all over the pitch, both sides will be confident in their goal scoring ability and worried about the defence.
Away wins against West Brom and Everton, as well as an away League Cup victory against Stoke, have given Liverpool more potential to back in this game, but it is the way their opponents have been defending this season that gives them the real hope. Stamford Bridge is no longer a place to fear, and Chelsea have conceded six more goals this season than Kenny Dalglish’s attacking Liverpool outfit.
However, this is almost a must win game for Chelsea, their titles hopes are looking slim and Liverpool, Tottenham and a resurgent Arsenal are looking to usurp their Champions League berth. Their class, home advantage and a little extra motivation for Torres and Meireles give them at least a point here.
73% of Chelsea’s games this year have ended with over 2.5 goals, which is a startling figure compared to the Mourinho days of stern defence. Liverpool may be scoring less than the Blues, but they have the players to inflict damage, with all six of their front players capable going forward.
Over/Under: Over 2.5 Goals – 1.91 William Hill
First Goalscorer: Luis Suarez – 9.00 Ladbrokes
Correct Score: 2-2 Draw – 17.00 William Hill
Article by Chris Wilkerson
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