Champions meet the big spenders in the season’s first heavyweight clash
Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
It’s only the second weekend of the new Premier League season and already we have our first clash of titans. Liverpool, last season’s runaway winners, face up to a team who have set their sights on competing for the title this time around.
Chelsea have been the biggest movers in the transfer market this summer, with over £200m spent on new players. Not all of them will be available to Frank Lampard this weekend, however, with a few injury concerns to consider.
Liverpool also faced a few problems of their own in their win over Leeds last weekend, conceding three goals against the newly promoted side.
One thing that is certain is goals. You must go back to 2008 for the last 0-0 draw between these two, with two or more goals in all meetings since 2011.
It’s set up to be a cracker.
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 4th
Reasons to be cheerful:
Will fancy their chances to score goals against Liverpool
New signing Timo Werner looks to have settled quickly
Reasons to be fearful:
Liverpool have the better recent record in this fixture
Still look weak defensively
It is early days, but the expectation is that the race for the title will be a lot closer than last year, where Liverpool ran away with an 18-point lead.
One of the reasons is the amount of money Chelsea have spent on quality new signings. Timo Werner, a £50m transfer, seemed to settle in quickly in their 3-1 victory over Brighton last week.
There is a question mark over how quickly the other signings take to settle, however. Record signing Kai Havertz, costing £72m, looked like he’ll need time to adjust to Premier League life.
Experienced Thiago Silva has not yet played, but can he improve their shaky defence at 35 years old?
Any weakness is sure to be tested against this Liverpool team, who again look in great goalscoring form.
Going forward is still Chelsea’s strength under Lampard and they must press home any advantage if they have a chance of winning this weekend.
Star Man – Timo Werner
Yet to score but adds lightning pace to Chelsea’s attack. Will only be a matter of time before he gets off the mark
Predicted 2020/21 finish: 2nd
Reasons to be cheerful
Star player Mo Salah started in great form against Leeds
Will be hungry to repeat last season’s success
Reasons to be fearful
Looked quite open defensively
Any complacency will be tested against this young Chelsea side
On the whole it was a positive start for Liverpool in their 4-3 win over Leeds last weekend. To start the season with 3 points is always important.
Add to that, Mo Salah looked in exceptional form as he scored a hattrick of goals to take his total to 97 for the club.
Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that little has changed in their mentality and quality since they lifted the Premier League title last season in fine fashion.
However, there are one or two doubts creeping in over their defensive status – they haven’t kept a clean sheet in 7 competitive games since their 2-0 victory against Aston Villa at the start of July.
Virgil van Dijk of course remains the best defender in the world, but his manager will not be happy with some of his play last week.
As a team, however, Liverpool remain a step above Chelsea, even after The Blue’s signings.
Star Man – Mo Salah
What a performance against Leeds last weekend. He seems to keep improving all the time
A fast-paced encounter between two attacking teams
Highly likely to see two or more goals
A draw wouldn’t be a bad result for either side this early in the season
It’ll be a match played at a high tempo, with both teams out to prove who has the better attack.
In a game of forward players, it could well go down to who has the tighter defence – from recent matches both teams look a little shaky at the back.
A point would not be a bad result for these two teams this early in the season and it could be we see a high-scoring game where they cancel each other out.
Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool