Predicted Liverpool XI v Chelsea
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Predicted Liverpool XI v Chelsea

Liverpool return to Premier League action this weekend following their enthralling 4-3 opening day victory against Leeds United. On Sunday the English champions await a visit to Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.

It is already billed as a clash between two potential title contenders given the fact that the Blues have spent over £200 million on signings this summer.

Liverpool won both fixtures last season, coming out on top 2-1 victors at Stamford Bridge before a scintillating 5-3 encounter at Anfield back in July during the Reds’ Premier League title parade.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 05: (THE SUN OUT. THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) joel matip of Liverpool at Anfield on September 05, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

How will Liverpool line up?

Jurgen Klopp isn’t expected to make too many changes to the team that were pushed to their physical limits against Marcelo Bielsa’s outstanding Leeds outfit, although there could be a couple of tactical tweaks up the German’s sleeve.

Similarly to last season, Klopp could look to bring Joel Matip into the central defensive fold with the towering Cameroonian finally back to full fitness.

Joe Gomez was given the nod against Leeds yet the fact that Liverpool’s defensive quartet conceded from all three of the oppositions shots on targets suggest that Klopp may look to change things up.

The Englishman was given the nod ahead of Matip on the opening day of the 2018/19 campaign only to be dropped in the following fixture. We predict something similar could unfold at the weekend.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Fabinho of Liverpool reacts during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images)


The big talking point from midfield during the Leeds victory was the performance of Naby Keita.

Keita didn’t quite put in the performance we hoped for at the weekend which suggests the Guinean talisman still has a ways to go.

The former RB Leipzig just never got going from an attacking sense. He had positive moments, certainly. There were few dribbles here and there, as well as some nice counter-pressing from the front.

But in the end, he finished the game without a successful tackle, without any key passes, and without a significant impact according to WhoScored.

With that in mind, Fabinho will likely get the nod over Keita against Chelsea given the Brazilian’s influence off the bench against Leeds.

Fabinho was imposing and provided much more tactical assurance in midfield upon his arrival and his defensive nous will be required against a Chelsea attacking force that could feature both Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Getting the best out of Firmino

One of the main objectives for Klopp this weekend, aside from winning, will be for Firmino to get an overdue goal for his team.

The Brazil international made zero key passes and had had no shots on target against Leeds.
Even more telling is that Firmino has been able to score just one goal in his previous 16 league encounters for the Reds.
Getting the best out of Firmino will be a priority if Liverpool are to break down this Chelsea side that secured a comfortable victory against Brighton on Monday.
Firmino scored in the same fixture last season when Klopp got the better of Lampard after Liverpool wreaked chaos from set-pieces to secure a vital 2-1 win.
The objective will be similar on Sunday as Liverpool will look to get Firmino firing again from the front.
Reinstating Fabinho into the team allows more attacking impetus from the full-backs, which as we saw at Anfield back in July when faced against Chelsea can certainly provide a recipe for success.
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