Sun 27 Apr 2014 14:05
Liverpool v Chelsea, Anfield, showing on Sky Sports 1 HD
Referee: Martin Atkinson
With just three weeks of the season to go, this top-of-the-table clash could go a long way in deciding the destination of this year’s Premier League title. A win for Liverpool would put them within touching distance of the crown and even a draw would leave them as odds-on favourites for their first title in 24 years. A Chelsea victory would bring the Londoners back into the equation and potentially open the door for Manchester City to make a late claim for top spot.
This game has already gifted the media with one of the week’s big talking points after Jose Mourinho insisted that he would field a weakened team for this game – subject to the approval of the club’s hierarchy. With one eye firmly on the Champions League, the Portuguese Coach is planning on making good use of his squad and leaving key players out of the trip to Anfield.
Just how weak the starting line up will be remains to be seen but with Lampard and Mikel banned for the second leg against Atletico and Eto’o due to return in place of Torres, there are at least three big names that could make the starting XI. Salah and Matic are ineligible for the European game and should start along with Schurrle and Demba Ba who were not starters in the Champions League first leg.
One thing is certain: Brendan Rodgers will not be counting on any favours from his counterpart and will be preparing for this important game with his usual focused attitude.
Liverpool have won eleven games in a row and have only lost one game at home all season. In contrast, Chelsea have only won two out of their last five away games and last week Mourinho suffered the blow of his first Premier League home defeat at the hands of Gus Poyet’s Sunderland.
The statistics for this game do provide some goal betting opportunities. Liverpool’s last seven home games have been over 2.5 goals and 76.5% of all their home games have also been over this mark. In addition, 70.6% of their home games have had over 3.5 goals. The Reds have scored an average of 3 goals in every home game this season and are unbeaten in 2014.
The Blues have not drawn in their last nine games while the Merseyside team have not drawn in eleven. Mourinho’s team have the best defensive record in the Premier League having conceded just 26 goals all season.
For corner betting, this game also has good chance of over 10.5 corners with 64.7% of Liverpool’s home games and 58.8% of Chelsea’s away games producing this result.
Liverpool have been well-disciplined this season and have only been booked first in 17.6% of their home games.
Daniel Sturridge may return for this game but Jordan Henderson is still banned so Rodgers will have to fill his place in midfield once again. The uncertainty about the Chelsea line up makes this game a tough one to call but even a full strength Chelsea side would have a tough job to beat a rampant Liverpool on their own turf.
Match tip: Liverpool 3-1 Chelsea