By Antony Jordan
The fifth round of the EPL season kicks off this Friday evening with the biggest match of the weekend by far as two of the great names in English football do battle at Stamford Bridge in this Chelsea v Liverpool clash. The two sides are big rivals who are closely matched with seven of the last seven meetings in all competitions seeing no more than a goal between them, but after a 1-0 win in pre-season during the International Champions Cup it will be second in the table Chelsea who approach the match more confident. Will Antonio Conte and his side be the team that remains unbeaten at the full time whistle though?
We preview this Chelsea v Liverpool clash on Friday night with online sportsbook Pinnacle.com to provide our best EPL picks from this weekend’s opening match.
Chelsea come into this fifth game of the EPL season with only Manchester City ahead of them in the league table as they have taken ten points so far as they defeated West Ham, Watford and Burnley before dropping points away at Swansea last weekend. However, despite this excellent run of results at the start of new manager Antonio Conte’s reign at the club the performances have not been the best. West Ham and Watford were beaten 2-1 with Diego Costa bagging late winners and a case could have been made in both matches for the striker to have been sent off before netting these vital goals. They let a goal lead slip against Swansea last weekend too and Costa once again scored in the last ten minutes to claim a point, while only the 3-0 win over Burnley saw a comfortable win. Liverpool will target Costa in this one, but can Conte devise a gameplay to get the league’s joint top scorer to bag more?
It has been an up and down season for Liverpool so far with their 4-3 win over Arsenal in their opener thrilling fans of The Reds and neutrals alike, but they were brought crashing down to Earth again very quickly as despite having 81% possession against Burnley the following week they were beaten 2-0. A 5-0 win over Burton in the cup restored confidence before they were unlucky to only take a point against Tottenham thanks to an incorrectly ruled out goal and they come into this game after handing champions Leicester a 4-1 thumping. While the pre-season loss will inspire the home team, a desire for revenge coupled with some fine, if patchy, goal scoring form will see the away side confident of a win too.
This match will see Brazilian defender David Luiz make his return as a Chelsea player following the injury to John Terry to add to the injured Kurt Zouma who is not ready to return to the fray. However, these are the only major injury doubts for Chelsea and with a fully loaded set of attacking players who will be ready to unleash hell on Liverpool after spending midweek watching the Champions League on television instead of playing in it they will believe that victory is there for the taking.
Liverpool are boosted the return of two players too as Dejan Lovren returns after missing the Leicester win with a bruised eye and key player Philippe Coutinho will play after sitting out the last game following his travels with Brazil over the international break.
Chelsea’s ICC victory in pre-season was their first win in normal time against Liverpool since November 2014 when Gary Cahill and Diego Costa netted at Anfield to guide them to a 2-1 victory. In between these two Chelsea wins there have been three 1-1 draws, a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge for Liverpool and Chelsea’s extra time victory in the Capital One Cup semi-finals on home soil.
All of these matches are generally close but are entertaining with plenty of chances and nine of the last ten EPL clashes between the sides in action this evening have seen both teams find the net.
When Antonio Conte arrived in the Premier League he brought a reputation of being a manager who could marshal a defence and ensure that Chelsea would keep out all comers, but this has not happened so far as they have just one clean sheet in four games. Liverpool’s games have seen goals this season too with nine goals scored and seven conceded in four matches.
We see both of these sides going all out to win this match and we foresee goals from both sides, with the likelihood of both teams netting more than one goal each too.