Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Saturday for the second meeting of the two clubs within three days. During the week, the Blues came from behind to win at Anfield, which secured their passage to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. Although both teams opted to rest players, stronger line-ups were selected than many expected. It was taken seriously by both managers and the final result provided a mental victory for Maurizio Sarri. The Reds had the better chances, but it was the visitors that prevailed.
It has been an impressive start to the season for Chelsea considering the uncertainty that clouded Stamford Bridge during the summer. Sarri has arrived and instantly improved fortunes on the pitch with a more entertaining brand of football. The style shift has also brought out the best in Eden Hazard, who was the undoubted star of the show on Wednesday night with a superb individual effort. They weren’t expected to be title contenders, but if they win on Saturday, they have to be taken seriously.
Until Wednesday, Liverpool looked unstoppable under Jurgen Klopp. Their home defeat to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup has the potential to dent their confidence as they arrive at Stamford Bridge. Although a weaker team was selected, they had the chances to win and didn’t take them. Opposition teams will now believe that this Reds’ team is beatable. It is important that they return to winning ways on Saturday as successive defeats to a rival would be difficult to recover from. They are the only Premier League team with a 100% record and they will want to maintain that.
• Their failure to beat Chelsea on Wednesday meant that Liverpool haven’t registered a home victory against the Blues since 2012.
• In fact, Liverpool have only won two of the last 15 meetings between the two clubs.
Andreas Christensen has a knock, but his performance on Wednesday means that he would have been unlikely to start anyway. Antonio Rudiger and Pedro are both doubts for the home side. Alvaro Morata’s lack of impact during midweek should see Olivier Giroud selected to lead the line.
Virgil van Dijk is a slight doubt with a bruised rib that saw him withdrawn early last weekend. Adam Lallana and Divock Origi are a week away from a return, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains on the long-term injury list.