Liverpool vs Chelsea Preview: Blues travel to Anfield to face old foes and an old friend

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah faces former-side Chelsea in a battle of top four rivals.

Liverpool vs Chelsea Preview: Blues travel to Anfield to face old foes and an old friend
Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta celebrate Chelsea's midweek win over Qarabag FK. (Source: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Antonio Conte's Chelsea side face yet another tough test in the Premier League on Saturday as they travel to Anfield to face Liverpool. Just three points separate the sides heading into Saturday's match, putting big top four implications on the line.

Both teams were dominant in their last Premier League outings as Chelsea stormed to a 4-0 win over West Brom, while Liverpool emerged as 3-0 victors over Southampton.

Team News

Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp's side have a few injuries that will require late fitness tests ahead of Saturday's top five meeting. Joel Matip and Emre Can may make their returns from muscular injuries if they succeed in their fitness tests. Adam Lallana could return to the side after a lengthy period on the sidelines but, like his counterparts, he'll need to prove himself prior to the game.

Nathaniel Clyne remains sidelined until the new year, but the big storyline ahead of Saturday is Mohamed Salah's first game against his former-side since leaving the club. Salah, Liverpool's top goalscorer this season, will aim to make a big mark on Saturday and show his former employers what they're missing. 

Projected XI: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Matip, Moreno; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Chelsea: The Blues have been fortunate with injuries recently and look set to welcome Victor Moses back to the fold after a period out with a hamstring problem. Michy Batshuayi remains out with an ankle injury, as does Charly Musonda who is struggling with a knee problem.

Conte's side seem to be hitting their stride at the right time, winning three in a row and with Eden Hazard in superstar form yet again. After managing a 1-0 win over Man United a couple of weeks ago, Chelsea face yet another tough game against a rival with top four implications hanging in the balance.

Projected XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; Zappacosta, Kante, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Hazard, Morata.

 

 

Background

Chelsea and Liverpool played to a 1-1 draw in their last meeting with David Luiz and Georginio Wijnaldum both on the scoresheet. Liverpool haven't lost to Chelsea since January of 2015, a period spanning five games. 

Both sides experienced different fortunes in the Champions League in midweek as Chelsea ran riot, winning 4-0 against FK Qarabag in Azerbaijan. On the other hand, Liverpool failed to hold on to a 3-0 lead and managed just a 3-3 draw with Sevilla

Just three points separate the sides heading into Saturday's game, with Chelsea sitting in third on 25 points while Liverpool are in fifth on 22 points. A win for Chelsea could see them keep the gap between first and third at single digits, while a win for Liverpool could send them into the top four.

With the busy festive period approaching, both sides will be desperate for a big win before the run of games congests their schedule. Anfield is the venue for Saturday's game, with kickoff expected at 5:30 PM (BST).