Liverpool - Chelsea Preview: Reds looking to continue excellent home form in final Anfield fixture

Liverpool host Chelsea in their final Anfield fixture of the 2015-16 Barclays Premier League season, looking to move a step closer to a top-six finish and continue their fine run of form on home soil.

Liverpool - Chelsea Preview: Reds looking to continue excellent home form in final Anfield fixture
(Picture: VAVEL UK)

Liverpool can bolster their hopes of a top-six finish in the Barclays Premier League as they welcome Chelsea for their final home game of the  2015-16 season on Wednesday evening.

Anfield has seen a variety of performances from the home side throughout the season, but their displays have no doubt improved in both consistency and quality in recent months, with Jürgen Klopp evidently having a huge effect on the squad.

As such, the Reds have claimed big league victories over Manchester City, Stoke City and Everton inside the last few months, in addition to wins over Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and most recently Villarreal along their road to the UEFA Europa League final.

With that showpiece occasion just next Wednesday in Basel, there is no doubt that it will be in the minds of the players and the manager, although Klopp has reportedly banned all talk of the final in the dressing room.

The Reds enjoyed their first notable victory of the Klopp era in the previous meeting. (Picture: Getty Images)
The Reds enjoyed their first notable victory of the Klopp era in the previous meeting with Chelsea. (Picture: Getty)

But, though their first European final in nine years has the potential to change how Klopp's first season is looked upon in the future, the Reds will still be keen to finish the season strongly. At home, they've certainly got the memo, having not lost in 11 games across all competitions - seven of which have come in the league.

Victory over Chelsea, as well as a positive result away at West Bromwich Albion on the final day, would allow them to sneak into the top six and guarantee at least Europa League football for next season as they look to seal a respectable finish after an up-and-down domestic campaign.

Beating the Blues, and confirming a first league double over them since 2011-12 in the process, would move them to 61 points - one ahead of Southampton in 6th - although they can finish no lower than 8th because of a 10-point gap between the Reds and 9th-placed Chelsea.

Nevertheless, Liverpool will hope that a win over the 2014-15 champions can help to continue the confidence and momentum within the camp as they look to ensure this season ends a memorable one.

Team news:

Having made eight changes for the Reds' 2-0 win over Watford at the weekend, Klopp is expected to revert to a stronger starting eleven to face Guus Hiddink's men.

Philippe Coutinho, Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno, all of whom started against the Hornets, are likely to keep their places though they will be joined by a stronger supporting cast.

Daniel Sturridge is likely to return to lead the line against his former employers, whilst vice-captain James MilnerNathaniel ClyneDejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino could also come back into the starting eleven.

Emre Can could also make his second appearance back from an ankle ligament injury as he looks to build up his fitness enough to start the European final next week. 

Emre Can could make his first league start since 2nd April. (Picture: Getty Images)
Emre Can could make his first league start since 2nd April. (Picture: Getty Images)

Long-term absentees Divock OrigiJordan HendersonDanny IngsJoe Gomez and back-up 'keeper Danny Ward will all be unavailable.

The visitors will be without John Terry, serving the first of a two-game suspension for picking up his second red card of the season in the defeat to Sunderland on Saturday.

The Chelsea skipper's stay at the club seems set to end in the summer and his ban means he will be unable to play in his suspected farewell match at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Pedro (knock), Loic Remy (groin) and Kurt Zouma (knee) will all be absent for the away side. Branislav Ivanovic went off midway through the second-half of the loss at Sunderland, but should recover in time to feature.

Head-to-head:

At Anfield: Liverpool - 49 wins, Draws - 18, Chelsea - 12 wins.

At Stamford Bridge: Chelsea - 43 wins, Draws - 19, Liverpool - 20 wins.

Overall: Liverpool - 71 wins, Draws - 37, Chelsea - 57 wins.

Last meeting: Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool, 31st October 2015, Barclays Premier League.

Recent form:

Liverpool:

Form in Barclays Premier League: WWDLW 
Form in all competitions: DLLWW

Chelsea:

Form in Barclays Premier League: LLWDL
Form in all competitions: LLWDL

Match facts:

Liverpool haven't kept a clean sheet against Chelsea in their last nine league games, conceding twice in all three of their most recent Anfield meetings.

Chelsea, too, have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Barclays Premier League matches against Liverpool.

The Reds' only win in their last seven meetings with Chelsea came earlier this season at Stamford Bridge, having drawn three and lost three of the six matches before that.

Chelsea have only won one of their last five league matches, losing three. 

However, the Londoners have scored at least twice in five of their last six matches away from home.

Philippe Coutinho scored twice in the last meeting between these two teams. (Picture: Getty Images)
Philippe Coutinho scored twice in the last meeting between these two teams. (Picture: Getty Images)

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last seven home matches in the Premier League (W4, D3) and haven't lost in 11 games in all competitions on home turf.

Jürgen Klopp's charges have scored in each of their last 12 league games, their best top-flight run since scoring in 25 consecutive matches in 2013-14. Chelsea were the team to end that run in April, winning 2-0 at Anfield.

Liverpool have thrown away 14 points from winning positions in home games in the Premier League this season - a tally only matched by Chelsea.

If Liverpool claim the three points on Wednesday, it will be the 27th home win in this fixture (both teams have so far won 13 each at home) - with only Liverpool - Newcastle United (also 27) matching that figure.

The first goal has been scored in the opening 10 minutes in four of the last five top-flight meetings between these two clubs.

Man in the middle:

Oliver refereeing for Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool back in August. (Picture: Getty Images)
Oliver refereeing for Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool back in August. (Picture: Getty Images)

Michael Oliver is the nominated match official, having taken charge of the Capital One Cup final involving Liverpool back in February.

He has been the man in charge for two other games involving the Reds this term, a 0-0 draw at Arsenal and the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford the month after.

He has been the referee for a total of 16 league games involving Liverpool, with none of the 10 home games ending in defeat for the hosts.

On the flip side, Oliver has officiated three Chelsea games this season - all of which have ended in draws.

The 31-year-old, the youngest-ever referee to take charge of a Premier League game at 25, was the man in the middle for the clash between these two club's in the League Cup semi-final second-leg last season, which was marred by controversy as Diego Costa stamped on both Martin Skrtel and Emre Can and was retrospectively punished.

Over the course of his career thus far, Oliver has overseen 138 top-flight matches - dishing out a total of 20 red cards and 445 yellows.