Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea LIVE Premier League Commentary: Late Willian leveller earns Blues a point

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Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea LIVE Premier League Commentary: Late Willian leveller earns Blues a point
(Picture: Getty Images - Paul Ellis)
Liverpool: Mignolet; Gomez, Klavan, Matip, Moreno; Henderson, Milner, Coutinho (Lallana, min. 88); Salah, Sturridge (Wijnaldum, min. 66), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Mané, min. 89).
Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta (Willian, min. 83), Drinkwater (Fàbregas, min. 74), Kante, Bakayoko (Pedro, min. 77), Alonso; Hazard, Morata.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 65, Salah. 1-1, min. 85, Willian.
REFEREE: Michael Oliver (ENG).
INCIDENTS: Premier League match-day 13 clash between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield.
Liverpool
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Chelsea

19:32. Well that's all we've got time for today. Willian denies Liverpool all three points late on after coming off the bench and scoring inside two minutes, clipping a shot-cum-cross (you make your mind up!) over Mignolet from inside the box. That tied things up after Mohamed Salah had scored his 15th of the season with a coolly-taken side-footed finish from close-range just past the hour. Yet again, Chelsea return from Anfield unbeaten - for the sixth successive season. Thanks for joining us at VAVEL UK and we hope you enjoyed our live match commentary across an entertaining encounter. We'll have all the reaction and post-match analysis of that, and the rest of the day's Premier League football, across the site - check it out. Thanks and good evening!

19:30. Game-management perhaps the key facet of that second-half. Conte made good substitutions at the right time while Klopp and Liverpool waited too long to respond, with Lallana and Mané perhaps needed 10-15 minutes earlier. 

19:26. Despite coming back for a well-deserved point, that result perhaps isn't all that positive for Chelsea. It means Manchester City can move 11 points clear of them with a win at Huddersfield tomorrow, while they stay three points off of United in second. Liverpool remain fifth, a point behind fourth-placed Spurs.

19:23. Yet again, Liverpool curse their inability to hold out a lead. Yet again, Liverpool curse their lack of a top-class goalkeeper. They should have held out for all three points, but dropped too deep and afforded Chelsea an equaliser. It was deserved, with the Blues having looked more potent for much of the evening, but will still be frustrating for Reds boss Jürgen Klopp. Liverpool are denied the chance to earn four straight Premier League wins for the first time since last December as this fixture, ends 1-1 at Anfield for the fourth successive meeting.

FT: (Salah 65) Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (Willian 85). It ends all square.

90+2' Good challenge from Moreno dispossesses Willian, who is making good headway into the box. Liverpool counter, albeit without great pace or intent allowing Chelsea to re-organise.

90+1' GOOD SAVE! Milner heads down a long ball to Salah on the edge of the area and he controls with his left before a left-footed save has Courtois sprawling to save.

90' Three additional minutes announced.

88' Two substitutions from Liverpool as Lallana does indeed return to action, replacing Coutinho. Oxlade-Chamberlain also makes way for Mané. Is it too late for them to make an impact though?

87' Henderson's clearance finds Salah, who almost has a run on Christensen - but the defender does well to prevent the Egyptian beating him. Chelsea are forcing them deeper and deeper and Liverpool are on their last legs. Can the Blues find a winner?

86' Lallana had been set for his first competitive appearance for Liverpool since May, there, but after that goal - Mané is set to come on instead.

85' He didn't mean it, but that is stunning. Willian moves across to the right of the box and looks to chip in a cross towards the back post, only for it to loop up over Mignolet - who can only get his fingertips to the ball - and into the back post. Conte is absolutely delighted, Klopp furious.

84' GOAAAALLL!!! What a stunner that is. From nowhere, Chelsea are level. 1-1!!

82' Rising tension inside Anfield every time Chelsea move forward. They go close to scoring, too, as Alonso finds himself in space behind Gomez but volleys over the crossbar. Zappacosta is then replaced by Willian in Chelsea's third and final substitution.

81' Excellent interception from Azpilicueta to prevent Salah from running beyond him and on to Coutinho's pass. The Spaniard slides to put the ball out of play. The corner comes off Wijnaldum's arm as he challenges with Azpilicueta and goes towards goal but Courtois leaps to his right to save well.

80' Good recovery tackle from Gomez, who is caught underneath Fàbregas' long ball into Alonso on the left but the defender turns to slide and force the ball out of play when his opponent would have had time and room to shoot or put in a dangerous cross.

79' So, so close for Chelsea. Hazard mistimes his run ever so slightly as Morata looks to slip the Belgian through on goal, but Klavan does well to catch Hazard offside. He was one-on-one with Mignolet otherwise. 

77' Chelsea putting Jürgen Klopp's side under the cosh as Liverpool look to press and win the ball back to relieve some pressure. Kanté gives it away to Oxlade-Chamberlain to do just that and he floats a ball into the middle for Salah. Liverpool work it to Wijnaldum on the edge of the area and his shot deflects off Cahill and wide.

76' Liverpool have a chance to break, but no-one is supporting Salah as he looks to get forward from Henderson's pass. Pedro now prepared to come on for Chelsea, who are increasing the pressure. Fàbregas splits Liverpool's defence with an over-the-top through ball but Morata - who fires wide - is flagged offside. Meanwhile, Bakayoko makes way for Pedro.

74' Drinkwater's first Premier League start for Chelsea comes to an end, then, as Fàbregas takes his place. 

73' Comical defending from Liverpool as Klavan twice tries to clear only to thump it into his own player before Moreno fires upfield. Not quite the calm that the Reds are going to need in the last 17 minutes.

72' Fàbregas being readied to come on for Chelsea. Drinkwater set to come off?

71' Moreno moves down the left at speed and the ball falls inside for Salah, who looks to return it to the left-back - but he hasn't continued his run and Courtois comes out to collect.

70' Liverpool are unbeaten at home this season and have lost just two of their last 33 league matches at Anfield - but they must keep controlled and composed unlike how they did in Seville on Tuesday. Chelsea will need to come at them now and with Mané on the bench and Salah leading the line, they have the pace on the break.

68' That means Salah is once again the Premier League's outright top scorer on 10, with Harry Kane having levelled his previous tally of nine earlier in the day. But can Liverpool hold on?

66' First substitution of the game and it's from Liverpool, with Wijnaldum replacing Sturridge. Salah moving up front?

65' It just had to be him, didn't it? It's a lovely move from Liverpool. Coutinho flicks the ball in towards Salah and though Bakayoko intercepts, Oxlade-Chamberlain harries in and the ball pings through for Salah to slot beyond Courtois from six yards. He makes a point of not celebrating but he'll feel good about that one. 15 in 20 in all competitions for the Egyptian now. An incredible return.

64' GOAAAAALL!! Liverpool are 1-0 up and unsurprisingly it's Mo Salah with yet another!

63' Courtois releases Morata on the counter after claiming Coutinho's corner delivery but Hazard hesitates, allowing Milner to recover and win the ball back for Liverpool to a roar of approval from the home fans. 

62' Good block by Azpilicueta to deny Sturridge's low left-footed strike after Salah played him into space in the box. The Spaniard then delays the Liverpool corner as he's briefly down. He has to go off the field to receive treatment.

61' Chelsea go close again as Drinkwater's cross almost finds its way to Morata, but it comes off Klavan and then Matip and deflects off of the Spanish striker and narrowly wide rather than the striker having any real control over the ball.

60' Nearly! Chelsea counter with Hazard breezing into acres. He looks to his right, where Zappacosta speeds into space to tease a low cross across the box but though Gomez is unable to clear, Chelsea cannot punish him.

57' Another spell in which Liverpool dominate the ball without asking any questions of Liverpool though Sturridge's pass into Salah prompts calls of handball from Cahill, calls which go unanswered. Coutinho then looks to clip into Sturridge but the striker is dispossessed before Milner fouls Bakayoko in trying to win the ball back.

55' Fàbregas, Pedro, Lallana, Mané and Firmino among the substitutes warming up as Henderson finally brings a first real save from Courtois - though his curling effort is a simple stop. This game feels like it needs some fresh introductions to inject some attacking quality into it. Hazard the only figure to consistently pose any danger so far, with Salah less involved but also lively for the home side.

53' He does indeed fancy it, some distance from goal, and his shot flicks up off the wall and out for another corner. Coutinho goes over to take it and his inswinging delivery meets Matip. His header deflects back out for Coutinho and his powerful attempt to return the ball into the box is blocked.

52' Bakayoko is punished for a foul on Coutinho around 30 yards out and the Brazilian might fancy a shooting opportunity for himself.

51' And now a corner at the other end as Morata breaks free from danger and looks for Zappacosta down the right. His cross is deflected wide by Henderson. The set-piece comes out towards Cahill at the back post but Christiansen, in the melee beneath him, beats him to and heads wide. Cahill lets him know how he feels about that.

50' Sturridge does excellently to control Milner's pass and move towards the by-line, he cuts back on to his right and curls a cross towards goal where Courtois uncharacteristically allows the ball to squirm beneath him and just wide. From the corner, Salah's shot is blocked. 

48' That is magnificent from Hazard, who - with Liverpool players all around him - dances between them before tangling with Milner on the edge of the area. He doesn't appeal for a penalty, unless like the away end, and referee Oliver waves play on.

47' Another foul on Hazard, this time from Salah. He swings into him late and leaves the Belgian with a temporary limp. Kanté then bursts past Henderson and the Liverpool captain brings the Chelsea man down from behind.

46' We're back for the second period with Chelsea starting us off. Liverpool attacking the Kop end this half. No changes for either side just yet, but if it stays 0-0 for the next 10 minutes, they'll soon be on the way you suspect.

HT - 0-0: Do Liverpool need Mané and Firmino? Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sturridge have had good moments, the latter without much service, but they need more ingenuity to carve apart this Chelsea defence. Remember that a win takes them level with the Blues and above even Spurs, the last team to beat the Reds last month.

HT - 0-0: Let's dive into the Hazard debate then. Overrated? Or one of the Premier League's best? He's not yet had his say this evening, but he's shown glimpses of his silky best on the ball, the kind of which tend to suggest (at least to the majority) that he is among the top few players that can be considered at least close to world-class. When he breaks into his full stride in possession, he is almost impossible to stop - unless like a few Liverpool players you stick out a late leg to haul him down. Liverpool would do well to stop the Belgian from producing a game-changing moment in the next 45 minutes.

HT: Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea. The Blues looking the more threatening of the two teams so far and have had the better chances, but we're still goalless under the Anfield lights.

45' A flick of the leg from Cahill prevents Sturridge's attempted through ball from sneaking through to Milner, who is running into the box. Good, if fortunate, defending from the skipper.

44' Ouch. Painful one for Salah as he takes an attempted clearance to the face. The ball rolls out for a goal kick.

43' Oxlade-Chamberlain stands up a cross towards the back post but Chelsea's Alonso deals with the delivery before Coutinho goes down after a tussle with Coutinho while trying to bring down an aerial ball, but Oliver gives nothing. Right decision as there's not all that much in it.

41' CLOSE! There's a glimpse of the kind of quality that has made Salah such a valuable asset to the Anfield club in his short spell here. He rolls Cahill on the edge of the box, slips past Kanté and almost guides a left-footed curler into the far corner, but it flies just wide of Courtois' far post.

40' The sizzle has just been taken out of this but Chelsea are moving closer and closer to an opener. Alonso pops it into space to Zappacosta on the right but his cross back into the box is hooked away by Klavan. Morata meets Hazard's delivery only to head wide into the Kop.

39' Zappacosta jinks inside Henderson as Chelsea move forward. They win a throw in an advanced position down the right before Oliver is forced to pause play with Oxlade-Chamberlain down after a minor headed collision with Kanté.

38' Chelsea looking comfortable and untroubled, with Liverpool needing to inject more pace into their game to try and stretch the Blues' defence. Moreno's long ball to Sturridge is fruitless before Alonso plays out of danger into Drinkwater in space.

36' Alonso brings down Salah from behind as the Egyptian shields the ball away from the full-back, and Coutinho delivers the set-piece from the right flank into the middle of the box. The cross misses everyone, with no-one at the back post present to gather the loose ball.

35' Liverpool's levels have faded since that bright opening 15-20 minutes and they've been on the back foot for the past quarter-of-an-hour. Chelsea look very much capable of prising their vulnerable back-line, as they already have, while Liverpool have yet to really trouble the visitors' defence. They need a sustained spell of possession to increase the tempo again.

34' A high and late tackle from Drinkwater leaves Moreno writhing on the touch-line, but Michael Oliver refuses to go to his book again. He's fortunate with that one, the ex-Leicester midfielder.

32' Marcos Alonso, on his left foot, hovers over the ball around 25 yards out in front of the Kop. The Spaniard curls one over the wall but a couple of yards wide of the right post.

31' That Drinkwater chance the most notable opportunity, Chelsea have looked like opening up the home side a number of times. Morata forces a foul from Matip on the edge of the box as he tries to spin away from the defender and reach Bakayoko's return ball in a one-two. Free-kick chance for the Blues now.

30' Henderson becomes the latest of what you'd expect to become a long list of Liverpool players to bring down Hazard, quickly followed by a Moreno foul on Zappacosta. There's an exciting intensity to this game but most of the actual quality is coming from Chelsea.

29' The ball fizzes around the Chelsea box now as Salah looks to force something, but the Blues outnumber them. Their defensive structure has ensured that with half-an-hour almost gone, Courtois has yet to make a save.

28' Another Salah shot, another block. He does well to wrestle away from Cahill's clutches but Zappacosta stood strong at the near post.

27' Liverpool come forward themselves having been second-best for the last few minutes. Coutinho looks for Salah in the middle but Cahill does well to head clear under the nose of his own goalkeeper. 

24' Chelsea starting to put the pressure on. After Zappacosta sees a shot saved by Mignolet, somehow no blue shirt manages to finish a goalmouth scramble following Hazard's corner. The ball ricocheted all around the box before Liverpool manage to clear.

23' GREAT GOALKEEPING! Hazard completely dupes Henderson with clever footwork before bursting forward in typical style and releasing Drinkwater one-on-one. The midfielder's touch allows Mignolet to stick out a leg and prevent him from having an open goal at his mercy. That was close.

20' GOOD SAVE! Liverpool dominating but attacking without penetration, Salah unsurprisingly their most dangerous outlet. Chelsea counter with real danger as Drinkwater finds Hazard with a well-weighted first time ball out to the left to Hazard. He cuts inside on his right and sends a bouncing low effort from 20 yards that Mignolet does well to get two hands to to force a corner.

15' Gomez and Salah combine down the right but Azpilicueta is on hand to clear the former's cross in search of Sturridge. Milner tries a delivery of his own minutes later, but Courtois comes out to claim. He's pretty good at claiming a cross, the big Belgian. 

14' Milner's first-time shot from 20 yards is wild to say the least after Oxlade-Chamberlain bursts forward and cuts a cross across the edge of the area. Milner swipes his effort well, well wide. That came after Drinkwater had almost been found in plenty of space at the other end. A very open game this one.

12' Salah finds Moreno on the left as Liverpool go wide and probe openings. Moreno does well to reach a loose ball first after Coutinho is tackled, but fires his cross above everyone in the middle. Liverpool have had 71% possession but haven't done too much with it just yet.

10' Salah has an effort from the edge of the box after Sturridge pulls down a pass and lays it off, but the winger fires high and wide over Courtois' goal at the Anfield Road end.

9' Liverpool have a promising sustained spell of pressure, but Coutinho's wayward pass gives it to Alonso. Moreno is forced to sprint back and dispossess Hazard as wriggles through a few challenges and threatens to get at Liverpool's defence.

7' Oxlade-Chamberlain pounces on Zappacosta's slip down the right to win Liverpool possession and they swap flanks to the left, but Salah's pass inside is cut out. The Reds doing well to frequently win the ball back, though.

5' A positive start for Liverpool thus far, but they'll have a tough time in breaking through Chelsea's shape and organisation this evening, even if they do have the Premier League's top scorer on their side.

4' Hazard displays his danger with a quick turn and spurt forward. He sends Morata too far wide with his following pass, but Chelsea do well to win a corner kick moments later that the Belgian takes himself. His near-post corner is dealt with before Hazard robs Coutinho of possession down the near side and delivers a dangerous first-time cross which none of his team-mates can meet in the box. Liverpool try to counter, but Oxlade-Chamberlain is outnumbered and loses the ball.

3' Two former Chelsea players, Sturridge and Salah, exchange possession but nothing comes of Liverpool's attack with Cahill blocking Salah's shot. The Reds will want the Egyptian to see plenty of possession in his current form.

2' This is the 55th meeting between these sides in all competitions since the turn of the century but the faux rivalry has certainly died down somewhat since they met regularly in the Champions League a decade ago. There's still good noise between the two sets of fans though, and there's no doubting how much either enjoy getting three points against the other.

1' With You'll Never Walk Alone having finished ringing around three of Anfield's four corners, we're all ready for kick-off. Liverpool, in a 4-2-3-1 according to BT, start us off.

17:30. Let's get back to this game though. Both teams are out of the tunnel to a great atmosphere on what looks like a cool Anfield evening. Let's hope the game is a little bit a more spicy.

17:26. A quick round-up of the 3pm results just before we get underway on L4. VAVEL UK  were in place in Premier League press boxes up and down the country and saw Watford thrash Newcastle United in the North East. We were at Wembley for Spurs' 1-1 draw with West Brom, as Harry Kane once again proved the Lilywhites' saviour. Poor Jack didn't see a single goal in South Wales while Joey got to see Manchester United extend their unbeaten run at Old Trafford to 39 games against Brighton.

17:22. It's difficult to know what to really expect from this contest. Both Liverpool and Chelsea have slalomed between brilliance performances and amatuerish ones. Liverpool's defensive negligence has underscored the obvious quality of their front-line, while Chelsea's back-line has also let them down on a few occasions - but if both teams play to their potential at Anfield, we are undoubtedly in for a cracking 90 minutes of football.

17:16. Conte on his decisions and a new 3-5-2/3-5-1-1 formation to  the BT cameras: "I think this season we're playing defensively to have more balance because we conceded many goals. We're trying to find defensive solutions. Qarabag, we played a 4-3-2-1 and tonight maybe we can change something. It's a normal rotation, we need to have rotation. Fábregas has played every game this season and it's right this choice [Drinkwater coming in], I hope."

17:12. Will Klopp be made to pay for switching it up too much? His decisions are certainly risky, despite the benefits of fresh legs. Firmino was sublime in the first half in Seville on Tuesday, while Mané is as pivotal as Salah in his best form. Milner, Matip and Mignolet - despite Karius' display in Spain - are less hazardous alterations, you feel.

17:09. Jürgen Klopp has had his say on Liverpool's changes, insisting to BT Sport: "Dejan Lovren is not able to play, he's a little bit injured, like Emre, so that's the reason for that change. We need to use the quality of the squad. I have absolute trust in the squad but then I have to show it. We cannot let the other boys play until they can't play anymore, I said it before, so that's why we change. We have fresh legs in, still quality with fantastic options to change in the game - so, good. I would say Ox would play similar to how Sadio plays with his own specific skills of course involved. Milly is just experience and desire, a really good footballer and is really important for us to protect and defend situations." Interesting comments.

17:06. A big night for two particular players tonight, both summer signings. Oxlade-Chamberlain is trusted to start over Mané and having only proved his worth in flashes so far since signing from Arsenal in search of more regular game-time, tonight is some opportunity to stamp his mark. Drinkwater, too, will be looking to produce a big performance. He replaces Fábregas in the centre of Conte's midfield for Chelsea having been restricted to just one start, in the League Cup in October, due to injury so far. He has the energetic and industrious pairing of Bakayoko and PFA Players' Player of the Year N'Golo Kanté alongside him, which he'll hope allows him to concentrate more on getting into the right areas and using the ball well rather than defending and tracking back.

17:03. Tottenham's underwhelming draw at home to West Brom, surrendering yet more points at Wembley, means Chelsea stay one point above their London rivals. Manchester United edged past Brighton at home, though, meaning the Blues must win to remain a point away from former boss José Mourinho and his Red Devils. On the other hand, Liverpool would leapfrog Spurs into fourth with a win and would also join Chelsea on 25 points. Though they will likely stay below them on goal difference.

16:58. Did you know? Morata has been involved in 12 goals in his first 11 Premier League games for Chelsea (eight goals, four assists), which is more than any other Blues player in the club's history in the division. He starts up top and can be expected to once again dove-tail with Hazard whenever the visitors look to hurt Liverpool tonight.

16:55. Chelsea, meanwhile, have wingers Pedro and Willian in reserve with Victor Moses returning to the bench for the first time since September. David Luiz, who Conte recently insisted has to "work really hard" to regain his starting place after poor form earlier this term.

16:52. Adam Lallana returns to the match-day squad for the first time this season for Liverpool, with Lovren absent due to injury. They have a handful of attacking options to call upon while Andrew Robertson also makes a rare appearance.

16:50. Chelsea bench: Caballero, Luiz, Rüdiger, Moses, Fábregas, Willian, Pedro.

16:49. Liverpool bench: Karius, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Mané, Lallana, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold.

16:47. Those changes do mean strong benches for either side, as you can see for yourselves.

16:43. A few shocks for Chelsea, who also make five changes. Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen all come in while Danny Drinkwater makes his first league start for the club. David Luiz is on the bench.

16:37. Well, well, well. Who expected that from Liverpool? They make five changes, with Simon Mignolet and Matip expectedly coming in at the expense of Loris Karius and Dejan Lovren. Gini Wijnaldum is also replaced in midfield by James Milner. But Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino are spared with Daniel Sturridge and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain offered chances instead.

16:34. Chelsea XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Hazard, Morata.

16:32. Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Gomez, Klavan, Matip, Moreno; Henderson, Milner, Coutinho; Salah, Sturridge, Oxlade-Chamberlain.

16:30. The team news is in...

Conte has even warned his Chelsea players that they must keep an eye on the in-form Salah, but also declared the wide-man is not their only threat. He explained: "Salah is a good player and is very dangerous. He's a technical player, but at the same time he is very fast, very strong and very good in one v one situations. He's also a very good finisher. We must pay great attention not only to Salah, but also to [Sadio] Mané, [RobertoFirmino, Philippe Coutinho, [DanielSturridge. They have a good coach [Jürgen Klopp] and a good identity. Great organisation, especially offensively. They are very dangerous."

 Salah has already faced Chelsea four times previously, all in Europe for previous employers Basel, and scored three goals. As the Premier League's top scorer, he's a good to continue that excellent goalscoring record against the Blues here. He has braces in both of his last two league outings.

 One of this game's most interesting sub-plots is Salah's first meeting against his former club. The winger's year-long spell at Chelsea saw him make just 19 first-team appearances before he was loaned to Fiorentina and then joined Roma on a permanent deal. Understandably, the 25-year-old was much younger in his development then than he is now and a far less refined attacker, hence Chelsea's willingness to let go of him despite his promise. But Liverpool have picked the Egyptian up closer to his peak and he's proven that, a £36.9 million fee looking like a steal now. No player has ever had a more successful start to his career in the Premier League era for the club with nine goals in his first 12 top-flight games and 14 strikes in all competitions, as many as last season's top-scorer - Philippe Coutinho - after a full season. 

Will their European exertions affect either side's performance tonight? They'll hope not. They can hardly afford to be at 100 per-cent, either of them, with both searching for crucial wins. Chelsea's gap to City looks almost unpluggable, even at such an early stage in the season, but they will be keen to keep on United's toes as they hope and pray for the front-runners to struggle in a hectic festive period. Liverpool, whose title ambitions have long since been abandoned, will also hope to keep pace with those chasing Champions League qualification - particularly with the others around them, Spurs (West Brom at home), United (Brighton at home) and Arsenal (Burnley away) all facing fairly winnable fixtures this weekend.

Chelsea will be more worried about fatigue than anything. Their 5,000-mile round trip to Baku in mid-week meant they only landed back in London at 4am on Thursday morning, hampering their pre-match preparations with Liverpool having had since Wednesday - a day they spent warm weather training Seville before jetting back home. Yet Conte refuses to accept it as an excuse, telling reporters: "They [the players] must be ready to play a big game against Liverpool. I don't like to find an alibi or excuse, and it is the same for my players. For sure it won't be easy because we are facing a really good team, a strong team, especially at home. The fans push a lot but we have to try and do our best."

For Chelsea, Conte has a strong complement to choose from - with Victor Moses, previously on loan at Liverpool from the Blues in 2013-14, available again after spending the past six weeks on the treatment table with a hamstring injury. The Nigerian will start on the bench, Conte confirmed in his pre-match press conference. Their absentees include back-up striker Michy Batshuayi and young forwards Charly Musonda and Kenedy.

But let's focus on some more of the less trivial matters shall we - such as how Liverpool's and Chelsea's squads are shaping up with confirmed team news expected an hour before kick-off. The home team could be without Emre Can, the German midfielder - linked with a move away from the club when his contract expires next summer - a doubt with a muscle injury. Adam Lallana could feature in the match-day 18 for the first time this season after a lengthy thigh injury, while defender Joël Matip could return from a thigh injury of his own that has sidelined him for two games.

 While we're hitting you with some statistics, here's one of the best you'll find going into tonight's game. Of Chelsea's 23 league goals this season, 15 have come from Spanish players (Morata, Marcos Alonso, Pedro, César Azpilicueta and Cesc Fàbregas). Even in the Spanish top-flight only two teams - Valencia and Real Sociedad - can better that total. The Spanish Armada.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the last five Premier League meetings between these two teams but have not beaten Chelsea at Anfield since May 2012, failing to win any of the last five home clashes here - losing two. Both of their last two wins over the Blues came at Stamford Bridge, including last season's fixture in South West London. The other meeting was a 1-1 draw in February, Simon Mignolet denying Diego Costa the chance to win the game for the visitors from the spot. 

 Tactically, tonight promises to be a truly absorbing affair. In response to Chelsea's deteriorating defence, Conte has switched from a 3-4-3 to a 5-3-1-1 with Hazard supporting Álvaro Morata, who has been a huge success since signing in the summer. That has offered them greater stability in defence while Hazard's freedom to roam as a central No.10 has seen the Belgian orchestrate much of the Blues' offensive play to great effect. Liverpool will hope to get at Conte's men out wide, with the sublime pairing of ex-Chelsea winger Mo Salah - with 14 goals in 19 games since joining from Roma - and another wide-man, Sadio Mané central (though not literally) to much of their success. It's little secret that their defence is their flaw, as shown against Spurs and Sevilla most notably, and it is crucial that they shackle Hazard and Morata in order to have hope of beating Chelsea. They might be on fine goalscoring form, but few would expect this to be a high-scoring contest in which Liverpool can simply rely on their front-line to outscore the opposition.

Despite this season's drop, Liverpool have the best head-to-head record in matches between the 'big six' (City, United, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal) sides since Klopp took charge on L4 back in October 2015. They have accrued 37 points from 22 games - six more than Antonio Conte's Chelsea - the Stamford Bridge side boasting the next-best record after them.

Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool are three points adrift of the Blues in fifth, though will no doubt be pleased that they are only a point off of Tottenham Hotspur in fourth - having been thrashed 4-1 by Spurs at Wembley Stadium last month. They have bounced back since then, but have yet to truly prove themselves in a high-profile contest this term since beating Arsenal. Since then, they have been hammered by City and Spurs and twice failed to beat La Liga side Sevilla. Let's not forget that dull 0-0 at home to United, too. Can they make a statement here?

The visitors, Chelsea, are also in fine fettle having won their last three games - keeping a clean sheet in all three games - against rivals Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Qarabağ FK with Eden Hazard steadily approaching his unstoppable best. Though they have already lost three Premier League games, after losing four of 38 top-flight matches last term, they are just one point off second-placed United (going into this weekend's round of games) with Manchester City enjoying an immense eight-point advantage after just 12 games.

Hosts Liverpool were on an excellent run of form before the confidence crush of conceding three goals in the second half in Spain to draw 3-3 with Sevilla, having led 3-0 after half-an-hour. That cost them last-16 qualification, courtesy of winning Group E, with a game to spare and also a fifth consecutive win in all competitions. They have scored at least three goals in all of their last five league and cup games, however.

 Good evening folks, welcome to VAVEL UK's live minute-by-minute coverage of Liverpool vs Chelsea tonight! In what promises to be a hugely-intriguing Premier League showdown, the reigning league champions travel to Anfield after back-to-back 4-0 wins with the Reds reeling from a second-half collapse to Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday night. We'll have updates throughout the evening, with kick-off on Merseyside at 17:30pm BST. But until then, we'll have plenty of build-up to run down the time so stay right here!