Thursday, March 23, 2017

Prediction: Liverpool vs Chelsea

Verdict: Home win

Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

Clash between the two Premier League heavyweights bears little importance for the two sides who have lost all chances of grabbing a European spot through a league position this season. Reigning champions can’t wait for the season to be over, while the Reds have already set their focus on the Europa League final against Sevilla.

Liverpool

It feels good to be a Liverpool fan once again, with Reds on the cusps of grabbing a Champions League berth for the next campaign. Jurgen Klopp has been handed a tough task upon his arrival to Anfield, but the German tactician dived in without hesitation in effort to lift the fallen giants and make Liverpool great once again. He is on a good path and Reds fans are already buzzing with excitement over the restored spirit and team atmosphere which has the supporters believe anything is possible. Klopp’s men were given a heroes’ welcome ahead of their triumph over Villarreal in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League semi-final and the team used the positive momentum to notch another win and dispatch Watford at the weekend. The second successive victory came on the back of a mini-run of three winless games and it was achieved thanks to goals from Allen and Firmino. Liverpool sit in eighth place in the standings, ten points clear of their next rivals and a win could push them up to Europa League spot, but Liverpool obviously have other objectives in mind and Klopp could decide to shuffle his deck once again and keep his first-team stars fit and ready for challenges to come.

Team News

Mamadou Sakho is unavailable through his suspension, while Jordan Henderson, Divock Origi, Jordan Rossiter and Ward continue to miss out due to their injuries.

Danny Ings is closing to his return and could be given a shot in the closing weeks of the season. Christian Benteke was given a rare start against Watford and could be in line for another starting berth.

Chelsea

The Blues are having a disappointing end to their campaign. Only one win in last five matches for Chelsea are the result unworthy of the champions, who lost their chance to fight to retain the Premier League title a long time ago. Mourinho’s departure brought little improvement in the long run for Guus Hiddink’s men and the fans are awaiting in anticipation for the new chapter to begin. Summer of change will see Antonio Conte sit at the helm with a number of first-team members likely to be replaced during summer. Former Juventus manager is arriving at Stamford Bridge after the Euro 2016 and it will be exciting to see how Chelsea would look like next year with a couple of stars like Radja Nainggolan already being mentioned as potential new arrivals. One thing is for sure, Chelsea will next year have a different captain as John Terry is leaving the club. What is more, the England defender has played his final match for Chelsea, but he would have liked a different kind of farewell than a red card in a loss against Sunderland. The Black Cats grabbed vital three points against the Blues in what has been a come-from-behind triumph at the Stadium of Light.

Team News

John Terry will miss the final home game of the season, but the impending suspension could very well see him miss both remaining games of the season.

Kurt Zouma is the only other unavailable player as the French defender remain on the sidelines with a cruciate ligament injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in 4 of their last 6 matches
  • There have been more than 2.5 goals in seven of Liverpool’s last 10 fixtures
  • Chelsea have won just one of their last 5 Premier League games
  • Liverpool have last been beaten at home in the Premier League in January
  • Blues conceded 6 goals in their last three matches

Conclusion

Liverpool head into the Chelsea duel in high spirits as the team still has a great chance of ending the season on a high. Reaching the Champions League would be a huge achievement for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who are without pressure in their game vs Chelsea. With no load on their shoulders, Reds are sure to put a great performance and we see good values in betting on home team against the demotivated Blues.

Verdict: Home win

Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

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