Betfair Ambassador Graeme Le Saux looks ahead to Saturday evening's clash at Anfield and wonders which Liverpool side will turn up...
"When you consider that they’ve conceded 17 goals in the league this season - two more than Swansea who are in the bottom three - it becomes very clear where their issues lie."
Liverpool v Chelsea
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The pivotal question to this match is which Liverpool are going to turn up at 17:30 on Saturday. We saw both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in their clash against Sevilla in midweek and that level of inconsistency is proving to be a regular flaw with them. When you consider that they've conceded 17 goals in the league this season - two more than Swansea who are in the bottom three - it becomes very clear where their issues lie.
I don't want to be too down on them though as they're a fantastic side to watch going forward. They're such a creative team in the way they're set up with what is essentially an attacking five, but the problem with that is there's no cover in front of the back four.
Furthermore when you take the full backs out of the equation there's so much pressure on those two central defenders it's no wonder they're experiencing such issues. It's easy to single out players for poor performances defensively but you really do have to take into account the lack of protection that they're receiving.
Going to Anfield, Antonio Conte will know that Liverpool will throw everything at you from the moment the whistle is blown; the supporters demand it and it was the same whenever I went there as a player. In turn, I expect Chelsea to be patient, as much as they might smell an opportunity to play on Liverpool's vulnerabilities.
Chelsea will likely line up with a 3-5-2 which from an aerial view looks infinitely more solid than Liverpool's 4-5-1 however it might be that Jurgen Klopp could work to a similar game-plan as Pep Guardiola when Man City visited Chelsea earlier in the year. On that occasion, the City wingers pushed Chelsea's full backs much deeper than they're used to playing so as to force them into flat back five.
Employing the same tactics might allow Mane and Salah to find some holes and I have no doubt the latter of that pair will be very motivated going into this game against his former side. Whenever I came up against a former club I was always eager to force the issue and effectively make them regret the decision to sell me! That being said, I don't think Chelsea will be losing too much sleep over that sale, he simply didn't fit in with their system at that time but it's great to see how well he's performing under Jurgen Klopp.
Providing Liverpool do get their tactics right, I can envisage both sides scoring but I just keep coming back to their defensive frailties and can see Chelsea coming out on top in an entertaining encounter.
Chelsea to beat Liverpool 1-2 @ 11/1 (Betfair Sportsbook)