English Premier League

Liverpool v Chelsea: Get short of goals at Anfield

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

An early kick-off and both sides' lack of form could lead to a tight encounter at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime...

  • The 12.30pm start could produce a flatter atmosphere and lack of goals

  • Head-to-head form also supports backing Under 2.5 Goals at 2.265/4

  • Mo Salah has a good record against his former team and is a Bet Builder option

Reds hoping Cup win can provide spark

Given their stuttering first half of the campaign, it's a surprising stat that no team won more Premier League points than Liverpool in 2022.

But so far in 2023 they have precisely none. Back-to-back defeats against Brentford and Brighton - who are both now above Liverpool - have left the Reds down in ninth spot: completely unthinkable when pre-season predicitions were being made.

After the miserable 3-0 loss at Brighton last Saturday, Jurgen Klopp sent out a much-changed team in the FA Cup replay at Wolves in midweek and his gamble was rewarded.

Liverpool had more energy in midfield and secured a much needed morale boost thanks to a brilliant winner from Harvey Elliott.

Another trip to Brighton awaits in the FA Cup next weekend but Liverpool now start a crunch run of four Premier League fixtures that could tell us whether they're able to replicate their troubled 2020/21 season and make a successful late surge for a top-four finish.

After this game against Chelsea, they return to Wolves, host Everton in a Monday night Merseyside derby and then travel to a Newcastle side who could stand between Klopp's men and a Champions League slot.

Chelsea must build on Palace win

For Liverpool, read Chelsea: a side that used to be nailed on for a Champions League slot but now find themselves drifting in mid-table.

Thomas Tuchel's sacking was met by a shrug of the shoulders by many as history tells us that the Blues usually keep keep challenging for silverware/a top four place when a new boss comes in.

That was playing out in the early stages of Graham Potter's reign but then came a crash that saw the Blues lose six times in eight games in all competitions either side of the World Cup.

The comparisons with Liverpool are multiple. Chelsea too have restored a little confidence via a 1-0 win last time: a home success against Crystal Palace.

And, like the Merseysiders, most of their problems have come away from home. Chelsea have taken only 11 points from a possible 30 on the road and they've managed just nine goals across those 10 games.

Injuries are certainly one excuse but sitting 10th in the Premier League is way beneath expectations. The capture of Mykhaylo Mudryk for big money has at least given the club a boost and the Ukrainian attacker is available if Potter wants to throw him straight in.

Duo have been hard to split

Back in happier times, Liverpool and Chelsea met in two domestic Cup finals last season and in both games they couldn't be separated in 90 minutes.

In fact, their Carabao Cup and FA Cup showdowns were so tight that both ended goalless before the Reds twice came through on penalties.

As for their two Premier League encounters last term, another pair of stalemates. First, a 1-1 at Anfield in August and then a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in January after the Reds had led 2-0.

For this one, Liverpool are a shade of odds-on at 1.9310/11 to take all three points while Chelsea are 4.3100/30. The Draw is 4.03/1.

It's hard to trust either right now but as both have been so poor on their travels, it's logical to land on the side of the hosts. That won't be my bet though.

Goals could be scarce in early kick-off

Given that both Cup finals between the pair finished 0-0, it's easy to argue that getting short of goals is the play, especially when the market is going the other way.

Over 2.5 goals is the clear favourite at 1.774/5 so the 2.265/4 for Under 2.5 makes instant appeal.

Adding to that is the kick-off time. Anfield at 12.30pm isn't the same as Anfield at 7.30pm. As at many big grounds, the atmosphere can be flat in these early games and that often translates into fewer goal chances and fewer goals.

The counter-argument is that both have been easy to play through this season and there are enough dangerous attackers on show to cash in.

But both Klopp and Potter are acutely aware that kick-starting a revival begins at the back. And it's perhaps no coincidence that both kept clean sheets as they dug in on their latest starts.

In addition, five of the last six encounters between the Reds and the Blues have witnessed Under 2.5 goals and Liverpool have only conceded nine at Anfield this season so they're much harder to score against at home.

Salah can make his mark in Bet Builder

Taking out own goals, 10 of Liverpool's last 11 strikes at Anfield have been netted by Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez with five each.

Uruguayan Nunez gets lots of stick but the numbers speak for themselves.

That said, Salah is still the main man and has a good record against his former club: he netted in both Premier League meetings last season.

Salah to Score, Liverpool to Win and Chelsea to Receive Most Cards pays just under 14.013/1 on the Bet Builder.

Regarding the latter element, Liverpool are second in the Fair Play table this season while Chelsea are 18th.

Opta stat

Chelsea have won just two of their last 10 Premier League games (D3 L5), though they did beat Crystal Palace 1-0 last time out.

Away from home, the Blues are winless in five Premier League games (D2 L3), their longest run since September to December 2015 (7).

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Dave's P/L for the 2022/23 season

Staked: 22.70pts

Returned: 11.05pts

P/L: -11.65pts

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.