Sunday, May 6 – 4:30p.m Local time – Stamford Bridge, London, United Kingdom
There will be little resting time for Liverpool who are scheduled to return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon after a momentous week of Champions League football in Rome.
The Reds will be beaming with excitement as they make their way to Stamford Bridge, having qualified for the Champions League final for the first time since the 2006/07 campaign.
Jurgen Klopp’s men survived a late scare in an enthralling second leg semifinal match against AS Roma to win 7-6 on aggregate, despite losing 4-2 on the night.
Their progression into the final in Kiev, where they have a date with destiny on May 26, was unequivocally propelled by their 5-2 over the Serie A side during the reverse fixture at Anfield a week ago.
Liverpool were off to the races within the opening ten minutes, as they stunned a raucous Stadio Olimpico to silence with a goal through Sadio Mane.
James Milner inadvertently leveled the score six minutes later with a bizarre own goal, before Georginio Wijnaldum restored the visitor’s lead on 25 minutes.
Despite showcasing a clinical edge with duos of incision and frenetic pace, Liverpool began flirting with the possibility of taking the match to extra time, having lowered their tempo after the break.
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This allowed Eusebio Di Francesco’s side to be back in the swinging of things after the Giallorossi scored thrice in the second half through Edin Dzeko and Radja Nainggolan; the former scoring right after the interval while the latter registered a brace in the closing moments of the match to bring the encounter to a nervy end.
With that, Liverpool survived by a whisker as Roma were dumped out of competition, albeit after a sensational campaign in the European top flight.
Although Klopp takes great pride in his pressing style of play, often counting on the triumvirate of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah to come up with the goods, Liverpool- who are quite susceptible at the back- will have to do more than just attack to douse the flames of Real Madrid.
The match against Chelsea is a good chance for the Reds to build up a head of steam in the run up to the European final, although the crestfallen Premier League champions haven’t exactly enjoyed the 2017/18 season.
Antonio Conte has had a beleaguered second season at Stamford Bridge; one that has him on the brink of losing his job despite enjoying success in his maiden season.
The possibility of missing out on next season’s Champions League has been a huge talking point in the current campaign, with the match against Liverpool tantalizingly poised as the ultimate decider in the race for a top four finish.
Liverpool certainly look set to qualify for the Champions League, either through finishing in the top four or via automatic qualification by beating Madrid to the coveted European crown, whilst options look few and unattainable for Chelsea.
The Blues would nonetheless do best to win all three of their remaining Premier League matches with the hope that fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur, 5 points above them on 71 points, stutter in their remaining matches against West Brom, Newcastle United and Leicester City.
Marcos Alonso is up for selection having served his three-match suspension for violent conduct against Southampton, but David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu remain sidelined due to injury.
Liverpool contrarily have a lengthy injury list with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Emre Can, Joel Matip and Adam Lallana all ruled out with various injuries, although Joe Gomez is available having recovered from an ankle strain.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool match prediction
Jurgen Klopp would give life and limb to finish above Jose Mourinho on the Premier League log, not just for good measure, but as proof that negative football has no place in the modern game, but that ship has long sailed, seeing as second placed United have created a five-point gulf on top of having an extra game in hand.
Klopp’s players are jaded and jet-lagged, yet the German manager has limited selection options due to multiple injury concerns.
It’s a known fact that even the cream of the crop often perform dismally in the weekend following a demanding week of Champions League football, which is why Chelsea have a good chance to haul themselves back into top four reckoning.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea recent results
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (November 25, 2017)
Mohammed Salah 65′
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (January 31, 2017)
Georginio Wijnaldum 57′
David Luiz 24′
Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool (September 16, 2016)
Diego Costa 61′
Dejan Lovren 17′
Jordan Henderson 36′
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (May 11, 2016)
Christian Benteke 90’+2
Eden Hazard 32′
Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool (October 31, 2015)
Philippe Coutinho 45’+3, 74′
Christian Benteke 83′
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