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Premier League: Familiar Foes Face-Off with New Look


Premier League: Familiar Foes Face-Off with New Look

Chelsea vs Liverpool

The first big Premier League clash of the new season and a home debut for at least two of Chelsea’s big-money signings.

Believe it or not, since the start of the millennium this will actually be the 64th time the sides have met in all competitions, making it the most played fixture between English teams so far in the 21st century.

Very few of those meetings have disappointed neutrals and there have been Premier League highlights of some description (not to mention plenty of controversies) virtually every time.

At a time when one club is in transition, and the other is riding high, the history and rivalry remains and that should make this a compelling spectacle.

Talking Points

Arguably, this could be a good time to ply Chelsea: firstly because Stamford Bridge is not a hostile venue without fans and secondly because their new arrivals are bedding in or have yet to play.

Who knows, with league champions Liverpool close to a move for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago there could be a few debutants on show on either side.

Yet Chelsea will fancy their chances against opponents who were defensively poor in their opening weekend victory over Leeds.

In fact, both sides showed weakness at the back and the appearance of new signing Thiago Silva presumably can’t come soon enough for the west Londoners and their leaky backline.

Last season they conceded 79 goals in all competitions – their worst ratio since 1991 – something which persuaded boss Frank Lampard to try and shore up their defence (even if most of his big-money moves have been to recruit attacking talent).

The dynamic on the touchline will be interesting given the spat which occurred between Lampard and his Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp towards the end of last season – as recently as late July. Certainly, the arrogance accusation, which emerged following that match suggests there could be some tension between the two on Sunday.

In Timo Werner, Chelsea have a player who Liverpool were strongly linked to and someone who could arguably be the most prolific marksman to arrive in the English top-flight for some time. Depending on which reports you read, the Merseysiders supposedly chose not to pay the fee that Chelsea were happy to for a livewire who, instead, insists Lampard’s men were always his first choice destination.

Perhaps the league should be glad he opted for west London because it is this SBOTOP writer’s belief that the acquisition of the German international would have made them nearly untouchable in this season’s title race.

So, there are just a few of the subplots which make this an intriguing encounter on the pitch and on the touchline. Who will claim the first set of bragging rights between these familiar foes remains to be seen but it should be entertaining to watch it unfold.

History

Last season these sides met three times with Liverpool recording a league double over their opponents, although Chelsea turned the tables in the FA Cup.

A superb free-kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold earned Liverpool a 2-1 success in the corresponding league fixture almost a year ago before they won 5-3 in the penultimate game of the league season with the title already decided.

Boyhood ‘Evertonian’ Ross Barkley scored a fine goal when Chelsea knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup in March.

These sides also met at the start of last season in the European Super Cup Final – an exciting contest which Liverpool edged on penalties.

Overall, Chelsea have 64 victories in all competitions, Liverpool have 81 successes and there have been 41 draws.

Betting Tip

First Half Over 1.25 @ 2.13

The SBOTOP betting odds lean towards Liverpool, hardly surprising given they have won four of their most recent five encounters.

You can back the visitors 1X2 @ 2.26 or with Asian Handicap odds -0.25 @ 1.95 and 0.50 @ 2.26.

The draw may seem a safe tip and that is on offer @ 3.50.

Likewise, the home side are available to back 1X2 @ 2.92 or with Asian Handicap 0.00 @ 2.38.

A repeat of this fixture from last season – correct score 1-2 – will payout @ 8.00.

For Chelsea to repeat their 2-0 FA Cup triumph from six months ago, there are odds of @ 20.00.

I expect goals in this one with over 3.00 goals available @ 2.07, total goal 2-3 @ 2.00 and 4-6 @ 2.79.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

 

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