Chelsea v Liverpool Cheat Sheet
Chelsea v Liverpool
Chelsea have sacked Graham Potter after their recent loss to Aston Villa and come into this match with the rumour mill swirling on who will take over as the next manager. The problem under Potter was simple, converting xG into goals. It is completely unknown how the Chelsea team will react and even who will start with a caretaker manager in charge. Kante looks to be available again for Chelsea but may not be risked for the full 90 yet, while Fofana and Sterling might also be available again for this match.
Liverpool are still not their previous selves, as was proven by the 4-1 loss to Manchester City at the weekend. Liverpool now have to make the journey to Stamford Bridge, before then returning to Anfield at the weekend to face league leaders Arsenal. Klopp has spoken about how the club will put money into recruiting the necessary players in the summer and the squad does feel like it has a lot of players that make a minimal impact right now. Liverpool are still without Luis Diaz, Thiago and Bajcetic who have all been important players for them at times this season but Jota playing from the start against Manchester City is good news for them.
Marc Cucurella made his name as a marauding left-back at Brighton but has been asked to play in a back three in his time at Chelsea so far. Cucurella will be up against Mo Salah in this match who showed yet again against Manchester City why he is one of their most important players. Salah draws 0.91 fouls per 90 and against a 3 at the back formation, his pace and positioning will give him opportunities to run in behind Chelsea’s left wing-back.
Salah has been fouled in 6 of his last 9 matches and against Cucurella he will fancy his chances. Cucurella has committed a foul in 5 of his last 6 matches that he has started as a centre back and in 5 of his last 6 matches in any position, it would be no surprise if he committed a foul in this one.
Liverpool have taken to starting Harvey Elliott in centre midfield where he plays slightly further upfield than the other 2 in midfield, to try and receive line-breaking passes. Elliott draws 1.45 fouls per 90 as he will often look to take the ball and turn his man. N’golo Kante will likely return to the Chelsea lineup for this game, the French midfielder brings so much energy to Chelsea’s midfield and will be all over Liverpool’s less mobile centre midfielders in this match, including Harvey Elliot.
Kante made 1 foul in the 34 minutes he played against Aston Villa at the weekend and while he has hardly played this season due to injury, last season he averaged 1.12 fouls per 90. In any system, Kante will always commit fouls so it doesn’t matter how they approach this match, if he starts he should be one of the favourites to commit a foul here.
Chelsea are expected to stick with 3 at the back here, this means Cody Gakpo will be given free rein to press any of the Chelsea centre-backs. Gakpo works hard for the Liverpool team which is why he is liked by Klopp as a striker and this means he attempts a lot of tackles, his tally of 1.36 per 90 is in the top 5% of all strikers in Europe’s top 5 leagues. However, as a result of attempting so many tackles, Gakpo is also prone to committing a lot of fouls.
This season Gakpo has averaged 1.46 fouls per 90 and has committed a foul in 10 of his last 12 matches. Gakpo also started up front when these two teams met in January when he committed 2 fouls. With both teams expected to play similar systems in this match, Gakpo is good value to commit just 1 foul in this match.
There are a number of players that could start at right wing for Chelsea in this match, Madueke, Ziyech, Pulisic and Sterling could all start for them on the right wing. All these players are very good at drawing fouls, they all draw at least 1.61 fouls per 90 and Madueke draws as many as 2.08 fouls per 90. This means Andy Robertson will be up against a tricky winger in this match and this means the Scot will likely commit a foul here.
Robertson commits 0.78 fouls per 90 and committed 2 fouls last time out against Manchester City. In his last game against Chelsea, Robertson committed 2 fouls despite Chelsea not even starting a proper right winger and I expect him to commit at least 1 foul again here.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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