After a forgettable trip to Old Trafford on the opening day of the Premier League, Frank Lampard now has a chance to win his first trophy as a Chelsea manager this week. The Blues travel to Istanbul to take on Champions League winners Liverpool on Wednesday, in what could be yet another classic encounter between the two English rivals.
The Reds beat Norwich City convincingly on the opening day and will be high on confidence going into this game. The Blues are unbeaten in European competitions for almost 18 months now but have lost each of their last two Super Cup clashes. They will start this game as second favourites but Lampard will believe that his side has what it takes to start their campaign with some welcome positivity.
Lampard has a number of players missing from his first team. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James and Marko van Ginkel are all missing from the squad. Antonio Rudiger and Willian will feature on the bench while N’Golo Kante is struggling with a ‘small’ injury which puts his participation in doubt.
PREDICTED CHELSEA LINEUP vs LIVERPOOL (4-2-3-1)
Kepa Arrizabalaga had a tough time at Old Trafford. But he remains the best shot-stopper at the club and should keep his place under the bar against Liverpool. Lack of options should see Lampard stick with Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma at the back. The duo was bullied at times against United and could face a tougher task this week against the likes of Mo Salah and Firmino.
Cesar Azpilicueta also struggled on the flank at the weekend. He remains the best option at right-back for Chelsea and he will be up against the likes of Divock Origi and Sadio Mane, both of who are hard to mark. Emerson Palmieri seems to be ahead of Marcos Alonso in the pecking order in the league but might make way for the Spaniard whose experience might come into the fray against Mo Salah.
N’Golo Kante was protected in pre-season but came off the bench at Old Trafford. He was expected to start in Istanbul but another injury setback means Jorginho is likely to continue in midfield and could be partnered with Mateo Kovacic, who adds a bit of creativity to the Chelsea side from the middle of the park.
Lampard used Tammy Abraham to lead the line against United. But that did not pay dividends and this could force the manager to use the experience of Olivier Giroud up top against Liverpool. The former Arsenal man loves playing against the Reds but will have to get the better of Virgil van Dijk, to have an impact on this game.
Pedro showed flashes of brilliance against the Red Devils on the right flank but will have to put in a better performance for his side to take anything from this game. Christian Pulisic looked lively coming off the bench in that game and could start on the other flank.
Mason Mount was one of the best players for Chelsea in the first half at Old Trafford. He did enough to warrant a place in the starting XI for this crunch clash.