Chelsea will play host to Liverpool on Sunday in a mouthwatering clash between Premier League title contenders.
The Blues currently sit second and trail runaway leaders Manchester City by 11 points, with Liverpool a further point behind. Given the imperious form Pep Guardiola’s side have been in of late, Chelsea and Liverpool cannot afford any slip-ups if they are to stay in title contention.
After going 11 games without a win against Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel is undefeated in their last three meetings.
The last time these two sides squared off, Mohamed Salah’s penalty cancelled out Kai Havertz’s opener in a 1-1 draw.
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea have been handed a major boost ahead of Sunday’s game with Timo Werner and Thiago Silva returning to full team training. Kai Havertz is also in contention after battling an illness over the past few weeks.
Some cup entries from the Liverpool folder. 📁 pic.twitter.com/xRSWxFTKMu
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 2, 2022
Reece James and Andreas Christensen picked up injuries in the 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion and are unlikely to feature.
Ben Chilwell is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
Predicted Chelsea Lineup vs Liverpool (3-4-2-1)
Edouard Mendy will start between the sticks for the final time before heading to the Africa Cup of Nations. The Senegal international has been one of Chelsea’s most important players this season and will have a key role to play against a formidable Liverpool frontline.
With Christensen a doubt for this clash, Thomas Tuchel could field a three-man defence of Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Trevoh Chalobah.
James’ absence means Cesar Azpilicueta will start at right wing-back, while Marcos Alonso will feature on the left in the Chelsea lineup.
N’Golo Kante will be one of the first names on the teamsheet. The Frenchman’s importance to the side can be gauged from the fact that the only times Chelsea conceded more than two goals in a single game this season was when Kante was not in the Chelsea lineup.
The other central midfield position is a toss-up between Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic and the Croatian might just get the nod.
Romelu Lukaku’s recent comments have led to him being omitted from the matchday squad.
🚨 Romelu Lukaku is not in Chelsea squad for visit of Liverpool. 28yo striker at centre of controversy in recent days after release of unauthorised interview in Italy. #CFC will now be without £97.5m summer signing for huge #LFC game @TheAthleticUK #CHELIV https://t.co/SSrl7sAK4H
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 2, 2022
That means Christian Pulisic could get the nod as a false nine in the Chelsea lineup. He will be supported by Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount in attack.