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Liverpool - Chelsea: Match report and highlights

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Chelsea travel to Anfield as current Premier League leaders and after a suspect first few weeks to the campaign have looked by far the most consistent of the title contenders. It was during those early days that Liverpool played in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge and came away with a relatively comfortable 1-2 victory, with many question marks hovering over the newly-installed Antonio Conte in the Blues' dugout, while optimism was building for Jürgen Klopp. As these two go at it again, the narrative has very much been reversed.

Liverpool

After an impressive showing in the first half of the season, culminating in a 1-0 victory against Manchester City on the final day of 2016, January of the new year has been a disaster. Klopp has recently apologised to fans as his much-changed cup teams were knocked out of both the EFL and FA Cups, and his A-team lost at home to then-bottom side Swansea. But he has also made the point that he'd rather lose three games in three competitions than all in one, his point being that nine points dropped in the league would have been devastating. His comments may not have appeased many supporters but a win against the leaders most certainly would.

Sadio Mane is the biggest talking point in the home team selection as the summer arrival returns from African Nations duty. It's likely that the speedy frontman will take a place on the bench (depending on what Klopp sees when he looks into his eyes) but his return will bring positivity to many who believe his absence has directly correlated with their poor run. In defence, Matip and Lovren are likely to line up ahead of Mignolet in goal, with Clyne and Milner returning, as others will to the first XI. Philip Coutinho signed a new five-year contract and is back to match sharpness following a layoff and expect him, compatriot Firmino and one other (from Mane, Lallana and Origi) to form a front three.

Chelsea

Already with an eight point lead at the summit of the league, the London outfit know that overcoming a potential rival on their own turf would have many bookmakers reaching for the payout early button. But, despite their position, and 15 out of 18 points recent form, Conte's side have been most lacking against the top sides. In fact, the three teams directly below them in the league - Spurs and Arsenal the other two - have all turned them over. Despite this, the Blues will arrive confident with their opposition at their most vulnerable point in their season so far.

Diego Costa, currently the league's joint-top scorer with 14, has been subject to much speculation but that doesn't appear to have destabilised the team. If he is in the mood, against a shaky home defence then it could be an enjoyable evening for the visitors. He'll be ably supported by Hazard and Pedro while a second layer of width will likely be provided by Alonso and ex-Liverpool player, Moses, who has surprised many this season. Conte's 3-4-3 formation revolutionised Chelsea's season and may be an example to many of what can be done when the sum of all correctly-positioned parts are given a clear game plan.

Liverpool v Chelsea: possible line-ups

Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Firmino, Lallana

Chelsea XI: Courtois: Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Alonso, Matic, Kante, Moses, Hazard, Pedro, Costa

  • Competition Premier League - Jornada 23
  • Date Tuesday, 31/01/2017
  • Referee Mark Clattenburg (Inglaterra)
  • Stadium Anfield Road - Liverpool
  • Climatology Clear skies
    • Movistar Fútbol

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