Liverpool-Chelsea Preview

National Sports

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp demanded a response from the Reds as his side prepare to visit Chelsea on Sunday.

The Reds were downed 1-0 by Leicester City last Tuesday and now sit 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, who edged past Arsenal 2-1 on Saturday.

Chelsea are also a point ahead of Liverpool heading into their first fixture of 2022 and Klopp, who will be absent from the Stamford Bridge touchline due to a positive COVID-19 test, wants to see improvements from his side as he refused to give up hope on the title race.

“We were not happy with the last game, we have to show a reaction,” Klopp said.

“It’d be nice to play a better game. Even without us performing at our top level we probably should have won but well deserved for Leicester. Now we try to play much better.

“You cannot win the league properly in the winter. It’s unlikely but what City have now is a gap, they deserve it, but let’s just give it a go. Only one team can be champions. A decisive moment in April, you have to be close enough then. So many games [left] to play.”

Chelsea suffered late heartbreak as Brighton and Hove Albion snatched a draw in their last outing.

The Blues have dropped points in three of their past six games and Thomas Tuchel admitted it is affecting his side’s spirit.

He said: “Very disappointed, angry. Me, myself, also angry on the situation, results, referee decisions.

“The dressing room might not always be in harmony. Sometimes it is good to be on the edge, in disharmony.

“We have the feeling we invest a lot, we squeeze and squeeze the lemon but it is like squeezing the same lemon over and over again and expecting fresh juice.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chelsea – Mason Mount

Mason Mount has been involved in 12 Premier League goals this season (7 goals, 5 assists) – the most of any English player in the competition, and his joint-best return in a single Premier League campaign (also 12 in 2019-20).

Liverpool – Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 13 Premier League games in London (8 goals, 5 assists). Meanwhile, no Liverpool player has scored more Premier League goals in the capital than the Egyptian (13, level with Steven Gerrard).

KEY OPTA FACTS

·The away side won just 12.5% of the first 32 Premier League meetings between Chelsea and Liverpool (W4 D7 L21). Since then, the visiting team has won 41% of the 27 games between the sides (W11 D8 L8).

·Liverpool are winless in their three Premier League games in London this season (D2 L1), with the Reds conceding as many goals in these games as they had in their previous 12 visits to the capital in the competition (8).

·Since a 4-1 win at Manchester United in March 2009, Liverpool are winless in six games against reigning European champions in all competitions (D3 L3). All three of their draws in that time have come against Chelsea.

·Chelsea haven’t won their opening league game in any of the last five calendar years (D3 L2) since beating Crystal Palace 3-0 in 2016. Only once have they had a longer run of winless such games in their league history (10 between 1929 and 1938).

·When playing their first league game of a calendar year away from home, Liverpool have won just one of their last nine such games (D4 L4), going down 1-0 at Southampton in their first game of 2021.

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