Liverpool vs. Chelsea Best Bets
Last Time Out:
Liverpool beat Leeds United 4-3; Chelsea handled Brighton 3-1.
Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-3 on July 22 at Anfield in Liverpool.
About the Matchup:
While you're waiting for NFL games to kick off, there's money to be made on an early season battle between two Premier League titans. Liverpool faces its first real test as defending champion, as the Reds go to a resurgent Chelsea side that believes that it's ready to compete for a championship again.
For the past year and a half, Liverpool has been the dominant side in England and comes off one of the most dominant sides in Premier League history. But the Reds clearly are still feeling the pressure that comes with being the hunted, and they're not the same team they were before the pandemic hit. Chelsea, on the other hand, has come up with reinforcements and reshaped its team, and has made Stamford Bridge into a true fortress. The Blues have won seven in a row at the Bridge — including a 2-0 shutout of Liverpool back in March.
The time off was supposed to help Jurgen Klopp's men, but it's turned out to not make much of a difference. Liverpool is still a mentally tired team and has been a mess on defense, conceding in six consecutive matches and seven of eight. Only offensively-challenged Aston Villa wasn't able to penetrate the Reds' defense, and the defensive problems were on full display against newly-promoted Leeds, which celebrated its return to the Premier League by putting home three goals and nearly pulling out a result at Anfield.
Liverpool's one saving grace has been the attack, led by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Salah scored three times against Leeds, including two penalties, and the Egyptian looks to still be every bit the scorer that he's been since he first arrived at Anfield. But as great as Salah has been for the Reds, he can't be expected to carry the scoring load every single time. When Liverpool has come up against a team that can actually play defense, such as Arsenal or Manchester City, the results haven't gone well for them. If the Reds can't get the defense sorted out, this could be another setback.
Should we call Chelsea Der Blaus? The Blues have a decidedly German feel to them now after importing a pair of top attackers from the Bundesliga, bringing in Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen. Chelsea is gradually becoming a younger side on the attack under Frank Lampard, as the two Germans will eventually pair with American Christian Pulisic once he's back to full strength. For now, Chelsea are a side in transition, as Pulisic remains sidelined and their new acquisitions are still adjusting to playing together.
On one hand, Chelsea had few problems with Brighton, coming out with a 3-1 win on the road. But a look at the numbers reveals that the Blues actually have some worries about their attack. Two of Chelsea's three goals came from the back four and a third came from a midfielder, and while there's nothing wrong with that in one game, Chelsea is meant to be built around its attackers, and Werner and Havertz have to make their marks.
Dan's Score Prediction:
Chelsea got three on Liverpool last time, and I think the Reds' defense is no better than it was two months ago. Any team that gives up three to Leeds is perfectly capable of doing the same at Stamford Bridge, and Werner and Havertz will be anxious to prove themselves to their new team.
I think there will be goals, and I'm going to go against the grain here and back Chelsea to come out on top at its Stamford fortress. Give me the Blues to claim a 3-2 win at +2500.