European absentees set to serve up a Friday night treat
Chelsea and Liverpool both missed out on European football and a lack of fixture congestion should stand both sides in good stead, as they attempt to secure Champions League football again.
Chelsea come into this game on the back of a poor second half display at the Liberty Stadium, where some shambolic defending gifted hosts’ Swansea City a precious point.
By comparison, Liverpool emphatically swept aside champions Leicester City, with a convincing display at a new-look Anfield.
Goal projections – Chelsea 1.56 Liverpool 1.28
Team news & predicted starting line-ups for Chelsea v Liverpool
Chelsea will be sweating on the fitness of John Terry who sustained an ankle injury in the 2-2 draw with Swansea. It will be interesting to see if Antonio Conte sticks with the 4-1-4-1 formation he has been deploying against Jürgen Klopp’s gegenpressing Liverpool side.
Klopp will be hoping to have more defensive options available for the trip to Stamford Bridge, after being forced to use Lucas Leiva as a makeshift centre-back in the 4-1 win over the Foxes, with Leiva producing a moment of madness he will want to forget in a hurry that gifted Jamie Vardy a simple tap-in.
Chelsea fantasy player to watch
Belgium stopper Thibaut Courtois had an absolute shocker at the Liberty Stadium, recording a WhoScored figure of just 4.88 in the process, the lowest return by any Premier League player this season.
He will need to be at his best to repel a Liverpool attack that is averaging 6.5 shots per game and has scored more Premier League goals than any other side in 2016.
Chelsea team news
David Luiz could make his second Chelsea debut, filling in for Terry who will undergo and MRI scan on his injured ankle.
Marco van Ginkel and Kurt Zouma are still sidelined for the Blues.
Predicted starting line-up for Chelsea
Liverpool team news
Klopp could have Emre Can and Dejan Lovren available for selection again, while Philippe Coutinho, who only started on the bench against Leicester, after arriving back late from international duty, is likely to be recalled to the starting XI.
Daniel Sturridge and Lucas Leiva could be the men to make way.
Liverpool fantasy player to watch
Senegalese winger Sadio Mané has started to justify his big price tag, chipping in with two goals and an assist already. Inconsistency has always been an issue with the former Saints’ favourite but when he’s good he’s very good.
His pace and dribbling ability will really test the Blues’ backline on Friday, marking him out as an intriguing fantasy selection.
Predicted starting line-up for Liverpool
Can Klopp get the better of Conte at Stamford Bridge on Friday night?