- Chelsea hosts Liverpool in a titanic top-three Premier League tussle on Sunday, January 2nd
- Just one point separates the second-place Blues from the third-placed Reds, who also have a game in hand
- Read on for betting odds, a full preview and best bets for this English Premier League clash
To say the stakes are high for Sunday’s match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge is something of an understatement. With Manchester City visiting Arsenal on Saturday, both teams could find themselves 11 and 12 points back of the league leaders respectively when this match kicks off at 11:30 am ET.
Any semblance of a continued title challenge will therefore almost certainly require both teams to pick up the full three points here, or find themselves cast adrift in the race for the 2021-22 Premier League crown.
Chelsea vs Liverpool Odds
|Chelsea vs Liverpool||CHE -0.5 (-159) | LIV -0.5 (+133)||CHE +205 | LIV +135 | DRAW +250||Ov 2.5 (-124) | Un 2.5 (+100)|
Odds as of December 31st at Barstool Sportsbook
Lukaku Rocks the Boat
Chelsea was already encountering choppy waters of late before striker Romelu Lukaku took to the airwaves in Italy to tell the world about his unhappiness since leaving Inter Milan to join the Blues last summer.
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Though the interview will likely make for unpleasant viewing for Chelsea fans, particularly weighed up alongside the $126.5-million fee the club paid for him.
Romelu Lukaku to @SkySport: "Physically I am fine. But I'm NOT happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system – I won't give up, I'll be professional. I am not happy with the situation but I am professional – and I can't give up now". 🔵 #CFC pic.twitter.com/KGNoJ10cwp
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 30, 2021
Manager Thomas Tuchel has tried to bring the focus back to Sunday’s match, saying the Belgian’s comments were “not helpful.”
They come at a particularly bad time for Chelsea, with the team having dropped seven points in December, a slump that has seen the team fall from the Premier League summit as a result.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 30, 2021
Chelsea’s Defensive Disarray
Tuchel’s one-time watertight defense is in something of disarray right now, with the European champions failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their past five home league games.
His hopes to buck that trend on Sunday won’t be helped by the current injuries to Reece James and Andreas Christensen definintely out, while center back Thiago Silva also a doubt.
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Salah On Side
Crucially for Liverpool’s hopes here, the Reds will have leading scorer Mohamed Salah available for this game, despite Egypt having the right to call him up for their African Cup of Nations preparations. Liverpool has come to a pre-match agreement with the Egyptian Football Association for the EPL’s leading scorer to feature in this game before joining up with the country of his birth.
🏴 Premier League Goals + Assists per 90 minutes leaders this season:
🇪🇬 Mohamed Salah (Liverpol) 1.35
🇩🇿 Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) 1.07
🇫🇷 Paul Pogba (Manchester United) 1.00
🏴 Mason Mount (Chelsea) 0.93
🇳🇬 Emmanuel Dennis (Watford) 0.92
3 of the top 5 are African 🌍 pic.twitter.com/XIGFeFRGjZ
— Walid Ziani (@bylka613_) December 27, 2021
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will also be able to call upon Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Guinea’s Naby Keita for this match too, before all three jet off for the AFCON.
Liverpool Limping In
With a number of players sidelined in recent weeks, the Reds have stumbled in the title race, drawing at Tottenham before falling to just their second loss of the season on Tuesday with the 1-0 defeat at Leicester. Midfield creator Thiago Alcantara has been out since contracting COVID-19, and may not be available for the Chelsea game either, while Brazilian duo Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino missed training this week despite featuring in the Leicester loss.
And while the likes of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi have also missed training and are unlikely to feature on Sunday, one player who definitely won’t take part is wingback Andy Robertson, who is still suspended for his red card against Tottenham.
On top of that, Klopp also revealed that three more Liverpool players have tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday morning, but wouldn’t reveal the identities until the players had undergone PCR tests.
Chelsea vs Liverpool 2021-22 Stats
|12-2-6||2021-22 EPL Record||12-2-5|
|19.0||Expected Goals Against||19.0|
|DDWWD||Form This Season (All Competitions)||WWDWL|
History On Reds’ Side
Liverpool has dominated this fixture over the years, with 82 wins versus 65 defeats – with 42 draws – and that dominance has carried into the modern era too, winning four of their past six EPL encounters.
However, Tuchel’s team is unbeaten in its last two, grabbing a 1-0 win at Anfield in March, before earning a 1-1 draw in their early season fixture there this season.
Best bet: Liverpool (+135)