The highlight of the opening weekend of the Premier League season pits Chelsea against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
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Chelsea vs Liverpool predictions
The only way is up for Chelsea.
Last season was their worst in the Premier League era, as the Blues slumped to a 12th-place finish despite spending around £600m on new signings.
Todd Boehly’s slipshod approach to recruitment meant Chelsea were lumbered with far too many players without any sense of how they might fit together into a functioning collective.
Thomas Tuchel was dismissed prematurely and Graham Potter was not up to the job as his replacement, despite his undoubted coaching talent.
Frank Lampard’s appointment as interim boss for the final few weeks of the season was intended to act as a pick-me-up, but Chelsea continued to struggle.
The Stamford Bridge faithful will hope that Boehly has learned from his mistakes and is willing to give Mauricio Pochettino, the new manager, time and space to turn things around.
Liverpool are also looking to push on after their failure to finish in the top four last time out. Jurgen Klopp remains at the helm but the club’s transfer business is unfinished on the eve of the big kick-off.
The Reds have shown in the past that they are able to keep pace with Manchester City, but there is a lot of ground to make up after they finished 22 points adrift of top spot in 2022/23.
Both teams will be looking to lay down a marker when they go head-to-head in west London in the penultimate match of gameweek one.
Chelsea vs Liverpool betting tips
Chelsea and Liverpool could cancel one another out at Stamford Bridge as they begin their Premier League campaigns on Sunday.
Draw – 12/5 (bet365)
Chelsea’s recruitment has been much more focused this summer compared to last. The primary need was to bolster the attack, and they have done that by adding Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku to the ranks.
There is also hope that Mykhailo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling and Noni Madueke will be able to step things up after mixed success in their debut seasons.
Axel Disasi looks like a smart signing at centre-back, where Levi Colwill looks set to compete for minutes following his loan spell at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Chelsea could still do with another midfielder or two, though, with Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante having all departed.
That is also the area of the squad that Liverpool need to strengthen following Fabinho and Jordan Henderson’s exits to Saudi Arabia.
Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have arrived at Anfield, but Klopp will want to add more bodies to the engine room before the window closes.
The midfield battle will therefore be particularly interesting on Sunday. Ultimately there might not be much between them.
Neither manager, you feel, would be too disheartened with a point in this game, which represents a tough start to 2023/24 for both teams.
Both teams to score in the second half – 7/4 (bet365)
Liverpool’s squad still needs work before the transfer market closes for business on September 1, but one part that looks well stocked already is the forward line.
Mohamed Salah will start on the right of the 4-3-3 whenever he is fit. Klopp then has four quality – and different – options for the other two spots in Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo.
Gakpo will probably get the nod in the central role here, with Jota and Diaz vying for the starting berth on the left.
Harvey Elliott can also play in the front three and there is considerable excitement about Ben Doak, a 17-year-old wide man signed from Celtic last year.
It could take a while for Liverpool to find their rhythm in a first competitive fixture since May, while Chelsea may start relatively slowly too.
This will be a very different XI to the one that featured for the Blues this time last year, and it could take a few weeks for this new-look side to gel.
All of which points to the likelihood of the second half of this match being more entertaining than the first.
Nicolas Jackson to score any time – 21/10 (bet365)
Nkunku looks set to miss out on this weekend’s game after picking up a knee injury which the latest reports suggest could keep him out for a while.
That is very bad news for Pochettino, who may have earmarked the France international for the attacking midfield role in his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, despite his deployment of Nkunku on the left in a recent friendly against Borussia Dortmund.
It will be interesting to see if the Chelsea manager now tweaks his shape or uses one of Sterling, Conor Gallagher or Carney Chukwuemeka in that central role.
There is less doubt over who will start up front. Jackson is the only real option right now following his summer switch from Villarreal.
Only Real Madrid legend Karim Benzema scored more La Liga goals than the Senegal international in La Liga in 2023.
Jackson has looked sharp in pre-season and his speed and movement will cause Liverpool’s backline problems, especially if the midfield does not provide adequate protection.
How to watch Chelsea vs Liverpool
- Location: Stamford Bridge, London, England.
- Date and time: Sunday 13 August 2023, 4.30pm.
- How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League.
About the author
Greg Lea is a freelance football writer from London. He predominantly covers the Premier League and has had work published by the Guardian, FourFourTwo, ESPN and others.
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