Chelsea vs. Liverpool – 12:45pm local time on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at Stamford Bridge, London
$2.05 at Sportsbet.com
Table position: 15th
W-D-L record: 3-2-5
League form: W D L W L
$3.40 at Bet365.com
$4 at WilliamHill.com.au
Table position: 9th
W-D-L record: 3-5-2
League form: D W D D D
Last EPL five meetings
Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea
Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea
Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea
ROUND 11’s feature match will see two of the Premier League’s struggling giants try to pick themselves up off the canvas and get their respective campaigns back on track.
Chelsea suffered another big blow in their toothless title-defence last weekend, losing at West Ham United to leave them 11 points off the pace after only 10 games.
They are currently the lowest-ranked of all the London clubs in the 2015-16 English Premier League standings, even including newly promoted Watford.
The Blues’ woes were further compounded in midweek when they were knocked out of the League Cup by Stoke City, going down on penalties after Eden Hazard had a crucial spot-kick saved.
Despite that defeat, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho came out firing in the press and lambasted those journalists who had criticised his players’ desire and work ethic in recent weeks.
“What the players did tonight is face the people that write and say, ‘you are stupid’,” he said after the game.
“You think the players did not give everything to win the game? That is really sad.”
Mourinho, who is facing a potential stadium ban after being charged with misconduct over his antics at Upton Park, also insisted that rumours of an impending mutiny in the Chelsea dressing room were unfounded.
“For me it would be a fantastic situation if the players are against me, I can say, you don’t have results because the players are against me,” he said.
“What some people write and say is really bad for the players. Most of the people that do that used to be players.
“I think they think my players are like them when they were players. Maybe they were able to do that. My players tried everything.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho’s opposite number, Jurgen Klopp, will head to Stamford Bridge with a load off his mind after securing his first win as Liverpool manager.
The 1-0 victory over Bournemouth in the League Cup in Wednesday ended a run of three consecutive draws since the German replaced the sacked Brendan Rodgers earlier this month.
Klopp said the win was a “big step” in the Reds’ development.
“I am really satisfied tonight, because this team have never played together, and the young players, new players, players who hadn’t played for a long time all did really well,” he told the press.
“We had many chances against an opponent who played nearly with their first team. We were dominant, played football, and had our moments, everything is OK.
“When a new manager comes, gives new information, wants new things, it is then normal to take a step back and to try to understand. They want to do what I say, but sometimes they forget to do what they can. For this, today was a big step.”
Klopp also shed some light on the progress of injured strikers Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge, both of whom missed the win over Bournemouth.
“I think Benteke can play [on Saturday], we will see. I spoke to him this morning, I’m pretty sure,” said the former Borussia Dortmund coach.
“Sturridge is no, there’s no opportunity for this weekend. He will have to train a little longer to be back, to be confident, physically, but we will see.”
Liverpool haven’t defeated Chelsea in any competition since 2012, and Klopp said the midweek League Cup victory – which featured several youngsters – was just what the doctor ordered ahead of the journey south.
“It is very important [to beat Bournemouth] because we decided that we will go to this game with a new team, but to win is always a good feeling for the whole team,” he added.
“We now have three days to prepare for Chelsea.
“We will recover and then prepare for Chelsea, but you saw these guys want, and that is important.”
Chelsea team news
Diego Costa is a big doubt to face Liverpool after being subbed out just 30 minutes into the League Cup clash with Stoke.
The Brazilian striker was taken to hospital with pain in his back and ribs as the result of a collision with Potters midfielder Charlie Adam.
In brighter news for the Blues, Spanish forward Pedro is expected to return this weekend after missing the last few games with a minor knee injury.
Nemanja Matic is available once again in midfield, having served a one-match ban after seeing red in the loss to West Ham.
Branislav Ivanovic, who injured his hamstring while away on international duty with Serbia earlier this month, is also pushing for selection.
First-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is expected to be sidelined until December with a knee problem, meaning Asmir Begovic will continue to deputise between the sticks.
Possible Chelsea XI: Begovic; Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Zouma; Matic, Ramires; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Remy.
Liverpool team news
Belgian hitman Christian Benteke is expected to return for the Reds, adding a much-needed focal point up front.
But the weekend will come too soon for Daniel Sturridge, who is back in training but still some ways shy of match fitness.
There was a blow at the back as Kolo Toure limped out of the Bournemouth clash with what appeared to be a hamstring complaint, although the Ivorian was unlikely to feature ahead of Martin Skrtel or Mamadou Sakho at Chelsea.
Club captain Jordan Henderson is still absent with a foot injury, while Joe Gomez and Danny Ings will both miss the rest of the season with ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments.
Possible Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno; Lucas, Can; Milner, Firmino, Coutinho; Benteke.
– Drawn match ($3.40 at www.WilliamHill.com)
– Correct score 1-1 ($7 at CrownBet.com)
– Both teams to score in second half ($3.40 at William Hill)
It’s hard to get a good read on this match-up through studying league form alone, as neither Chelsea nor Liverpool have been up to a whole lot of late.
The Blues have the wood over their rivals from Merseyside in recent years, with four wins and four draws from their last eight encounters.
But Mourinho’s men are in pretty poor shape right now, and the fortress that was Stamford Bridge has already been plundered twice (by Crystal Palace and Southampton) this season.
Still, the Reds probably lack the firepower right now to score multiple goals – something they’ve managed just once in 15 competitive outings this campaign.
As such, we are happy to sit on the fence and back a draw here.
Chelsea first goalscorer bets
Loic Remy ($6.60 at CrownBet)
The Frenchman hasn’t had many opportunities in EPL 2015-16, but Diego Costa’s likely absence could see him make his second start of the season. He knows where the sticks are and will be eager to open his Premier League account if he gets the chance.
Willian ($12 at Sportsbet)
Believe it or not, this guy is Chelsea’s top scorer this season. The industrious Brazilian winger is not really known for his exploits in front of goal, but he looks like the Blues’ biggest threat from midfield this season. At $12 odds, he could be very, very good value.
Liverpool first goalscorer odds
Christian Benteke ($7 at Bet365)
The big Belgian came off the bench to excellent effect last week, heading home the opener in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Southampton. And with Sturridge and Ings out of action, there’s no doubt Benteke is the main threat up top. He should be right to start on Saturday, despite an injury niggle that kept him out of League Cup action this week.
Roberto Firmino ($12 at William Hill)
It’s been a slow start at Anfield for Firmino, but the mega-money signing from the Bundesliga showed what he’s all about with a scintillating display against Bournemouth on Wednesday. The 24-year-old is a noted goal-getter and could be very dangerous if he gets any space in behind Benteke.
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