PMB: Liverpool v Chelsea - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game...

• Chelsea and Manchester United are the only clubs to have beaten Liverpool 20 or more times in the Premier League era. Winning twice at Anfield in the same season, following on from our Carabao Cup victory there, would be a first for the Londoners. A good start would set the right tone but the Blues have yet to score in the opening 15 minutes of any league game on the road.

• Maurizio Sarri made seven changes from the West Ham starting 11 for the win at Slavia Prague, and is likely to revert to something like the side that nailed the Hammers on Monday. The lack of rest time between Thursday and Sunday will be a concern, and as the game is at the home of the league leaders he may initially opt for players with more energy and defensive awareness.

Eden Hazard has hit the net in his past two clashes with the hosts, who are one of three opponents against whom he has scored seven goals (one of them with Lille). The others are Bournemouth and Newcastle. The Belgian is also responsible for the most league goals on the road for Chelsea (5), followed by Ruben Loftus-Cheek (3).


• Apart from Fulham away last month, Liverpool have dropped league points at the weekend following every midweek game throughout 2019. The Reds have, though, netted twice in eight of their past nine league outings at Anfield and have scored in each of the last 12. They have conceded just two league goals in the opening half-hour of home games.

• Central midfielder Fabinho has become integral to the way Liverpool play, defending the back four and initiating attacks with long forward passes. His emergence has meant a shift sideways for Jordan Henderson, where he is permitted more of an attacking role. Naby Keita’s goals in successive games may earn him a place over the more disciplined Georginio Wijnaldum.

• During former Blues winger Mo Salah’s recent eight-game goal drought, Sadio Mane assumed the mantle of main goalscorer with 11 in his last 13, taking his campaign tally to 20. After a decent start as an alternative forward, Xherdan Shaqiri has found himself out of favour. When Liverpool are looking for a game-changer Jurgen Klopp, for whom this is the 200th game in charge, has opted for the likes of Divock Origi off the bench, maintaining his preferred 4-3-3 formation.

Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes

‘To face Liverpool is going to be difficult for us but every game now is difficult. Liverpool are one of the best teams in England right now, they reached the final of the Champions League last year, and at Anfield it is always difficult.’

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's pre-match quotes

‘I know we have to work really hard for the result. It's not possible to play a football game without mistakes. So you don't have to worry about them, you only have to deal with them. We will make mistakes on Sunday, but we have to sort it, help each other, and then we can win a football game. We are completely focused on the situation and hopefully it will work out.’

Matchday weather outlook

Cool and breezy on Merseyside this afternoon.

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