Premier League: Under fire Chelsea to best blunt Liverpool
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | October 29, 2015
Chelsea v Liverpool
- Premier League
- Saturday, October 31st
- Kick-off: 12:45 GMT
- Stamford Bridge, London
- Live on BT Sport 1
Benteke blow rocks Reds
A defender has found the net in each of Liverpool’s last six trips to Chelsea. Jurgen Klopp will like as not need that trend to continue with someone nicking something from a set-piece, because the Merseysiders are missing three first-team forwards for this battle at Stamford Bridge.
Reds frontman Christian Benteke has again joined Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge on the sidelines, missing out in midweek and could do so again here. It’s no wonder, then, Jose Mourinho’s men are even-money favourites with Coral for a home win in Saturday lunchtime’s live televised offering.
Making a case for visiting coach Klopp masterminding victory over Blues boss Mourinho, despite the latter’s difficult start to defending the Premier League title, is tough at 14/5. A draw at 12/5 is not improbable, though.
Blue oyster cult
Chelsea striker Diego Costa has enjoyed playing in front of an adoring brigade of admirers at the Bridge recently with two goals in his last three home outings. Evens does seem a little short in the anytime market, but punters could cash in on Costa grabbing the opener at 4/1, as he should shake off a rib injury to start.
Brazil international Willian remains leading Blues marksman with his previously underrated free-kick prowess coming to the fore. He’s hurt Liverpool in the past – both on and off the field by ignoring their one-time interest – and Willian is thus well worth a punt at 11/4 anytime.
Long-serving Chelsea captain John Terry is a longer shot in that market at 8/1, and his set-piece nous has been handy in both boxes during this fixture before. The Blues should also be buoyed by midfielder Ramires signing a new contract.
Origi and Firmino flops for Kop
With no goals in eight and 10 Reds outings respectively, Benteke’s fellow Belgium international Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho compatriot Roberto Firmino have failed to excite at Anfield so far. Both are 2/1 to break their ducks anytime at the Bridge.
Neymar’s Brazil foil Firmino is finding life difficult in English football, and a man of the match award for his part in helping Liverpool scrape past injury-ravaged Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup to make the quarter-finals hardly papers over the cracks.
Those struggles notwithstanding, we’re talking about a Bundesliga breakout talent during his days at Hoffenheim, and time is still on Firmino’s side before Reds supporters brand him as another Milan Baros. It’s no coincidence now he’s returned to a central supporting role under Klopp that an individual accolade for his Cherries display followed.
Bridge battle looks like low-scoring affair
With just five goals hitting the back of the net in their six matches during the rest of October, Liverpool are yet to fire on all cylinders. Benteke and Ings have contributed 40 per cent of that total, but relying on Bournemouth match winner Nathaniel Clyne at 12/1 to strike again anytime seems fanciful.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have averaged a goal per game during this month, and the match total being under 1.5 thus appeals at 23/10. A slightly better price of 5/2 says the Blues will win without conceding, with a 1-0 victory available at super 6/1 odds.
This is going to be a tense affair, but not necessarily as tepid as that underwhelming Manchester derby stalemate that received top billing last weekend. After all, depending on which papers you read, Mourinho’s job may be at stake!
Coral’s top tip: Chelsea may not thrill, but can easily win to nil at 5/2.