Chelsea vs Liverpool: Probable starting XI for Liverpool
The Premier League has finally reached it’s concluding stages and the race for the top four has become tighter than ever.
We are lining up for an interesting tie and here’s a look at Liverpool’s possible starting XI for the match.
UEFA Champions League finalists Liverpool can secure a top-four Premier League finish if they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, where the hosts need to win to preserve any chance of clinching fourth.
Fresh after beating AS Roma over two legs to reach the European decider, third-placed Reds travel to west London for their penultimate league match of the campaign.
The Blues sit one place and five points below fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, and they’ll hope Liverpool’s continental distractions provide them the opening they need to capitalise.
But with three weeks left until the Merseysiders meet Real Madrid in the Kiev final, manager Jurgen Klopp won’t be liable to roll over for his hosts in one of their last chances to clinch vital Premier League points.
Date: Sunday, May 6
Time: 4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET
David Luiz’s struggles with a knee injury have kept him sidelined since February 5, and he looks unlikely to return in Week 37, although manager Antonio Conte did recently provide hope of him playing again this term, per Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella:
Conte on Luiz playing again: “I don’t know, we will see. Right now he is having training sessions after this problem in his knee. He is working hard and he is aiming to come back this season.” #CFC
Ethan Ampadu’s broken ankle ended his Blues season in early March, while Danny Drinkwater is vying to make it back into Conte’s plans before the season draws to a close.
For Liverpool, Adam Lallana continues his recovery following a month out of action, and Klopp hinted he could have a place in the squad for the Champions League final, per Neil Jones of Goal:
Neil Jones @neiljonesgoal
Klopp: “Lallana is here, he is not really an option for the squad tomorrow but it is very positive news to have him back. We have two league games, and after that if we have another one then I would say yes, for sure.” #LFC
Another midfielder with a question mark leading up to the Chelsea trip is Emre Can. Prior to the 0-0 draw against Stoke City last Saturday, Klopp was non-committal in offering a return date, per Anfield HQ:
Anfield HQ @AnfieldHQ
Klopp on Can: “Emre is a little bit further away. His rehab is improving a lot. It is much better, but it is quite close to the end of the season. I haven’t closed any doors on both of them. There is still a possibility.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Matip suffered respective thigh and knee injuries in April that ended their seasons early. Meanwhile, injury analyst Ben Dinnery confirmed Joe Gomez was absent for Wednesday’s trip to AS Roma, but he’ll be in contention to give Trent Alexander-Arnold a rest at right-back against Chelsea.
Liverpool face a fine balancing act for the remainder of their campaign, as they may be tempted to wrap their stars in cotton wool until the Champions League final but risk losing their top-four place in the league in the process.
Chelsea will have watched their 4-2 defeat to AS Roma on Wednesday—regardless of who advanced—as cause for hope, although Mark Lawrenson, speaking on BBC 5 live Sport, praised Klopp:
A win at Stamford Bridge would push Liverpool nine points ahead of Chelsea and wrap up fourth at least, and Goal recently nodded to statistics that indicate the odds are running in favour of Klopp’s side:
Tottenham travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, and Chelsea’s encounter with the Reds becomes a must-win scenario if Mauricio Pochettino’s men emerge as winners at the Hawthorns.
Conte has matches against Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town to come, but Sunday’s showdown will be considered this season’s tipping point, his make-or-break moment against those who could be kings of Europe.