We’re about to find out which team between Chelsea and Liverpool will be the most serious challenger to Manchester City in the race for the 2021-22 Premier League title. The winner of the head-to-head showdown between the two at Stamford Bridge will reduce the deficit from first place to single digits, fueling some hope entering the new year.
Chelsea (2nd, 42 points) has been slumping of late with three draws in the last four league matches with positive COVID-19 cases and injuries not helping the Blues’ cause. A rough situation wasn’t made any better by controversial comments made by star forward Romelu Lukaku which were critical of manager Thomas Tuchel. That has resulted in Tuchel dropping him from the squad entirely against Liverpool despite his scoring in each of his last two appearances.
Liverpool will also be missing an important figure in manager Jurgen Klopp, who’s out after testing positive for COVID-19. But the Reds will still be keen on taking advantage of the final match for star attackers Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who will depart after the match to join their respective countries for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Sporting News will be following the match live, proving score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool live score
(All times Eastern)
9:33 a.m.: The match will be notable for what happens on the field, but it will also carry significance for what’s taking place in the stands.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool lineups
The Lukaku absence will hit Chelsea hard since it’s already struggling with significant injury problems. The Blues lost another two important players during the last match against Brighton as Reece James and Andreas Christensen are now shelved. They join Ben Chilwell (ACL) and Thiago Silva (hamstring) on the sidelines, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also unlikely to be fit for the match.
Edouard Mendy is in his final match for Chelsea before departing for the Africa Cup of Nations and leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga as the first-choice goalkeeper for a month. But Hakim Ziyech is available throughout the next month as he was left off Morocco’s squad. Kai Havertz is back from his bout with COVID-19, meaning Timo Werner is likely not far behind, although it’s unclear what level of fitness either is ready for at this point.
Chelsea projected starting lineup (3-4-3): Mendy (GK) — Chalobah, Rudiger, Azpilicueta — Alonso, Kante, Jorginho, Pulisic — Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Lukaku.
Following the loss to Leicester City, Liverpool’s biggest issues are less concerning injury and more with COVID-19, as manager Jurgen Klopp joins a group of three players and other staff members who have tested positive. He will miss the match, and although he did not name the players, he noted, “It will be pretty clear [on matchday] who is affected or infected.”
Thiago is again struggling with a groin problem, with his time at Anfield continues to be marred by constant injuries. Left back Andy Robertson is still out, the final of his three-match ban for picking up a straight red. Takumi Minamino is questionable due to muscle soreness, having missed out against Leicester City. Divock Origi is sidelined with a knee problem.
Liverpool projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Alisson (GK) — Tsimikas, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold — Henderson, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain — Mane, Jota, Salah.
How to watch Chelsea vs. Liverpool
The Sunday match between Chelsea and Liverpool from Stamford Bridge will be broadcast on USA Network (English) and Telemundo (Spanish) in the USA.
Both channels can be streamed on fuboTV and new users can take advantage of a free 7-day trial.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool betting tip, pick & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
The news that Lukaku has been dropped from the squad and that Klopp will not be on the bench for Liverpool has not moved the lines all that much. It’s still very much a toss-up.
The Draw No Bet is at -110 for both sides (a draw is a push). That presents an opportunity for a flyer on Liverpool if you believe that the Lukaku-Tuchel controversy surrounding Chelsea will continue to drag down a Blues team that has played poorly of late and is still struggling for fitness and form. Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will also be plenty motivated to leave their fans with a memorable showing.
Pick: Liverpool draw no bet (-110)
Prediction: Chelsea 0, Liverpool 2
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