Are Liverpool ever going to fail to win a league match again?
Rumour has it they might, but their impressive form has seen their odds for the title come tumbling down. Paddy has them priced at 13/8 (with Manchester City still the odds on 8/11 favourites), when the Reds were available at 4/1 before a ball was kicked this season.
Win at Stamford Bridge, and people other than Liverpool fans might start to believe it’s finally their year.
This initially seems surprising – Liverpool have won three of their 11 league trips to other big six clubs in the past two years, and Chelsea have only lost three at the Bridge – but then there hasn’t been much to separate the sides since Klopp took charge of the Reds.
All three league meetings at Anfield have ended in 1-1 draws, and Liverpool won their first two trips to West London under their current boss. Their only defeat came at the end of last season, when they were so disinterested they let Olivier Giroud score.
That was very kind of them, but they are unlikely to be so willing to let the goal-shy Frenchman score on Saturday.
However, the former Gooner does seem to bring the best out of Eden Hazard. The future Real Madrid man has scored every 117 minutes when playing alongside Giroud, but only every 622 without him.
While Hazard takes Chelsea’s penalties, Andre Marriner (Saturday’s ref) is one of the Premier League whistlers who gives spot kicks less often, so he’s unlikely to get any help there.
The Chelsea number 10 only scored one league goal against other teams from the big six last season, but in the likely absence of Pedro, he looks like the Blues’ only likely scorer. Plus, he scored a belter at Anfield on Wednesday night, though that was against Liverpool’s defence from 2016/17 rather than the present day.
When Jürgen ‘Hannibal’ Klopp gets his A-Team back together (with Alisson playing ‘Face’, surely?), Hazard will find it far harder to dance through the Reds’ defence.
If you like longer odds, and who doesn’t, then how about a few pennies on Marcos Alonso? He’s 6/1 to score, or 14/1 for the opener. Those prices are more than fair, but the left-back is actually Chelsea’s top scorer in the mini-league of the big six over the last 12 months. He’s more likely to net than Giroud is anyway.
He has scored in four of his six appearances against Chelsea over the years, and was the top scorer in the big Premier League clashes last season.
In fact, he has scored seven in such games since the start of 2017/18, which is one more than the Blues have scored at home in the same period. Throw in the fact Paddy will give you your money back as a free bet if Salah scores, and we’ll all be hoping he does.
There definitely should be goals, as there hasn’t been a 0-0 between the sides in over a decade. They were managed by Avram Grant and Rafa Benitez respectively back then, and I’d say Sarri and Klopp should provide a bit more fun, wouldn’t you?
Since the start of 2016/17, Liverpool have both scored and conceded in nine of their 11 league trips to play the rest of the big six.
It’s not quite as common for big games at Stamford Bridge, but both teams have scored there in seven of the 11 big league matches, and none of the other five grounds have seen it happen more often. Everything suggests both teams will score in this one, so bet accordingly.
Almost everything suggests there will be a few goals in total too. No club in the big six mini league has had more home games featuring at least three goals than Chelsea have since August 2016, and no away team can top Liverpool for this either.
Even the kick-off time favours it, as the big games starting at 17:30 have averaged 3.25 goals over the past couple of seasons.
But for some reason, matches between these two are goal light. The last four on Merseyside prior to Wednesday night have finished 1-1, and under 2.5 goals has paid out in three of the last five on Chelsea’s patch. So I’m a bit on the fence for this one.
Instinctively it feels like it might be a game where a draw leaves both sides happy, so I’m opting for under 2.5 goals at 6/5. It could easily be another 1-1 score line between these two, so consider that for your selections too, at 11/2.
With Manchester City guaranteed (or 1/12 in other words) to beat Brighton earlier on Saturday, Pep will be hoping for 1-1 here too. He loves it when a plan comes together.