Liverpool v Chelsea: Goals fancied ahead of Reds' coronation
Champions Liverpool host FA Cup finalists Chelsea at Anfield ahead of the Reds' title coronation. Mark O'Haire expects an entertaining encounter on Wednesday evening.
Liverpool v Chelsea Wednesday July 22, 20:15 Sky Sports
Liverpool unable to overcome Arsenal
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his side "have to learn" after the champions' hopes of setting a new Premier League points record ended as they suffered only their third defeat of a stellar campaign at Arsenal. The Reds needed to win all of their remaining games to eclipse the tally of 100 points set by then champions Manchester City two seasons ago.
The Merseysiders looked on course when Sadio Mane gave Liverpool a fully deserved lead after 20 minutes as he slid home Andrew Robertson's cross. However, Arsenal were then allowed back into the game before the interval after uncharacteristic errors by two of the Reds' most reliable performers, defender Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson.
The second half was almost an exercise in attack against defence as Liverpool laid siege to Arsenal's goal but Klopp's charges were unable to find an equaliser despite firing in 24 efforts at goal, eight of which were on-target. Klopp said, "I'm disappointed and angry about a few things but the game was good, the attitude was good, but we took a break and that is why we lost the game."
Chelsea book FA Cup final berth
Frank Lampard says there is "more to come" from his Chelsea side after the Blues booked their place in the FA Cup final with a 3-1 win over Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday. Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount were helped by poor goalkeeping from David de Gea, whilst a Harry Maguire own goal gave the underdogs an unassailable three-goal lead.
Despite the errors, Chelsea justfied their victory with a dominant display, particularly in midfield, where the Blues were able to subdue the influence of the talented Bruno Fernandes. Chelsea were more energetic, dangerous and aggressive and while they were thankful to De Gea's mistakes, the margin of victory was no more than they deserved.
Lampard is now in position to make his first season in charge a highly satisfactory one as the Blues contemplate a place in the FA Cup final and lie third in the Premier League, in position to reach next season's Champions League. Chelsea will secure a top-four finish with four points from their final two Premier League games of the season, starting Wednesday.
Anfield outfit odds-against?
Liverpool have lost a solitary Premier League match with Chelsea over the past nine meetings (W4-D4-L1) since 2014. That was also the Reds' last home defeat against the Blues with three of the following four fixtures here ending all-square (W1-D3-L0). The duo have met three times this term in the European Super Cup, FA Cup and Premier League, sharing a win, loss and stalemate.
Liverpool2.08 will be slightly disappointed to miss out on the Premier League points record but it is almost inevitable a crucial edge would be taken off their game after securing the club's first title in 30 years with seven games still to play. The Reds have lost three league games since clinching top honours, although their display at Arsenal was largely positive.
After blowing off-course through mid-winter, Chelsea3.65 look to be back to something closely resembling their fine early season form, bagging W5-D0-L2 in the Premier League since the resumption. Even so, the Blues haven't always convinced against the league's elite, returning W1-D2-L4 when taking on the top-five in the division under Frank Lampard's watch.
Liverpool have recorded a sole shutout in five since the title was secured and the Reds' defensive displays over the past four weeks should encourage an attack-minded Chelsea team here with plenty still to play for. The Blues' away days have averaged 3.83 goals per-game and there's little to suggest Wednesday night's game won't follow a similar pattern.
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