Liverpool vs Chelsea: Can Klopp's men get back on track against big-spending but struggling Chelsea at Anfield?

Liverpool meet Chelsea in the Premier League at Anfeld this Saturday lunctime in the Premier League, exclusively live on BT Sport.

Published: 21 January 2023 - 3.06am
Mohamed Salah and Mykhailo Muydryk

Liverpool play host to Chelsea in the Premier League with plenty at stake for both sides as the two giants go in search of badly-needed wins at Anfield.

The Reds are reeling from what Jurgen Klopp described as the worst performance of his coaching career in the 3-0 defeat to Brighton last time out in the league.

Chelsea meanwhile have been extremely active in the transfer market - the latest arrival being Noni Madueke from PSV Eindhoven - but are struggling under Graham Potter and find themselves languishing in 10th, level on points with Liverpool having played a game more than the Merseyside giants.

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Can Liverpool bounce back from horrorshow on the seaside?

“Bad, really bad,” was Jurgen Klopp's verdict after Liverpool were well-beaten by three goals to nil at Brighton on Saturday. “I can’t remember a worse game, not only Liverpool. I really can’t. This is a really low point."

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That the German, with 22 years of experience in football management, described the display as the worst he'd overseen as a coach tells you just how bad his side were at the Amex Stadium

Liverpool were second to every ball and produced an entirely listless display as Brighton ran out comfortable winners. In truth, it could have been 4-0 or 5-0 but for some wayward finishing from Roberto De Zerbi's men.

Klopp's men did recover, to some degree, on Tuesday night when they edged an FA Cup replay against struggling Wolves 1-0 to advance to the fourth round.

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp apologises to the travelling fans after Liverpool's loss to Brighton

But in the Premier League Liverpool are in all sorts of trouble with four defeat and four wins in their previous eight matches seeing them languishing in ninth place.

They are 10 points off fourth spot with a game in hand and Klopp will know a win against Chelsea is crucial should they harbour any real ambitions of playing in Europe's premier club competition in 2023/24.

Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah started and struggled against Brighton last time out in the league but with Dawin Nunez returning to fitness, Klopp may be tempted to shake things up for the visit of Chelsea.

Will big-money Mudryk feature for Chelsea?

It was the transfer saga of the season so far. Arsenal were in pole position to sign Shakhtar Donetsk's precocious talent Mykhailo Mudryk from mid-December having made contact with the Ukrainian side back in October.

The player dropped constant hints on Instagram that his desire was to play in north London but in a wild turn of events, Chelsea sent executives to Poland to thrash out a deal from under the Gunners' noses.

The result was a £89m deal struck for the left winger who, while boasting undoubted talent, has recorded fewer than 50 career appearances in the Ukrainian Premier League.

It is a deal befitting of Chelsea owner Todd Boehly's rather haphazard approach to transfers and included an eight-and-a-half year contract for Mudryk that is designed to circumvent the Financial Fair Play regulations that the Blues would otherwise fall foul of.

Mykhailo Mudryk
Mykhailo Mudryk arrived for a fee of £89m this week

The obvious question is where will Mudryk fit in at Chelsea? Graham Potter's squad currently contains Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount and now Madueke, while Kai Havertz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Armando Broja (injured) and new signings David Datro Fofana and Joao Felix are competing for the sole striker spot.

Chelsea will be reportedly further bolstered by the arrival of Christopher Nkunku, so Mudryk would be forgiven for fearing a lack of game time given the weath of attacking options at Potter's disposal.

It will be interesting to see whether Mudryk, who has not had a lot of football since Ukraine's league went on its winter break, will make his debut for Chelsea at Anfield.

A very modern rivalry set to reignite

Ever since the Jose Mourinho era, Liverpool and Chelsea have developed an animosity based very much on the familiarity of playing one another - a very modern rivalry

With both teams facing each other in Champions League semi-finals and in top-of-the-table battles, plus in last season's FA Cup final, Saturday represents somewhat of a comedown in terms of the latest edition of the clash.

However with so much at stake, it promises to be just as fiery as ever. Graham Potter is already under serious pressure at Chelsea despite only taking over in September and having a one-month break filled by the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Martin Skrtel and Didier Drogba
Liverpool and Chelsea have developed an animosity since the turn of the century

The former Brighton boss finds himself in charge of a side sitting 10th in the division and knows a big result is required to ease the scrutiny on his position in the hotseat.

Liverpool are tied on points with The Blues, though they have played a game less, and Jurgen Klopp will see this as a chance to get his misfiring side back on track.

Will the hosts lay down a marker and plunge Potter into dangerous territory with a win in front of the Kop? Or will big-spending Chelsea dig a result out of nowhere to spark their season back into life? Tune into BT Sport this Saturday lunchtime to find out.