Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge this evening for what promises to be an entertaining encounter.
Antonio Conte has enjoyed a strong start to life in England although his Chelsea side stumbled last time out against Swansea.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are hitting their stride and have already beaten the top two teams from last year’s Premier League.
But who’s likely to start tonight? How can you watch the game and what time is it?
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game.
1) When is the match and where can I see it?
What’s your opinion of Friday night football? If you’re a Liverpool fan contemplating the drive up and down the M6 to get to Stamford Bridge and back, maybe don’t answer.
Yes, Liverpool travel to Chelsea for Friday Night’s Absolutely Huge (TM) Premier League clash so spare a thought for them as you snuggle up on the sofa or order in another round at the pub.
Kick-off is at 8pm on Friday September 16th. The game will be shown on Sky Sports 1.
2) Team news
Chelsea team news:
- Injured: John Terry (ankle), Kurt Zouma (knee)
- Doubts: None
- Suspended: None
Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Kante, Alonso, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Costa, Begovic, Batshuayi, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Aina
Liverpool team news:
- Injured: Joe Gomez (calf)
- Doubts: Emre Can (ankle)
- Suspended: None
3) Predicted sides
Expect Conte not to tinker with things too much after naming an unchanged side for two consecutive games.
David Luiz will make his second debut for the club, slotting in for the injured John Terry.
For the visitors, Dejan Lovren should be fit enough to return from injury, but the game may just come too soon for Emre Can who is only just back in training following his ankle injury.
Philippe Coutinho should return to the starting line-up after he bein rested last week following a long trip back from international duty with Brazil.
- Chelsea predicted XI: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Kante, Matic, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Costa
- Liverpool predicted XI : Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino
4) Reasons for Chelsea fans to be optimistic
Really, after the way last season went, the question to ask is: What reason do Chelsea fans have to NOT be optimistic?
Sure, they faltered at the weekend against Swansea and they’re still relatively untested despite a bright start under Antonio Conte.
But just think about this: Costa, Hazard, Matic, Ivanovic – players all who let themselves down last season under Mourinho and failed to prevent Chelsea from suffering an ignominious tenth-place finish are all back and firing.
Most thought drastic surgery was needed over the summer, but in Conte it appears that Chelsea have just the man to revitalise this group of players.
And without any European football to distract, a return to the Champions League places seems like the absolute minimum Chelsea fans can look forward to tis season.
5) Reasons for Liverpool fans to be optimistic
Liverpool continue to excite and frustrate in equal measure this season. But a 4-1 dismantling of champions Leicester City shows that Jurgen Klopp’s charges are tantalisingly close to realising his vision.
Looking at the Premier League table suggests they’ve not had the best of starts, but that belies the fact they’ve already played Arsenal, Tottenham and the Foxes.
They beat the Gunners and were unlucky to draw at White Hart Lane, but a dismal showing in a 2-0 defeat at Turf Moor shows they’re still a fickle beast, especially on the road.
What Liverpool need is a confidence-boosting win over one of the big boys to spur on a season in which they’ll be more confident than ever of finishing strong.
This could be the perfect time for them to face Chelsea after their wobble in Wales.
6) Last 5 meetings
- Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (EPL)
- Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool (EPL)
- Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool (EPL)
- Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool (EFLC)
- Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (EFLC)
7) Recent form
Chelsea’s last five games:
- Swansea 2-2 Chelsea (EPL)
- Chelsea 3-0 Burnley (EPL)
- Chelsea 3-2 Bristol Rovers (EFLC)
- Watford 1-2 Chelsea (EPL)
- Chelsea 2-1 West Ham (EPL)
Liverpool’s last five games:
- Liverpool 4-1 Leicester (EPL)
- Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool (EPL)
- Burton 0-5 Liverpool (EFLC)
- Burnley 2-0 Liverpool (EPL)
- Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool (EPL)
8) Chelsea’s key man
It’s hard to look past Diego Costa right now. After such an indifferent campaign last term, the Spain international looks back to his ruthless best.
He could arguably have been sent off in every one of Chelsea’s games so far this season.
But arguably he hasn’t. The infuriating striker claims he’s in control of his agression on the pitch and right now it’s hard to disagree.
He’s just about staying on the disciplinary tightrope and scoring goals for fun again.
Costa’s brace against Swansea spared Chelsea’s blushes and took his tally for the season to four in four. Not bad, Diego!
9) Liverpool’s key man
This was a difficult pick. Wijnaldum, Firmino, Coutinho and Sturridge could all make the difference at Stamford Bridge.
But Sadio Mane has been impressive for Jurgen Klopp and paid his manager’s faith with a goal and an assist in the 4-1 mauling of Leicester.
He also has previous against Chelsea, scoring in Southampton’s 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge last year.
The Senegalese attacking midfielder struggled at times last season, but he looks back to his best this year and Liverpool have a real player on their hands
10 ) Betting odds
- Chelsea : 13/10
- Liverpool : 9/4
- Draw : 12/5
Odds from William Hill, correct at the time of writing.
11) Quotes corner
Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool side they must beware “world class warrior” Diego Costa.
And the Reds boss admits that the combative centre forward has his admiration for the way he winds up opposition supporters.
“If other supporters love you it’s not a good sign,” Klopp said with a smile when asked if the Spain international is out of order for constantly overstepping the mark.
“What do I think of him? He’s world class, and that is the best thing football fans can say about you. He is a real warrior on the pitch.
“He uses his body all the time – that is his quality – he was nearly unstoppable against Swansea. He could have been the man of the match. He is strong, no doubt.”
Antonio Conte confirmed David Luiz will make his first start in his second spell at the club following his £34million move from PSG.
Luiz comes in because of the injury to John Terry which has ruled the Chelsea captain out for ten days.
Conte added: “John strained the ligaments of his ankle. The doctor told me, after 10 days, he can come back.
“But the player is working, working very hard. Today he had a training session to recover. Tomorrow David Luiz will play for the first time with us, and we are confident about this.”