Liverpool vs Chelsea: Defences could dominate in Anfield showdown

There is plenty of attacking talent on show but a low-scoring draw may be the best way to cash in when two of the title favourites clash on Saturday.

When: Saturday, August 28, 5.30pm BST

Where: Anfield

How to watch: Sky Sports

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Best bets

Draw and Under 2.5 Goals at 3/1

Trent Alexander-Arnold to be first Liverpool goalscorer at 14/1

Under 3.5 cards at 4/6

Liverpool and Chelsea have enjoyed identical starts to the new Premier League season.

They've both opened with a pair of wins, scoring five goals and conceding none in the process.

To be honest, no one expected anything different given the easy matches they were given.

Liverpool rolled over Norwich 3-0 at Carrow Road before seeing off Burnley 2-0 at Anfield.

Chelsea, meanwhile, cruised past Crystal Palace 3-0 at Stamford Bridge before winning 2-0 at an Arsenal side with huge doubts hanging over them.

So far, so good but now it gets serious.

The outright betting shows Chelsea as the 5/2 second favourites to win the title, with Liverpool 4/1. Manchester City head that market at 6/5 while Manchester United are 15/2 in what is widely regarded as a four-horse race.

Perhaps the main reason Chelsea are edging Liverpool in the market is due to them signing Romelu Lukaku for huge money.

The Belgian has hit the ground running thanks to a goal on his return at Arsenal but Liverpool's front men are all off the mark too.

Does that suggest we're in for a goal-laden evening?

Last three matches

Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea (Premier League - March 04, 2021)

After going 68 games unbeaten at Anfield, the Reds suffered an extraordinary run of six straight home league defeats from January to March.

Chelsea were the fifth straight team to walk off with the points and their victory was deserved.

Timo Werner had a goal chalked off for offside before Mason Mount curled what proved an excellent winner three minutes before the break.

With their confidence and energy low, Liverpool managed just a single shot on target.

Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool (Premier League - September 20, 2020)

Having hoisted the Premier League trophy just two months earlier, Liverpool had a spring in their step and eased to a comfortable 2-0 win against Frank Lampard's side.

The game turned firmly their way on the stroke of half-time when Anders Christiansen was red carded for hauling down Sadio Mane.

Mane then headed home Roberto Firmino's cross five minutes after the break before charging down Kepa's clearance and helping himself to a second soon after.

Chelsea had a glimmer of hope when Werner was tripped by Thiago Alcantara to give the hosts a penalty but Alisson kept out Jorginho's spot-kick.

Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea (Premier League - July 22, 2020)

It was party night at Anfield and, although fans were absent, an impressive display of pyrotechnics lit the sky up as Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish awarded the Premier League trophy to skipper Jordan Henderson.

Before that much-awaited moment, Liverpool celebrated their first title for 30 years with a superb display of attacking soccer although Chelsea played their part too.

The Reds roared into a 3-0 lead via Naby Keita's thunderbolt, a Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick and a powerful hit from Gini Wijnaldum.

Olivier Giroud pulled one back near half-time before Firmino netted his first Anfield goal of the league campaign with a header.

Chelsea rallied again with Christian Pulisic setting one up for Tammy Abraham before scoring himself to reduce the deficit to 4-3 but Liverpool put the game to bed late on as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain blasted in Andy Robertson's cross.

Last 10 head-to-heads

Liverpool wins: 4

Draws: 2

Chelsea wins: 4

Liverpool goals: 15

Chelsea goals: 13

Can either side make a statement?

Taking into account cup competitions, it's been evenly balanced between this pair over the last three or four seasons.

And with both enjoying strong starts to the new campaign, it's hard to pick a winner.

That's reflected in the betting with Liverpool 29/20, Chelsea 19/10 and the Draw 11/5.

Home advantage seems to be counting for more this season and surely the return of fans is the major contributor to that.

There's very recent evidence after a packed Anfield helped the Reds get past a Burnley side which had managed a win and a draw at Liverpool in the two fixtures they played there in an empty stadium.

This is a step up for both teams after their fairly gentle starts and much will be made of Lukaku being the man who can make the difference in fixtures like this.

However, he's managed just one goal in 11 trips to Anfield and that was way back in his West Brom days.

He'll find Virgil van Dijk a rather more tricky opponent than Arsenal's Pablo Mari while Thomas Tuchel has racked up the clean sheets since taking over at Chelsea. In other words, defences will be hard to breach.

Low-scoring draw looks the best bet

It wouldn't be the first time that a game like this has been overhyped and the actuality has been a damp squib.

I think the 0-0 is a runner here given the defensive strength of both sides. That's 8/1.

But 1-1 has to be on the cards too so the best way to incorporate both outcomes is to back Draw and Under 2.5 Goals at 3/1.

This is a clash between two juggernauts who both deserve to be talked up as potential champions.

While a win for either makes a big statement, both would see the draw as an acceptable second prize. That increases the likelihood of a cagey contest with few goals.

Goalscorer bets

Having predicted a lack of goals, the scorer markets are personally of limited appeal.

Lukaku's poor record against Liverpool may be ignored by those who believe him to be a much better player now while it's true that the home strikers are all looking lively.

However, I'll skip the obvious names and have a punt on Trent Alexander-Arnold being the first Liverpool scorer at 14/1.

The marauding right-back scored home and away against Chelsea in the Premier League last season and you can guarantee he'll fizz in a shot or two during the course of the 90 minutes.

Get short of cards

There remains a feeling that refs are less card happy this season and letting more things go.

There were just two bookings in Norwich vs Liverpool (James Milner), while the referee didn't reach for his pocket once in the Merseysiders' home win against Burnley.

As for Chelsea, they haven't picked up a single card in their two matches so far.

Head-to-head combat also helps the argument for a lack of bookings.

On Chelsea's last four visits to Anfield, the bookings count read: 0, 1, 1, 0.

True, there's plenty at stake but I'll happily back Under 3.5 cards at 4/6.

READ MORE: Six questions fantasy managers are asking themselves

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