It’s game week 13 in the English Premier League, with the game between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield the pick of the pack.
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 24, 2017
Separated by just three points on the league table, the most played fixture among sides within the top four is set for fireworks this weekend.
These two come into this game at the back of contrasting results in the Champions League. While the Reds threw away a three goal lead to draw at Sevilla, Chelsea qualified for the round of 16 with a 4-0 defeat of Qarabag in Baku.
So, Jurgen Klopp will expect an immediate reaction from his players to the capitulation in Spain, though both sides have had it good in recent games in the PL, winning their last three, including convincing wins against Southampton and West Brom Albion respectively last weekend.
Liverpool have to make good use of their extra day of rest following midweek games in the CL, and could welcome defender, Joel Matip, back at the heart of defence after the Cameroonian shook off a thigh injury to train with the squad in Spain.
? Thursday night training at Melwood as Joel Matip returns ahead of #LFC's clash with Chelsea.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 23, 2017
For the visitors, Chelsea, two consecutive 4-0 victories will see the defending champions arrive Anfield in confident mood.
But their manager, Antonio Conte is concerned by his side’s preparation ahead of the encounter and says ‘it’s not right’ for the club to have just a day to prepare.
Conte says the fixture scheduling is a problem for all English teams competing in the Champions League, not just Chelsea, and it could be a reason why no English team has won the competition since we did in 2012.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 21, 2017
“We have to work during the flight to prepare for the game against Liverpool,” Conte said in Baku. “To have only one day to rest and prepare for such a big game is not easy. I think also it’s not right.”
The Blues are also aware that their hosts are one team they have struggled against as they have failed to beat them in their last five PL meetings, including a 1-1 draw the last time both sides met at Saturday’s venue.
So, you can see why a former Liverpool player, Dirk Kuyt believes the home side will be favourites on Saturday.
“Liverpool playing at Anfield should always be favourites,” Kuyt told the club’s official website. “It doesn’t matter which side is coming to Anfield.
“With the supporters and the crowd behind them they should always be favourites and they should always play the game to win it and I’m sure they will play the match like that,” he added.
However, Chelsea will be buoyed by the fact they are unbeaten in five PL games at Anfield, a fact that may have eluded ex-Kop, Kuyt.
Elsewhere in the PL, league leaders, Manchester City, would be hoping to maintain their unbeaten run when they travel to John Smith’s stadium to take on Huddersfield, a side that held the Pep Guardiola led team to a goalless draw in the FA cup fifth round.
Before then, neighbours and second placed Manchester United will have a chance to reduce the gap between the sides when they host Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford, in the first meeting between the two in the top-flight since 1983.
Arsenal are away at Turf Moor to Burnley, while North London rivals, Tottenham host WBA at Wembley.
Full weekend fixtures
Friday 24 Nov
West Ham United vs Leicester City
Crystal Palace vs Stoke City
Man. United vs Brighton
Newcastle United vs Watford
Swansea vs Bournemouth
Spurs vs WBA
Liverpool vs Chelsea
Southampton vs Everton
Burnley vs Arsenal
Huddersfield vs Man. City