A Big Game or a Decisive One? How Will Liverpool v Chelsea Impact on the Title Race?
January 30, 2017
In many ways, the last weekend summed up the Premier League season and the less than competitive title race so far. While Tottenham, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs all dropped points in less than spectacular fashion, for example, Chelsea eased to a serene 2-0 win against relegation threatened Hull City at Stamford Bridge and opened up an eight point lead at the top.
While Manchester City and Tottenham were at least competing directly against one another, this represented the perfect weekend for Chelsea and one that has been repeated on numerous occasions so far this season. The Blues will face a decisive challenge of their own on 31st of the month, however, as they travel to Anfield for crucial clash with Liverpool that could have a definitive impact on the nature of the title race.
The Form Guide: How Are Both Sides Shaping Up?
Interestingly, this would have been a clash of first against second had the game been played two weeks ago. Back then, Liverpool had just earned a deserved win against Manchester City at Anfield, while Chelsea had seen their 13 game winning streak ended by Tottenham in ruthless fashion at White Hart Lane. This left the Reds just six points behind their rivals, with the promise of this intriguing match to come.
Liverpool have taken just two points from the three league matches since, being held at Sunderland and Manchester United respectively before enduring a shock, 3-2 loss against basement club Swansea at home last time out. In contrast, Chelsea have won both games since the Spurs defeat, thrashing champions Leicester City 3-0 at the King Power Stadium before beating Hull at the weekend. This has left the Reds 10 points behind their rivals, making this less of a keenly-contested title clash and more of a must-win game for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
How Will This Game Impact on the Title Race?
Ultimately, a defeat for Liverpool would leave them 13 points behind Chelsea, irreparably damaging their chances of landing a first title in 27 years in the process. In contrast, a win (or even a draw) for Chelsea would arguably eliminate another rival from the title race, leaving only Tottenham and an unreliable Arsenal side clinging to the coat tails of Antonio Conte’s men. With the odds on Chelsea winning the Premier League shortening by the day, few would bet against a clinical victory for the Blues under the lights at Anfield.
Night games in Liverpool’s famous old stadium always generate an incredible atmosphere, however, while the fact that Jurgen Klopp’s team now have to win to sustain their title challenge will help the Reds’ fans to become an extremely influential 12th man. With Klopp’s talented team having also won at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season and remaining unbeaten in clashes against the fellow members of the top six, we are backing a Liverpool win in what should be a tight, but enduring fascinating, encounter.