Chelsea host Liverpool at Stamford Bridge today, with the game set to get underway at 4:30pm. Chelsea are fifth in the table, while Liverpool are third.
Chelsea will still have some hope in their chase for a top four place if they win today. They need to win if they’re going to keep the pressure on. A win would put them just two points Spurs, who are fourth, and three points behind Liverpool, who are third. The Blues would also have a game in hand over Liverpool.
Chelsea need other results to go their way if they’re going to finish in the top four, but there is always a chance of that happening. All they can do is win their own games and see what happens. If they beat Liverpool today and win their game against Huddersfield during the week, they could have a real chance. It looked very unlikely that they would finish in the top four just a couple of weeks ago, but with both Liverpool and Spurs dropping points lately, they’re back in with a shout.
Anything less than a win today and they can forget about it though. They haven’t been overly impressive this season, especially when you compare it to how good they were last season. But if they do sneak into the top four and win the FA Cup – they play Man Utd in the final on May 19 – it wouldn’t be too bad of a season for them.
I think they’re good enough to get the win today, but they’ll have to be at their best. That’s not something we’ve seen enough from them this season, but they definitely have the quality to do it. They could have more energy today than Liverpool do as well, as the Reds had an extremely tough Champions League game against Roma on Wednesday.
Antonio Conte said: “I think now our target, our focus, is to finish in the best possible way, to try to fight for a place in the Champions League.
“It won’t be easy. The situation is not in our hands. But we have to try and start with three points against Liverpool.”
Chelsea are without David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu, but Marcos Alonso returns from injury.
If Liverpool avoid defeat today, they will know they’ll finish ahead of the Blues. They’re six points clear as it is, with a much better goal difference as well, so you imagine they’ll be fine. But if they’re beaten today they could find themselves in real trouble. Even if they do lose today, finishing in the top four would still be in their own hands and they would still fancy themselves to get the job done. All they would have to do is beat Brighton at Anfield next week.
I don’t mean any disrespect to Brighton, who have really impressed me and who I really like, but if you can’t beat them at home on the final day to finish in the top four there’s something wrong. They would be extremely confident that they’ll get the job done, and I would be very surprised if they didn’t manage it. I’m going on the assumption that they’ll lose today, but who says they will?
It’s not like they’re going to be beaten easily, and they will fancy their chances of going to Stamford Bridge and finishing the job today. They have been so good this season, and are a match for anybody. They’ll be going out there trying to win this game today, and they definitely have the quality to get it done. I’m not sure if Jurgen Klopp will rotate a little bit, because there’s bound to be some tired legs after Wednesday’s game in Rome so he may look to freshen it up. He’ll be going as full-strength as possible though, because he knows this game is extremely important.
Jurgen Klopp told Liverpool’s official website: “Chelsea is a similar situation to the [Roma] game – fighting with all they have, they don’t have anything to lose.
“If we draw it’s not good for them; if we win it’s not good for them. They have to win and they will try to do so. It’s like a Champions League semi-final, to be honest.
“We will see what we can do there. The good thing is that we have another game but we don’t think about that at the moment. We need to be ready for the game.
“We had a few really nice moments already this season but you never have time to celebrate it for a second! There is always the next one. Now we have to play that game – Chelsea are waiting.”
Liverpool will be without Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Matip, Emre Can and Adam Lallana.
I think this will be an interesting one. Both sides have the quality to get the job done, and it really could go either way. Liverpool have been the better of the two teams this season, but Chelsea will be hoping to take advantage of some fatigue on Liverpool’s side. I’m not going to pick a winner for this one, because I have absolutely no idea which way it will go.
The team news will be out at 3:30pm, and you’ll get that up here as well. Enjoy the game.