By Emmanuel Ebimoh
Two familiar foes in English Football – one in the heart of West London, and the other in the Metropolitan Borough in Mersyside – 56 Premier League games between them with 140 goals scored, one recently crowned champion and the other ready to fight for the crown again. We are all set and ready-to-go for the first titanic battle in the 2020/2021 English Premier League Season.
When the curtains are lifted at Stamford Bridge, West London tomorrow, it’ll be another nail-biting clash between the Blues of Chelsea and the Reds of Liverpool. Undoubtedly the top of the pack in this weekend’s games, there’ll be more than three points at stake in this mouth-watering Premier League battle.
Both teams had their winning starts to the 2020-21 campaign, with Liverpool narrowly coming through against newly-promoted Leeds United in a seven-goal thriller, and Chelsea comfortably defeating Brighton & Hove Albion away from home. Both teams have also been very active in the transfer market as they look to strengthen their squad for the long battles that lie ahead.
Chelsea’s coach, Frank Lampard, has made his attacking intent known in his acquisitions so far in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Ben Chilwell for an accumulated fee of about £204.1million. Having finished 4th in the last campaign and without a trophy, Frank Lampard has definitely come out with a strong intention to place his Chelsea team as one of the real contenders for this season’s coveted title.
On the other hand, just fresh from their outstanding performance last season, Liverpool are set to defend their title and this battle against Chelsea might be the litmus test they need to decide if their title ambition will be sustained. Jurgen Klopp’s side were far from impressive in their first game last weekend against Leeds United, but the arrival of Spanish International, Thiago Alcantara during the week might just be the big morale boost the team needs for the challenge ahead. Thiago, who arrived from Bayern Munich for a fee of around £25million, has been confirmed to be eligible for tomorrow’s game and he will definitely play a pivotal role in the aspirations of Liverpool this season. But whether he starts and makes his debut in Liverpool’s first big clash of the season will be a decision Klopp has to make.
One thing Jurgen Klopp will however be wary of will be the leaky defence of his team. Having conceded three goals in their last game against Leeds United, Virgil van Dirk, who was arguably one of Liverpool’s best players last season and a monumental figure for them in defence, will need to resurrect his form and help marshal his back-line if they are to stand any chance of conceding less goals against the obviously potent Chelsea attack. Interestingly, one of Liverpool’s new signings, Kostas Tsimikas, is expected to be available in defence after recovering from Coronavirus, but again, whether his presence will be the force the defence needs will be known in the game tomorrow.
For both teams, their attacking force might just be the difference that decides where this tie would swing to, as there are a lot of exciting attacking prospects to watch out for. Liverpool’s attacking trio of Salah, Mane, and Firmino are definitely not short of goals and they would be hoping to replicate their fireworks against a familiar Chelsea defence. But their London rivals may look to have come prepared with the same token with an attacking force of Werner, Pulisic, and Havertz, all ready to start in the big game. If the attack of both teams decide to come to the party, then we may be in for some scintillating attacking display.
The dream of a back-to-back English Premier League title for Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team will decidedly start from their trip to Stamford Bridge. The team has already been injected with the drive for victory, and the arrival of Thiago may bring another magic winning formula for them this season. But for Frank Lampard, it’ll be a good opportunity to have his revenge for their 5-3 loss to Liverpool in the EPL just two months back.
The stage is set and for fans all over the world who will be watching from home, this will be an unmissable delicious encounter.