Chelsea will be aiming to return to winning ways when they host Liverpool in the weekend’s Premier League clash. The west London giants had a frustrating start to the Champions League group stage campaign with a 1-0 loss to Valencia and they now have another testing challenge on their hands with the league leaders making the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is definitely out of the contest as he continues to recover from an Achilles injury. Elsewhere, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James are likely to miss the game due to match fitness while N’Golo Kante (ankle), Emerson (thigh), Antonio Rudiger (groin) and Mason Mount (ankle) are deemed doubtful.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has played every minute of the Blues’ season to date and he is expected to start in goal against Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Spaniard has failed to keep a single clean sheet this season and could have a busy day between the sticks on Sunday.
In the defence, Lampard is unlikely to alter from the three-man central defence which has provided more assurance at the back. Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma are most likely to start with Rudiger yet to completely recover from a nagging groin problem.
At right wing-back, Cesar Azpilicueta should continue to get the nod. The club-captain has not enjoyed the best of starts to the season but he has looked more assured in the current system with the extra defender present to cover up behind him.
On the opposite end, Marcos Alonso could start his second league game on the bounce. Emerson has returned to first-team training following a thigh concern on international duty but Alonso does seem to fare better while featuring in the left wing-back position.
In the centre of the park, no changes are likely from recent matches and Jorginho should partner Mateo Kovacic once more. N’Golo Kante has returned to first-team training after more than a month but Lampard has refused to give assurances that the Frenchman will make his comeback against the Reds.
This has likewise been the case with Mount, who picked up an ankle problem during the midweek Champions League game. His absence may witness a start for Christian Pulisic, who has been an unused substitute in the past two matches.
The USA international impressed with his link-up play and distribution during the European Super Cup clash against Liverpool last month and Lampard has take that into consideration. Alongside him, Willian should feature in a straight-swap with Pedro from the midweek game.
Tammy Abraham has been Lampard’s preferred choice to lead the line and the England international has taken the opportunity with seven goals in the past three games including a hat-trick at Wolves last weekend.
Still, we are anticipating Olivier Giroud to start ahead of him. The Frenchman has excelled against Liverpool and has scored seven times in 14 appearances including in the European Super Cup last month.
Predicted XI: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori, Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Marcos Alonso, Willian, Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud