Will Chelsea Dent Liverpool Title Bid Again?

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This week has been exciting and enthralling in the world of soccer as it featured so many lively matches both within and outside Europe. Tottenham Hotspur’s narrow win over Manchester City in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter final match played on Tuesday at the palatial Wembley stadium began the week and thrilled so many football fans across the globe. Prior to the match, many soccer enthusiasts had tipped Manchester City to dismantle the Pochettino’s army considering the fact that they are ahead of them in the league. But the unpredictable ‘God of Soccer’ went in the favour of the Spurs as Son Heung-Min solo goal settled the contest. Tottenham won the game but obviously with less possession of the ball. In the other match of the day, Liverpool thrashed FC Porto two nil to put down a marker ahead of the return leg at Anfield next week.

The following day witnessed the continuation of the UEFA Champions League matches. This time, it was between Manchester United and Barcelona at Old Trafford while Ajax FC also played host to Juventus. Most people had predicted Barcelona to batter United before their fans. The ‘Messiful’ team expectedly won but not in the fashion many had predicted. In fact, assisting Luis Suarez for the strike that Luke Shaw turned into United’s net is arguably the only tangible effort made by Lionel Messi towards the Red Devil goal post all through the 90 minutes encounter. The Barca skipper was worryingly quiet throughout the match. But Cristiano Ronaldo had a better game as his electric header rescued Juventus and secured a much-needed away goal for the Italian team. The match ended in a draw as Ajax responded brilliantly after the halftime to cancel out Ronaldo opener. Like Liverpool, Arsenal also claimed a very important away win over Napoli courtesy of Aaron Ramsey sublime finish and Lucas Torreira’s deflected strike.

Like the UEFA Champions League fashion, the Premier League continues this weekend with Liverpool hosting Chelsea in one of the fieriest clashes in Premier League history on Super Sunday. Like in the 2013/2014 season, Chelsea will be hoping to dent Liverpool title bid again. Will they be successful? Come Sunday, we shall know.

Liverpool are formidable at home having won 11 and drawn one of their last 12 league games at Anfield. But History has shown that Chelsea has great competence in upsetting Liverpool’s title challenges. Liverpool has been conceding goals of late and Chelsea will fancy their chances of snatching a draw to cement their place in the top four. Statistically, Liverpool has met Chelsea 181 times. The Reds has won 77 times, lost 63 times and drawn 41 times. In this clash, Liverpool will probably be facing its final big test as Chelsea visits Anfield on Sunday.

The match promises to be exciting and Chelsea’s famous thrashing of Liverpool at Anfield in 2014 will be fresh again in the minds of the Red Army. The Chelsea’s win coupled with Jurgen Klopp’s poor record against the Blues with just two wins in eight attempts will definitely send nerves down the spines of the Reds. Records show that Liverpool has not beaten Chelsea at Anfield since 2012, eight games in all.

One of the key battles to watch out for in this match will definitely be between Eden Hazard and Trent Alexander. This season has been one of the best of Hazard’s career and the Belgian is undoubtedly one of Premier League’s top players having scored an unbelievable solo goal against the Reds in the League Cup back then in September, last year. With Hazard’s two stunning goals against West Ham, one of which was a cracker last week, it is clear that the Belgian is in red hot form. Trent Alexander-Arnold is clearly aware of this and will have to brazen up to effectively curb Hazard. It will even be interesting to see how the Liverpool’s Coach, Klopp has planned to tactically ensure that Hazard doesn’t dismantle Liverpool backline and massively dent their title hopes. Chelsea, also, will have to tighten their backline enough and find every possible way to halt the pressing style of Liverpool’s game and tactically keep the predatory Mohammed Salah at bay so as to strengthen their grip on the top-four position. The tie will indeed be a terrific showdown! So, which team do you think will carry the day?

Samson Oyedeyi

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