BILLY BUNTER

Weblog: The football punter

Chelsea can test Klopp's ace Anfield record

Premier League
BT Sport 1, 5.30pm Saturday


Liverpool have had their woes away to their big-six rivals in the Premier League this season but Anfield remains a remarkable fortress under Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea are the next in line of England's elite looking to topple the Merseysiders.

Manchester United, with a 1-0 win in January 2016, are the only members of the big six to win at Liverpool in 14 attempts since Klopp's arrival in October 2015 as the Reds continually raise their standards.

Arsenal were hammered 4-0 there in August and Liverpool always seem switched on for these tussles, even if 5-0 and 4-1 defeats at Manchester City and Tottenham have damaged Klopp's overall big-six record.

It's not only the big matches which spur on Liverpool but home games in general, and Burnley are the only visiting team to notch at Anfield this season, a fact which goes against the narrative of a dodgy defence.

However, that was the case in the Champions League on Tuesday as the Reds let slip an early 3-0 advantage to draw in Seville and there is always that concern when backing Liverpool.

Do you put faith in Liverpool's sizzling front four of Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, knowing Alberto Moreno or one of his fellow defensive comedians could ruin the bet?

Liverpool definitely have a preparation advantage as Chelsea did not get home until 6am on Thursday from their trip to Azerbaijan, although they were not tested in the Qarabag match having played over 70 minutes against ten men.

The prices suggest that on a neutral venue there would be little between these teams and it's an assessment which looks spot on as Chelsea are three points superior in the hunt for a top-four finish.

Champions Chelsea have not always been at their best this season with defeats to City, Crystal Palace and Roma but they have also won at Tottenham and Atletico Madrid as well as landing a deserved 1-0 triumph over Manchester United earlier this month.

On-song Alvaro Morata has eight goals and Eden Hazard, following a slow start because of injury, is starting to deliver excellent performances, with six goals in his last seven Chelsea appearances.

Hazard has been switched to a more central position in Chelsea's new 3-5-2 formation with Cesc Fabregas dictating play alongside influential anchor-man N'Golo Kante and Pedro dropped to the bench which has allowed summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko to get up in support of the strikers.

Bakayoko's poor finishing let him down against United but he had the most attempts (four) and then missed a decent chance at 0-0 in last week's 4-0 romp over West Brom.

The former Monaco man is also an aerial threat from set-pieces and is capable of much more than two goals in 12 starts this season.

Recommendation
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Match in Focus

12:30 Sa 16Dec SKY

Leicester v C Palace

Home Win Draw Away Win
Expert verdict
There has been plenty of late drama for Palace in their last two matches, but what is still missing for the Eagles is an away goal. Eight road trips have yielded two points and not one goal and Leicester look a decent price to make this another fruitless trip for Palace. The Foxes have won their last four, scoring ten goals.