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Lampard faces toughest test as Chelsea manager

Live on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event, 4.30pm Sunday

Frank Lampard faces his toughest test since returning to Stamford Bridge as manager and his youngsters, made in Chelsea, can provide a stern test of Liverpool's Premier League title ambitions.

A victory could be beyond the bold Blues but they may be up to the task of holding Liverpool, just as they did before losing on penalties in last month's European Super Cup.

Lampard’s decision to switch to a three-man defence saw Chelsea produce their best performance of the season in a 5-2 victory at Wolves last week.

The two goals conceded were once the game was already over and the Blues barely gave up an opportunity to Valencia in Tuesday’s Champions League encounter until conceding late on from a set-piece.

There was still time for Ross Barkley to miss a penalty which would have given Chelsea a deserved point and there will inevitably be times when Lampard's side are found wanting this season.

A lack of tactical nous may well leave them vulnerable on occasions but they should still prove to be a top-six side in the Premier League.

The sale of Eden Hazard and registration ban has undoubtedly made things more difficult for Chelsea yet seven-goal Tammy Abraham is just one of the young talents to benefit from being given an opportunity by Lampard.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was happy to talk up Chelsea in his pre-match press briefing and the hosts can prove the Reds boss right by preventing the Merseyside machine from churning out a sixth straight Premier League win this season.

Including last term, Liverpool have won their last 14 league matches and scored at least twice in all of those games.

However, Klopp's men were far less comfortable away from Anfield last season. They triumphed just once on the road to the big six – a 2-1 success against Tottenham at Wembley.

In total they won only three times against top-half opponents on their travels and suffered disappointing draws at Everton and West Ham.

They also drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge, needing a last-gasp Daniel Sturridge stunner to rescue a point for the Reds last September.

Liverpool have improved in the last 12 months but that is fully reflected in the match prices.

They were 31-20 on their last trip and most bookmakers now have the Reds as odds-on shots which looks a little short even if the European champions are clearly the more likely winners.

Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were kept relatively quiet on their last trip to the Bridge and the possible return of N’Golo Kante would be a huge boost for Chelsea.

World Cup winner Kante was immense in the Super Cup clash in Istanbul and is one of the few players in the league capable of going toe-to-toe with Liverpool’s energetic midfield.

Best bet

Draw

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Match in Focus

19:30 TODAY BT3

Wolfsburg v Hoffenheim

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Wolfsburg have kept one clean sheet in their last eight home Bundesliga matches
Expert verdict
Hoffenheim have made a poor start to the Bundesliga season under new coach Alfred Schreuder and have failed to score in three of their opening four games but could still threaten on their trip to Wolfsburg, who have lost just one of their last 13 home matches but kept only one clean sheet in their last eight games on their own patch. Wolfsburg should justify favouritism as Wout Weghorst and Josip Brekalo have both hit the ground running but Hoffenheim scored in all 17 away games last term.