Preview: Chelsea v Liverpool

Chelsea’s quest for a top four Premier League finish resumes at home against Champions League finalists Liverpool.

Premier League
Date: May 6, 2018
Round 36
Kick-off: 17H30 (local time)
Venue: Stamford Bridge

Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: G. Beswick, A. Nunn
Fourth official: C. Pawson

Head-to-head summary:
Chelsea 168 57 40 71
Liverpool 168 71 40 57

Previous encounter:
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea 25/11/17 Premier League
Liverpool goalscorer: M. Salah (65′)
Chelsea goalscorer: Willian (85′)

Players to watch:
Alvaro Morata has a point to prove as he eyes a place in Spain’s World Cup squad. He will want to add to his 11 league goals for the season. Olivier Giroud is the Blues’ in-form attacker with three in his last four games.

Mohamed Salah has scored 31 league goals in 34 games. Keeping him quiet will be key for Chelsea, although it was Sadio Mane and Gigi Wijnaldum on target for the Reds against Roma last time out.

Team form and manager quotes:
The FA Cup finalists are on a run of four wins, including their 2-0 victory over Southampton in the cup semi-final. They come into this tie after beating Swansea 1-0 to sit five points behind Tottenham, who lost 1-0 to West Brom on Saturday.

Third placed Liverpool are on 72 points, six ahead of Chelsea, with two games to play. They lost 4-2 to Roma but progressed to the final after going unbeaten in nine games.

Ahead of the game, Blues boss Antonio Conte spoke of the merits of winning the Premier League compared to the Champions League.

He said: “In the league you have 38 games to show you are the best over the season. In the Champions League, when you reach the last 16, the quarters and semi-finals, one situation – positive or negative – can totally change your future in this competition.

“For this reason, to win the Champions League I think you must be more lucky. You must be good, but at the same time, you must be lucky, because one thing – a referee’s decision for example – can change everything.”

Jurgen Klopp, who has been nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Year award, added: “Chelsea is a similar situation to the [Roma] game – fighting with all they have, they don’t have anything to lose.

“If we draw it’s not good for them; if we win it’s not good for them. They have to win and they will try to do so. It’s like a Champions League semi-final, to be honest.

“We had a few really nice moments already this season but you never have time to celebrate it for a second! There is always the next one. Now we have to play that game – Chelsea are waiting.”

Team news:
Marcos Alonso is back from a three-match suspension but David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu remain out injured.

For Liverpool, Joe Gomez (ankle) is sidelined alongside long-term absentees Joel Matip, Emre Can and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana.