Liverpool Vs Chelsea

Chelsea will need to overturn a poor recent record away in Big Four matches if they are to defeat Liverpool in the Premiership game at Anfield on February 1.

On paper, Chelsea’s away record this season of eight wins, two draws and a single loss, would make them worth betting on. But a closer look shows that the wins have come against weaker opponents.

Of Chelsea’s last seven away games against Big Four opponents, they have drawn three and lost four, including the confidence-sapping 3-0 hiding at Old Trafford. Neither does their recent patchy away form offer much encouragement for spread bettors wanting to back Chelsea: their last three Premiership away games have brought two draws and a loss.

The good news for Chelsea is that Liverpool have also been faltering in their race for a first League title since 1990. A run of four draws and two wins from their last six games at Anfield is not the football of champions.

With Chelsea finding away wins elusive and Liverpool struggling for home wins, a draw might look the attractive sports spread betting option. But the two sides realize the importance of three points after seeing Manchester United surge past them.

Certainly, both teams have been feeling the heat from Old Trafford, and showing signs of strain. Chelsea striker Nicholas Anelka spoke this week of the ‘absolute necessity’ to defeat Liverpool if his side is to challenge for the Premiership, echoing his boss Luiz Felipe Scolari’s comments about a ‘must-win game’ ahead of the 3-0 drubbing at Old Trafford. Some of Chelsea’s pressure seems self-imposed.

Meanwhile, Liverpool also showed signs of feeling intimidated by Manchester United when boss Rafa Benitez entered into a well-publicized war of words with rival manager Sir ลิเวอร์พูล Alex Ferguson. Each rival should take heart from Ferguson’s prediction that Manchester United will falter soon.

An away win for Chelsea would be hugely significant. Wins at Anfield for Jose Mourinho’s side were important stepping stones on the way to lifting the Premier League in 2005 and 2006. An away win would also restore the confidence sapped at Old Trafford three weeks ago.

Chelsea know they must start beating the Big Four teams. The rot set in back in October, when Liverpool ended an 86-game unbeaten run in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge through Xabi Alonso’s deflected goal. A further loss at home to Arsenal followed, then came the away defeat to Manchester United.

For their part, Liverpool need to recover the inspirational form which saw them thrash Newcastle 5-1 away in December. A steady stream of draws won’t be enough to lift the Premiership trophy.

With both sides under pressure to win, expect goals. Football spread bettors will be interested to know that nearly 20 per cent of Chelsea’s strikes have come between the 50th and 60th minutes this season. Conversely, Liverpool have scored nearly 18 per cent of their goals between the 70th and 80th minutes. Spread bettors should also take note that Chelsea have been 1-0 down at half-time in six out of their last seven away games against Big Four opposition, managing to pull back to parity in half of them.

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