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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Liverpool value to claim a point and frustrate Chelsea's top-four hopes

Draw will do nicely for Jurgen Klopp's men

Mo Salah is aiming for more goals when he faces former club Chelsea
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Premier League
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Liverpool haven't been at their most ruthless in the Premier League recently, drawing against lowly West Brom and Stoke in their last two games, but another stalemate at Chelsea would be a decent result for the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp's men have been understandably distracted by their high-octane Champions League semi-final tie against Roma, completing a 7-6 aggregate win on Wednesday to set up a showdown with Real Madrid in Kiev.

But there is still some work for Liverpool to do on the domestic front if they are to secure a top-four finish and the trip to Stamford Bridge is a key fixture.

Victory for Chelsea would put them three points behind the Reds with a game in hand and the Londoners should be in better heart after a hat-trick of hard-fought away wins at Southampton, Burnley and Swansea.

All three of those victories were by a one-goal margin and Chelsea's clashes with the other top-six clubs this season have also tended to be tight.

They drew at home and away with Arsenal, held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Anfield, suffered a pair of 1-0 defeats to champions Manchester City, and had a win and a loss apiece against both Tottenham and Manchester United.

While Liverpool's strikeforce of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane has been dazzling Europe, Chelsea have been grinding out wins in the Premier League.

They came from 2-0 down to beat Southampton 3-2, before beating the same opponents in the FA Cup semi-final, and an early Cesc Fabregas strike settled an even contest against struggling Swansea.

The onus is on the home side to attack but Liverpool remain a threat on the break, even after their Champions League exertions, and the visitors are equipped to claim a valuable point.

Their defence has certainly improved since the January arrival of Virgil van Dijk. In 12 Premier League games since their shock defeat at Swansea, Liverpool have conceded just eight goals – four of them against Spurs and Manchester United and another two from set-pieces at West Brom, where they completely switched off when leading 2-0 with ten minutes to go.

Concentration shouldn't be a problem at Stamford Bridge and Liverpool's defenders can also take pride in restricting Manchester City to one goal over the two legs of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Liverpool have struggled to claim maximum points in high-profile league games, winning only three of their 13 fixtures against the rest of the top eight – at home to City and Arsenal, and away at Burnley.

But another draw will do nicely for Klopp's side and that looks the best bet in a trappy fixture.

Salah, who made just 13 league appearances during his unremarkable spell at Chelsea, is 4-1 to bolster his Golden Boot chances by scoring the first goal of the game.

2pts 13-5 bet365, Betfred, BoyleSports

Premier League standings

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Team news
Marcos Alonso returns after a three-game suspension but David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu are still injured.

Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Emre Can, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana are sidelined for the Reds.

Key stat
Liverpool have drawn 12 league games this season – more than any other club in the top six.

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There is still some work for Liverpool to do on the domestic front if they are to secure a top-four finish
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