A crucial clash in the race for Champions League qualification takes place at Anfield on Thursday night as Liverpool entertain Chelsea in the Premier League.

Things are finely poised in the top flight right now, particularly when it comes to the top 4, with a win for either side enough to elevate them in to the Champions League places.

Both sides still have a long way to go to consolidate a top 4 berth this season with Liverpool in 6th and Chelsea in 5th.

It is a remarkable fall from grace for Liverpool who have won just 2 of their last 11 games, the latest victory coming against bottom club Sheffield United.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were Premier League winners last summer – now they have a battle to qualify for the Champions League.

As for Chelsea, they will have expected to be more competitive in the top flight this season after several pricey summer signings; a disappointing campaign has seen the sacking of club legend Frank Lampard as manager to be replaced by Thomas Tuchel.

Tuchel has enjoyed a buoyant start to his Stamford Bridge career, with the Blues yet to lose in the Premier League under his stewardship.

Having trimmed the gap to the top 4 with a solid run of form, Chelsea have the chance to really make a statement in their pursuit of the Champions League places with a win at Anfield.

After going unbeaten on their own patch for almost 4 years, Liverpool are now without victory at home for 7 games, a run stretching back to December – and if they lose to Chelsea on Thursday, it would be the first time in the history of Liverpool Football Club they have been beaten 5 games in a row at Anfield.

The clash with Liverpool marks the second test of a challenging week for Chelsea, with the Blues off the back of a goalless stalemate with Manchester United last time out.

And with Everton next up for Thomas Tuchel’s men – and West Brom the Toffees’ opponents in tonight’s earlier kick off – this period could really make or break Chelsea’s European charge.

Chelsea haven’t won in the league at Anfield since 2014 and no manager has got the better of Thomas Tuchel more times than Jurgen Klopp – so the omens for the Blues aren’t favourable.

However, Liverpool are still plagued with injuries and Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are all still injured, so Klopp will once again need to go with an ever-changing back line.

More positive news is that Diogo Jota could feature for the first time since a knee injury, with the Portuguese to be put through a late fitness test before the game at Anfield.

For Chelsea, Thiago Silva is the only definite absentee due to a thigh injury and the Brazilian has only returned to full training this week.

Striker Tammy Abraham picked up an ankle issue in training this week and will be assessed before the trip to Merseyside.

Liverpool v Chelsea is an 8.15pm kick off on Thursday 4th March.

About the author

Niall McCaughan

Broadcast Journalist
Sport Social's Broadcast Journalist. Host of the Football Social Daily podcast. Football Commentator for Manchester United. Big Pompey fan.
Follow @niallpfc on Twitter

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