Liverpool vs Chelsea: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle looks at three key players to watch out for in the highly-anticipated game between Liverpool and Chelsea on Saturday.

Gameweek 21 of the 2022/23 Premier League season will begin on Saturday with a blockbuster clash between Liverpool and Chelsea. The match features two teams desperate to embark on a winning run to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive.

Liverpool entered the 2022/23 season on the back of an excellent 2021/22 campaign. But Jurgen Klopp’s men have been shambolic thus far this term, struggling to put together a winning run. The home form for Liverpool, in particular, has been disappointing, which does not bode well ahead of the visit of Chelsea.

Speaking of Chelsea, the Blues have been just as disappointing as Liverpool thus far this season. Thomas Tuchel lasted less than a month into the new campaign before Graham Potter replaced him. And amid an injury-ravaged term, Potter has struggled to steer the west Londoners to a stable footing. But a January spending spree might keep them in good stead for the rest of 2022/23.

The disastrous runs of form set up an intriguing contest between Liverpool and Chelsea. Picking a favourite is nigh on impossible, and each side will fancy the chances of grabbing the three points. And ahead of the mouthwatering clash at Anfield, The Hard Tackle lists three key players for the game.

Mohamed Salah

Will Salah make the difference for Liverpool against Chelsea? (Photo by Ian Kington/AFP via Getty Images)

Our list begins with a player who has been a talismanic figure for Liverpool since arriving at Anfield over half a decade ago. This attacker also has a history with Chelsea, with whom he endured a stint that did not yield the desired results. The player in question is Mohamed Salah.

Salah has been a top-class performer for Liverpool from the minute he set foot at Anfield. And he has had to shoulder much of the goalscoring burden for the Merseyside outfit in a transitional season. Sadio Mane is no longer at the club, while Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz missing most of the campaign with injuries.

In addition, Darwin Nunez has endured some teething problems since arriving from Benfica. And while Nunez should return to the starting lineup after recovering from a hamstring injury, Salah will be the best bet for Liverpool to beat Chelsea on Saturday.

Salah does not have the most inspiring record against Chelsea, scoring only seven goals in 19 outings. But the 30-year-old has produced some game-changing displays and will back himself to come up with the goods this weekend. Expect Salah to be purposeful in his performance against his former club on Saturday.

Thiago Silva

The next player on our list is someone who will need to use bags of experience to get Chelsea something from the game against Liverpool. This senior figure has been one of the few consistent performers for the Blues this season. We are talking about Thiago Silva.

The Brazilian international has played out of his skin in some games to get Chelsea a positive result. And Silva will need to be at his colossal best to keep Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez quiet. At the same time, he will need to guide Benoit Badiashile in a tricky fixture.

In addition, with Cesar Azpilicueta struggling for form, Silva might also need to keep a tab on the action on the right side of the Chelsea defence. So the 38-year-old will have his hands full at Anfield on Saturday.

But if he performs at the required level, Chelsea might frustrate Liverpool for long periods. If not, Salah, Nunez, and Cody Gakpo might have a field day at Anfield. So for Chelsea to take something home from the game, they will need to build from the back, starting with Silva thwarting the Reds’ attackers.

Alisson Becker

Liverpool will need Alisson at his commanding best against Chelsea. (Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images)

Our list ends with another player who will need to shine in the game’s defensive phases, albeit for Liverpool. But unlike Thiago Silva, the pivotal figure in question is a goalkeeper who needs to be at his sharpest on Saturday. We are talking about Alisson Becker.

Alisson has seen his performance levels drop slightly amid Liverpool’s struggling phase since the 2022 FIFA World Cup ended. The Brazilian international has produced some uncharacteristic errors while spilling the ball at times.

But the 30-year-old remains arguably Liverpool’s best player of the 2022/23 season thus far. And he has carried much of the burden of keeping clean sheets game after game for twelve months. A similarly colossal effort will help the Reds negate a profligate Chelsea attack on Saturday.

But Alisson will not only need to be at his shot-stopping best. Instead, he will also be instrumental in Liverpool’s endeavour to build play from the back. All in all, the Brazilian international’s output between the sticks will go a long way in determining the final result.

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