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Paul Merson makes bold Liverpool vs Chelsea prediction – “I wouldn’t be surprised”

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Liverpool are due to go up against Chelsea in their first Premier League game since manager Jurgen Klopp announced his plans to leave Anfield at the end of the season.

Former England star Paul Merson believes Liverpool’s match against Chelsea on Wednesday might not be as easy as it looks on paper as the league leaders look to keep up their title charge.

The match will be Liverpool’s first in the league since Jurgen Klopp made the unexpected announcement that he would leave the club at the end of the season. The Reds go into this week’s round of midweek fixtures with a five-point lead at the top of the table, though Manchester City in second have a game in hand.

Chelsea are down in ninth, 17 points adrift of the team at the top after a slow start to life under Mauricio Pochettino. Merson isn’t expecting a guaranteed walkover, though, despite the gap.

Recent meetings between Liverpool and Chelsea have been tight affairs, including goalless draws in both domestic cup finals in 2022. While he still expects Liverpool to come out on top, he isn’t anticipating a walkover.

Recent meetings between Liverpool and Chelsea have been tight affairs, including goalless draws in both domestic cup finals in 2022. While he still expects Liverpool to come out on top, he isn’t anticipating a walkover.

“Liverpool have to keep on winning and if they get six points against Chelsea and Arsenal, they’ll take some beating in the Premier League title race,” Merson told SportsKeeda. “I expect them to win, but if you look at Chelsea’s last ten games, they’ve lost just twice and this game has been a bit of a banana skin for the Reds over the years, so it won’t be easy.”

Merson pointed to some of Liverpool’s returning stars, including full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, but also raised the question of how the hosts would respond following Klopp’s announcement. However, he argued Joe Gomez – recently dubbed Liverpool’s “winner of the season” by Klopp, deserves to stay in the side after impressing as a stand-in full-back.

Liverpool go into the game in fine form, having won their last three in the league while progressing in both domestic cups. They haven’t beaten Chelsea since 2020, though, when two Sadio Mane goals gave them a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this game goes either way as form is usually thrown out of the window when two top six sides come head to head, but I think Liverpool will just edge it,” Merson added, backing a 2-1 Liverpool victory. “I think the players will still be reeling from Klopp’s shock decision to leave the club at the end of the season and it’ll be interesting to see what they do.

“As long as they keep winning games, the players will be focused as they are still alive in all competitions. At the moment, I don’t think Liverpool are getting the praise they deserve as they are at the top of the Premier League standings, have a cup final against Chelsea… and are amongst the favorites to win both the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League!”

The games come thick and fast for Liverpool, with a league trip to Arsenal just four days after they host the Blues. They have two further league games before taking on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on February 25, with their FA Cup fifth round game against Watford or Southampton coming just days after their trip to Wembley.

 

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