Plenty of touchline action is expected as Antonio Conte's Chelsea hosts Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Friday. Both the managers are known for their passionate approach, but more than the gaffers, the focus will be on two quality sides, who are hoping for a good domestic season this time around after their disappointment last season.
Chelsea and Liverpool failed to qualify for the European competition, and they will be keen to capitalise on the advantage of less football to give more time to the domestic league title. Chelsea have started the season brilliantly, winning their first three matches, and sharing a point each in their last game against Swansea.
Despite their 2-2 draw, Conte should be pleased with his players especially Diego Costa, who seems to have come back to form. With Eden Hazard and Willian also having started well, the Blues will go into this clash as a confident unit, but their problem lies in defence, where they have finished only one match with clean sheet this season.
Their problems have even multiplied with influential skipper John Terry ruled out, which will open doors for Brazilian David Luiz to make his second debut for Chelsea. He joined Chelsea for his second stint on deadline day. Luiz and Gary Cahill are set to play as central defenders, and will have to be on top of their game to contain Liverpool, who have showed their offensive prowess in their last game against Leicester City. Players like Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana have been bright this season, and amongst goals as well.
Conte is aware of the quality attackers in Liverpool, and spoke about the importance of winning the ball back, as the Reds are dangerous in possession.
"We pay great attention to this game because Liverpool attack with two wingers and a forward playing very narrow in a line, and they put the full-backs very wide," Chelsea official website quoted Conte as saying.
"They attack with five, six or seven players and this is difficult [to face], but there is a great possibility when you win the ball to find good space. When you are without the ball it can create many problems if you don't find the right solution."
But Liverpool should also be mindful of Chelsea's attack. Costa, who has got his goal-scoring ability back, will be an important player, as he possesses the special talent to win games on his own. Liverpool is expected to have Dejan Lovren back in the starting eleven, which is good news for the visitors after Lucas Leiva's error at the back, which led to a goal in the last game.
Liverpool's problem in the last couple of seasons has been their inconsistency, which has already been reflected this time around as well. After their stunning win over Arsenal in their first game, Liverpool lost to Burnley. There is no room for errors against a team like Chelsea, who will come hard at them right from the start.
This tie is always going to be a special one for Klopp, who earned his first career win as Liverpool manager last season at Stamford Bridge in the EPL. Philippe Coutinho, who scored a brace during the game, did not feature against Leicester City, and will not be surprised if the German decided to stick with same offensive formation with Daniel Sturridge leading the line and Brazilian as super sub.
Klopp is aware of the tough fixture against Chelsea after their disappointment last season.
"They were champions two years ago and then had a difficult year and they changed their manager. Last season was not a Chelsea season and now they are back on track, so we need to be ready for a real challenge," Sky Sports quoted Klopp as saying.
Where to watch live
Chelsea vs Liverpool PL match is scheduled for 8 pm local time (12:30 a.m IST, 3 p.m ET) start. Live TV and streaming options can be found below.
India: TV: Star Sports Select HD2 and Star Sports 4/HD. Live Streaming: Hotstar.
UK: TV: Sky Sports 1. Live Streaming: Sky Go.
Australia: TV: Optus Sport. Live Streaming: Optus Online.
Canada: TV: TSN. Live Streaming: TSN TV.
USA: TV: NBCSN. Live Streaming: NBC live.
Malaysia: TV: Astro SuperSport.
Thailand, Middle East: TV: Bein Sports.