Two weeks into the Premier League season and there are just five teams that have won their first two games. Two of those five teams will square off this weekend when Liverpool host Chelsea. At home, Liverpool is listed as the favorite with a moneyline of +150 while Chelsea’s moneyline is +204. Meanwhile, the moneyline for a draw is the most lucrative at +240.
It’d be tough to find a more impressive team over the first two weeks of the season than Liverpool. Granted, the Reds haven’t been challenged by a top-tier club yet. But Jurgen Klopp’s team has looked good during a 3-0 win over Norwich City in the opener before managing a comfortable 2-0 win against Burnley last week.
The Liverpool attack has looked as sharp as ever, even with Dioga Jota starting as the frontman in place of Roberto Firmino, who has started in that spot in recent seasons. Jota has earned the right to continue starting at that spot with two goals in two matches. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have also been a handful for defenders early in the season, which has helped to open up space for Jota. Plus, the Reds can still bring Firmino off the bench, giving Klopp an excellent Plan B if things don’t go Liverpool’s way for the first hour of a match.
Meanwhile, Liverpool is one of four Premier League teams that’s yet to concede a goal in two matches. Again, facing Norwich City and Burnley in their first two matches is surely a factor in the Reds keeping two clean sheets. But with Virgil van Dijk back from injury, Liverpool’s defense looks a lot more like it did when they won the Premier League title two seasons ago. With van Dijk, the Reds have the type of defender who can handle some of the best strikers the Premier League has to offer.
Much like Liverpool, Chelsea has looked the part of a title contender in its first two games. It was easy to dismiss a 3-0 win in their season opener. But the reigning champions of Europe followed it up with a convincing 2-0 win over Arsenal in a London derby last weekend. Granted, there are plenty of people questioning Arsenal’s status as a top-tier club. But that doesn’t change how well the Blues have played in two matches.
As expected, the return of Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea paid immediate dividends for the club. Lukaku dominated Serie A with Inter Milan last season and scored in his season opener with the Blues last week. There are far fewer questions about Chelsea’s attack with Lukaku leading the way and Timo Werner relegated to the bench. Keep in mind that American Christian Pulisic will miss this match. However, Chelsea’s attack still has good options with Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, and Hakim Ziyech, not to mention wing-backs who can get involved.
Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel has continued to orchestrate a top-notch defense. There is great stability with the Chelsea backline with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen being automatic starters. There is also depth in the Chelsea midfield, as N’Golo Kante came off the bench last week against Arsenal. That should help guarantee that Kante is fresh to chase the ball for 90 minutes this week and perhaps get the better of Liverpool’s midfield, which hasn’t looked quite as stable as the Chelsea midfield early in the season.
While both teams should be confident heading into this game, we can’t forget the impact that fans in stadiums could have in this game. Liverpool being at home will give the Reds a distinct advantage in this match. On top of that, van Dijk is the type of defender who can handle Lukaku, forcing Chelsea to seek contributions from other sources. In the end, Liverpool has more depth in the attack, allowing the Reds to grab a late winner and take all three points.
Pick: Liverpool 2-1