Are Chelsea and Liverpool struggling this season?
Neither side has had the best start heading into Week 8 of the Premier League campaign: Chelsea are seventh in the table heading into the weekend, while Liverpool are eighth, already nine points adrift. leaders Arsenal (who could be 12 points by the time the two start on Saturday if the Gunners win the North London Derby.)
But perhaps more importantly for both, they have combined to win just one of four UEFA Champions League matches so far ahead of a huge Matchday 3 matchday next week. Chelsea, in particular, have already sacked Thomas Tuchel, who led the Blues to the 2021 Champions League title, thanks to a poor start in the league and in the cup: the Blues are only one point ahead of the Wednesday’s key clash with Group E leaders AC Milan at Stamford Bridge.
These games are for the middle of the week, however: for now, both teams must focus on their upcoming games. Chelsea have their own London Derby at Crystal Palace on Saturday, while Liverpool host Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit last in the Champions League table.
Former Liverpool and Chelsea defender Glen Johnson spoke this week about the state of the two teams ahead of the weekend, with Chelsea starting life under Graham Potter.
“Any manager wants to start well,” Johnson told safebettingsites.com. “He’s got a fantastic team there and if he can get them fired they could become a really good team. Everybody wants to win, just for the momentum, it’s important to have a first under the belt, especially when you are in a top team now.
“When it comes to the Champions League there’s a chance they’ll drop out but it’s all tough games at this level so if you don’t shoot and you don’t play to your usual standards then of course you go get discovered. But they’re getting into it now with the new manager, they’ve got new philosophies, some players will come back from obscurity, as long as the manager can get them started early, so we’re still expecting that they come out of the group.
“But you can’t keep saying that, they’re just going to have to go and win games.”
Liverpool are perhaps the more surprising of the two sides not drawing at the moment, simply because of the way they played last season. The Reds won the EFL Carabao Cup and FA Cup on penalties against Chelsea, finished one point behind Manchester City in the Premier League and lost in the Champions League final to Real Madrid for the second time in five seasons .
Could this long season have taken anything away from Jürgen Klopp’s team?
“No, I don’t think so,” Johnson said. “Of course Liverpool didn’t start the way people expected but they are more than capable of continuing a long winning streak. I don’t think it’s going to be a battle, I don’t think they will be close to each other in points at the end of the season but Brighton are fourth, playing well, playing good football, it’s going to be a tough game but I expect Liverpool to retire.
If they lose, could Klopp be in trouble?
“There will be talks to be had, but I don’t think Klopp can be asked what level he has reached at Liverpool in recent years,” Johnson said. “Talking to him about his job will be super, super hard. But it’s the Premier League and if the teams don’t perform, it’s the managers who will take the ball. Klopp’s position shouldn’t be under threat. Not yet.”
It should be a fascinating weekend of action in the Premier League, as well as next week in the Champions League.