The Pressure Gauge: Battle at the Bridge

Jan Kruger
An early stop in the title race, Chelsea versus Liverpool can now count itself among the most anticipated match-ups in the Premier League

Gone is that sense of a forthcoming anti-climax. Gone are the tense, cagey affairs likely to be decided by a single mistake or a lone set piece.

Gone are the low blocks and the tense, laborious contests that felt more important to the respective managers’ bragging rights than anyone else.

Gone is the apathy of the neutral.

Chelsea versus Liverpool can now count itself among the most anticipated match-ups in the Premier League.

It’s ‘heavy metal’ versus ‘Sarriball’. It’s Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. It’s Eden Hazard. 

It’s two teams out to impose themselves, to do it their way. To dominate. To attack with pace and verve. It’s a modern classic.

And Saturday’s Battle of the Bridge is also a genuine stop on this season’s Premier League title race.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will arrive in London hoping to continue their perfect start to the campaign and make a real statement about their intentions this season.

Klopp has won two of his three Premier League away games against Chelsea (67%) – the best win rate for visiting managers at Stamford Bridge in the competition (minimum 3 games).

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But the Reds have only won one of their last eight away Premier League games against fellow ‘big six’ opponents (D3 L4).

Moreover, they have only lost more Premier League games versus Manchester United (28) than against Chelsea (20).

Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea can leapfrog the league-leaders with victory, but the Blues haven’t won consecutive home Premier League games against Liverpool since a run of three victories between October 2004 and September 2006.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard is the form player coming into the clash, having decided the League Cup clash between the two sides in midweek with one of the goals of the season. 

Let off the leash by Sarri this season, he has scored four goals in his last two Premier League home games – as many as he had in his previous 17 at Stamford Bridge in the competition. 

He will be the key to extending a Liverpool run of 14 league games without a clean sheet against Chelsea – their longest such run against a specific opponent in the top-flight since a streak of 17 against Blackburn (between 1947 and 1995).

But Liverpool, of course, pose a significant goal threat of their own. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have created more chances for each other than any other pair in the Premier League so far this season (10).

Both sides will look to fly out of the traps and Chelsea will likely be aware that no side has scored more first half goals than Liverpool in the Premier League this season (10, level with Man City), while the Reds are the only side yet to concede in the opening 45 minutes.

The stakes are high. The pressure is on.

The Goal Pressure Index is presented by Sure, Official Partner of Chelsea FC, Everton FC and Manchester City FC. Join the conversation on Twitter @Sure.