Picture Credit: https://www.pmldaily.com/
As a Reds supporter, I am always confident to proclaim that the title belongs to Anfield. Even I, however, cannot deny that Chelsea has managed to pull away from the rest of the pack. Thomas Tuchel’s brilliant tactics have brought Stanford Bridge to life. Although many criticize his team’s explicitly cautious playstyle, no one can deny that it is because of this that Chelsea has risen to the top of the table.
There is a distinct difference between these two teams, which was evident the last time they faced each other. Chelsea held on to draw 1-1 after a red card in the first half, denying Liverpool a win that would have taken them to the top of the Premier League. Chelsea tried to catch Liverpool off guard on rare occasions, but their best chance came when Romelu Lukaku’s close-range shot was blocked by Joel Matip. This match perfectly exemplified the ideological differences between these two teams: a team that relies heavily on counters and high press, versus a team that believes in shutting down the opponent and patiently waiting for even a single chance to score.
Picture credit: https://www.premierleague.com/
If we look at their head-to-head statistics, we can see that Chelsea currently has a higher 1vs1 performance index (355). Liverpool FC has 29 goals, while Chelsea has 26 goals. It is difficult to assess a team’s midfield strength. At 1vs1, we examine a value known as Pass Progression Value (PPV). We assess players’ ability to play the pass into dangerous zones and create chances. Chelsea has a PPV of 0.3, while Liverpool FC has a PPV of 0.29.
To analyse the best strikers of teams, we look at goals, shots on goal, and an intriguing metric called expected goal value (Xg value – measure who the probability of a chance to turn into a goal). So far this season, Liverpool FC has 31 goals and 70 shots on goal. Chelsea scored 27 goals and attempted 58 shots on goal. Although this means that Liverpool is far more prolific when it comes to scoring goals, Chelsea has a distinct clinical edge when it comes to capitalising on their chances.
Liverpool will compete for the Premier League title in 2021/22 if they remain injury-free. Ibrahima Konate’s arrival will be a huge addition to the squad and should strengthen their defence, as will Jordan Henderson’s return to fitness. They have all the tools they need to reclaim the title and should take advantage of any mistakes made by City. Chelsea, on the other hand, has improved significantly since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel. Tuchel’s 3-4-3 system at Stamford Bridge has had a similar impact as Antonio Conte’s did when he introduced it a few seasons ago.
It is still too early to predict which team will win the trophy, but there is no denying that these two clubs are strong contenders. Klopp’s men have nearly been rejuvenated since the start of the new season, displaying glimpses of the imperial Liverpool that dominated the league during their title-winning campaign in 2019-20. Chelsea, on the other hand, has emerged as a formidable opponent under Tuchel. With an impressive roster of young forward talent, the Blues are expected to challenge for more titles, and if Tuchel’s side already defeated Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Champions League final, they could dethrone them in the Premier League as well.