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Rupert Wyman 3rd Oct 2009 - 14:46

Goals should be on the menu at the Bridge

Recent matches between Chelsea and Liverpool have been low scoring affairs but this trend should be bucked on Sunday at Stamford Bridge as both teams don't look at their best defensively and therefore with arguably the two best strikers in the Premier League, Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba, on show then goals should be expected.

In the total goals market betting over two goals is priced at evens and this looks great value. Chelsea will be without their suspended goalkeeper Petr Cech meaning the unconvincing Hilario will likely deputise while Liverpool have uncharacteristically looked far from solid at the back this term with Jamie Carragher off form.

In the last seven league meetings over two goals would have been a losing bet but the last two matches, the two legs of the Champions League quarter-final, were both high scoring affairs.

Both teams come into the match with a point to prove as both Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez were left fuming following their respective Champions League exploits in midweek.

Admittedly Chelsea won their match but Ancelotti was left far from impressed after a scrappy performance against APOEL Nicosia which followed the Blues' first defeat of the season last weekend at Wigan. In contrast Liverpool were rather inept in Italy against Fiorentina and fell to a 2-0 defeat leaving Benitez still searching for the right balance and how to replace Xabi Alonso especially with Javier Mascherano being so out of form at the start of this campaign.

Therefore a defeat for either could spell terrible news for the respective set of players with their managers already angry at recent performances. However, Chelsea have a legitimate excuse for their rather lacklustre performance in midweek  - the absence of talismanic striker Didier Drogba.

The Ivorian under Ancelotti has been nothing short of immense and his absence always causes Chelsea huge problems as they have to adapt their tactics. He has notched six league goals already this season and looks well worth a bet at 5/1 to open the scoring at Stamford Bridge.

Of course the Premier League's top scorer with eight goals, Fernando Torres, will have something to say about that. The Spaniard was awesome as he crushed Hull virtually on his own last weekend with a hat-trick. He is 6/4 to score his ninth of the season against Chelsea and with his current form in mind you would have to fancy his chances of obliging. In addition he has scored five goals in six matches against the Blues in all competitions.

Chelsea are the 11/10 favourites to pick up the three points and with the return of Drogba they look like the bet to me in the match betting. A worry would be the absence of the aforementioned Cech and the likely deployment of the erratic Hilario therefore Chelsea in the draw no bet market could be the better option at 14/25.

A draw is priced at 11/5 and a Liverpool win is a 13/5 shot for this no doubt intense battle at the Bridge.

If Chelsea are to finally unseat Manchester United's stranglehold over the Premier League title then Ancelotti will need Frank Lampard to rediscover his scoring boots. The midfielder has incredibly gone without a goal in eight matches although he will fancy his chances against Liverpool as he has four goals in the last five meetings between the sides at Stamford Bridge. Lampard is 11/4 to finally put an end to his barren run on Sunday.

Up against Lampard will be his England team-mate Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool captain is obviously integral to the way the Reds play and is the same price as Lampard at 11/4 to get himself on the scoresheet.

Another renewed rivalry will be that between the managers. Ancelotti was in the opposite dugout to Benitez as Liverpool played AC Milan in the two Champions League finals in 2005 and 2007.  

Both managers know how important this match is, even so early in the season, and will not want to be contemplating the consequences of another defeat come Sunday evening, but I think it could be that very scenario for Rafa Benitez and his Liverpool side.



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