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This first round of Premier League matches in the New Year is headlined by the meeting of Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on the evening of Sunday 2 January, with the Blues and the Reds both looking to claim a statement win in the title race.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is hoping his side can avoid individual mistakes against a high-class opponent which will capitalise on any slip-ups: “Big mistakes that lead to big chances and easy goals,” said the German. “We need to be good on these details. We have to have the focus right, the attitude right, and to take care of the details because we are not good enough with the details at the moment.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, is looking forward to another exciting clash against a fellow heavyweight, and wants to see his side keep pushing right until the final whistle: “It was clear: when you don’t score you just have to keep going,” said the Reds boss. “It’s an important skill to stay positive. It was not needed too often this season but it’s still an incredibly important skill.”
Jorginho – The Italian midfielder is Chelsea’s ‘conductor ‘ in the middle of the park, using his efficient movement and passing to keep the Blues ticking over. He is also an ace from the penalty spot and will be hoping to have a chance to prove it again in this clash.
Diogo Jota – With Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane possibly missing this match to join up with their national teams at the AFCON (Liverpool were in negotiations at the time of writing), Diogo Jota becomes a key attacker for the Reds, not only in this game but for the remainder of January and probably into February as well.
In head-to-head stats, Chelsea and Liverpool have met in 189 matches across all competitions since their first clash back in 1907. The Reds have claimed 82 wins compared to 65 for the Blues, while 42 games have been drawn.
When the teams met earlier this season, at Anfield in August 2021, they played out a 1-1 draw: Chelsea lead through Kai Havertz, but Liverpool levelled thanks to a penalty from Mohamed Salah.
Battles to watch
Thomas Tuchel v Jurgen Klopp – Tuchel has formerly followed closely in the footsteps of Klopp, but he has stepped out of that shadow to become a brilliant tactician in his own right. These two German managers have great affection for each other, but will not give an inch come Sunday 2 January.
Romelu Lukaku v Virgil Van Dijk – This bruising battle of Belgian striker against Dutch centre-back will epitomise this Premier League clash: both are world-class operators and will be striving with every sinew to bring their team victory.
Mason Mount v Jordan Henderson – These two English midfielders are from different generations but share similar traits, with both Mount and Henderson providing drive, leadership and an underrated intelligence in the middle of the park.
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Match broadcast details
All times CAT
Sunday 2 January
18:30: Chelsea v Liverpool – LIVE on SuperSport Premier League and SuperSport Maximo 1