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Five talking points ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash against Liverpool

Chelsea travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Thursday in what represents a huge game in the Premier League top-four battle.

The Blues are fifth in the table, a point and a place above the outgoing champions, and will attempt to claim their first league win at Anfield since November 2014.

It will also be the first time that Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp meet in the Premier League, and it should make for an intriguing watch.

Here are five questions ahead of the big kick-off:


1. Andreas Christensen to continue impressive form against Liverpool in Thiago Silva’s continued absence?

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Tuchel confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday that Thiago Silva will miss tomorrow’s clash against Liverpool, and while his absence is certainly a blow to Chelsea, Andreas Christensen will see it as another opportunity to shine.

Blues fans were understandably worried when Silva was forced off the pitch with a thigh injury in the victory over Tottenham at the beginning of February.

Christensen replaced the Brazilian defender in the 36th minute and helped Tuchel's side keep a clean sheet and secure a 1-0 win against Jose Mourinho's men.

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The Dane has started five of the following six matches and has been outstanding, particularly in his last two matches against Atletico Madrid and Manchester United.

In the five games Christensen has played, the Blues have conceded just once – an own goal from Antonio Rudiger.

He certainly will have his hands full dealing with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, though he’s shown that he is up to the task since stepping in.


2. Should Tuchel stick with Giroud?

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Olivier Giroud had a largely ineffectual game against Manchester United last weekend but his other performances in Chelsea blue have reminded the Premier League why he is still France's first-choice striker.

Since swapping Arsenal for Chelsea in 2018, the 34-year-old has been consistently stepping up when his side needed him most, despite not getting many opportunities to do so.

Against Atletico Madrid last week, Giroud came up with an absolute master-class, scoring a stunning overhead kick from 12 yards out to secure an unlikely victory for the west Londoners.

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Giroud wasn’t at his best against United on Sunday, although, to be fair, he didn’t get a lot of service and had Hakim Ziyech’s goalscoring opportunity fell to the Frenchman instead, he probably would have been the hero again.

Giroud, the Blues' leading scorer in the Champions League this season, has the tools to cause many problems for Liverpool’s shaky defence and he’s proven time and time again that he's the man for the big occasion.

Chelsea’s last Premier League victory over Liverpool came in May 2018 when the Blues won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. The scorer in that game – Giroud.


3. The wing-back conundrum

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Much of Tuchel's blueprint at Chelsea has been based around his full-backs, but with Reece James and Ben Chilwell not the German's preferred choice, it leaves the Blues in an awkward position when approaching big games.

Do you go with your best full-back pairing, or simply stick with what has worked during Tuchel's early reign with Marcos Alonso operating in his best position, further up Chelsea's left flank, coupled with red-hot prodigy, Callum Hudson-Odoi, on the right wing?

These are the healthy problems Tuchel is faced with right now and Chelsea can only benefit from the situation.

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The Blues are still unbeaten under the tactical wizard's guidance, so for now, there isn't really a right or wrong option to go with – so far, both wingback pairings have shown that they're more than capable of producing their best work under Tuchel.


4. Can Chelsea end their recent Anfield hoodoo?

To go to Anfield to collect three points will be incredibly difficult for Chelsea – even Liverpool can’t seem to win there.

In all seriousness, the Blues haven’t won at Anfield since their title win in 2014/15 and haven’t managed to beat the Reds in the Premier League since victory at the Bridge in 2018.

Although Chelsea’s recent record against Liverpool – and at Anfield – doesn't bode well, this might be the perfect time to play Klopp's side who have struggled in recent performances.

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The Reds have actually been better away from home of late, winning four of their last five games on the road across all competitions.

At Anfield though, Klopp's side have gone six games without a win, suffering four straight defeats on home soil for the first time since 1923.

The Merseysider's have scored just once while conceding eight goals in their five games at Anfield this year, injecting much-needed belief into Tuchel's side as they seek to end their recent Anfield hoodoo on Thursday.


5. Is one German project overtaking another?

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With Tuchel now in the picture, his countryman, Klopp, has been under even more pressure to deliver with Tuchel replacing Liverpool's mentor in his last two previous jobs.

Now, side by side in the Premier League, question marks begin to ponder on whether the Blues boss could overtake Klopp's Liverpool and get Chelsea back to being the juggernaut club they're known to be.

With the early signs of Tuchel's reign looking promising on the Chelsea front, this is undoubtedly his countryman's worst spell whilst in charge of the Merseyside club.

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The Reds have been labelled as bad champions, full of excuses and struggle to keep their players fit.

Their stars who are available have also been misfiring with Salah, Firmino and Mane having one of their worst seasons to date.

Having some of your best players not in red-hot form can be somewhat excusable, if results go your way, but neither that too has happened at times for Liverpool.

While they seem to be on a downward spiral, Tuchel's Chelsea are certainly on the upward trajectory.


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