Both Chelsea and Liverpool Champion League campaign was dented a big blow on Tuesday. While the Blues lost 1-0 at home to Valencia, the defending champions suffered a 2-0 loss to Napoli in Naples and both teams will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways in the Premier League. The huge task before the young Chelsea side is winning their first Premier League game on home soil against Liverpool when both teams clash on Sunday. They can, however, draw inspiration from their last weekend’s 5-2 win against Wolves away from home
Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea side face a major test of their progress when they face Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday.
Last week’s impressive 5-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers showed Chelsea’s potential with striker Tammy Abraham grabbing a hat-trick and two other academy products in Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori also on target.
However, it has been a mixed start to the season for Lampard’s side and they have been particularly patchy at home – giving up a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with promoted Sheffield United and losing 1-0 in the Champions League to the Spanish club, Valencia.
Liverpool also tasted defeat in Europe with a 2-0 loss to Napoli in Italy but Klopp’s men lead the Premier League with five wins from five.
The match is Chelsea’s biggest test since their opening day 4-0 loss at Manchester United and Abraham believes they would be fired up.
“Sunday is a test of character. We can take our anger out against Liverpool after the European disappointment. It’s a massive game and both teams will be going to win. We’ll look forward to putting the Valencia loss right.
“We are going to have a lot of ups and downs in a season. We’ve got to move on and not dwell on it,” he said.
Chelsea is currently sixth in the Premier League table with eight points, although the capital side is yet to win on home soil this term.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who made a rare error for Napoli’s second goal, brushed off the notion that the loss was a wake-up call for the European champions.
“It shouldn’t be a wake-up call – we have been performing outstanding since the start of the season and so there is no reason to panic.
“Everyone knows how tough it is to come here and beat them first of all, but also to play well against them and I think we, especially in the beginning at times, put them under a lot of pressure trying to win the ball high up the pitch and try to break on them.
“But at the end of the day it’s all about the result and we are unlucky we didn’t get any result.
“It felt like it was going to be a draw. There were some moments from us on the break where we could have done a bit better but the penalty changed it and we come home with no points,” the No.4 told Liverpoolfc.com of the Napoli game
On whether the Reds’ status as reigning European champions makes them a ‘target’ for opposing teams, Van Dijk stated: “Yes, but I think everyone wants to beat us no matter what competition. That’s something we have to deal with but it’s not going to be a problem at all.
“We have to enjoy that as well and I think for them to win their first game is obviously big. For us to lose our first game is obviously not what we wanted but the only thing we can do is try to win all the other games and now focus on Chelsea.”
Liverpool was held to a draw at Stamford Bridge last season, needing a late equaliser from Daniel Sturridge to make a point. The previous season Chelsea won 1-0 with a goal from Olivier Giroud.
Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount could be available for the clash with Liverpool despite picking up an ankle injury against Valencia on Tuesday night.
The 20-year-old was forced off in the 20th minute after picking up the problem in a challenge with Valencia’s Francis Coquelin.
Mount immediately emerged as a huge doubt for Chelsea’s league fixture against table-topping Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.
However, according to The Sun, the Blues are hopeful that the issue is not as bad as first feared, and the England international could yet be involved in the clash with Klopp’s side.
Mount has scored three times in seven appearances for Frank Lampard’s side this season having returned to the club over the summer following an impressive loan spell at Derby County.
Champions Manchester City, beaten at promoted Norwich City last weekend will expect to get back to winning ways when they host Watford at the Etihad today.
Pep Guardiola is without his two first-choice central defenders after John Stones joined Aymeric Laporte on the injury list.
Brazilian Fernandinho partnered Nicolas Otamendi in the 3-0 Champions League win at Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine on Wednesday but 18-year-old Spanish defender Eric Garcia could be in contention for a start against the Hornets.
The City boss said: “I think already about Watford as we don’t have much time, but to start away in the Champions League with a good result is positive and I know we played really good.
“We created incredible chances and all the guys were fantastic. It’s a good result to start – better than last season.”
Midfielder Fernandinho filled in impressively against Shakhtar but Guardiola admits other options would also need to be explored. Youngster Garcia, who was on the bench in Ukraine, is an alternative but Guardiola may try switching some other senior players around first.
He said: “I didn’t have doubts he (Fernandinho) could do it and he’s going to do it again. But Nico is 31, Fernandinho is 34, and the next alternative is 18. For three or four months I don’t know what will happen.”
Fourth-placed Manchester United travel to West Ham United on Sunday while Tottenham Hotspur, who are third, face a tricky trip to Leicester City.