Thursday, 28 July 2016

Chelsea vs Liverpool International Champions Cup Match Preview And Prediction - July 28, 2016

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New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte faces his first real test in the coming weeks as Chelsea face off against Liverpool, Real Madrid, and AC Milan in the International Champions Cup. Of course, the pressure is fairly low due to it being a friendly tournament, and there are a lot of players being rested after Euro 2016, but it still provides him with some top quality opposition ahead of the start of the Premier League season.

Conte’s reign as Chelsea manager didn’t get off to the best start as a relatively strong squad lost 2-0 to Rapid Vienna in their opening pre-season friendly game, but he did manage to get a win under his belt as they beat Wolfsberger AC 3-0 courtesy of goals from youngsters Bertrand Traore, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Nathaniel Chalobah.

This was Chelsea’s first win in six games in all competitions, but Conte will be expected to drastically improve on that sort of record. They will have to do without new signing N’Golo Kante for this friendly tournament though, whilst Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois are expected to sit this game out due to their Euro 2016 efforts.

Liverpool are missing a few players of their own. Mamadou Sakho was sent home after a row about his attitude. The centre back was apparently unhappy at having to travel to America knowing full well that his achilles injury would prevent him from playing any of the matches. Joe Allen, Jordan Ibe, Martin Skrtel, and Kolo Toure have all left the club as well, whilst Emre Can and Divock Origi are expected to be rested after Euro 2016.

They do have new arrivals Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum available though, and both will be keen to make their mark on the Liverpool squad ahead of the new season.

Liverpool have already played four pre-season friendlies as well, beating Tranmere Rovers, Fleetwood Town, Wigan, and Huddersfield. They have scored ten goals and conceded none during this period, but this will be a much tougher test for the players.

Both of these sides have an almost full strength attack available to them, but both are also missing a few key defensive players. This, in addition to it being a friendly tournament, should make for a fairly high scoring game. My prediction is for both teams to be able to find the net due to this, so I’m backing Both Teams to Score at 8/11 alongside a 2-1 win for Chelsea at 8/1 for my correct score prediction.

Recent history between these two sides has been fairly even, with Chelsea winning two, drawing three, and losing one of their last six meetings with Liverpool.

Chelsea have seen both teams score in 71% of their last seven games.

Youngsters Kurt Zouma and Mario Pasalic will miss out through injuries, whilst John Obi Mikel has begun preparations for the Olympics with Nigeria. New signing N'Golo Kante has been left out after reaching the final of Euro 2016. Belgian trio Michy Batshuayi, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have travelled with the squad but are unlikely to take part in the first game due to their Euro 2016 involvement.

New signing Ragnar Klavan is suffering from a back injury, whilst Mamadou Sakho has been sent home due to attitude problems. New signing Georginio Wijnaldum has joined up with the squad in America, whilst fellow newcomers Sadio Mane, Loris Karius, Alexander Manninger, and Joel Matip are all present. Liverpool will have to deal without departed players Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure, Jordan Ibe, and Joe Allen though, whilst Emre Can and Divock Origi are likely to be rested after his Euro 2016 exploits

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