Chelsea-Liverpool Preview

Jurgen Klopp "was never in doubt" about the togetherness of his Liverpool squad after seeing his side return to winning ways in time for Thursday's top-four showdown with Chelsea.

The fallen champions brought an end to a four-game losing run in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory at bottom side Sheffield United on Sunday.

Klopp has already conceded that retaining the title Liverpool won last year is no longer a possibility, but the Reds now face a battle to secure Champions League football.

Fifth-placed Chelsea are one point better off than Liverpool, while West Ham are a further point ahead in fourth, setting up a huge clash at Anfield between the heavyweight clubs.

"The Sheffield United win was very big, very big," Klopp said. "We needed the points obviously to get kind of in contact with the teams above us, so it was very important.

"But I was never in doubt about the togetherness of this team. We win a game, we showed togetherness obviously for everybody.

"We don't win a game and people guess we are not together. It's not as easy as that. It was another special week."

Chelsea are now unbeaten in nine matches under head coach Thomas Tuchel in all competitions, but they have drawn their last two in the Premier League.

On the back of a 0-0 draw against second-placed Manchester United, however, Tuchel is pleased with the ground made up on the top four by his side since taking over in January.

"We are in the middle of a battle to the top four. We have closed the gap quickly and now is the moment to hang in and to show performances every three or four days," he said.

"I feel the team is very competitive and difficult to play against. We will be able to win games. We are still in the battle and that's the good news."

Liverpool - Sadio Mane

Mane has scored seven goals in his previous 16 appearances against Chelsea in all competitions - only against Crystal Palace (10) and Aston Villa (eight) has he netted more times against since moving to English football.

The Senegal international has gone off the boil somewhat with only two goals in his last nine matches, but this may just be the perfect fixture to kickstart his campaign.

Chelsea - Olivier Giroud

Tuchel has put his faith in Giroud to lead the line and the World Cup-winning striker has two goals in his last three games in all competitions, albeit the most recent of those matches being the stalemate with United.

Giroud tends to do well against Liverpool, too, having scored seven Premier League goals against them - only against Villa and Newcastle United (nine each) does he have more in the competition - with four of those coming at Anfield.

- Liverpool have won each of their last four Premier League meetings with Chelsea, netting 11 goals and conceding four. The only team to win five in a row against the Blues in the competition is Blackburn Rovers (seven between February 1993 and May 1996).

- Chelsea have lost their last two away league games against Liverpool, last losing more consecutively at Anfield between September 1992 and October 1997 (six).

- Of all the 15 fixtures between the six ever-present Premier League sides, only Everton v Manchester United (1) has seen fewer goalless draws than matches between Chelsea and Liverpool (three).

- Chelsea have won just 10 per cent of their 10 Premier League games against Liverpool taking place between Monday-Friday (W1 D4 L5), compared to 40 per cent against the Reds at the weekend (W19 D10 L18).

- Liverpool have lost each of their last four Premier League home games, which is as many as they had in their first 100 at Anfield under manager Klopp. The Reds have never lost five consecutive home games in their history, either in the league or all competitions.

Updated March 2, 2021