Chelsea vs Liverpool
Fresh from their transfer tussle over Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo, Chelsea and Liverpool will do battle on the pitch this Sunday when they open their respective Premier League campaigns at Stamford Bridge.
Both clubs are looking to move on after finishing trophyless last season, with Liverpool also missing out on the Champions League places and Chelsea’s final position of 12th representing their worst Premier League finish since 1993-94.
New Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino could have done without such a stern test right at the start of his Stamford Bridge tenure, having lost each of his last four games against Jurgen Klopp’s men during his spell in charge of Tottenham.
But Pochettino’s players did remain unbeaten in pre-season — unlike the Reds, who shipped a total of 11 goals across their five warm-up matches.
Chelsea lost Christopher Nkunku to injury during their final pre-season game against Borussia Dortmund and the Frenchman now looks set to miss several months of action.
Mykhailo Mudryk could replace him on the left-hand side of Pochettino’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation in the only change from that US Tour match.
That would see Conor Gallagher paired with Enzo Fernandez in the double pivot, with Nicolas Jackson starting in the central striker’s berth.
As for Liverpool, Klopp is likely to name an identical line-up to the one that started in the Reds’ final warm-up game against Darmstadt, with Diogo Jota preferred over Darwin Nunez up front.
Cody Gakpo will drop into a deeper attacking role ahead of the club’s new midfield duo of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominic Szoboszlai.
Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are options if the German coach elects to stiffen up the midfield for this away game, but Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah look certainties to start in the wide positions.