Champions League winners Liverpool take on Europa League winners Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul on Wednesday and we have two best bets to consider.
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Liverpool v Chelsea
- Istanbul, kick-off 2000 BST, BT Sport 2
It’s a glamour friendly in essence, but there is a trophy up for grabs and a traditionally much sought-after one as the Champions League and Europa League winners clash.
The timing and venue though is not ideal with Reds and Blues alike having to schlep across Europe during the week just after the start of the new Premier League season.
The contrast between the teams after just one Premier League game could not be more stark - with the Reds enjoying a commanding win at Anfield over Norwich while the Blues suffered a humbling defeat at Old Trafford.
Chelsea are also in rebuilding mode under new boss Frank Lampard while Jurgen Klopp hardly made a signing to his settled squad over the summer, so confident is he that his team can go again in their pursuit of that elusive Premier League title.
You get the feeling both managers would happily send out their youth sides but they will both be taking it seriously and it may even be of some use to give players who have only just returned to training a chance to garner much-needed match fitness.
The European champions are rightly odds-on favourites given their new standing in the game, but expect it to be a competitive affair despite the inconvenience – there’s no such thing as a Liverpool v Chelsea friendly.
Liverpool’s new goalkeeper Adrian has been thrust into the spotlight after Alisson got injured against Norwich, while Sadio Mane will be itching to start after returning late from the African Cup of Nations.
Klopp will see it as a good chance to give Mane some minutes after coming on as a substitute late in the second half of Friday's win.
He scored 26 goals in all competitions last season, sharing the Premier League Golden Boot with Mo Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and has proved to be a real danger in the box coming in from that left-hand side.
Mane is a tempting 7/5 to score anytime but the 9/2 price on him to score first is more appealing with the expectation that he will get in dangerous positions from the off to trouble a Chelsea defence that looked shaky at Old Trafford.
Another one in the attacking market to look at is Virgil van Dijk. The Dutch centre-back was an instant success after joining Liverpool in 2018, but it took him a little while to get going with goal contributions at the other end.
Considering his physical presence, this was one aspect of his game to improve and, having scored seven in his last 23 appearances for club and country, it is fair to say he has done that to make him an even better player.
One of those goals was a bullet free header against the Canaries and he will want to keep going. With Dejan Lovren absent, you would expect Van Dijk to be starting alongside Joel Matip or Joe Gomez.
There are usually eye-catching Price Boosts available on Van Dijk to score a header, but Sky Bet have a new 'headed shots on target' market and backing the 28-year-old at 9/4 is a great way to go.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Chelsea (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
- Sadio Mane to score first at 9/2 (available at this price exclusively through his link)
- Virgil van Dijk to get 1+ headed shots on target at 9/4
Liverpool v Chelsea Opta stats
- The 2019 UEFA Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea will be the first all English meeting in the competition’s history.
- Five of the last six UEFA Super Cup trophies have been lifted by the reigning Champions League winners (Real Madrid in 2014, 2016 & 2017, FC Bayern München in 2013 and Barcelona in 2015), with the only exception being Atlético de Madrid (Europa League winners) beating Real Madrid 4-2 in 2018.
- This will be the first meeting between Liverpool and Chelsea in European competition since April 2009 in the Champions League, when the two sides played out a 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge in the quarter-final second leg (Chelsea progressed to the semi-final 7-5 on aggregate).
- Liverpool have won just one of their last six matches against Chelsea in all competitions (D3 L2), winning the last such contest between the two sides in the Premier League back in April (2-0), courtesy of goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
- Chelsea have scored in 18 of their last 19 games against Liverpool in all competitions (24 goals in total), with the only exception being a 0-2 defeat at Anfield the last time the two sides met.
- Liverpool will be looking to win back-to-back games against Chelsea for the first time since November 2011, under manager Kenny Dalglish (a run of four consecutive victories against the Blues across all competitions, three of which under Dalglish).
- Since joining Liverpool in October 2015, Jurgen Klopp has won three of his nine matches against Chelsea in all competitions (D4 L2), including just one of the last six (D3 L2).
- Chelsea manager Frank Lampard appeared and started in two of the three UEFA Super Cup finals the Blues have contested, losing 1-4 against Atlético de Madrid in 2012 and losing 4-5 on penalties against FC Bayern München in 2013 (2-2 AET), despite converting his own spot kick.
- Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has scored five goals in his last eight matches in all competitions against Chelsea, with three of those being scored in European competition with FC Basel.
- Olivier Giroud was the top scorer in the UEFA Europa League last season, netting 11 goals for Chelsea on their way to lifting the trophy; since his arrival in England, the Frenchman has scored six goals against Liverpool in all competitions – only against Sunderland (7), Southampton, Newcastle and Aston Villa (8 each) has he scored more.
- Roberto Firmino has faced Chelsea on seven occasions with Liverpool in all competitions without ever finding the back of the net – only against Everton (8) has he made more appearances without scoring.
Odds correct as of 1300 BST on 13/08/19