Liverpool criticised for being too open by Sky Sports’ Charlie Nicholas

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicolas believes Liverpool will drop their first points of the season when they visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

What did he say?

If history is anything to go by, the former Arsenal striker could be correct. The Reds have only won at Chelsea in three of their last 10 visits, and the Blues have begun to find form, particularly in front of goal, with 11 goals scored in the Premier League so far.

Both sides will look to bounce back from midweek defeats in Europe but Chelsea’s match against Valencia could still plague them, with Mason Mount suffering an injury which will rule him out of Sunday’s clash.

Despite that, Nicholas thinks the Chelsea front three possesses a real threat, and they could have enough to break down Liverpool.

In his Sky Sports predictions, he said: “I think Frank Lampard wants to attack, which opens up the counter-attack scenario for Liverpool. They both got bad results in Europe through the week, they are making mistakes that they didn’t make last season and you can get at their defence.

“Pedro and Willian behind Tammy Abraham is a trio of danger. They need to find the killer pass in this game, which I think they will.”

As a result, the Scot predicts a 2-2 draw and thus the end of the Reds’ 100% league record, and with Jurgen Klopp’s side losing one of their last 43 Premier League games it seems a safer bet than predicting a home win.

Defensive problems?

Other than their front three, much of Liverpool’s success last season was based on their strong defence.

Alisson kept 21 clean sheets last term, more than any other keeper, but this time around opposition teams have enjoyed more success in front of goal against the Reds.

Of their five league games they have kept only one clean sheet, and also conceded twice in midweek, but most telling is the Super Cup result against Chelsea last month.

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In a closely-fought contest the Blues were able to get at Liverpool’s backline, and as well as scoring two they also had 20 shots, so if they can find Tammy Abraham in promising positions they should find a breakthrough, with the striker scoring seven goals in his previous three Premier League games.

Chelsea, however, are even more open in defence, and the Anfield outfit’s front three should have joy against a team which has conceded 11 goals in five league games – so a 2-2 result isn’t out of the question.

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