Antonio Conte’s unbeaten start to his Chelsea tenure will face its biggest test when Liverpool visit Stamford Bridge, live on Friday Night.
Last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Swansea is the only blip for a much-improved Chelsea, who have taken 10 points from four games and are back in their familiar spot in the top four after last season’s mid-table slump.
John Terry is out injured so David Luiz is ready to fill in and make a second club debut after his Deadline Day move from Paris Saint-Germain.
The Friday Night Football game will also see two of the most vibrant Premier League managers meet, with Jurgen Klopp full of praise for his opposite number ahead of the game.
“He is a great manager, something like the ‘Pep Guardiola of Juventus’ if you want,” Klopp said. “He looks quite emotional, even when they don’t score. Naijabet odd
“They were champions two years ago and then had a difficult year and they changed their manager,” he added.
“Last season was not a Chelsea season and now they are back on track, so we need to be ready for a real challenge.”
Chelsea are missing Terry with an ankle injury, with the skipper joining fellow centre-back Kurt Zouma on the sidelines. Zouma is a long-term absentee with a knee ligament problem. Squad player Marco van Ginkel is the only other injury concern for the Blues.
Liverpool also have concerns over the fitness of a central defender, although Dejan Lovren is expected to be ready to play after bruising his eye in the win over Leicester. Emre Can is struggling to recover from an ankle injury in time, while Joe Gomez remains out but is inching closer to a return to training.
This will be the 53rd meeting between these two sides in all competitions this century, more than any other two teams in English professional football.
Chelsea have lost just once in their last eight Premier League games against Liverpool, though that was in this fixture last season (W3 D4).
Chelsea have lost just once on a Friday in the Premier League, losing 4-2 to Charlton Athletic in December 2003 (W2 D3).
Liverpool have won four of their last five Premier League games contested on a Friday, losing the other to Arsenal in April 2004.
If Chelsea win, it will be the 27th home win in this fixture in the Premier League (currently 13 each) – no Premier League fixture has had more (Liverpool v Newcastle also 27).
Jurgen Klopp recorded his first Premier League win versus Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in October 2015.
Diego Costa has scored five goals in his last five Premier League appearances, including four in four under Conte this season.
The Reds have scored more Premier League goals in 2016 than any other side (50), with 24 of these coming away from home – a joint league-high alongside Tottenham.
Chelsea have kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 home league games, though this was in their last fixture against Burnley (3-0).
The Blues have won their last two home league games – they’ve not won three in a row at Stamford Bridge since May 2015, when they sealed the Premier League title against Crystal Palace.
Klopp’s side have conceded in each of their last eight Premier League away games – they last went nine without a clean sheet in May 2005.
Conte has not lost any of his last 30 home league matches as a manager (W28 D2 L0) – his last home defeat in league competition came on January 6th 2013 for Juventus against Sampdoria. He has won his last 21 league games at home as a manager.
Chelsea have only allowed their opponents seven shots on target in their four Premier League games (a league-low) but they have conceded four goals from these.