Liverpool’s title rivals do battle at the Etihad – Premier League Preview

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The first Premier League fixtures of December take place this weekend, as Liverpool look to return to the top of the table.

The Reds left it late to beat Sunderland last Saturday, with the three points seeing Jurgen Klopp‘s side move temporarily back to the top of the table.

Chelsea‘s 2-1 win at home to Tottenham returned Antonio Conte’s side to the summit later, while Man City defeated Burnley by the same scoreline at Turf Moor.

Arsenal stayed in touch with the frontrunners after seeing off Bournemouth, but Man United could only draw 1-1 with West Ham at Old Trafford. Everton lost 1-0 at Southampton, making it an even better weekend for Liverpool fans.

At the bottom, Sunderland‘s loss to the Reds saw them stay at the foot of the table, with Swansea City and Hull City joining them in the relegation zone.

Swansea’s incredible 5-4 win at home to Crystal Palace was huge, however, and Alan Pardew’s side are now 17th and looking in real trouble.

There are 10 more Premier League matches to look forward to over the next three days – here’s the best of the upcoming action.

Huge Clash At The Etihad

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 15, 2016: Manchester City's goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in action against Everton during the FA Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

These are the games that you can just sit back and enjoy as a Liverpool supporter, with at least one title rival guaranteed to drop points.

In truth, it is Chelsea who could do with being taken down a peg or two.

Antonio Conte’s side are flying at the minute, having won seven Premier League games on the bounce, but this will easily be their biggest test since they lost 3-0 at Arsenal in September.

City don’t look as frightening as they did at the start of the season, but they have so much quality in their ranks that Chelsea will be troubled at the Etihad.

A win for either would be a big statement of intent – a draw would be perfection for the Reds.

Sixth Place Battle for United and Everton

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 4, 2015: A general view of Everton's Goodison Park before the Premier League match against Liverpool, the 225th Merseyside Derby. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)c

Speaking of rivals playing each other, Liverpool’s two greatest enemies, Everton and United, do battle on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides have endured iffy starts to the campaign, with unrest among the fans evident.

They currently sit seventh and sixth in the table, respectively, but if both have genuine top-four aspirations this season, they cannot afford to keep dropping points.

Sunday’s showdown at Goodison Park is a very tough match to predict, but one that could leave at least one set of supporters disheartened come Monday morning.

London Derby at The Olympic Stadium

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 23, 2012: Arsenal's manager Arsène Wenger before the Premiership match against Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Vegard Grott/Propaganda)

West Ham have really struggled to settle into their new surroundings in 2016/17, winning two of their six league games at London Stadium, despite not yet facing any of the top-six there.

Arsenal are the visitors on Saturday evening, and Hammers fans will hope this is the night their season is kick-started.

Relegation remains unlikely, but it is far beyond the realms of possibility.

The Gunners will fancy their chances of overcoming their London rivals, on a nice big pitch in which they can take advantage of space.

Arsene Wenger’s side are going very quietly about their business, but three points this weekend could make people take them more seriously.

Champions Look To Silence The Doubters

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Boxing Day, Saturday, December 26, 2015: Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez in action against Liverpool during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

2016/17 was never going to be a repeat of last season’s title-winning heroics for Leicester City, but some still felt they would be in and around the European places.

The Foxes are really struggling at the moment, however – an easy Champions League group has masked it a little – and they are just two points off the relegation zone.

Key players aren’t performing as well, injuries are creeping in and the individual errors that were non-existent last season are happening too often this time around.

The champions visit Sunderland on Saturday knowing that defeat would be huge cause for concern.

The Black Cats were spirited against Liverpool last weekend and have won two of their last three, so it won’t be an easy afternoon for Leicester.

The End For Pardew?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 8, 2015: Crystal Palace's manager Alan Pardew during the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Palace’s 5-4 defeat to Swansea was an all-time classic Premier League game, but it will have been a really tough one to take for Pardew.

The Eagles’ manager has endured a miserable 2016, winning just four times in the league, and he is on the cusp of losing his job.

Palace welcome Southampton to Selhurst Park on Saturday, and if they once again head home with nothing, it will surely spell the end for Pardew.

Saints are a dangerous team on their day, and they are playing with a confidence that should worry Palace supporters.

The Premier League could be about to suffer its latest managerial casualty.

Fixtures & UK TV Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, November 29, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp gives the thumbs up during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match against Leeds United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Man City vs. Chelsea – Saturday 12:30pm, Sky Sports 1
Prediction: 1-1

Crystal Palace vs. Southampton – Saturday 3pm
Prediction: 2-2

Stoke vs. Burnley – Saturday 3pm
Prediction: 2-1

Sunderland vs. Leicester – Saturday 3pm
Prediction: 1-1

Tottenham vs. Swansea – Saturday 3pm
Prediction: 2-0

West Brom vs. Watford – Saturday 3pm
Prediction: 1-0

West Ham vs. Arsenal – Saturday 5:30pm, BT Sport 1
Prediction: 1-2

Bournemouth vs. Liverpool – Sunday 1:30pm, Sky Sports 1
Prediction: 0-2

Everton vs. Man United – Sunday 4pm, Sky Sports 1
Prediction: 1-1

Middlesbrough vs. Hull – Monday 8pm, Sky Sports 1
Prediction: 2-1

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