Could we see the game of the season at Anfield on Sunday? – Premier League Preview

12 January 2018

The Premier League is back this weekend, and though some interesting action takes place on Saturday, the clash at Anfield 24 hours on stands out.


Liverpool made it through to the fourth round of the FA Cup in their last outing, seeing off Everton thanks to debutant Virgil van Dijk‘s late winner.

Cup commitments are replaced by the welcome return of league action this weekend, as the second half of the season kicks into gear.

There are 10 matches to keep an eye on over the next three days—here’s what is on offer.

 

One To Watch: Liverpool vs. Man City

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 9, 2017: Liverpool's Sadio Mane looks dejected after being sent off during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s visit of Man City on Sunday afternoon feels like it could be the best match of the season.

The two sides play the most attack-minded, aesthetically pleasing football in the country, and both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will be out to entertain the masses, and win.

The Reds’ 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the Premier League‘s runaway leaders in September was ruined by Sadio Mane‘s first-half sending off—it would be a mighty shame if similar happened again.

With every week that passes, the more City look as though they may genuinely go unbeaten in the league in 2017/18, and you have to hold your hands up and respect how brilliant they have been.

This should be one of their sternest tests of the campaign, though, and it could easily be a victory for Liverpool.

Anfield will be rocking under the lights, and although Philippe Coutinho has now departed for Barcelona, the Reds have more than enough quality to get the better of the visitors.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Mohamed Salah will be back, Sadio Mane is showing signs of returning to top form, Roberto Firmino is thriving and the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana can also be potent weapons.

Guardiola’s side are magnificent, of course, and if the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero gel, it could be a long afternoon.

Expect plenty of goals, sumptuous football and, hopefully, a memorable win for Klopp’s men. They are more than capable of it.

 

One To Avoid: Watford vs. Southampton

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 26, 2017: Southampton's manager Mauricio Pellegrino during the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Southampton at the John Smith's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The title race may effectively be over, but the top-four battle and relegation fight will make for a very entertaining four months between now and May.

There are, however, those teams that will likely not be involved in either, and two of them do battle at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

Watford entertain Southampton, which may as well be dubbed ‘The Battle of the Adequate Premier League Teams’.

Admittedly, Saints are currently in a very precarious position in 17th, but they should have enough quality to pull clear over time.

Former Liverpool centre-back Mauricio Pellegrino is under real pressure, and a change of manager is beginning to make sense for the south-coast club.

Watford, meanwhile, are sitting comfortably in 10th, and while Marco Silva deserves praise for such a solid league position, they don’t have much to play for already.

Neither team is famed for playing the most gung-ho football around, particularly the visitors, and it is hard to see this being much of a spectacle.

It is likely to be a hard-fought, low-scoring draw, or a narrow win either way.

 

Potential Upsets: Chelsea vs. Leicester & Bournemouth vs. Arsenal

LONDON, ENGLAND - Friday, August 11, 2017: Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Liverpool facing a daunting challenge against City, the Reds’ top-four rivals will see this weekend as a possible chance to make up ground or pull clear of them.

Chelsea are two points ahead at the moment in third place, but they will have their work cut out against a tricky Leicester City side who showed what a handful they can be at Anfield last month.

The Blues have that ability to grind out wins, as they showed on their way to winning the title last season, but they will have to perform to get all three points on Saturday.

Leicester have players who can hurt you, most notably Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Demarai Gray, and their counter-attacking quality is lethal.

You would expect Chelsea to have a little too much class for their opponents, but equally you would not be left stunned if Claude Puel’s men returned home with a positive result.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 13, 2016: Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger before the FA Premier League match against Everton at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The following day, Arsenal head to Bournemouth fresh off the back of FA Cup elimination and a draw in the League Cup semi-final first leg.

Arsene Wenger finds himself under big pressure yet again, and failure to overcome the Cherries this weekend would cause yet more negativity.

The hosts can be awkward to face on their day, especially with them scrapping for survival, and you could easily see the Gunners coming unstuck.

Last season’s 3-3 draw at Dean Court was a superb game—more of the same would be great for the neutral.

 

Fixtures, UK TV Info & Predictions

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 5, 2017: Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates scoring the first goal against Everton during the FA Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday

Chelsea vs. Leicester – 3pm
Prediction: 1-1

Crystal Palace vs. Burnley – 3pm
Prediction: 2-1

Huddersfield vs. West Ham – 3pm
Prediction: 1-1

Newcastle vs. Swansea – 3pm
Prediction: 1-0

Watford vs. Southampton – 3pm
Prediction: 0-0

West Brom vs. Brighton – 3pm
Prediction: 2-1

Tottenham vs. Everton – 5:30pm, BT Sport 1
Prediction: 1-0

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, January 5, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the 2-1 victory over Everton during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 230th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sunday

Bournemouth vs. Arsenal – 1:30pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 2-2

Liverpool vs. Man City – 4pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 2-2

Monday

Man United vs. Stoke – 8pm, Sky Sports Main Event
Prediction: 2-0

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