Liverpool ready for ‘proper challenge’ at Watford – 5 talking points for the Premier League weekend

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Claudio Ranieri makes his Premier League return on Saturday when he takes charge of his first match as Fulham manager against Southampton.

Bottom club Fulham are bidding for their first win in 10 Premier League games, while Tottenham’s clash with London rivals Chelsea at Wembley is another stand-out fixture.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the Premier League’s main talking points ahead of matchday 13.

 

Can ‘Tinkerman’ Inspire Fulham?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 10, 2016: Leicester City's manager Claudio Ranieri during the FA Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ranieri defied odds of 5,000-1 to guide former club Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016 and he must work his magic again in order to keep Fulham in the top flight this season.

Their solitary league win was against Burnley back in August and all eyes will be on Craven Cottage on Saturday to see if the ‘Tinkerman’ can inspire his new club—who appointed him earlier this month after sacking Slavisa Jokanovic—to a much-needed win.

 

Blues’ Unbeaten Run on the Line

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 26, 2018: Chelsea's manager Maurizio Sarri during the pre-match warm-up before the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Tottenham can leapfrog London rivals Chelsea into third place with victory in front of a bumper Wembley crowd in the evening kick-off on Saturday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won their last four league and cup games, while Maurizio Sarri is unbeaten in all competition bar the Community Shield since replacing Antonio Conte in July.

With both sides starting the season so well, something may have to give.

 

Hammers Batten Down the Hatches

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 24, 2018: West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The London Stadium is a happy hunting ground for champions Manchester City, who have scored 13 goals in their previous three games there against West Ham.

Pep Guardiola’s side have launched their Premier League title defence in imperious fashion—unbeaten in domestic competition and chasing an eighth-straight win.

The Hammers will slide further towards the bottom three if they lose for a fourth time at home this season.

 

Wolves’ Critics Still Howling

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo (Dave Thompson/PA Wire)

Wolves have the quality to thrive in the Premier League.

In their previous match only a late equaliser denied them at Arsenal, but they will be hoping their fine start is not overshadowed by continued speculation over their relationship with agent Jorge Mendes.

Sunday’s opponents Huddersfield, second from bottom and desperate for points, are unbeaten in two and ready to pounce if Nuno Espirito Santos’ side are distracted.

 

Reds Ready for ‘Proper’ Challenge

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 20, 2018: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Huddersfield Town FC and Liverpool FC at Kirklees Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool let two points slip in a six-goal thriller at Vicarage Road last season and victory against Watford on Saturday will probably be required this time round if they are to keep pace with Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp has described Watford as “a proper package.”

The Hornets have never gathered 20 points after 12 games in a top-flight season before and—with manager Javier Gracia poised to sign his new contract—an upset and a sixth win of the season would do nicely.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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