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Liverpool hoping for another Ryan Babel goal – Premier League Weekend Preview

There are crucial matches to look forward to at both ends of the table this weekend, as the Premier League makes a welcome return.

The last international break of the season is done and dusted – we can all rejoice!

The break from domestic action has at least given Liverpool supporters a chance to breathe, ahead of a nerve-jangling title run-in.

The Reds won 2-1 at Fulham last time around to go two points clear of Man City having played a game more, and a big test at home to Tottenham awaits on Sunday.

That is just one of 10 Premier League games on offer—here’s a look at the other matches taking place.

 

Fulham vs. Man City – Saturday, 12.30pm – Sky Sports Main Event

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 9, 2019: Manchester City's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Watford FC at City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool came perilously close to dropping points at Fulham in dismal fashion in their last outing, but James Milner saved the day late on.

The Reds will now be looking for a big favour from the west Londoners, however, as they host City on Saturday lunchtime.

The champions have been relentless since losing at Newcastle in late January, winning every league game and making themselves odd-on favourites to retain their title.

If Ryan Babel could turn into Lionel Messi for the afternoon that would be much appreciated—but just another two-yard tap-in would work equally well.

Prediction: Fulham 0-3 Man City

 

Brighton vs. Southampton – Saturday, 3pm

Brighton & Hove Albion's Pascal Gross (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images)

A huge relegation clash takes place at the Amex Stadium, as south coast pair Brighton and Southampton lock horns.

Neither side was expected to be in the fight for survival back in August, but they have suffered below-par campaigns and now sit 15th and 16th, respectively.

Brighton have a game in hand which makes their plight less serious, but defeat to Southampton would be a huge blow.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has done a good job despite his team’s league position and Saints will pick up at least a point this weekend.

Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Southampton

 

Burnley vs. Wolves – Saturday, 3pm

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Thursday, August 16, 2018: Burnley's manager Sean Dyche during the UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match between Burnley FC and ?stanbul Ba?ak?ehir at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Much like Brighton and Southampton, Burnley were not generally seen as one of the division’s likely strugglers at the start of the season.

They are just one place and two points ahead of 18th-place Cardiff, though, and have played one game more than their rivals.

Sean Dyche’s men host Wolves this weekend—a team who have excelled in 2018/19 and look relatively strong candidates to finish seventh.

Burnley won’t lose—Wolves may start thinking about the FA Cup semi-finals a little too much—but it is also difficult to see them having enough to pick up all three points.

Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Wolves

 

Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield – Saturday, 3pm

LONDON, ENGLAND - Monday, August 20, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita and Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend during the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Crystal Palace have, predictably, pulled clear of danger in recent weeks, with the quality in their squad always making relegation unlikely.

Another win is on offer on Saturday afternoon when doomed Huddersfield make the journey to Selhurst Park.

The Terriers are simply playing for pride this season and it is hard to envisage them having the intensity or class to cause Palace many problems.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-0 Huddersfield

 

Leicester vs. Bournemouth – Saturday, 3pm

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 1, 2018: Leicester City's Ben Chilwell and Liverpool's Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is one of two instantly forgettable fixtures over the weekend, as we start seeing the first ‘pointless’ games of the campaign.

Leicester and Bournemouth both play good football in fairness, which may make it an entertaining contest, but they have little to play for.

Relegation has never been a concern for an admittedly out-of-form Cherries side, while seventh place is looking unlikely for Leicester, considering the form of Wolves.

Brendan Rodgers has made a promising start as Foxes boss and he will be looking for a second home win in a row since taking charge.

Prediction: Leicester 2-0 Bournemouth

 

Man United vs. Watford – Saturday, 3pm

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 12, 2019: Manchester United's goalkeeper David de Gea during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Manchester United FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s bubble has burst ever-so-slightly in the last few weeks, following back-to-back defeats away to Arsenal (Premier League) and Wolves (FA Cup).

With a Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona to look forward to, and looking well-placed to finish in the top four, they have handed the Norwegian the full-time job.

Victory at home to Watford this weekend would steady the ship after those poor recent results, although the Hornets are an awkward side with an FA Cup final potentially in their sights.

Home advantage will likely help United get over the line, but they won’t have it all their own way.

Prediction: Man United 2-1 Watford

 

West Ham vs. Everton – Saturday, 5.30pm – BT Sport 1

LONDON, ENGLAND - Monday, February 4, 2019: West Ham United's manager Manuel Pellegrini during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Leicester vs. Bournemouth was a stinker, this could be even worse.

West Ham and Everton are in action at the London Stadium for the Saturday evening affair—a match that neutrals might opt against tuning in for.

Mid-table finishes are looking highly likely for the pair, with Everton‘s win over Chelsea a big result in their season.

The final outcome isn’t likely to be too meaningful in the grand scheme of things.

Prediction: West Ham 2-2 Everton

 

Cardiff vs. Chelsea – Sunday, 2.05pm – Sky Sports Main Event

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)

Prior to Liverpool taking on Spurs, Chelsea face a trip to Cardiff in a match that could have big bearings on the top-four battle and relegation fight.

On paper, the Blues should dominate their opponents and win with ease, but they are still not firing under Maurizio Sarri and look like dropping regular points.

Any Neil Warnock team will refuse to go down without a fight and they will make matters uncomfortable for Chelsea.

The visitors may just nick it, but they will know that they have been in a game when the final whistle blows.

Prediction: Cardiff 1-2 Chelsea

 

Arsenal vs. Newcastle – Monday, 8pm – Sky Sports Main Event

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Boxing Day, Wednesday, December 26, 2018: Newcastle United's manager Rafael Benitez waves as the Liverpool supporters sing his name after during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The weekend action finishes on Monday when Arsenal take on Newcastle at the Emirates.

The Gunners will be eyeing up a third-place finish considering their kind run-in, with Spurs now only a point ahead of their north London adversaries, with Liverpool and City to visit.

Unai Emery has enjoyed a positive season overall and it would be a surprise if his side didn’t overcome Rafa Benitez’s outfit.

The Magpies have been in good form recently, winning three of their last five fixtures and jumping to 13th, but they won’t trouble Arsenal too much.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle

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