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Liverpool v Everton, Emirates FA Cup 3rd round football match, Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, UK - 05 Jan 2018
Football | Premier League Gameweek 24 Game of the Week
Niall: Two sides that had the weekend off square off in what could be a pivotal game in the title race as Liverpool host Leicester in our Game of the Week. The Reds come into this match with a four point advantage over Manchester City and that is in some part down to their opponents on Wednesday. The Foxes proved that they are one of the most dangerous sides outside the top six when they defeated the defending Champions 2-1 at the King Power earlier on in the season.
However since then their form has dropped off a cliff. The Foxes have won only one of their last five in all competitions and the pressure has been mounted on Claude Puel as a result. Leicester are still in the fight for a European place though and could move up to seventh if they manage to shock Liverpool on Wednesday.
The Reds’ success during the first half of the season was in large part down to their defence, but in recent weeks goals have started leaking and that could be a cause for concern. On the other hand the attack is starting to fire more with Mohamed Salah getting in the goals more and more this campaign.
It is likely that Liverpool will get the three points here but they may have to work for it. If Leicester can perfect their counter attacking style in this match-up then they will pose a lot of issues for the league leaders, however at Anfield it is hard to see anything but a Liverpool victory even thought it could be a tough one.
Neil: Liverpool have continued to roll after their defeat to their title rival Citizens at the beginning of the month, but Jurgen Klopp‘s men have survived a few scares along the way – not least last time out against the plucky Eagles.
Fortress Anfield has rather lost its’ fear factor in recent weeks, and as the Reds come against an unpredictable but dangerous Foxes side, Wednesday evening could be another uncomfortable evening for the Kop.
With Salah motoring along in the goal stakes, it has been important that the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have began to share the burden of finding the net. Indeed both the Senegalese and Brazilian are likely to play key roles here.
While I do expect the hosts to come out on top, Leicester have the speed and guile to trouble Liverpool. Demerai Gray showed that against Wolves last time out, and with James Maddison able to unlock the Reds’ defence, it could be a nervy night on Merseyside . But as I say, I expect a home win.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Leicester City
Niall’s One to Watch: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs West Ham United (Tuesday, 19:45)
Last week we had one of the best games of the season between Wolves and Leicester and this one feels like it could be similar, hence why it is my one to watch. This is another one that is likely to be a close match and has European implications. Both sides are very much in the battle for seventh place and as of now are only separated by a single point with Wolves in eighth and West Ham in tenth.
Both sides have also had strange seasons. At times both sides performed extremely well, but at other times they have failed to show up to their full potential and as a result dropped points to sides they should be beating, so who knows which version of both of these sides will show up?
Wolves did get the win in the reverse fixture so you would think they should get the victory at home too, but the hosts have been better away from home this season so this is far from clear cut.
However, back to back defeats including a 4-2 loss to AFC Wimbledon will have knocked the Hammers’ confidence and despite Wolves’ tough trip to Shrewsbury, they seem like the more in form team at the moment
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 West Ham United
Neil’s One to Watch: Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford (Wednesday, 20:00)
In what is the unofficial second north London derby due to the club’s proximity to one another, this one could be very interesting at Wembley Stadium. Spurs have had the sort of week that had in the past been witnessed in the other half of the north of the capital, with Mauricio Pochettino’s men having dumped out of both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in the last seven days.
A response then is a must, but without Dele Alli and Harry Kane still for another month at least, the Lilywhites have their work cut out. Not least against a side who whilst not in their greatest moment, still have the weaponry to shake Spurs up here.
Watford remain unbeaten since the turn of the year also, which makes this one a potential banana skin for the hosts. Son Heung-min may have given his club side an inadvertant boost with South Korea elimination at the hands of Qatar in the Asian Cup, but the man who was in scintillating form before his departure for that tournament is likely to be fatigued and may not be able to aid his side.
Tottenham have their own dangers in their side of course, but after the week they’ve had, their could be more problems here. Do I think they’ll lose? No, but I get a feeling that Watford will make the short trip back to Hertfordshire with a Premier League point in hand.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Watford
Premier League Gameweek 24 Game of the Week sees Liverpool host Leicester City on Wednesday night at Anfield.
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