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Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates scoring his goal to make it 4-0 with his team-mates
Liverpool v Arsenal, Premier League, Anfield, Liverpool, UK - 27 August 2017
Football | Premier League Gameweek 32 Game of the Week
Neil: With just six or seven games left to play this season, the Premier League resumes with double duty for many, however Liverpool will line up just the once this week, whilst title rivals and leaders Manchester City play both home and away in the space of a matter of days.
For the Reds, Tottenham Hotspur roll into Merseyside in what looks like a difficult game especially, despite the Lilywhites’ poor run of form before the international hiatus a fortnight ago.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men have fully regained their title push having lost their lusty Premier League advantage, and as they return home after a nervy 2-1 win against Fulham last time out, the Reds have not dropped league points on Stanley Park in two months. Whilst Mohamed Salah has been waiting what has seemed to be a exhaustive period to notch his 50th top flight goal, Sadio Mane continues to be the man up front with five goals in his last four.
With Spurs playing their first game at their new stadium later next week, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men arrive having lost three of their last four league outings and in desperate need of solace in their battle to stay in the battle for the top four. On the positive side however, Harry Kane is showing signs of life in front of goal and his strikes during the international break will be of promise to the away band of fans here.
That is unlikely to be enough however and with the Reds looking to stay neck-and-neck with the Citizens, I can’t see the hosts slipping up here. Defensively Liverpool are creaking slightly which could see Spurs grab a goal, but that surely will be only a consolation.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Niall: It is fair to say gameweek 32 is potentially big one for both these sides as neither side can afford to drop points in their respective battles. It was only a few months ago that Spurs were considered title challengers alongside their opponents on Sunday, but a dip in form saw them drop 13 points off the pace and right into the top four battle. A defeat on Sunday could see them overtaken by Arsenal and draw level with Manchester United, and that is not a position Pochettino would like to be in with the Champions League quarter final against Manchester City on the horizon.
Liverpool have their own battle with the Citizens to think about as we reach the final leg of the season. The Reds sit two points ahead of the second placed City, but they have played one game more than Pep Guardiola’s side, meaning a loss here could see them overtaken by their rivals who have a game in hand.
The importance of this match for both sides can not be understated, which may make for a cagier game than you expect given the talent on the field. Last season this fixture finished 2-2, but this time around the form suggests that we will be in for a home victory. Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield this season whilst Spurs have lost their last three away Premier League games.
When you also factor in than Liverpool won the reverse fixture 2-1, Klopp can be reasonably confident that his side will grab the three points here. His side are more defensively compact than last year, so a repeat of last season’s fixture is unlikely. Liverpool may prove to be too solid on the day and edge out a narrow win.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Neil and Niall’s One to Watch: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Manchester United (Tuesday April 2, 19:45)
Neil: In what will be the second game of the week, Wolves and Manchester United cross swords once again, just two weeks after their Emirates FA Cup clash, when the men from the Black Country came out on top to reach the last four and earn a trip to Wembley next month.
Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have become a real Premier League outfit this season now sitting in the top seven and are a match for any of the league’s other top six on their day. It is worth remembering that striker Raul Jimenez is still only on loan at Wolves from Benfica, but his 12 league goals alone see the Mexican in the top four table for goals.
For United, not only the continuing battle for the top four come into focus here, but after what he will hope to have been a relatively formulaic win over Watford on Saturday, this will be Ole Gunner Solskjaer‘s second game in charge of the Red Devils in a full-time capacity.
With a UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash with Barcelona on the horizon, the priority now must surely be a top-four finish for Solskjaer to mold his new side over the course of the summer. However, with United having not notched a win against Wolves so far this season, that may prove to be a tall feat here.
Injury permitting, the two sides could take on a very similar look to that of Molineux a fortnight ago and might we see another familiar scoreline? After the two both played 90 minutes over the weekend, this could be a rather cagier affair that we saw last time, and whilst I don’t see the hosts surrendering their unbeaten record against their opponents this term, I also do not see them picking up a win. Score draw.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester United
Niall: Manchester United will get an opportunity to avenge their FA Cup Quarter Final defeat to Wolves when the two sides meet on Tuesday at Mollineux. Santo’s side put in a good performance in that FA Cup clash two weeks ago, one that damned Solskjaer to only his third defeat as Manchester United boss in all competitions.
It appears Wolves play their best football when up against the big boys of the Premier League, as proven with their performances against the top six at home this season.They are however inconsistent, losing matches they were predicted to win against the likes of Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City. These results have prevented Wolves from competing for a top six spot, but a win here we can go towards securing themselves as the seventh best side in the league.
Ole is now permanently at the wheel at Old Trafford and whilst it has certainly felt good so far, we will see how the Norwegian can respond when things are down. Back to back defeats in all competitions is something United fans have not faced since Jose Mourinho’s departure, and three losses in a row could see a turn in mood at the club.
Wolves showed twice this season they know how to get the better of this Manchester United side, and I expect this to be another tough away trip for the Red Devils. Wolves up their game against the top six and their counter attack will give the visitors consistent problems throughout the 90 minutes. However I expect a response from United too, and whilst it could be enough to avoid defeat, I – like Neil – cannot see Wolves coming away from this game with nothing.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester United
Premier League Game of the Week sees Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur clash at Anfield
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