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Liverpool host City; Blues take on Foxes
January 13, 2018
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London: The Premier League returns this weekend after an FA Cup hiatus with a heavyweight clash between Liverpool and Manchester City while Arsenal cannot afford to be cut adrift in the race for Champions League places.

Chelsea take on Leicester in a clash of the past two winners of the Premier League, Spurs host Everton, second-placed Manchester United play Stoke and Arsenal, in sixth spot, travel to Bournemouth.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool host Manchester City on Sunday in the first match since Philippe Coutinho’s big-money transfer to Barcelona.

The club’s “Fab Four” of the Brazilian, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have terrorised opposition defences this season. Liverpool have scored 50 goals in the Premier League, second only to Manchester City, and five more than second-placed Manchester United. And they have shored up their suspect defence by paying an eye-watering £75 million ($102 million, 84 million euros) to Southampton for defender Virgil Van Dijk. Klopp hailed Coutinho’s “professionalism” as the Brazilian secured his dream move. On paper the team still have plenty of goals in them but have they lost the player who made them tick?

The sides who have most troubled Manchester City this season are those who have sat deep and conceded possession to Pep Guardiola’s slick Premier League leaders.

City had a spell when they needed a succession of late goals to see off their opponents, with narrow victories against Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham. But Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, even without the departed Philippe Coutinho, are unlikely to hold back at Anfield, where the home crowd will demand they take the game to City.

Liverpool boast an array of exciting attacking talent but Klopp will have to find a way of knitting it together in the absence of the departed Brazilian. An attacking approach could favour City but if Liverpool find their mojo there could be an upset.

Tottenham vs Everton

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is adamant the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli are going nowhere but can he withstand the pressure in the cut-throat world of top-level football where the natural pecking order usually asserts itself eventually? Kane has hinted that Spurs will need to match his ambitions if they wish to hang on to him.

“I’ve always said, just keep progressing, keep getting better,” Kane said. “We want to start winning trophies so that’s the aim. As long as the club keeps doing that then I’m happy here.”

There is no suggestion that home-grown Kane is agitating for a move, with the club on the verge of moving to a new stadium but Levy sounds confident he can keep the circling sharks at bay. “I’m 100 per cent confident,” he said. “Every single player that we want to keep, I can assure you will be playing for Tottenham Hotspur next season.”

Leicester could face former midfield at Chelsea Leicester’s Premier League-winning midfield of Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante could line up together against their former team for the first time this weekend.

Agence France-Presse

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