Week 23: Reds and City set for Anfield thriller

The Premier League returns this week and one game stands head and shoulders above the rest as the two most attacking teams meet on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool take on runaway leaders Manchester City for what should hopefully be a cracker full of goals, thrills and spills.

There is no early game on Saturday, so the weekend gets under way at 3pm for once with Chelsea’s clash with Leicester one of six games kicking off at that time. Tottenham host Everton in the tea-time game and Manchester United conclude week 23 against managerless Stoke on Monday night, but we start this week’s preview at Anfield. Bring it on!

The heavyweights

Georginio Wijnaldum

Liverpool v Manchester City (Sun): The Premier League’s most prolific teams meet on Sunday when Liverpool (50 goals) host Manchester City (64). The Reds are on a 13-match unbeaten run but sold attacking force Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona earlier in the week. Around half of the £146m they got for the Brazilian had already been spent on centre-back Virgil van Dijk who scored the winner on his debut against Everton in the FA Cup.

City remain unbeaten 22 games into the season and they routedLiverpool 5-0 in September when Sadio Mane was sent off while they were already trailing. However, Liverpool have won the last four meetings at Anfield and have not lost this fixture in over 14 years. All three results are possible, but City are favourites.

Chelsea v Leicester (Sat): Third-placed Chelsea have won their last seven Premier League games at Stamford Bridge as they face a Leicester team that ended a four-match winless streak with a 3-0 victory over Huddersfield on New Year’s Day. The Blues have beaten Leicester in the last three encounters, the latest a 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium.

Tottenham v Everton (Sat): Tottenham have one of the most potent attacks in the Premier League as they prepare to face an Everton team that has lacked both a cutting edge and creativity recently, scoring just once in four games. Cenk Tosun is supposedly the man to address the goals element following a £27m move from Besiktas, but he will take time to settle in.

Spurs beat Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park four months ago and they have not lost any of the last 10 clashes between the sides, holding a W5 D3 L0 record at home.

Bournemouth v Arsenal (Sun): Arsenal play their fifth away game in six as they look to boost their Champions League hopes. The Gunners have drawn their last two Premier League games and are five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool. In September, they enjoyed a 3-0 win against Bournemouth, who have lost all seven matches against top-six sides this season and been beaten four times in five by the Gunners. In the last three meetings Arsene Wenger’s side have scored exactly three goals.

Manchester United v Stoke (Mon): Stoke are without a manager, inside the bottom three and have conceded 47 goals this season, seven more than the next worst team, and yet the Potters have drawn against United in the last three meetings, the latest finishing 2-2 at the bet365 Stadium.

Last season’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford was the first time the Potters had taken a point off their rivals away from home in nine attempts so perhaps a repeat should not be expected. United are unbeaten in six, Stoke have lost five of their last seven, but will form prevail? We think so.

The rest of the games

Crystal Palace v Burnley (Sat): The Clarets have kept the fourth highest number of clean sheets in the Premier League this season (10), one of which came in the 1-0 win against Palace at Turf Moor in September. The Eagles have lost just one of their last 11 games and prior to the 0-0 draw with Manchester City had scored exactly two goals in their last six home matches.

Huddersfield v West Ham (Sat): The Terriers have an excellent home record and remain unbeaten against sides outside the top six. The Hammers have lost just one of their previous seven and beat Saturday’s opponents 2-0 in September when Town just didn’t turn up. This one looks like a draw, but it could go any way, but don’t be surprised if it’s a low-scoring affair.

Newcastle v Swansea (Sat): Ten of Newcastle’s 22 matches have finished 1-0 this season as they face a Swansea team also out of form. The Magpies have lost five of their last six home games but bottom-of-the-table City have the worst attack in the Premier League having scored just 13 goals.

Watford v Southampton (Sat): Both teams are woefully out of form and a draw looks on the cards at Vicarage Road. The Hornets have lost six of their last seven Premier League games and Saints are winless in nine. Watford are joint top in the both teams to score table at home so a score draw is a possibility.

West Brom v Brighton (Sat): The Baggies won their first two games but have failed to win since – a run of 20 matches. West Brom have drawn 10 of their 22 games – the most in the Premier League – and Brighton are the next highest with eight, so a share of the spoils is plausible, although the Seagulls won 3-1 at the Amex four months ago.

That’s all for this week folks, so head towards the blue banner and get those predictions in before Saturday’s 3pm deadline. Good luck everyone!