Liverpool were finally confirmed as Premier League champions last week, congratulations to them. However, this midweek sees more crucial games going ahead for the sides battling for a top four finish or hoping to avoid relegation.
Manchester City v Liverpool
Liverpool’s first game as the new Premier League champions will be at the side they are replacing as current champions, Manchester City. The Blues are expected to give the Reds a guard of honour but will then be keen to get one over on their rivals.
City’s recent 2-1 defeat at Chelsea was their eighth of the season, which means they have double the number of league losses compared to last season. It was also their second defeat in five games, but they responded well at Newcastle at the weekend, winning 2-0 to progress to the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Liverpool swept Crystal Palace aside at Anfield last week, beating them 4-0, which means they haven’t conceded a goal since returning from lockdown.
When the sides met earlier in the season, Liverpool won 3-1, thanks to goals from Fabinho, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane; Bernado Silva grabbed a consolation goal for City. The Reds record at the Etihad isn’t a great one though, and although they won there 2-1 during their successful Champions League campaign in 2018, they have only won there once in the past decade in the Premier League.
This is a fixture that usually returns goals, with these sides scoring 147 league goals between them so far this season, but what the approach will be on Thursday remains to be seen.
West Ham v Chelsea
There is a big London derby on Wednesday night as Champions League chasing Chelsea, visit relegation threatened West Ham.
Chelsea have won all three games since returning from lockdown, this has included a 2-1 league success over Man City and a 1-0 win at Leicester, which has seen the Blues reach the FA Cup semi-finals. They currently sit in fourth place, just one point behind the Foxes and two points clear of fifth-placed Wolves.
West Ham are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference and have lost both their games 2-0 since lockdown, at Spurs and at home against Wolves. This is another difficult game for the Hammers, but they do have a decent record against Chelsea.
When the sides met in November at Stamford Bridge, West Ham won 1-0 thanks to an Aaron Cresswell strike and they are unbeaten in their last two games at the Olympic Stadium against the Blues.
Brighton v Manchester United
Manchester United travel to Brighton on Tuesday night with both sides needing the points for different reasons.
United have dropped down to sixth place in the race for a top four finish and are now five points behind Chelsea. They comfortably beat Sheffield United last week, thanks to an Anthony Martial hattrick, but needed extra time to get past Norwich in the FA Cup at the weekend.
A 2-1 win over Arsenal, followed by a hard-earned point at Leicester, has seen Brighton move six points clear of the relegation zone, so they will be keen to continue their run and move further away from danger.
Both of United’s visits to the Amex Stadium in the Premier League has seen them come away with defeats, so can they break that hoodoo to stay in touch with the top four?
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