5 talking points as City look to add to Reds’ woes and United follow up 9-0 rout

PA Sport staff

Manchester City take on Liverpool as Premier League action continues to come thick and fast this weekend.

Manchester United will look to back up their 9-0 win over Southampton when they face Everton, while the Saints will look to bounce back against Newcastle and out-of-sorts Tottenham tackle West Brom.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key talking points ahead of the games.

Top versus Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola meet at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, left, and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola meet at Anfield on Sunday (Martin Rickett/PA)

There is no denying that the most eye-catching fixture of the weekend comes at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Reigning champions Liverpool host current leaders Manchester City knowing that a third home defeat in a row would leave them 10 points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s side.

Jurgen Klopp has a number of issues to resolve if the hosts are to address the shock losses to Burnley and Brighton and drag themselves back into the title picture.

Back pains

Joel Matip was the latest Liverpool defender to be sidelined through injury.
Joel Matip was the latest Liverpool defender to be sidelined through injury (Peter Powell/PA)

One of Klopp’s main problems is the number of defensive injuries which have depleted his squad throughout the season.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have been missing with long-term issues while Joel Matip was recently ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with an ankle injury.

Such absentees, as well as minor issues for the likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, mean Klopp has already named 12 different central defensive partnerships this season.

The double deadline-day signings of Ben Davies from Preston and Schalke’s Ozan Kabak now give Klopp more options at the back, with either or both available to make their debuts against a rampant City.

United on cloud nine but Everton in form

Manchester United equalled the biggest winning margin in Premier League history on Tuesday night.
Manchester United equalled the biggest winning margin in Premier League history on Tuesday night (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton visit Manchester United on Saturday evening knowing their hosts will be brimming with confidence.

The Red Devils thrashed Southampton 9-0 on Tuesday night and remain the closest challengers to their table-topping neighbours.

While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players will no doubt go into the game on a high, Everton’s win at Leeds saw them rack up four consecutive away league victories for the first time in 36 years – a run they will be aiming to extend at Old Trafford.

Saints sinners seeking response

Under-fire Steve Bruce saw his Newcastle side lose to Crystal Palace in midweek.
Under-fire Steve Bruce saw his Newcastle side lose to Crystal Palace in midweek (Stu Forster/PA)

Southampton may have suffered the ignominy of falling to a 9-0 defeat for the second time in two seasons but there is arguably no better game to look for an instant response than a trip to Newcastle.

Steve Bruce’s Magpies looked to have turned a corner with a fine win at Everton but lost at home to Crystal Palace last time out.

Despite Ralph Hasenhuttl overseeing both 9-0 losses he is under far less pressure than Bruce to deliver – due in no small part to the crippling injury list he is dealing with at present.

Can Big Sam bag a win over blunt Spurs?

Jose Mourinho and Sam Allardyce meet at the Hawthorns on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho and Sam Allardyce meet at the Hawthorns on Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA)

Sam Allardyce has never been relegated from the Premier League despite managing seven sides in the division prior to landing the West Brom job in December.

But he has been unable to bring about an upturn in results and the Baggies go into the weekend just a point clear of Sheffield United, who sit at the foot of the table.

Tottenham travel to the Hawthorns desperately missing Harry Kane, scoring just once in the two and a half games the England captain has sat out due to ankle injuries.

Jose Mourinho’s side fell to a limp defeat to Chelsea last time out but will at least be buoyed by their hosts’ appalling defensive record of late – Albion conceding an average of almost three goals a game in their nine Premier League matches under Allardyce.

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