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PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: Liverpool march towards history as top-four race heats up

By AFP

Added 11th January 2020 02:44 PM

Liverpool's remarkable unbeaten league run has reached 37 matches since they lost at Manchester City in January 2019, putting them just 12 games away from equalling the English top-flight record set by Arsenal's Invincibles in 2004.

PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: Liverpool march towards history as top-four race heats up

Liverpool's Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates after scoring

Liverpool's remarkable unbeaten league run has reached 37 matches since they lost at Manchester City in January 2019, putting them just 12 games away from equalling the English top-flight record set by Arsenal's Invincibles in 2004.

              

Fixtures (1500 GMT)

Saturday

Crystal Palace v Arsenal (1230)

Chelsea v Burnley

Everton v Brighton

Leicester v Southampton

Manchester United v Norwich

Wolves v Newcastle

Tottenham v Liverpool (1730)

 

Sunday

Bournemouth v Watford (1400)

Aston Villa v Manchester City (1630)

 

Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool have put themselves in position for a record-breaking campaign while Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are embroiled in a dogfight for top-four places.

AFP Sport looks at three talking points ahead of this weekend's action:

 

Liverpool have history in their sights

With a 13-point lead at the top of the table and a game in hand to further burnish their advantage, Liverpool go to Tottenham on Saturday as odds-on favourites to win the English title for the first time since 1990.

 iverpools enegalese striker adio ane controls the ball during the nglish remier eague football match between iverpool and orwich ity at nfield in iverpool north west ngland on ugust 9 2019 hoto by li   Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 9, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Jurgen Klopp's side have been so dominant that Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has already conceded the title race is over for his team.

The Reds, who have won 19 of their 20 league games, have the potential to establish themselves as a historically great team as they chase some of English football's most sacred milestones.

Liverpool's remarkable unbeaten league run has reached 37 matches since they lost at Manchester City in January 2019, putting them just 12 games away from equalling the English top-flight record set by Arsenal's Invincibles in 2004.

 iverpools gyptian midfielder ohamed alah controls the ball during the nglish remier eague football match between iverpool and righton and ove lbion at nfield Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield

 

They will reach 110 points if they match their points average for the first 20 games in the final 18, which would obliterate City's record of 100 points set in 2017-18.

Liverpool are only the third Premier League team to go a calendar year without losing, a 12-month period in which they were crowned European and world club champions.

 helsea  and ottenham hope to secure a top four finish at the end of the season Chelsea and Tottenham hope to secure a top four finish at the end of the season

 

After those continental conquests, finally enjoying domestic bliss is Liverpool's holy grail and Klopp can point to last season -- when they held a seven-point lead in the New Year but still lost out to City -- to guard against complacency for the tricky trip to Tottenham.

 

Top-four battle heats up

If Liverpool, Leicester and Manchester City maintain their present pace, only one place will be left for the rest of the Champions League hopefuls to fight over.

Fourth-placed Chelsea hold the advantage at present, but their five-point lead over fifth-placed Manchester United looks far from impregnable.

 ottenham otspurs nglish midfielder ele lli  checks on ottenham otspurs nglish striker arry ane  after he picked up an injury during the nglish remier eague football match between outhampton and ottenham at t arys tadium in outhampton southern ngland  arry ane will be sidelined until pril after ottenham revealed the ngland captain needs surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring Tottenham Hotspur's English midfielder Dele Alli (L) checks on Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (R) after he picked up an injury during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England. - Harry Kane will be sidelined until April after Tottenham revealed the England captain needs surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring.

 

Tottenham, six points behind Chelsea, are in the hunt, while Arsenal, down in 10th but revitalised by new boss Mikel Arteta, still harbour faint hopes of a surge in the second half of the season.

Rocked by the limp manner of their 3-1 defeat against Manchester City in the League Cup semi-final first leg, spluttering United face a must-win clash with rock bottom Norwich at Old Trafford.

 anchester niteds nglish defender randon illiams 2 vies with anchester itys lgerian midfielder iyad ahrez during the nglish eague up semifinal first leg football match between anchester nited and anchester ity at ld rafford in anchester north west ngland on anuary 7 2020 hoto by aul    Manchester United's English defender Brandon Williams (2L) vies with Manchester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester on January 7, 2020. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

"The first half (against City) wasn't a Man United performance. We'll learn from it but it's not going to keep us down," United striker Marcus Rashford said.

Chelsea host Burnley, seeking to prove they can finally replicate their impressive away form, which includes wins at Tottenham and Arsenal, in front of Stamford Bridge fans who have witnessed shock defeats against Bournemouth, West Ham and Southampton this season.

Tottenham have the toughest task of the contenders when they face Liverpool in north London, with leading scorer Harry Kane sidelined until April due to a hamstring injury and Jose Mourinho's team on a frustrating run of one win in their past five games in all competitions.

 

Watford, Southampton rekindle survival hopes

Written off as relegation certainties after a wretched start, Watford have been revitalised by three wins in five league games under new boss Nigel Pearson.

The Hornets were left for dead before the arrival of former Leicester boss Pearson but, with combative forward Troy Deeney back to his best, now they are only two points from safety, with a crunch clash at third-bottom Bournemouth looming on Saturday.

 est am niteds talian defender ngelo gbonna  challenges heffield niteds rench striker ys ousset  during the nglish remier eague football match between heffield nited and est am nited at ramall ane in heffield northern ngland on anuary 10 2020 hoto by li   West Ham United's Italian defender Angelo Ogbonna (R) challenges Sheffield United's French striker Lys Mousset (L) during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and West Ham United at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on January 10, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Southampton had spent time in the bottom three with Watford, with the nadir coming in their 9-0 home humiliation against Leicester.

But Ralph Hasenhuettl's side, who travel to Leicester on Saturday, have climbed five points clear of the relegation zone thanks to five wins in their past eight league games.

"What the team showed after this result (against Leicester) was absolutely outrageous from the mentality, fighting back to a successful way," Hasenhuettl said.

 

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