By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- The Premier League swings back into action for Gameweek 5 after the international break
- Spurs and Liverpool meet at Wembley Stadium in Game of the Week on Saturday lunchtime
- Watford host Manchester United, as rock-bottom West Ham United travel to Everton
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – Following a two-week hiatus, the Premier League kicks back into action with a bang as table-toppers Liverpool visit Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday lunchtime.
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Game of the Week: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30)
Niall: A top of the table clash headlines gameweek five as Tottenham Hotspur host league leaders Liverpool in what could turn out to be a pivotal game in the season.
Spurs are coming off their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Watford who ran out 2-1 winners before the international break. Whether that defeat halted their early season momentum has yet to be seen, but it could be a good time for Liverpool to be facing Spurs. Hugo Lloris is a continued doubt and Harry Kane does not seem fully fit after a frantic summer.
Liverpool are perfect so far this season and sit top of the pile after four games. Jurgen Klopp’s side have not blown everyone away though, having to instead grind out victories over the likes of Leicester City. So far they have shown the quality of a Premier League winning team, but Tottenham is their first major test of the season. This time last year they were thumped 4-1 at Wembley and they will be keen on avoiding a repeat.
That Reds side did not feature Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson however, so you would expect them to be less leaky at the back this time around. Tottenham’s main striker may not be firing but Lucas Moura has filled in the void nicely and might be Spurs’ biggest threat. It should be an entertaining and close affair with plenty of goals to go with it, but calling a winner is challenging so I will sit on the fence.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Liverpool
Neil: This is one fixture that shines from the calendar brightly and rarely lacks goals or value for money. This weekend’s edition should be no different.
As Wembley picks up its temporary housing of the Lilywhites once more, the famous arch may well be set for another classic, with the hosts bent of bouncing back from a surprise defeat to the Hornets a fortnight ago – despite the form of their hosts.
Roberto Firmino finally opened his account for the league season against the Foxes, which I feel was key ahead of this massive meeting in north London.
Whilst my early season prediction that Sadio Mane would outshine Mohamed Salah has so far come to fruition, this is the sort of opportunity the Egyptian thrives on in the wide expanses of Wembley and the Reds talisman has the keys to unlock Spurs’ door in defence.
I cannot see any way this will disappoint, but as Niall rightly states, picking a winner is a tough call. The visitors were outclassed last season in the same fixture, but I just have a feeling Klopp’s men will return to Merseyside with their 100% record in tact. It will be fun seeing if they can get the three points or not.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Liverpool
Neil’s Game of the Week: Watford vs. Manchester United (Saturday, 17:30)
This will again be fascinating to watch, if perhaps not plentiful in terms of goals. Remarkably, Javi Gracia has led the hosts to the top echelons of the Premier League table and are one of only three sides with their 100% record still in tact.
Having overhauled Spurs, the test the Red Devils bring is a different one with many viewing Watford as favourites for this one despite their visiting opponents multi-million pound squad and far more illustrious history.
United are only another defeat from plunging boss Jose Mourinho back into the managerial pressure cooker, and make no mistake the Hornets are primed to sting the visitors here.
Their win against a struggling Burnley last time out was vital in keeping the wolves from the door in Manchester, but this game presents a far greater task. Romelu Lukaku however, is on top form netting twice against the Clarets and three more on duty for his country, so the Watford defence will need to be on their mettle.
I am always cautious with the first game after an international break, and though the hosts were in phenomenal form before the hiatus, I have a hunch their unbeaten record may go here. Nevertheless, I will plump for the score draw.
Prediction: Watford 1-1 Manchester United
Niall’s Game of the Week: Everton vs. West Ham United (Sunday, 16:00)
My one to watch features an Everton side with European aspirations taking on a struggling West ham who are the only side to not register a point this season.
The Toffees are unbeaten in their first four games but the issue is that three of them have been draws. Everton have played well in patches but have struggled to convert their performances into winning ones. They have let leads slip against Wolves and Bournemouth and a draw at home to Huddersfield in a far from convincing result. If Everton are to qualify for Europe this season then this must improve. Marco Silva has yet to fully integrate the new signings into the side and this could be vital for their chances.
West Ham have done that but their form has been far from positive, in fact it has been terrible. Despite making some good signings, the Hammers feel unbalanced and have yet to get the best out of their recruits despite flashes from Felipe Anderson. With the talent they have at the club, Manuel Pellegrini’s team should be doing better than last place, but they face a tough situation much like Crystal Palace last season. The Eagles managed to stay up, can West ham save their season too?
One win may be all it takes for a turnaround at the London Stadium, but that win will be difficult to come by against Everton at Goodison Park. It is one of the most difficult grounds to play at in the Premier League and with the form West Ham are in, it will be difficult to get a result.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 West Ham United
Premier League Game of the Week sees Tottenham Hotspur host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime at Wembley Stadium.
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