All eyes on Mou, Pogba as Man U visit West Ham
MANCHESTER, Sept 27, (Agencies): Unbeaten Chelsea and Liverpool face off on Saturday at Stamford Bridge in what is the biggest clash of the Premier League season so far. Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool have won all six league games in while Chelsea’s winning streak was ended by a goalless draw at West Ham on Sunday. But Chelsea have the psychological boost of a midweek victory over Liverpool in the League Cup, albeit in a game in which both sides made eight changes.
Klopp knows Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, who scored a brilliant solo winner after coming on as a second-half substitute, represents the biggest threat to his team’s perfect start. The Belgian has been one of the few players who enjoyed a successful World Cup to make an impressive start to the season and he believes the League Cup win will boost the Blues.
“This result will give us more confidence because we drew with West Ham a few days ago,” Hazard said. “But the game on Saturday is more important. We have got to try and beat Liverpool.” Liverpool have won only one of their last five Premier League meetings with Chelsea, including the 1-0 defeat in their last game at Stamford Bridge in May. Watching with interest on Saturday will be champions Manchester City who are also unbeaten with five wins and a draw.
Pep Guardiola’s side will expect to pick up three more points when they host Brighton & Hove Albion at the Etihad. Dale Stephens (hamstring) and Pascal Gross (ankle) are ruled out for Chris Hughton’s side. It has been another testing week for Manchester United who following their 1-1 draw at home to promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers were knocked out of the League Cup by second tier (Championship) side Derby County.
Added to those disappointing results has been the continued tension between manager Jose Mourinho and French midfielder Paul Pogba. United now face a tricky trip to the capital to face West Ham United at London Stadium – the Hammers’ draw with Chelsea following their win at Everton has surely given them the belief they can be the latest to add to Mourinho’s woes.
Tottenham travel North to face bottom club Hudddersfield Town while Arsenal face fourth-placed Watford who have won four of their opening games.
Meanwhile Christian Eriksen faces a race to be fit for Tottenham’s Champions League clash with Barcelona after the Denmark star was ruled out of Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield. Eriksen will miss the Premier League match at the John Smith’s Stadium after suffering an abdomen injury in Tottenham’s win at Brighton last weekend. But Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said his infl uential playmaker still has a chance to be ready for the visit of Spanish champions Barcelona in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday.
Tottenham desperately need to beat Barcelona after losing their opening group match at Inter Milan. “After the game against Brighton he started to feel a small problem in his abdominal,” Pochettino told reporters on Thursday. “I think it’s a small thing. I hope for next week he will be available again. For Barcelona? I hope yes.” Pochettino will also assess the fitness of captain Hugo Lloris, who has not played since injuring his thigh at Manchester United.
France goalkeeper Lloris was recently banned from driving for 20 months after being found guilty of a drink-driving offence in London. “We need to assess him tomorrow. He’s doing very well,” Pochettino added. “The decision will be on Friday if he will be available to play against Huddersfield. “If not we’re going to wait until Wednesday. It depends on tomorrow.”