LIVERPOOL and Manchester City both won their UEFA Champions League matches in midweek and are expected to do the same when they take on Southampton and West Ham, respectively, in the English Premiership this weekend.
The Reds’ clash with Southampton at Anfield today looks somewhat easier on paper, than Man City’s encounter with the third-placed Hammers at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow.
Liverpool beat Porto with a rather weakened side than they would otherwise use in the Premier League. All the same, it was a good enough unit to see off the threat of the Portuguese visitors and kept their 100% record in the competition intact after five group stage games.
German manager Jurgen Klopp will almost surely recall leftback Andy Robertson and midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, all of whom came on in the second half in midweek and were recently troubled by injury. Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold should also return after having been rested against Porto.
Southampton crashed to a narrow league defeat at the hands of Norwich last weekend.
Prior to that, they impressively picked up 10 points from a possible 12.
Against Liverpool they will attempt to restore the faith and leave Merseyside with something to show for their journey to the north-west of England.
Che Adams and Adam Armstrong have been getting the goals recently and could get in on the act today, as the Saints also look to their joint top scorer in the league, Armando Broja, to help upset their hosts. He has four goals in six appearances.
City’s task will be to consign West Ham to a second successive league defeat, following their loss at Wolves last time out.
Despite this, the Hammers are still fourth in the standings, something that the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal will look scornfully upon.
David Moyes continues to prioritise the league and made the point when Michail Antonio and Lukasz Fabianski did not travel to Austria for the Europa League group stage match with Rapid Vienna on Thursday. Moyes said he was looking to “give all the squad members” playing time.
Whether or not that will be good enough to sidetrack City is another matter. Pep Guardiola’s team put on a polished performance as they came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.
And if the form book holds true, then City should overcome West Ham without much of a fuss.
Wins for both third-on-the-table Liverpool and second-placed City look more than likely at this stage.