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Premier League Saturday preview: Title-chasers target maximum points

Uwem Jnr (ANE Staff)



Jurgen Klopp will order Liverpool to build on Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Ajax when the champions round off a pulsating day of Premier League action.

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The Reds were held to a 2-2 draw by neighbours Everton last Saturday having been battered 7-2 by Aston Villa before the international break.

They returned to winning ways in midweek on their travels in the Champions League — and Klopp (pictured above) will demand more of the same when Sheffield United head to Anfield tonight.

Elsewhere, big-spending Chelsea travel to Manchester United, while improving West Ham kick off the action at lunchtime against Manchester City.

West Ham vs Manchester City (12.30pm, BT Sport)

West Ham must overcome a rotten head-to-head record if they are to take anything from their meeting with Manchester City.

The Hammers enter the clash in high spirits after coming from 3-0 down to secure an unlikely draw against Tottenham last Sunday.

But they have lost their last five home meetings with City by an aggregate score of 22-1.

Pep Guardiola has won all nine of his career meetings with the Londoners and will be confident of extending that run following his side’s 3-1 Champions League win over Porto in midweek.

While Sergio Aguero is in line to start for the visitors, the clash is likely to come too soon for Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne.

West Ham are expected to have Michail Antonio and Sebastien Haller available in attack after the duo shrugged off knocks.

Fulham vs Crystal Palace (3pm, BT Sport Box Office)

Fulham will look to build on last Sunday’s draw with Sheffield United when inconsistent Crystal Palace visit Craven Cottage.

Scott Parker’s men were more than worthy of their point at Bramall Lane as they finally kick-started their season after four league defeats.

Parker is likely to go with the same starting XI he fielded in Yorkshire, although both Harrison Reed and new signing Terence Kongolo are in contention to feature.

Palace are winless in three league matches after making a promising start with victories over Southampton and Manchester United.

Roy Hodgson’s men conceded a 90th-minute equaliser to draw 1-1 with rivals Brighton last time out but were fortunate to secure a point after failing to muster a single shot in open play.

And Hodgson will almost certainly consider changes, with at least one switch forced through Gary Cahill’s injury.

Manchester United vs Chelsea (5.30pm, Sky Sports)

Manchester United are aiming to register a third straight Premier League victory over Chelsea for the first time since 1965 when Frank Lampard’s men visit Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be buoyed by an unlikely midweek triumph over Paris Saint-Germain but must overcome what has been a wretched start at home this term.

Like United, Chelsea have struggled for consistency.

A 3-3 draw against Southampton once again higlighted their vulnerability but Lampard was far happier with a clean sheet in a goalless draw against Sevilla on Tuesday.

United could bring back Harry Maguire and Mason Greenwood but Anthony Martial misses out through suspension.

The visitors are likely to be unchanged from the Sevilla game as keeper Edouard Mendy hunts a third consecutive clean sheet.

Liverpool vs Sheffield United (8pm, Sky Sports Box Office)

Klopp begins Premier League life without Virgil van Dijk when Liverpool entertain struggling Sheffield United.

The Reds boss was furious after the centre-back was ruled out for the season following a rash Jordan Pickford challenge at Goodison Park.

Klopp’s men coped without Van Dijk to seal victory in Amsterdam and Fabinho is likely to retain his spot in the back four in the Dutchman’s absence.

Thiago Alcantara and Georginio Wijnaldum may also return after sitting out the European encounter.

Chris Wilder’s Blades defied the odds last season in securing a top-half finish but have been disappointing so far, losing their four opening fixtures before scraping a fortunate draw against Fulham.

Wilder is without long-term absentees Jack O’Connell, John Fleck and Lys Mousset but Rhian Brewster may get the chance to haunt his old club in attack.

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