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Top-three all in Saturday action in Premier League this weekend

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LONDON, ENGLAND | Xinhua | Liverpool has an early chance to put pressure on its pursuers in the race for the Premier League title when it opens the weekend’s round of games with a visit to south-west London to face Brentford.

Jurgen Klopp has a long injury list, with players such as Joel Matip, Alisson Becker, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Dominik Szoboszlai all out of the game, meaning that Darwin Nunez will lead the attack.

Brentford returned to form with an impressive win away to Wolves last week and Liverpool will have to deal with Ivan Toney, whose return has helped give pace and power to the home side’s attack.

Arsenal produced its best display of the season to win 6-0 away to West Ham United a week ago and with Martin Odegaard in fine form, it is favorite to take another three points from its visit to relegation-haunted Burnley.

Leandro Trossard will again start in the wake of his impressive display last week for the injured Gabriel Jesus, but Arsenal will have seen how an improved Burnley was slightly unlucky to leave Anfield empty-handed last weekend.

Second-place Manchester City is at home to Chelsea on Saturday, with Pep Guardiola’s side looking in ominous form.

Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne helped to guide it to a 3-1 Champions League win in Copenhagen in midweek and although Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish picked up injuries which will keep them out on Saturday, Julien Alvarez will be rested and ready to start if Guardiola wants to rest any of his frontmen.

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Chelsea has struggled to defend against top sides and this is another big test for Mauricio Pochettino’s side ahead of next weekend’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool.

Tottenham entertains Wolves and its cause is likely to be helped by the season-ending hamstring injury suffered by visiting striker Matheus Cunha and doubts over the fitness of Hwang Hee-chan after the Asian Cup.

Richarlison has shone recently for Tottenham and the return of Hueng Min-son will add extra spice to the game, especially after stories of poor relations among some members of the South Korean squad in the recent tournament.

Newcastle United is without striker Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson as it welcomes the visit of Bournemouth. Before joining Newcastle, coach Eddie Howe spent time watching Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola at work when he was with Rayo Vallecano in Spain and partially adopted Iraola’s high-pressing style.

Aston Villahas slipped out of the top-four after recent results and needs to return to form away to Fulham, although Craven Cottage is a tough ground to visit against a rival that gives little away on its home ground.

Moussa Diaby is in line for a recall for Villa after not starting in last weekend’s defeat at home to Manchester United.

Manchester United is in its best form of the season after three consecutive wins, although Sunday’s visit to play Luton Town could be a litmus test of the season.

Luton wasted a chance to move clear of the bottom three after losing to Sheffield United last weekend, but its role as underdog on Sunday should allow it to sit deep and use the pace of Chiedozie Ogbene and Carlton Morris on the break.

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Sheffield United needs to build on its win at Luton when it entertains Brighton, whose coach Roberto De Zerbi is being linked to FC Barcelona for next season.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest is at home to West Ham, who remains eighth in the Premier League despite not winning a game yet in 2024 and who needs to show an ability to recover following last weekend’s humiliation at home to Arsenal. ■

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