Date
17 December 2017
Liverpool's Raheem Sterling celebrates his second goal against Norwich City during their English Premier League soccer match at Carrow Road in Norwich. Photo: Reuters
Liverpool's Raheem Sterling celebrates his second goal against Norwich City during their English Premier League soccer match at Carrow Road in Norwich. Photo: Reuters

Weekend preview: Why the Premier League needs a Liverpool win

By Tim Bredbury

This weekend, we look at two games from opposite ends of the Premier League.

At the bottom, Sunderland and Cardiff are both desperate for wins to dig themselves out of the bottom three and avoid the dreaded drop zone.

With a game in hand, Sunderland could sneak their way out but they cannot afford any slip-ups in their final four games.

Manager Gus Poyet deserves credit for giving them a chance with excellent results against Manchester City (2-2) and a win over title challengers Chelsea (2-1) in their last game.

After Cardiff, Sunderland play Manchester United, West Brom and Swansea City, so the run-in could see them take points against fellow strugglers.

United will the interesting match-up to see if they can turn their form around after the sacking of manager David Moyes but, three points could be possible.

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows the importance of this game and is referring to it as a Cup final.

As a player, he is the sort you would want in your side to score you the winner, but as a manager, he will have to let his side do the playing. With his limited experience on the sidelines, this will be a huge test for him.

Sunderland have the momentum plus the home advantage, so I think Poyet can get them another three points.

Prediction: Sunderland home win

Chelsea’s mid week 0-0 draw against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-final could be a blessing for Liverpool as Jose Mourinho now needs to decide which is the club’s priority — is it the Premier League title or a possible European Championship?

Chelsea have lost the services of goalkeeper Petr Cech for the rest of the season and captain John Terry is also doubtful after colliding with teammate David Luiz and damaging his ankle.

Liverpool at home and with the form of Luis Suarez and in particular Raheem Sterling will test whichever side Mourinho decides to field at Anfield.

Against Norwich, Liverpool did poorly but got the result they needed. The top sides all need to have a player or players who will step up when things are not going well and either create some magic or score a goal or two to get the team over the line. In the Norwich game, Sterling did both.

If manager Brendan Rogers wants Liverpool to play a possession-based game, then it needs to be done higher up the field with the option of playing back to defenders and goalkeeper as and when needed.

Anfield will be a huge test for Chelsea, the crowds are in good voice and the players know that the title is within their grasp. For me, they have Lady Luck on their side and this is vital.

Two players on loan from Liverpool may have helped the Reds get into this title-winning position, with Oussama Asaidi’s winner for Stoke and Fabio Borini’s winner for Sunderland both against Chelsea denting the challenge of the London side.

With no Manchester United in the frame, I believe the Premier League and its global audience wants and needs a Liverpool win.

Prediction: Liverpool home win

Tim Bredbury played for the Hong Kong team and is currently a coach

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RA

 

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