2019-02-25 by W.M.
EPL Predictions: Picks, Top Players for Week 28 Premier League Fixtures
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Liverpool will continue their crucial week with a clash with Watford in the Premier League on Wednesday.
After a frustrating 0-0 draw against Manchester United on Sunday, the Reds moved back to the top of the table, going a point clear of Manchester City. Following this fixture against the in-form Hornets they have the Merseyside derby with Everton on Sunday.
City will be hoping the Reds slip up and will be big favourites to beat West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium. Elsewhere, there’s a London derby to look forward to, as Tottenham Hotspur seek to get back to winning ways at the expense of Chelsea.
Tuesday, February 26
7:45 p.m. Cardiff City vs. Everton (1-2)
7:45 p.m. Huddersfield Town vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-2)
7:45 p.m. Leicester City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (1-1)
8 p.m. Newcastle United vs. Burnley (1-1)
Wednesday, February 27
7:45 p.m. Arsenal vs. Bournemouth (2-0)
7:45 p.m. Southampton vs. Fulham (2-0)
8 p.m. Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur (1-1)
8 p.m. Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United (1-2)
8 p.m. Liverpool vs. Watford (2-1)
8 p.m. Manchester City vs. West Ham United (3-0)
Sadio Mane, Liverpool
Liverpool supporters would have been disappointed with the manner in which their team failed to spark at Old Trafford in the final third. Mane, in particular, was well below his best.
The Senegalese is so often a huge threat for the Reds, as he brings searing speed and inventiveness to the left flank. Against United there was little of that, as Liverpool laboured in attack and numerous forays forward broke down when the ball got to Mane.
Jack Sear of Goal suggested nervousness may have been behind the poor display by the winger:
Jack Sear @JackSear
What is behind the average performances of the likes of Salah and Mané today? They didn’t get great service but when they had it they simply weren’t good enough. Dare I say it, nerves? Has to be a worry.
However, when the Reds attackers come up against other opponents, they tend to cause major problems for defences, especially Watford:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
📊 Salah, Firmino & Mane have scored a combined 38 PL goals this season – however since Salah’s arrival at Anfield in 2017, they have had only 1 direct goal involvement between them in PL against Man Utd #SuperSunday https://t.co/ZWk3NDH4gr
With Roberto Firmino leaving the game with an injury, there will be extra impetus on Mane and Mohamed Salah on Wednesday when they come up against a dangerous Hornets side.
After an erratic outing at United, Mane will be desperate to bounce back and provide the spark to unlock the Watford defence.
Harry Kane, Tottenham
While Saturday’s loss to Burnley was hugely disappointing for Tottenham, one of the positives to come out of the game was the return of their star striker Harry Kane from injury.
Although he was rusty in his general play, the forward’s goalscoring instincts were still razor-sharp when his opportunity arose. Kane did well to latch on to a long throw from Danny Rose and prod home.
With Chelsea to come on Wednesday and the north London derby against Arsenal on Saturday, having Kane back is a huge boost for manager Mauricio Pochettino.
He’s also been prolific on the road, which will give Spurs hope with the trip to Stamford Bridge in mind:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Harry Kane has now scored 25 Premier League goals away from home since the start of last season; at least five more than any other player.
Back in the team. Back on the scoresheet. 👏 https://t.co/wyFfLZRxqT
If Spurs are to maintain their title charge until the end of the campaign there’s little margin for error at this point. Not winning at Burnley felt like a huge opportunity missed for the side, as they failed to apply pressure to Liverpool ahead of their showdown with Manchester United.
Kane’s return will at least give them a goalscoring presence as they seek to put together a perfect run-in. Given the manner in which Chelsea have defended at times this season, expect the Tottenham No. 10 to have more joy in this encounter.