London: This weekend may see the final of the Carabao Cup between Manchester City and Chelsea, but for most football fans, there is only one big game in England this weekend and that is what promises to be a no-holds-barred showdown between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford.
The Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry is the most bitter in all England and United fans know they have the chance to hand a serious blow to Liverpool’s ambitions of lifting the English Premier League title for the first time in 30 years, reports Xinhua news agency.
Liverpool make a trip from Anfield to Old Trafford, level on points with Manchester City, but with a game in hand over their nearest rivals, who this weekend swap the Etihad Stadium for Wembley.
A win would see Liverpool go three points clear at the top, but defeat would make Manchester City clear favourites to lift the title for the second consecutive season (perhaps the only thing that would take the shine off a win for United fans).
United have not lost a domestic game under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has guided them to 10 wins and a draw. Last Monday’s 2-0 win away to Chelsea in the FA Cup showed their new-found resilience under the Norwegian, who could see the return of injured duo of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.
After their 0-0 draw at home to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, this is a massive test for Liverpool.
With midweek fixtures in the coming week, this ‘weekend’ kicks off on Friday with Cardiff City, who have battled out of the bottom three, facing a tough game at home to Watford, while West Ham will fancy their chances at home to a Fulham team that increasingly looks destined to a rapid return to the Championship.
Burnley’s recent form has lifted them three points clear of the relegation zone, but this Saturday they entertain Tottenham, who remain very much in the title race and who could welcome Harry Kane back from injury.
Kane’s return following the ankle injury he suffered on January 13 will be welcome news for Spurs fans and coach Mauricio Pochettino, but it should not escape anyone’s notice that Tottenham have won every league game since then without the help of the England striker.
Bournemouth and Wolves face each other in what promises to be an open game between two sides that like to play entertaining football, while there will be nerves at St James’ Park, where Newcastle United have to see the visit of rock bottom Huddersfield as the chance for three vital points.
Huddersfield have managed just one draw from their last 13 matches and have not won since November 25 and so this is a chance that Newcastle, just one point above the drop zone, simply cannot afford to miss.
Leicester City take on Crystal Palace, while Arsenal could move into the top three with a home win against struggling Southampton on Sunday, but that clashes with another game, which kicks off at the same time and that game is at Old Trafford.