Liverpool launch this weekend’s round of fixtures in a lunch-time kick-off at Bramall Lane.
Jurgen Klopp’s side could move eight points clear at the top with victory before title rivals Manchester City’s tea-time kick-off at Everton.
Here, the PA news agency highlights some of this week’s main talking points.
Can Blades cut down Klopp?
Liverpool despatched MK Dons in the Carabao Cup in midweek and Klopp will revert back to his accustomed starting XI as his side resume their Premier League title charge. The Reds are expected to extend their 100 per cent league start by notching their seventh straight win, but it will be no cakewalk at a sold-out Bramall Lane. The Blades fought back from 2-0 down to take a point off Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and won at Goodison Park last week. Can Klopp’s side close to within two victories of Chelsea’s best-ever Premier League start when they won nine on the bounce in 2005?
Silva braced for City storm
Everton eased some of the pressure on boss Marco Silva with victory in the Carabao Cup at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, but must be wary of another lightning start by Manchester City, who struck five times inside the opening 18 minutes in last week’s 8-0 rout of Watford. The champions, stung by their recent defeat at Norwich, have a clinical, steely resolve about them, scoring 14 goals in their last three matches and it is difficult to envisage anything other than a fourth Premier League defeat of the season for the Merseysiders, who sit three points above the relegation zone.
Greenwood champs at bit
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could turn to Mason Greenwood to help solve his side’s goalscoring problem by handing the teenager his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal on Monday night. United, who head into the weekend fixtures in eighth place, 10 points adrift of leaders Liverpool, have scored more than once in only three of their last 20 matches in all competitions, while the 17-year-old has netted their last two. Arsenal, three points better off in fourth, have won only one of their last 16 visits to Old Trafford, but now could be a good time to improve on that record.
Perez poised for Magpies ambush
Newcastle have won on their last two visits to the King Power Stadium, but this time their match-winner on both occasions, Ayoze Perez, will be lining up against them. Leicester’s £30million summer signing has yet to score for the Foxes, but could hit the goal trail for them against his former club. Brendan Rodgers’s side provided further evidence last week that they can mount a top-four challenge by beating Tottenham, with James Maddison to the fore again. Steve Bruce is finding it tough going with the Magpies, whose only win this season came at Tottenham last month.
No time for sulking at Spurs
All eyes will be on Tottenham to see how they respond to their embarrassing midweek Carabao Cup exit at Colchester. The Londoners’ season could really start to unravel if they lose again. They recently squandered a 2-0 lead to draw in Greece against Olympiacos in the Champions League and then lost at Leicester before losing on penalties against a side that is mid-table in League Two. Southampton, a point behind Spurs in the table, thumped south-coast rivals Portsmouth on Tuesday night, while their four wins in all competitions this season have all come on the road.
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Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has backed on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson to shine against Liverpool on Saturday.
The Blades face the daunting task of hosting a side that has won its last 15 Premier League matches stretching back to last season, and who have already opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table this time around.
Liverpool boast two of last season’s three Golden Boot winners in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who shared the accolade with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the trio all scored 22 Premier League goals.
Henderson will be the man tasked with keeping the Reds at bay and Wilder believes his young goalkeeper is up to the challenge.
“Liverpool’s forward three have been unbelievable for the past couple of years,” said Wilder. “In terms of the quality they’ve got, the mobility and way they interchange, we’re going to have to have an unbelievably great day to keep the ball out of our net.
“Our goalkeeper is going to have to make saves, we understand that, but I feel we have the best young goalkeeper in the country.”
Henderson played a key role in helping the Blades win promotion to the Premier League last season during his loan spell at the club.
The 22-year-old is highly regarded at Old Trafford too, after signing a new contract until 2022 this summer prior to rejoining Wilder’s side on a second season-long deal.
“He’s an outstanding goalkeeper. He will rise to the occasion I’m sure, and he, like all the other players, will relish the opportunity of going go toe-to-toe with Liverpool on a level playing field,” said Wilder.
“He will have to make some big saves and I’m sure he will do when the time comes. He enjoys the big occasions. I love him as a personality, he’s got something different and something about him.
“He knows this year, not just in this match but throughout the season, that he is going to have to come up with some big saves at big times – not only for us to help us in what we are trying to do in this division, but also for his individual career as well.”
David McGoldrick is a major doubt for the Blades. The Republic of Ireland international has missed the last two matches with a muscle injury and Wilder is not optimistic about his chances of being fit.
Fellow striker Billy Sharp is suspended but on-loan Everton midfielder Mo Besic returns to contention having been unable to play against his parent club last weekend.
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is pleased to see how Gabriel Jesus has competed for minutes with a legend like Sergio Aguero.
The Catalan boss is happy to have two quality players competing for a spot in the line-up. He praised their commitment and maintained that Jesus is aware that he must fight with one of the finest strikers in the world.
“But it’s difficult to find in Europe. In the world, one striker like Gabriel (Jesus) how important it is, is a number 9 for the national team Brazil. Okay alongside with (Roberto) Firmino. He is an incredible player, a young player,” he said.
“His behaviour in the training sessions is outstanding. And he has to handle to fight in position like a legend, an incredible one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen in my life with Aguero. And it’s not easy to accept this role and he (Jesus) accept it. That’s why my price to him is over the moon because it’s not easy to find – I will not find a player because after that one, Sergio (Aguero) doesn’t play through injury or my decision, Jesus needs to be at the top level… that level is Manchester City.
“And it’s not fine to accept sometimes he plays one or two or three games because Sergio is an incredible player. Sergio didn’t play in Kharkiv and in the last five or six games, he has played he has a goal and assist and fight like (that). In the last two seasons Sergio is incredible how he fights for the team and make the effort.”