5 talking points ahead of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures
Liverpool are bidding to return to the Premier League summit.
This weekend sees not only the FA Cup quarter-finals take place but also five Premier League matches.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the talking points ahead of the top-flight action.
Liverpool eyeing return to the summit
While leaders Manchester City play in the cup, second-placed Liverpool can reclaim top spot when they visit Fulham on Sunday. The Reds have been held to draws in each of their last three away league games but go into the contest on-song, having beaten Burnley 4-2 at Anfield last weekend and then produced a superb 3-1 Champions League win at Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Second-bottom Fulham will be hoping Jurgen Klopp’s men suffer some kind of hangover from the Germany trip as they look to halt their losing run. The 3-1 reverse at Leicester last time out – the Cottagers’ second match with Scott Parker in charge – was a sixth defeat on the spin.
Chelsea’s top-four chase
The only other club in the top six playing a league match this weekend is the one currently lowest among them – Chelsea. Maurizio Sarri’s side, who drew 1-1 with Wolves last weekend thanks to Eden Hazard’s stoppage-time equaliser, face Everton away looking make the battle for Champions League places even tighter. Chelsea are currently one point behind fifth-placed Manchester United, three behind fourth-placed Arsenal and four behind third-placed Tottenham, with a game in hand over all of them.
Focus on Pickford
There will be considerable interest in how Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford fares in Sunday’s contest at Goodison Park. The 25-year-old former Sunderland player made a couple of high-profile errors in last weekend’s 3-2 loss at Newcastle before being named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad on Wednesday. Pickford will certainly want to put in a strong performance in his final game before the international break.
Will Burnley stop the rot?
Burnley were six points clear of the relegation zone in 14th place on February 23 after beating Spurs 2-1 at Turf Moor, their fifth victory in an eight-match unbeaten run. But since then they have lost three times in a row, and they head into Saturday’s home clash against Leicester lying 17th and only two points above 18th-placed Cardiff. Returning to winning ways against the Foxes looks no easy task, with their tails up after registering their first victory under Brendan Rodgers’ management last time out.
Newcastle head into their match at Bournemouth on Saturday looking to add another win to their fine run of results – five victories in the last eight games. Having been in the drop zone before that run, Rafael Benitez’s men are now six points clear of it, and will move above the 12th-placed Cherries with a win.