Belfast Telegraph

Premier League talking points


Jurgen Klopp has been treated like an A-list celebrity since being announced as Brendan Rodgers' replacement at Anfield. He has won beaming notices for his press appearances and collected an enviable scrapbook of 'selfies' around the city, but now the real business starts.

Everyone from diehard Reds to neutrals will be fascinated to see what his first Liverpool side will look like and how they will perform.


Look at any bookmaker's 'sack watch' listings and the names of Jose Mourinho and Tim Sherwood will be pretty close to the top.

A nice time, then, for Chelsea to host Aston Villa. Defeat for Mourinho's men would increase the pressure on the 'Special One' to possible breaking point.

Villa have more modest expectations at Stamford Bridge, but a competitive, whole-hearted performance will be needed to show Sherwood still has the ear of the dressing room.


Most would fancy table-topping Manchester City to take all three points from Bournemouth, but they came out of the international break nursing some worrying injuries.

Sergio Aguero and David Silva's absence puts a huge dent in Manuel Pellegrini's attacking options, while there is no fit and natural replacement for Aleksandar Kolarov at left-back.

The likes of Wilfried Bony and Samir Nasri must grasp the nettle.


After a slow start to the season Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez has suddenly found a rich seam of form in front of goal.

His last five matches for club and country have brought nine goals and he will be looking to add to that when he heads to Watford.

The Gunners are a different side when the former Barcelona man is on song and they must ride the crest of his current wave as far as it goes.


Sunderland begin yet another new era under Sam Allardyce on Saturday at West Brom.

He is unlikely to turn the Black Cats into the division's great entertainers but fans would be heartened to see the kind of organisation, shape and bloody-mindedness associated with Allardyce teams.


Steve McClaren's suggestion that Tim Krul's season-ending blow would cost Newcastle up to 20 points was worrying on two fronts.

Firstly, it suggested a modest amount of faith in his replacement Rob Elliot, who might have craved a confidence boost before lining up against Norwich on Sunday.

Secondly, Newcastle would have been adrift at the bottom of the table by 11 points last season had they lost 20 from their total. What exactly is McClaren trying to tell us about their chances of avoiding the drop?


From Belfast Telegraph