Anyone buying this public stance from Liverpool, where they keep downplaying their Premier League title chances?
C’mon. We all know that Steven Gerrard and Co. privately believe they can get this thing done. But for any chance of passing the heavies still in their way, this is the very sort of match they absolutely must win – a home contest against a mid- or lower-table team.
And depending on what happens at Norwich, Brendon Rodgers’ men could put some serious distance between themselves and Tottenham for fourth spot and the coveted Champions League berth that goes with it.
Here is a quick look at all three Premier League matches set for Sunday as Round 27 closes (no Monday matches, as Champions League matches take over.)
Liverpool vs. Swansea City, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN
- Talented right back Glen Johnson is back from Liverpool
- Liverpool has 66 goals this year; Swansea has 33
- Liverpool is unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games
Right back Glen Johnson is back from Liverpool after missing more than a month with ankle and groin injuries, although defender Mamadou Sakho remains sidelined with a hamstring problem.
But it’s the Swansea defense that needs to worry; high-scoring Liverpool, led by Luiz Suarez, has 66 goals, second best in the Premier League.
The Welsh meanwhile, is just barely clear of the relegation zone. These team drew, 2-2, in their earlier meeting this year.
Norwich City vs. Tottenham, 11 a.m. ET, NBCSN
- Tottenham won the teams’ first meeting, 2-o last September at White Hart Lane
- Norwich has just one win in its last 10 Premier League matches
Tim Sherwood’s Spurs must recover quickly from a long trip east for a Thursday Europa match, and Carrow Road will hardly be an easy place for the London side.
On the other hand, Hugo Lloris, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kyle Walker, Younes Kaboul and Aaron Lennon were all held back Thursday, and will presumably be back into Sherwood’s first 11.
While Norwich worries about relegation, Spurs need all three points to keep pace with Liverpool for fourth in the table and the Champions League berth.
If Spurs can get just one, they stand a good chance of leaving Carrow Road with a point, at least; Chris Hughton’s club has just four goals in its last 10 contests.
Newcastle United vs. Aston Villa, 8:30 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime
- Talented Newcastle striker Loic Rémy returns to the lineup for Alan Pardew
- Alan Pardew’s club has been shut out in four consecutive matches
- Brad Guzan and Aston Villa could use another win or two to put some breathing room between themselves and the relegation -threatened
Ordinarily, the return of a mid-level striker would not rate as “big news.” But Newcastle’s rate of goal scoring as fallen to such anemic depths, anything could help – and the Frenchman is available once again after serving a three-match suspension.
Alan Pardew’s team has been shut out in four consecutive matches and in five of its last six Premier League encounters.
Lambert’s squad came through a recent warm-weather training camp in Portugal well and he expects to have a largely fit squad at his disposal for the Barclays Premier League clash.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew “went there,” verbally lashing his team’s latest meek performance, a 4-0 loss to Tottenham.