Liverpool have two major tests — both at home — remaining in the Premier League title race, beginning with a fellow top-three side on Sunday. Elsewhere, Chelsea are clinging to top-four dreams, while Cardiff City just want to stay in the PL…
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Cardiff City v. Chelsea — 9:05 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
From one of three PL title chasers early in the season, to quickly falling away from the top-four race, it’s been a season mostly to forget for Chelsea. Sunday’s visit to Cardiff sees Maurizio Sarri‘s side in full-on desperation mode in their bid to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League. Now sitting in sixth place, four points back of red-hot Manchester United in fourth, the Blues’ best path into Europe’s premier competition might just be through the Europa League where they’ll face Slavia Praha in the quarterfinals next week.
It’ll be a tricky trip to south Wales, though, as Cardiff currently sit 18th in the table, five points adrift of safety, desperate for their PL lives. Their advantage, however, is the two games they now have in hand. Only once this season, in early February, have the Bluebirds won back-to-back league games. After beating West Ham United before the recently completed international break, Sunday would be the best possible time to replicate that feat and move to within two points of 17th-place Burnley.
Liverpool v. Tottenham Hotspur — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com
Liverpool’s pursuit of the PL title resumes on Sunday, when third-place Tottenham visits Anfield in a virtual must-win game for the Reds. Given that Jurgen Klopp‘s side will have played one game more than leaders Manchester City by Sunday’s end, anything short of three points could prove the final nail in the coffin. As far as random stoppages in the middle of the season go, the recent international break couldn’t have come at a better time for Liverpool, who in the two weeks since they last played have seen Trent Alexander-Arnold and Xherdan Shaqiri return to full fitness following minor injuries. On the not-so-fortunate side of injury news, Naby Keita reportedly suffered an injury this week in training and will miss Sunday’s game.
Likewise, Spurs couldn’t have been happier to break from a particularly tough stretch of results (winless in four games, including three defeats) which has seen their hold on a Champions League place hacked down from 10 points to one. On top of that, Mauricio Pochettino‘s side is so nearly fully fit after being down to a bare-bones crew for much of the season, though Eric Dier picked up an(other) injury while on England duty. On the plus side, Harry Kane appears likely to score a goal every time he takes the field after bagging at least one in each of his last five games (for Spurs and England), not to mention the fact he’s scored three in his four career appearances at Anfield.