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PL Preview: Norwich City v. Liverpool

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  • Mohamed Salah has scored or assisted a goal in 4 of the last 5 PL games
  • Norwich City has just 1 victory since December 1
  • Liverpool has kept 9 clean sheets in its last 10 PL matches

Good ol’ top versus bottom in the table. Predictable…right? But that’s why they play the games.

Norwich City is right on the cusp. The Canaries can feel how close they are to turning things around. Since the start of December, every single loss but one – that would be five of the six total – has come by a one-goal margin. Tack on five draws in that span as well, and the Canaries are right in the thick of things, even seven points adrift of safety.

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They’re also afforded the opportunity to shock the world.

Norwich City hosts leaders Liverpool at Carrow Road on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com. With the Reds hitting the road having dropped two points all season, any Norwich City result would be hailed by the home fans as a success.

Liverpool, meanwhile, could go 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a 17th successive Premier League victory. Those numbers never get less astonishing as Liverpool piles up the plaudits. The Reds will expect to have both Sadio Mane and James Milner back from hamstring injuries, but both are still listed as game-time decisions as Jurgen Klopp may decide it’s not worth risking one or both.

Injuries/suspensions

Norwich City: OUT – Timm Klose (knee), Ben Godfrey (red card suspension).

Liverpool: OUT – Nathaniel Clyne (knee), Yasser Larouci (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE – Xherdan Shaqiri (foot), Sadio Mane (hamstring), James Milner (hamstring).


Probable Lineups

Norwich City: Krul; Byram, Hanley, Zimmerman, Aarons; Tettey, McLean, Cantwell, Duda, Rupp; Pukki.

Liverpool: Alisson; Robertson, Gomez, van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Mane, Firmino, Salah.


What they’re saying

Norwich City boss Daniel Farke on midfielder Alex Tettey signing an extension: “Alex is a bit like a good red wine. The older he gets, the better he gets!”

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold on the title chances: “That’s the message the manager drills into us on a daily basis: that nothing’s over yet, there’s still a long way to go. We’re just over halfway through the season, so it’s important for us to keep our heads, keep focused and keep our mentality the same. That’s what’s been working for us, so nothing should change.”


Prediction

Norwich City should put up a better fight than some may give them credit for, but Liverpool is too big a juggernaut to fall in this match. A hard-fought 2-0 win with a late goal to seal it should be enough to see the Reds through to an 18th straight victory and see Liverpool head into Champions League play on a high note.

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v. Southampton

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Liverpool puts its unbeaten Premier League season on the line Saturday when Southampton visits Anfield (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The storyline is going to be the same each week until someone scores more goals than the Reds in a single match. They have won 23 of 24 matches and only 14 more to go.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

The next scrap comes with Saints, who have been thriving after early-season misery. Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men have risen to ninth place, three points off fifth-place Manchester United.

Liverpool beat Saints 2-1 at St. Mary’s on Aug. 17.


Injuries/suspensions

Liverpool: OUT —  Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mane, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne. QUESTIONABLE — Adam Lallana, Divock Origi.

Southampton: OUT — Stuart Armstrong. QUESTIONABLE — Yan Valery, Jannik Vestergaard, Shane Long.


Probable lineups

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Minamino, Firmino, Salah.

Southampton: Gunn, Bertrand, Bednarek, Stephens, Danso, Boufal, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Adams, Ings


What they’re saying

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp on Mohamed Salah’s future: “How can you see the hunger to stay at Liverpool? It looks to me like he is really settled to be honest. I have no idea, actually, but you could ask me the same question for all the others and I have no idea. I didn’t think about it until [the press] asked me.

Virgil van Dijk on leaving Southampton for Liverpool: “The decision I made has not been too bad. I’m 28 now and I want to fulfil every dream I ever had. Life can be short. Your career can be short as well. I want to enjoy every minute of it. I’m enjoying playing with this team and this manager. We can’t look too far ahead. But right now, I’m enjoying it. I don’t look at the table. You [only] need to look at the table at the end of the season.”

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl on loaning Kyle Walker-Peters“If he feels comfortable here and plays well and we feel comfortable with him and he likes to play with us, there is always an option to get him in the summer. Even if it’s not written down, there’s always an option. I always say, small flowers, you have to look after them and give them water and then they sometimes turn into beautiful flowers. This is something we try with all the young players and give them the chance to develop.”


Prediction

The Reds find a stiff test, but another 2-1 win.

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PL Preview: West Ham v. Liverpool

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  • Liverpool has won 30 of its last 31 Premier League fixtures
  • West Ham is winless in its last 6 PL games against Liverpool
  • The Hammers have just 11 points at home this season, joint-low in the PL

Liverpool can go an obscene 19 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a win over West Ham on Wednesday, with kickoff from London Stadium at 2:45 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

The Reds will be without Sadio Mane who pulled up in the first half of the win over Wolves. The news was positive, but still the argument could easily be made that Mane is the most important player in the Liverpool lineup, and replacing him will give Jurgen Klopp a headache. He could start Divock Origi on the wing in a direct replacement, but Origi is a striker by nature and would make things narrow on the left flank. He could also move Salah to the left and insert Xherdan Shaqiri on the right, but there’s no guarantee that the Swiss international will be fit enough to play.

Still, Liverpool will be massive favorites to build on its winning streak against a West Ham side limping into the match. The Hammers are vulnerable with a long injury list of their own, with just one win since the festive period. Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, and Jack Wilshere are the most significant of the injured West Ham army, but certainly not the only ones. By the most recent reports, five players will miss the match with another two to be assessed before the match.

The Hammers are only out of the relegation zone thanks to goal differential, and with a brutal upcoming fixture slate that includes another against Liverpool plus games against Man City, Arsenal, Spurs, Wolves, and Chelsea through the end of March, West Ham will have to scrap for every point available.

Injuries/suspensions

West Ham: OUT – Ryan Fredericks (hamstring), Felipe Anderson (back), Andriy Yarmolenko (thigh), Arthur Masuaku (knee), Jack Wilshere (groin). QUESTIONABLE – Robert Snodgrass (knee), Lukasz Fabianski (thigh).

Liverpool: OUT – Sadio Mane (thigh muscle), James Milner (thigh), Nathaniel Clyne (ACL). QUESTIONABLE – Xherdan Shaqiri (calf).


Probable lineups

West Ham: Randolph; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop, Zabaleta; Snodgrass, Noble, Rice, Antonio; Lanzini, Haller.

Liverpool: Alisson; Robertson, Gomez, van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Origi, Firmino, Salah.


What they’re saying

West Ham manager on being huge underdogs: “Everybody gets the chance to throw a punch at some point along the line, and sometimes you can get a lucky one. I’ve never gone into any game not expecting to win. Quite often, you don’t always win, but I really do expect the players to go out there, put a show on, and try and win. If that’s won by a set-piece, a flukey goal, I wouldn’t be bothered. That’s been my attitude throughout my whole career: I want to win. We’ll do everything we can to get points where we can.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on how West Ham will play: “It will be a rather defensive line-up [from West Ham]. If it’s four in the back or five in the back, I don’t know, but we have to be ready for a big fight. They want to strike back, they have a tough program coming up, everybody knows that. They have no points to waste, no time to waste.”


Prediction:

Liverpool is without Sadio Mane, and that’s notable in any Premier League match, but against West Ham it shouldn’t matter. The Reds have been utterly unbeatable defensively, and against a West Ham side missing Felipe Anderson, Jack Wilshere, and Arthur Masuaku plus a banged up Robert Snodgrass, an eighth clean sheet in the last nine matches is likely. The Reds put on a clinic in a comprehensive 3-0 victory.

Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v. Liverpool

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Tottenham Hotspur would love to be the club to end Liverpool’s unbeaten Premier League season when the two sides meet in North London on Saturday (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Jose Mourinho insists his club believes it can a result despite the dour mood accompanying Harry Kane’s injury.

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Liverpool is facing injuries, too, but its trident remains healthy and led by Player of the Season candidate Sadio Mane.

The Reds hold a 13-point lead on the Premier League field and have a match-in-hand on everyone except West Ham United.

Spurs are still very much a part of the race for the Top Four should they be able to again navigate a long Kane absence. Tottenham is six points back of fourth place Chelsea.


Injuries/suspensions

Spurs: OUT —  Harry Kane, Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Tanguy Ndombele, Moussa Sissoko. QUESTIONABLE — Danny Rose.

Liverpool: OUT — Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Fabinho, James Milner, Naby Keita, Nathaniel Clyne. QUESTIONABLE — Xherdan Shaqiri.


Probable lineups

Spurs: Gazzaniga; Vertonghen, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Sessegnon, Dier, Lo Celso, Dele, Aurier; Lucas, Son.

Liverpool: Alisson, Robertson, Van Dijk, Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Mane, Firmino, Salah.


What they’re saying

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho on facing Liverpool: “It’s the best team in our competition, just to say that – I could say more than that. We would prefer to play against them with everybody available. … But again that’s the way it is and we worked hard in the week, and the boys that are available, of course they are happy to play and when somebody doesn’t play you open the opportunity for somebody else, and we know the situation. We know how good they are, we can imagine that in this room only two persons think that we can win. Maybe only two, but we believe (puts his arm around Spurs’ press officer). We have to believe. If you don’t believe, get out man.”

Jurgen Klopp on Jose Mourinho: “A world-class manager with a specific mindset. He wants to win. I respect that a lot. Each situation his team is in he tries to use. That is how managers work. The good news is, we don’t play. We send out two teams and we have to make sure it works out. I don’t think anyone wants to play us right now. Spurs are never easy but they are now so let’s see.”


Prediction

Liverpool’s biggest question mark is in the midfield, but Tottenham’s hit there, too. We imagine this one will be a bit cagier than usual, perhaps even a surprise 1-1.

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v. Wolves

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Wolverhampton Wanderers look preserve their good form – most recently showcased against Manchester City – when they visit Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday (Watch Live at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Sunday’s bout will see both clubs meet for the first time this season.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

With an instant-classic, 3-2 comeback win against City on Thursday, Wolves sit fifth on the table, while Liverpool – as we all know – are unbeaten and on pace to break the all-time most points record (100) set in 2018.

With four games in two days, are either side set to make drastic changes to their side? With the chance to leapfrog Chelsea with a win, it’s unlikely Wolves will, although it’s likelier Liverpool will elect to make a change or two.


Injuries/suspensions

Liverpool: OUT —  Dejan Lovren (hamstring), Fabinho (hamstring), Joel Matip (knee), Nathaniel Clyne (ACL), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle)

Wolves: OUT — Willy Boly (ankle), Morgan Gibbs-White (back)


Probable lineups

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Lallana, Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Wolves: Rui Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Neves, Joao Moutinho, Vinagre; Traore, Jimenez, Jota.


What they’re saying 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp on how dangerous Wolves will be: “Very – very, unfortunately. I really think the job Nuno is doing there is incredible with all the Europa League stress. I think at the beginning of the season they realized a little bit, ‘Oh, that’s different’. But now they are settled completely there, they are there again, Jimenez and Jota are scoring again. They had to change a little bit the last line to last year; Bennett and Boly are not playing consistently so they had to change that, but they have good options there. Traore finally found his manager, who found a position for him – he started as a wing-back and now he can even play in the front three. An exceptional player, as a kid he was already exceptional when he played for Barca I think, probably the quickest player in the league. So, a lot of really good things there and that makes it really difficult to play against them, of course. But it should be difficult against us as well, that’s the plan.”

Traore on Wolves’ thrilling comeback against Manchester City: “This team is amazing. We fight until the end, whatever the situation. That’s what we did today and I’m so happy for the team. Every one of us has worked so hard, we believed we could get this result.”

“Liverpool are a great team and are many points in front. We will fight to give our best.”


Prediction

13 points clear of Leicester City and with a jam-packed schedule ahead, it’s expected for Klopp and company to go into Sunday’s game with bit of a free-and-easy attitude. That said, an inspired Wolves will still remain outweighed by the Reds’ chemistry and excessive firepower, but the bout should still be an authentic showdown. Liverpool, 2-1.