As the Premier League enters its ninth Gameweek, Liverpool look comfortable at the top of the table with an eight-point advantage over second-placed Manchester City. Still, the Reds can’t afford any complacency as they are scheduled to face fierce rivals Manchester United in the weekend’s much-anticipated game. The fixture will no doubt gather most of the attention particularly with City having the chance to close the gap on the Reds prior to the Sunday showdown.
Here are three things to watch for in Gameweek 9….
Manchester City’s response: The Premier League holders were undoubtedly presented with the friendlier fixture list compared to Liverpool but they have been disappointing with a couple of shock losses to Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers – the latter before the international break. The reigning champions will welcome a much-needed boost at the heart of the defence with John Stones returning from a groin problem and they still face a tricky challenge against Crystal Palace, who were just one of four sides that beat them during the previous league campaign.
Liverpool’s Old Trafford hoodoo: In the past couple of seasons, the Reds have jumped ahead of their fierce league rivals in terms of the league display but they have still struggled when it comes to the head-to-head games. The European champions have won just one league match against United in the past five seasons and their record at Old Trafford does not make for good reading with just two victories in 15 years. With the injury crisis at United, Liverpool have the best opportunity to extend their perfect start to the campaign and it remains to be seen whether they can register their first triumph at the stadium since 2014.
Marco Silva’s future with Everton: The Toffees were hugely impressive in the final three months of the previous season where they stayed unbeaten against the Premier League elite sides. That has become a distant memory with their struggles this term and the club recently went into the international break with a four-match losing league streak. The Merseyside outfit are presently in the drop zone in the 18th spot and the forthcoming home clash against West Ham United could be a make-or-break for Silva. A fifth-straight league defeat would surely draw curtains on the Portuguese’s managerial stint at Goodison Park.