Tue 16 Feb by Mark Gleeson
This Saturday's Merseyside derby is a chance for Liverpool to get themselves back in the English Premier League title race, even though there have been plenty of full stops put behind their campaign after the weekend loss to Leicester City.
Manager Jurgen Klopp begrudgingly, and with much irritation, conceded afterwards the Reds have no chance of holding onto their crown but others, like Mohamed Salah, insist there is still hope.
If Salah is to be proved correct then Liverpool must turn around their fortunes quickly, beginning with a victory against Everton at Anfield.
Three successive league losses have seen them drop to fourth position, 13 points behind leaders Manchester City, who are on a record-breaking winning run and playing so slickly that they look unstoppable.
Liverpool could simultaneously do with a favour from Arsenal, who host Pep Guardiola’s team in London on Sunday.
The Gunners regained winning form with a 4-2 success over Leeds last Sunday and have the capacity to spring an upset. But just before Christmas they entertained Manchester City at home in the League Cup and were handed a morale-deflating 4-1 thumping.
And worryingly for Arsenal fans, City are playing better now than they were then.
HIRED/FIRED: Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila have relocated from their base in Venda to Polokwane with a new owner taking over the cash-strapped outfit. Dylan Kerr is supposed to sign as new coach but this has yet to be confirmed, leaving Mpho Maleka in temporary charge. TTM won at Maritzburg last weekend to move themselves out of the relegation zone.
MISSING: Juventus face a mini injury crisis ahead of tonight’s Champions League tie at Porto plus next Monday’s Serie A assignment against struggling Crotone. Juan Cuadrado is the latest player ruled out and joins Arthur Melo, Paulo Dybala and Aaron Ramsey in the treatment room.
BACK IN ACTION: Sergio Aguero made his first match-day squad in over a month last Saturday, when Manchester City destroyed Tottenham Hotspur, but did not take part in the warm-up and was not used off the bench in the final stages despite the contest effectively being over. Pep Guardiola could be saving him for the weekend trip to Arsenal.
WHO’S HOT: Former African Footballer of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang battled to find the net in the early part of Arsenal’s season, but his scoring boots look to be back on and a hat trick against Leeds United on Sunday took his career tally over 200 goals.
WHO’S COLD: David de Gea has found himself under the spotlight at Old Trafford in recent seasons following something of a dip in form. There are many pundits who feel his time as the Manchester United number one is done.