Bayern Munich
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Leg 1
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12:00 PM UTC
Leg 1
Game Details
John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Chelsea face difficult Liverpool task, Manchester City aim to keep rolling

John Brewin previews the weekend's Premier League action and highlights five key storylines in this edition of W2W4.

1. Can Salah sink old club Chelsea?

On Saturday, Chelsea will recognise Liverpool's danger man, though Mohamed Salah's goal scoring form this season might cause some at Stamford Bridge to wonder if they should have got to know the Egypt international better. Salah is the current Premier League top scorer with nine goals. His start has been compared to Luis Suarez's incendiary 2013-14 season.

Salah, bought from under Liverpool's nose during the January of that campaign, managed just six starts and two goals for Chelsea, before being loaned and eventually sold to Roma. Like Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, he is another star allowed to get away. Antonio Conte might wonder what use he might have made of a player currently deadly when cutting in from the wings to surge into scoring positions.

After a 4-0 win in Azerbaijan, Conte had to do his homework for Liverpool on an eight-hour flight back from Qarabag while players slept, but it would not take a fine-tooth comb to locate Liverpool's weaknesses.

Tuesday at Sevilla in the Champions League saw both sides of Jurgen Klopp's team. Initially, they were irresistible, surging into a three-goal lead, before collapsing into disorganisation, unable to retain possession and eventually conceding a last-minute goal.

Klopp has an enviable record against English football's top six -- Liverpool have lost just twice in 21 encounters with them -- but must continue that record on Saturday to keep in touch with the race for the top four.

The concession of 17 goals reveals the story of their defensive failings this season. Chelsea, by contrast, have conceded 10, and nobody has scored past Thibaut Courtois in their last three league matches, as Conte revives his defending champions.

Saturday's Anfield showdown could be decided by the form of Mohamed Salah and Alvaro Morata.

2. Man City to continue understated dominance?

Are Manchester City too perfect for their own good? Their utter dominance of the Premier League has given rise to an acceptance the title will be theirs, that there will be no such thing as a race this season.

Undefeated, having drawn just once, and won 17 games since then, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are untouchable yet still seem somewhat unappreciated, not enjoying the headlines generated by Jose Mourinho's mouth, or moments of crisis at Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

City, meanwhile, have been serene, serial destroyers of whatever has been put in front of them. Guardiola, edgy and irritable last season, now seems relaxed, zen-like.

Huddersfield, who shocked Manchester United last month with a 2-1 home win, look set to be the latest victims on Sunday, and will hope they can avoid a defeat like the club suffered 30 years ago this month.

The score back then was 10-1 at City's old Maine Road stadium, and should be beyond even the capability of Guardiola's all-stars, but such is their current brilliance in the Premier League, it cannot be fully ruled out. Perhaps City might then grab the headlines.

3. Man United-Brighton memories

Manchester United vs. Brighton is another fixture to hark back to a bygone era, specifically the 1983 FA Cup final that went to a replay after a 2-2 thriller at Wembley. Five days later, United crushed the Seagulls 4-0 to win a first trophy in seven years.

With Brighton relegated at the end of that season from the old First Division, the clubs have met only three times since in cup competitions, the last meeting coming back in January 1993.

A League Cup tie in September 1992 was the occasion of a 17-year-old David Beckham's first-team debut for United, when he was given some second-half minutes as a sub at the old Goldstone Ground.

The modern Brighton, sitting happily in ninth, with manager Chris Hughton bullish about their prospects, will hope to make some special history of their own on Saturday.

4. Everton, West Brom looking for answers

Such has been the sack race this season that two clubs will take to the field under the control of a caretaker manager. Everton travel to Southampton on Sunday having been crushed 5-1 by Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday. That did little for David Unsworth's prospects of getting the job on a permanent basis.

Friday will mark a month since Unsworth took the reins after Ronald Koeman was sacked, but he retains his position far more as a result of his club's failure to find a permanent manager than by making his own impression. This week saw Everton saw their interest in Watford manager Marco Silva denied. He is being held to his contract.

Everton are 16th, a place and two points above West Brom, who ended Tony Pulis' unpopular regime on Monday. Former manager Gary Megson will oversee matters at Wembley, where the Baggies play Tottenham, but moves are afoot for a replacement. Alan Pardew is the current favourite.

5. Clement on the brink?

With Silva seemingly staying put, then which club will next make a managerial change? The smart money is on Swansea, where Paul Clement is struggling to repeat the impact he made last season in rescuing the club from relegation.

The Swans are second-bottom in the table, with one since August. Victory is desperately required over Bournemouth to quell a mounting rebellion among supporters. A once much-admired family club has become a boiling pot of resentment.

John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JohnBrewinESPN.


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