Liverpool face Arsenal test, City fuelled by red-hot Haaland

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Liverpool’s faltering Premier League title challenge could suffer a fatal blow if leaders Arsenal win Sunday’s marquee match-up at the Emirates Stadium.

Powered by Erling Haal­and’s incredible form, Manc­h­e­ster City will aim for another goal spree against Southa­mpton, while Manch­e­ster United could turn to Brazilian midfielder Casem­iro after their derby demolition.

Virgil van Dijk has urged Liverpool to embrace the pressure of a potentially defining period in their stop-start season.

Hampered by an unusually sluggish start, Jurgen Klopp’s side are already 11 points behind Arsenal and can ill-afford to fall further adrift.

Winners of just two of their first seven league games, Liverpool follow that crucial clash in London with a Cha­mpions League trip to Ran­gers on Wednesday bef­ore City visit Anfield on Oct 16.

After a damaging 3-3 draw with Brighton last weekend, Liverpool recovered their equilibrium by beating Rangers 2-0 in midweek and Van Dijk wants his team to take that momentum into the Arsenal game.

As defenders across Eur­ope struggle to sate Erling Haaland’s appetite for goals, the City striker has revealed his recipe for success.

The 22-year-old has scored 19 goals in 11 competitive games in a remarkable first season with City following his 51 million ($57 million) move from Borussia Dortmund.With Haaland adding the attacking fulcrum City had lacked since Sergio Aguero’s departure, the champions have embarked on a power surge featuring 29 goals in their first eight league games.

No wonder City boss Pep Guardiola was quick to deny reports in Spain this week that Haaland’s City contract contains a clause that allows Real Madrid to sign him from 2024.

Erik ten Hag could finally give Brazil midfielder Casemiro his first Premier League start as the United manager tries to steady his side after their “reality check” at City.

United’s four-match winning league run came to a painful end when City hammered them 6-3 last weekend.

Ten Hag believes that chastening defeat should serve to refocus his players for Sunday’s trip to Everton, but he has a significant selection dilemma to solve first.

Since signing Casemiro from Real Madrid for an initial 60 million in August, Ten Hag has used the five-time Champions League winner sparingly due to Scott McTominay’s solid performances.

Casemiro has made four substitute appearances in the Premier League, with his only starts coming in the Europa League, but the derby meltdown could be the trigger for a sustained promotion to the starting line-up.—AFP

 

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