Premier League: Gerrard goes back to Anfield as top-three all have home games (preview)

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Steven Gerrard’s return to Anfield as the coach of Aston Villa will no doubt provide the emotion and the headlines on a Premier League weekend where the top three sides all play at home. The games kick off on Friday night with Brentford and Watford looking for three points to help lift them away from the relegation zone and continues on Saturday lunchtime when league leaders, Manchester City entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Manchester City have several injury worries ahead of the game, with Phil Foden, Aymeric Laporte, Gabriel Jesus, and Nathan Ake all doubts, while Ferran Torres is still sidelined with a foot injury.

The Wolves have problems in turning possession into goals but will think that a City defense that has conceded a goal in their last five games may offer them a glimmer of hope.

Former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has had a good start to management in the Premier League with three wins from his four games in charge at Aston Villa and he now takes his new club to the ground where he spent virtually his entire playing career, reports Xinhua.

Gerrard looks to be turning Villa into a team that uses quick short passes, but without Danny Ings, Leon Bailey, and Matt Target, although he can expect a warm welcome home from the Liverpool fans, Liverpool players such as the in-form trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Diojo Jota are likely to be a great deal less welcoming.

Chelsea suffered only their second league defeat of the season away to West Ham last weekend, before a late goal away to Zenit St Petersburg in midweek condemned them to a second-place finish in their Champions League group.

Coach Thomas Tuchel needs to see an improvement when his side take on Leeds United at Stamford Bridge, although Chelsea’s job has been made easier by injuries to Leeds captain Liam Cooper and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

Saturday also sees Manchester United visit Norwich City, whose three-game unbeaten run came to an end last weekend against Tottenham. Ralf Rangnick is likely to stick with his 4-2-2-2 formation, while Norwich are without Brandon Williams, who is on loan from Old Trafford and ineligible to play.

Southampton have goalkeeping problems ahead of their visit to Arsenal and have signed Willy Caballero on a short-term deal after injuries to Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster, while Mohammed Salisu and Oriol Romeu are also sidelined through suspension.

With Tottenham’s visit to Brighton postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Tottenham squad, there are just three games on Sunday.

West Ham travel to face Burnley without central defenders Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna and they could be important absentees in a game between two of the teams in the league that are most effective from set-pieces.

Newcastle United beat Burnley last weekend for their first win of the season and could have a good chance of making it two wins from two games when they visit an irregular Leicester City, whose interest in the Europa League was ended by a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat away to Napoli on Thursday.

Finally, Crystal Palace entertain Everton, who are still without Yerry Mina, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Lucas Digne, but received a huge morale boost on Monday when they fought back from a goal down at home to Arsenal to end a run of eight games without a win.

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