Too early for title talk

Liverpool

It could have been a three-point gap heading into the big showdown but instead, it was kept at six.

Liverpool’s “f***ing mentality giants” as Jurgen Klopp calls his players, showed character once again to score two late goals against Aston Villa last week to snatch a 2-1 victory.

With Manchester City leading Southampton 2-1, it potentially meant Monday morning’s match (12.30am) could have given the defending champion the chance to go top for the first time this season with a victory at Anfield if Liverpool had lost.

Instead, we enter the showdown between the top two teams with the Reds firmly on top ahead of the last international break of the year.

A win for Liverpool will give it a huge psychological boost but a nine-point gap this early in the season is not insurmountable.

Liverpool will start as the favourite on Monday but City nearly won at Anfield last season – Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty in the dying seconds ensured a 0-0 draw.

City won its home leg – effectively the difference between winning and losing the title.

As such, Liverpool may need to win this time although a draw would not be the end of the world – provided it can avoid defeat at the Etihad on April 4.

Fight for Change 2019

But that would be disrespecting the chasing pack.

Leicester and Chelsea could overtake City if they win their matches against Arsenal and Crystal Palace respectively.

After 11 matches, Liverpool is top with 31 points, followed by City on 25 and Leicester and Chelsea on 23.

There is also an intriguing battle just outside the top four. Arsenal is fifth with 17 points, just four ahead of 13th-placed West Ham.

Stuck among them are Manchester United and Tottenham – two of the traditional ‘Big Six’.

United should get back to winning ways against Brighton who although two points and places ahead, doesn’t have the same quality.

Spurs, however, could face some trouble against newly-promoted Sheffield United as it has only taken two points from its last four matches.

The Blades were most pundits pick to be relegated but are sixth in the standings with 16 points.

If Tottenham fails to win again, what would happen to Mauricio Pochettino?

Pukki’s gone dry, Farke’s in trouble

Norwich slipped to the bottom of the standings when it suffered its ninth loss from 12 matches early this morning as Watford finally claimed its first win of the season.

In the battle of the basement clubs, Watford carved out a 2-0 victory despite playing with only 10 men for more than 25 minutes.

Some bookmakers have made Norwich boss Daniel Farke the favourite to be sacked either during the international break or before the January transfer window.

One reason for the Canaries’ poor form has been Teemu Pukki’s dry spell.

The Finnish striker scored five goals in his first three matches and added one more as the club stunned Manchester City 3-2 on Sept 15.

Since then, Pukki has gone cold with Norwich losing six of its last seven matches, earning just a point with a 0-0 draw with Bournemouth.

For Farke’s sake, Pukki better start scoring again.

EPL fixtures (Malaysian time)

Today
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (8.30pm)
Burnley vs West Ham (11pm)
Newcastle vs Bournemouth (11pm)
Southampton vs Everton (11pm)
Tottenham vs Sheffield United (11pm)

Tomorrow
Leicester vs Arsenal (1.30am)
Wolves vs Aston Villa (10pm)
Manchester United vs Brighton (10pm)

Monday
Liverpool vs Manchester City (12.30am)