The Premier League steps up a gear this week with a rare round of mid-week fixtures. The games under the lights are something that all teams will have to get used to over the coming weeks as the festive fixtures move ever closer.
Liverpool vs Everton
The Merseyside derby takes centre stage on Wednesday evening, as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool can move further ahead in the title race. The Reds currently hold an eight-point lead over their nearest rivals Leicester City, while they also have an eleven point lead over Manchester City. The pressure was heaped on Marco Silva with another defeat against Leicester on Sunday, and a defeat here could mark the end of his Everton tenure.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 31 league games, while Everton have lost their previous two. Klopp will be worried that he is without their number one keeper Alisson, while Fabinho remains out until the New Year. Meanwhile, the Toffees will be without Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes for the fixture at Anfield.
This will be the first of two meetings between the clubs in the next month after the pair drew each other in the third round of the FA Cup. Liverpool holds a dominant advantage as they have won 119 of the previous meetings, while Everton have recorded 82 wins and there have been 83 draws.
It is increasingly unlikely that Everton will get anything from this game, and their record of conceding an average of 2.25 goals over the last four Premier League fixtures at Anfield doesn’t give them much confidence. The Reds will win this, and there will be over 2.5 goals in a comfortable win.
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Two of the team’s that were predicted to challenge for a place in the top four this season meet at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. It will be a first return to the Theatre of Dreams for Jose Mourinho following his sacking nearly 12 months ago. The pressure is building on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as his win average of just over 27% is the lowest of any United manager since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
United were held to a 2-2 draw in their last fixture against Aston Villa, and they have only won twice in their previous five fixtures. Meanwhile, Spurs have won all three fixtures since the arrival of Mourinho, and have also qualified for the next stage of the Champions League.
Solskjaer will once again be without a host of first-team names, with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Eric Bailly ruled out. Spurs will be missing Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies for the fixture at Old Trafford.
Regardless, the Red Devils hold the advantage in the overall record between the sides as they have won on 91 occasions compared to Tottenham 52 wins. There have also been 48 draws. United won the last meeting 1-0 at Wembley, while Spurs won this fixture 3-0 last season.
In the previous five Premier League fixtures between the sides, both teams have scored in the same match on one occasion. The "both teams to score" market could be an interesting avenue for punters as this pattern looks set to continue with United's poor record of scoring and Spurs being in great form.