26 Dec 2018

Liverpool look to stay on top

1:20 pm on 26 December 2018

Liverpool will be hoping to maintain their four-point lead at the top of the English Premier League on Boxing Day as the traditional festive season matches begin.

Liverpool were also top at Christmas in 2008 and 2013 but let their lead slip in the closing stages, finishing second on both occasions.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates with his team mates after he scores.


Chasing their first league title since 1990, Liverpool host Newcastle on Boxing Day, trying to play down the pressure of being the hunted leader.

"We have done really well so far and we have to do even better from now on," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told the media on Monday.

"The other teams, you can see the challenge. At this moment it looks quite positive, but only at this moment. We have to keep that going."

Liverpool received an early Christmas present from former manager Roy Hodgson when Crystal Palace won at Manchester City last weekend.

They will hope to capitalise on it when another ex-manager, Rafael Benitez, brings Newcastle to Anfield.

City will try to bounce back immediately as they travel to a Leicester side fresh from a victory at Chelsea last time out.

Manager Pep Guardiola left David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne on the bench against Palace, a decision that backfired as the visitors snatched a shock victory.

But Guardiola insists the intensity of the Christmas and new year programme means he will continue to rotate his squad.

"We put six or seven players with fresh legs, that is going to happen in the future," he said.

"When you have a lot of games, everyone has to play."

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino insists that his side are still outsiders for the title, compared to Liverpool and City.

But Pochettino's side are on a high after putting six goals past Everton on Sunday and the Argentinian said they can only take care of what's in front of them.

"There is a long way for me to say we are real contenders," said Pochettino, whose side host Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

"It's so tough to win the Premier League but we are going to try. The clear favourites are Liverpool and Manchester City.

Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will welcome Huddersfield to Old Trafford as he looks to follow up his opening-match win.

United sit 19 points behind Liverpool in sixth place, eight points off the top four.

Fourth-placed Chelsea travel to Watford while Arsenal, level on points with them in fifth, are at Brighton.

Arsenal are without midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan for up to six weeks after breaking a bone in his foot in the latest injury for manager Unai Emery.

The Londoners have already lost defender Rob Holding and forward Danny Welbeck to season-ending injuries, and the Gunners are also without the defensive duo Shkodran Mustafi and Hector Bellerin for trip to Brighton.

Bottom side Fulham host Wolves, while third-bottom Burnley face Everton and Crystal Palace host Cardiff in Boxing Day's other fixture.