• Fri
  • Aug 29, 2014
  • Updated: 7:47pm
SportSoccer

Five things to know about the English Premier League

A rundown of this weekend's action as the campaign heads towards the final stages

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 April, 2014, 10:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 April, 2014, 6:05pm

A run of 10 straight victories has propelled Liverpool to the top of the Premier League and into the unfamiliar position of title favourite.

And few would bet on that winning streak ending this weekend.

Protecting a two-point lead with four games remaining, Liverpool visit Carrow Road to take on Norwich – an opponent the Reds have scored five goals against in each of their last three meetings.

Manchester City have dropped five points in their last two matches to slip behind in the title race, so the pressure is on second-place Chelsea to keep pace with Liverpool by beating relegation-threatened Sunderland on Saturday.

Here are five things to know about the upcoming games in the Premier League:

Suarez’s happy hunting ground

No one relishes a trip to Carrow Road more than Luis Suarez.

The Uruguay striker has scored hat-tricks in his only two matches at the stadium, part of a haul of 11 goals in his last four games against Norwich.

“I wish Suarez would just leave us alone. Big bully,” Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington tweeted after Suarez’s four-goal performance in the teams’ last meeting – at Anfield in December.

Suarez is the league’s top scorer with 29 goals. No Liverpool player has scored 30 goals in a season since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.

Suarez’s strike partner, Daniel Sturridge, has 20 goals this season, but is in doubt with a hamstring problem as Liverpool look to stay on course for a first league title in 24 years.

Mourinho’s selection dilemmas

It is the stage of the season when huge, season-defining matches come thick and fast – as Chelsea will testify.

After the home match to Sunderland – who are in last place, but coming off a 2-2 draw at Manchester City on Wednesday – Chelsea face two legs of a Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid and a potentially title-deciding game at Liverpool in the space of nine days.

With tiredness starting to creep in at the end of a long season, squad rotation could be key over the next fortnight for Chelsea although Jose Mourinho will know there is no room for error given Liverpool’s current form.

Chelsea can capture the league title by winning their last four matches.

“No one expected anything from Liverpool and they are in contention, and that is why they play without pressure so far,” Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech said, “but let’s see how they are going to cope when it comes to the last hurdle.”

City eyes repeat comeback

Manchester City came from eight points behind with six games remaining to overhaul Manchester United and win the Premier League in 2012, so the team’s predicament should hold no fear ahead of their home match against West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

The damaging draw to Sunderland left City six points behind Liverpool – and four behind Chelsea – having played a game less, and with no momentum after the 3-2 loss at Anfield on Sunday.

“I think we are more mentally tired than physically tired,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said after the Sunderland match, in which Yaya Toure and David Silva were missing for City through injury and Sergio Aguero playing at nowhere near full fitness.

Silva could return against West Brom, while Aguero will hope to play longer than the 55 minutes he managed against Sunderland as he steps up his comeback from two months out with a hamstring injury.

Moyes back at Everton

David Moyes will return to Goodison Park for the first time since taking over as Manchester United manager last summer – and he will find an Everton team flourishing under his replacement, Roberto Martinez.

Moyes spent 11 years at Everton, initially with the task of keeping the team in the Premier League and then with breaking the grip of the established elite in the top four.

He never succeeded, but Martinez could do so in his first season on Merseyside.

Despite Wednesday’s 3-2 home loss to Crystal Palace that ended a seven-game winning run, Everton are still just one point behind fourth-place Arsenal in the battle for the final Champions League spot.

Moyes’ new side, who already have been deposed as the league champions, are nine points behind Everton with a game in hand although their sights are more likely set on catching sixth-place Tottenham in the race for the final Europa League spot.

Spurs are three points ahead of United and host Fulham on Saturday.

No stopping Palace

Should Liverpool go on to win the league, Brendan Rodgers will no doubt win the manager-of-the-season award.

He will have a rival in Tony Pulis, though.

Pulis was appointed as Crystal Palace manager in November with the team bottom of the standings on four points and with few giving them any hope of survival.

Fast forward five months and Palace have 40 points, are 10 points clear of the relegation zone and can start preparing for another season in the top flight.

The team have won their last four games, including victories over Chelsea and Everton.

Included in that streak is a 3-0 win at Cardiff on April 5, a match which is the subject of a Premier League investigation with the Welsh club claiming Palace obtained Cardiff’s starting line-up before the game.

The BBC says Cardiff have sent a five-page letter to the Premier League and believe the result should not stand.

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