Premier League leaders Liverpool have dropped factors of their final two matches so ought to Reds followers be involved as they put together for his or her first sport of 2021, at Southampton?
“In the event that they weren’t creating probabilities then it might be a severe fear,” mentioned BBC soccer skilled and former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson. “However they’re nonetheless making a great deal of them.
“If they’d nicked a purpose at Newcastle on Wednesday, which clearly they may and may have performed, then they might have gained, gone 5 factors clear and everybody could be saying ‘who’s going to cease Liverpool now?’
“As an alternative, it’s a case of ‘properly, they’re solely three factors clear’. It is a wonderful line, that adjustments individuals’s perceptions of how a workforce is doing when it actually should not do. I’ve spoken to Liverpool followers who inform me ‘oh, we’re not doing properly for the time being, and we won’t put away our probabilities’.
“My response is normally fairly dry and alongside the traces of ‘no, they’re solely high of the league and with half their workforce lacking. And that entrance three have been horrible for the previous three years, have not they?’
“Being severe although, groups do not win the league by 15 factors yearly. That is what normally occurs with the ebb and move over the course of a season if you end up difficult for the title – and you need to bear in mind Liverpool usually are not being overwhelmed both.
“The response after they do drop factors simply exhibits you the requirements they’ve set.”
Lawro is making predictions for all 380 Premier League matches this season, in opposition to a wide range of visitors.
This week, for the primary set of Premier League fixtures of 2021, he’s up in opposition to The Farm singer and Liverpool fan Peter Hooton.
The Farm have launched a brand new digital EP of their 1990 hit All Collectively Now to have a good time its thirtieth anniversary.
The tune is in regards to the legendary sport of soccer performed between the trenches in World Battle I by Allied and German troops on Christmas Day 1914.
In flip, All Collectively Now was used because the inspiration for the annual Premier League Christmas Truce Event, by which Underneath-12 academy gamers from golf equipment throughout Europe meet for a match in Ypres, Belgium, and study in regards to the First World Battle.
“The Premier League championed it, and it was due to the tune,” Hooton defined. “We went over in 2014 for the one hundredth anniversary of the Christmas ceasefire, and performed an acoustic model in a large marquee on the award ceremony, the place all the children had been.
“It’s a good occasion and it is poignant and symbolic that the tune has been adopted in that approach – as a part of the training for all academy youngsters, to point out how soccer can unite individuals in addition to divide them.
“All Collectively Now has additionally been adopted in South America as a part of their Covid response this 12 months. We carry on getting Spotify studies from Buenos Aires, Rio and Sao Paulo, that we’re on of their high 5 on Spotify.
“It is a part of a marketing campaign for PPE [personal protective equipment] that makes use of the tune for its theme music. It is nice that the tune’s message of friendship and camaraderie nonetheless resonates now, with what’s going on all over the world.”
Hooton has been going to look at Liverpool for greater than 40 years and informed BBC Sport: “Within the late Nineteen Seventies and 80s after I was rising up, it felt like our success was endless.
“You possibly can by no means have thought there could be a 30-year hole in profitable the league that we had till this 12 months. That was unthinkable then, however issues change do not they? Issues are cyclical, in life and in every thing. Soccer is simply one other instance of that.
“If we win one other league title or European Cup, then you’ll be able to evaluate this Liverpool facet to our nice groups of earlier eras, as a result of they’ll have that very same consistency of doing it 12 months after 12 months.
“Everybody is aware of how exhausting it’s to win the Premier League. To do it once more would put them proper up there.
“Finally I feel any workforce is judged on the trophies it wins. For this Liverpool workforce it’s all right down to Jurgen Klopp. You possibly can have a improbable set of gamers however with out that chief as your supervisor, you will not obtain a lot.”
Anfield has once more been closed to supporters as a result of Liverpool has been moved into tier three of the federal government’s coronavirus restrictions.
As much as 2,000 followers had been allowed in to look at dwelling video games in opposition to Wolves, Tottenham and West Brom in December, and Hooton bought a ticket for the Spurs sport by means of the membership’s poll system.
“It was a very good one to get but it surely was an uncommon expertise, beginning with strolling as much as the bottom and all of the pubs being shut,” he defined. “From sizzling canine to horse manure, every thing you are used to seeing and smelling is not there.
“It was very eerie, and poignant actually in some ways, however an ideal alternative to get again into the bottom.
“I loved it, but it surely’s clearly nothing like being there when it is full. It is surreal, it was like going to look at the reserves or the youth workforce.
“I am concerned with Spirit of Shankly [the Liverpool supporters’ union] and we have at all times mentioned soccer is nothing with out the followers. Sadly we have discovered previously few months how true that’s.”
|FRIDAY, 1 JANUARY|
|Everton v West Ham||x-x||1-1||2-2|
|Man Utd v Aston Villa||x-x||2-0||1-1|
|SATURDAY, 2 JANUARY|
|Tottenham v Leeds||x-x||2-0||2-3|
|Crystal Palace v Sheff Utd||x-x||2-1||3-0|
|Brighton v Wolves||x-x||1-1||1-2|
|West Brom v Arsenal||x-x||0-2||0-2|
|SUNDAY, 3 JANUARY|
|Burnley v Fulham||x-x||2-0||0-0|
|Newcastle v Leicester||x-x||0-2||1-2|
|Chelsea v Man Metropolis||x-x||0-2||1-2|
|MONDAY, 4 JANUARY|
|Southampton v Liverpool||x-x||1-2||0-2|
An accurate end result (choosing a win, draw or defeat) is value 10 factors. The precise rating earns 40 factors.
FRIDAY, 1 JANUARY
Everton v West Ham (17:30 GMT)
There appears to be numerous attracts about for the time being – West Ham have drawn three of their previous 4 matches and I feel we’ll see one other one right here.
Hammers boss David Moyes would most likely be pleased with that – since leaving Goodison Park in 2013, he has misplaced on all 4 events he has come again with Manchester United, Sunderland and the Hammers.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Peter on the title race: Our main rivals for the title this season are inevitably going to be Manchester Metropolis. Everton have put a few good runs collectively which is nice however whereas they will go on a four-match profitable run, they will additionally go on a four-game winless run. It’s the consistency that you just want, and Metropolis are the one different facet who you recognize can put a run of 10-15 video games collectively. Clearly I is perhaps mistaken and remorse these phrases however I feel Everton are difficult for the highest 4, slightly than the title.
Peter’s prediction: West Ham had been doing properly however they’ve had a little bit of a hiccup. My head says Everton, as a result of they’ve had a bit extra relaxation over Christmas, however my coronary heart says a draw. 2-2
Man Utd v Aston Villa (20:00 GMT)
I might be at this sport for BBC Radio 5 Stay, and it will likely be a very good take a look at for Manchester United.
They nicked the factors very late within the day in opposition to Wolves, which is an efficient signal. You by no means argue with a late purpose for a one-niller as a result of it appears like you have got gained by 5.
That is one other powerful sport for them, as a result of Aston Villa have been extraordinarily good, however I feel being so near Liverpool on the high will assist United’s trigger.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s facet have gotten one thing about them for the time being that’s serving to them get throughout the road in video games, and so they solely have to have a look at the desk to know they’re within the title race.
United have not actually bought going but both and, though you can say the identical about a number of groups, they’re most likely trying round pondering “you recognize what, this league is there to be gained”.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Peter’s prediction: United have gotten some good gamers who simply have not gelled as a workforce but, however they’re second within the league and everyone seems to be asking “the place has this come from?”. I watched them get that late win over Wolves however once more it was all fairly pedestrian from them and so they appear to be getting outcomes due to particular person performances. I feel they’re getting a bit cocky, pondering they’re higher than they’re, and it’s straightforward to underestimate Villa. 1-1
SATURDAY, 2 JANUARY
Tottenham v Leeds (12:30 GMT)
That is such an intriguing match due to the distinction in the way in which each groups play, and the way each managers see the sport.
Each Premier League sport is televised for the time being due to the restrictions on followers going to video games but when they weren’t, this could be most individuals’s first choose of the one they wish to watch.
Leeds fully dismantled West Brom earlier this week, and their sport plan might be “up and at ’em” right here too.
That’s precisely how Tottenham like opposing groups to be, although. I simply really feel it is going to play into Jose Mourinho’s palms just a little bit, as his facet look to get again to profitable methods.
It will not be boring, although. It by no means is with Leeds – they have you ever on the sting of your seat, whichever finish the ball is at.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Peter’s prediction: I like the way in which Leeds play and I believed it was improbable the way in which they got here to Anfield in the beginning of the season and simply went “you’re the champions, we’re going to beat you”. I watched the highlights of their 5-0 win over West Brom and it was simply unbelievable.
It will be fascinating to see how this goes as a result of Tottenham have dipped a bit previously few weeks – they’ll attempt to get a purpose and shut up store, however you’ll be able to’t do this in opposition to Leeds, as a result of they’re so attacking. 2-3
Crystal Palace v Sheff Utd (15:00 GMT)
Palace stopped the rot with their draw in opposition to Leicester. They went again to their outdated methods of being a bit extra pragmatic, which I at all times thought they might do.
Sheffield United’s anticipate a primary win of the season goes on, although, and it will get more durable and more durable to make a case for them to remain up.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1
Peter’s prediction: It isn’t trying good for Sheffield United. I really feel for them often because I believed they had been improbable final season. My buddy Paul Heaton [former lead singer of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South] helps them so I’ve at all times bought a smooth spot for them, however they cannot purchase a purpose for the time being. Sorry Paul! 3-0
Brighton v Wolves (17:30 GMT)
Wolves are wobbling a bit. Defensively they nonetheless look fairly sound however they aren’t scoring targets, which is why they aren’t profitable many video games and are caught in mid-table.
Brighton are the identical, solely they’re hovering simply above the relegation zone. A win would make an enormous distinction to each groups, however I can see the factors being shared.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Peter’s prediction: I am tempted to go for an additional draw right here however perhaps Wolves will edge it. 1-2
West Brom v Arsenal (20:00 GMT)
If you’re Sam Allardyce, what do you say to the West Brom gamers after they had been taken aside by Leeds?
Allardyce was filled with reward for them after their wonderful draw with Liverpool, however they had been everywhere in opposition to Marcelo Bielsa’s facet in midweek.
Is he simply going to take a seat on this time, and mainly say “we begin with some extent and I am completely happy if we end with one”?
I do not see that sport plan working in opposition to Arsenal.
The Gunners had been in terrible type earlier than Christmas however they’ve gained their final two video games, and are simply beginning to play properly. They might fairly simply go on a pleasant little run now.
After going to The Hawthorns, they begin January with dwelling league video games in opposition to Crystal Palace and Newcastle, and host the Magpies within the FA Cup. All of these fixtures look winnable for them.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Peter’s prediction: West Brom might be smarting from that 5-0 defeat by Leeds so Sam Allardyce will actually shut up store this time. Arsenal are on a mini-revival although. 0-2
SUNDAY, 3 JANUARY
Burnley v Fulham (12:00 GMT)
It’s all excellent news for Burnley for the time being. Off the pitch, the takeover of the membership has gone through. On it, they’re again to being Burnley – and that could be a huge praise.
I’ve talked about earlier than how Fulham are bettering too, particularly defensively, however I feel they’ll discover it extraordinarily troublesome in opposition to the Clarets.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Peter’s prediction: 0-0
Newcastle v Leicester (14:15 GMT)
Newcastle bought a extremely good level in opposition to Liverpool, when Magpies boss Steve Bruce was simply coming underneath a little bit of strain.
However that is Leicester away, and we all know how good the Foxes are on the street. Jamie Vardy ought to begin too, after solely approaching in its place in opposition to Crystal Palace earlier within the week.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Peter’s prediction: 1-2
Chelsea v Man Metropolis (16:30 GMT)
Chelsea have misplaced their final three away league video games – at Everton, Wolves and Arsenal – however their type at Stamford Bridge has been much more strong.
I’m nonetheless going with a Manchester Metropolis win, although. Pep Guardiola’s facet usually are not fairly at it, by way of going ahead and opening up groups, however the trade-off for that has been their enchancment defensively.
The texture of the Metropolis workforce is totally different after they play 4-2-3-1 slightly than 4-3-3 however that is additionally right down to the steadiness of attacking gamers within the workforce in addition to their formation.
Possibly Guardiola felt his facet are just a little bit weak on the again and wished that safety however, by addressing that downside, it appears to have made issues more durable for Metropolis on the different finish.
They’re nonetheless getting outcomes, but it surely feels extra like they’re getting them by attrition.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Peter’s prediction: Chelsea are struggling a bit for the time being. I might prefer it to be a draw however I feel Metropolis will win it. Sorry Suggs! 1-2
MONDAY, 4 JANUARY
Southampton v Liverpool (20:00 GMT)
I at all times really feel like Southampton are higher on the street, however their dwelling type is first rate too – the fifth finest within the Premier League actually.
Liverpool haven’t been nice away this season however I simply have a sense they’ll get again to profitable methods on the south coast.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-2
Peter’s prediction: Southampton have been one of many shock groups this season however Sadio Mane at all times does properly in opposition to his outdated membership and, if he performs, I see us profitable by a few targets. 0-2
Peter on Liverpool’s season to date: If somebody had mentioned in the beginning that we might be high of the league on the finish of the 12 months, regardless of having our greatest three centre-halves out, then you definitely would take all of it day, would not you? We have dropped a number of factors right here and there however the draw with Newcastle was the identical because the one with West Brom – we created sufficient probabilities however we simply did not take them.
Lawro was talking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
How did Lawro do final time?
From the video games on 28, 29 and 30 December, Lawro bought 5 appropriate outcomes from eight matches, together with one actual rating, for a complete of 80 factors.
He beat Grammy-winning producer Fraser T. Smith, who bought three appropriate outcomes, with no actual scores, for a complete of 30 factors.
That leaves Fraser stage with Rick Astley close to the underside of the visitor leaderboard, however with two video games nonetheless to play – the matches between Everton and Manchester Metropolis and Tottenham in opposition to Fulham that had been postponed.
He predicted a 2-0 Everton win and a 3-0 Spurs victory and any factors earned might be added to his complete when these video games are performed.
GUEST LEADERBOARD 2020-21
|110||Sister Bliss, Amy Macdonald, Steve White|
|90||Adam Devonshire, Becky Hill|
|75||Lawro (common after 16 weeks)|
|60||Celeste, Caroline Weir|
|50||Declan McKenna, Paul Smith, DJ Goal|
|40||Gavin ‘Mo’ Edgeley|
|30||Rick Astley, Fraser T. Smith|