REDS’ SIGHTS ON NO 1 SPOT |

Liver­pool could be top of the league be­fore City slick­ers face a tough Chelsea test

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

LIVER­POOL will be look­ing to take top spot in the Premier League as lead­ers Manch­ester City travel to Chelsea in the big­gest match of the week­end.

Juer­gen Klopp’s side go to Bournemouth for to­mor­row’s early kick-off know­ing vic­tory would send them top and put a lit­tle pres­sure on City be­fore they take on Chelsea at Stam­ford Bridge later in the day.

Nei­ther of the top two sides have dropped a point since they drew 0-0 at An­field in early Oc­to­ber, leav­ing City two points clear of Liver­pool.

Hav­ing left Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench and rested Sa­dio Mane in the mid­week 3-1 win at Burn­ley, Klopp is likely to ro­tate his side fur­ther for the jour­ney to the south coast. De­fender Joe Gomez will miss out with an an­kle in­jury but Liver­pool cap­tain Jor­dan Hen­der­son said the squad sim­ply need to fo­cus on main­tain­ing their best ever start to a top-flight sea­son.

“We are not re­ally in­ter­ested in City, to be hon­est, be­cause there is a long way to go,” Hen­der­son said. “We know how good they are, we ex­pect them to win. We just ex­pect our­selves to win games and per­form to the level that we have been, and if we do that we can keep win­ning.”

All Premier League sides face a packed sched­ule over the Christ­mas pe­riod but Hen­der­son is en­cour­aged by the strength in depth Liver­pool have shown in their squad.

“The games are com­ing thick and fast, a lot of games in a short space of time,” he said. But we showed we can use the squad and still per­form to the level we know we are ca­pa­ble of and win games, and that’s a big plus for us.”

City go to Chelsea full of con­fi­dence while the hosts have to bounce back after their mid­week de­feat at Wolves. Chelsea man­ager Mau­r­izio Sarri said City were in a dif­fer­ent class to the rest.

“City are the best team in Europe, maybe the best in the world,” he said.

“They can win the Cham­pi­ons League, but that de­pends on mo­ments. Last sea­son I think they were the best team in the Cham­pi­ons League, but they played two matches not in the best mo­ment of the sea­son.”

City have con­ceded just seven goals in 15 matches – sec­ond only to Liver­pool, who have six – and de­fender Ni­co­las Ota­mendi said the en­tire squad was work­ing to­gether.

“It’s team­work, not just credit (to) us, the de­fend­ers,” he said.

“Con­ced­ing very few goals is very im­por­tant for all of us. Goal dif­fer­ence could be very im­por­tant at the end of the sea­son.”

LIVER­POOL’S Roberto Firmino came off the bench against Burn­ley on Wed­nes­day night to score for the ti­tle chal­lengers, who romped to a 3-1 vic­tory. He has been key in the Reds’ gameplan, along with de­fender Vir­gil van Dijk, right. | Reuters

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