MATCHDAY: Liverpool regains key players for Leicester game
A look at what’s happening in the Premier League on Tuesday as teams look to negotiate their way through coronavirus cases and England’s busy festive fixture schedule:
LEICESTER vs. LIVERPOOL
Liverpool should welcome back Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Curtis Jones after they returned to training following time away with COVID-19. Coronavirus issues have eased at the club, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp saying one youth player and two members of staff are the people currently isolating because of it. Andy Robertson is suspended, though. Liverpool, which is six points behind second-place Manchester City having played one game fewer, will be fresher after its Dec. 26 game against Leeds postponed because Leeds had too many absences because of injuries and illness. Leicester, on the other hand, is playing its second game in three days after a 6-3 loss at Manchester City on Sunday.
SOUTHAMPTON vs. TOTTENHAM
Tottenham will play its first away match in the Premier League in 51 days, a record for the longest time between road games in a single season. The last away game for Spurs was a 0-0 draw at Everton on Nov. 7, which was Antonio Conte’s first league game in charge. Since then, Tottenham has won four of five games at home, drawing the other 2-2 against Liverpool, to stay in touch with the top four. Both Southampton (3-2 at West Ham) and Tottenham (3-0 at home to Crystal Palace) won on Sunday and are playing just 48 hours later.
WATFORD vs. WEST HAM
Watford will play its first game in 16 days after the team’s last three games were postponed because of COVID-19 outbreaks. Games against Burnley and Palace were called off because Watford had coronavirus cases, while Sunday’s match at Wolverhampton was postponed after an outbreak at Wolves. West Ham is sixth and coming off a 3-2 home loss to Southampton.
CRYSTAL PALACE vs. NORWICH
Already affected by a number of coronavirus cases, Palace will also be without suspended winger Wilfried Zaha as the team looks to bounce back from a 3-0 loss at Tottenham. Zaha was sent off at Spurs, exacerbating the problems for Palace manager Patrick Vieira — one of the people at the club who recently contracted COVID-19. Palace assistant manager Osian Roberts led the team at Spurs while Vieira was at home and he said the manager’s absence was a big factor. Norwich is in last place and was thrashed 5-0 at home by Arsenal on Sunday.
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