Champions League needs could affect weekend Premier League clashes

Saturday, 2019-04-13 07:56:28
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Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri in action with West Ham's Manuel Lanzini - Premier League - Chelsea v West Ham United - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - April 8, 2019. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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The Champions League interrupts the race for the Premier League title this weekend in England with three teams having to juggle their domestic and European commitments.

League leaders Liverpool have one of the toughest games between now and the end of the season when they play at home to third place Chelsea on Sunday.

Liverpool's players have all said they probably need to win all of their remaining games in order to lift the title for the first time in 30 years, and on paper Chelsea are the toughest rival they will meet between now and the end of the campaign.

Tuesday saw Liverpool take a 2-0 lead in their Champions League quarterfinal against Porto and with the return on Wednesday, that should allow Jurgen Klopp's players time to recover ahead of their trip to Portugal.

Manchester City will be less pleased with the timing of Sunday's visit to play Crystal Palace.

Palace beat Pep Guardiola's side in the Ethiad Stadium earlier this season and may think they have the chance of taking advantage of a dip in form from City, who trail Liverpool by two points and lost 1-0 away to Tottenham in the first leg of their Champions League tie.

City have no option other than to win in Selhurst Park, but the fact the game comes just three days before their European future is on the line means Guardiola has some difficult team selections to make.

Tottenham have the advantage of playing on Saturday and should have few problems with dispatching Huddersfield, who are already doomed to return to the Championship at the end of the season.

The problem for Mauricio Pochettino is that injuries to Harry Kane (who could miss the season with an ankle injury) and Dele Alli robs him of two key players at a vital moment of the campaign.

Manchester United will still be without Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic when they entertain West Ham United on Saturday. A recent dip in form has put the brakes on United recovery under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose side also face the daunting prospect of trying to overturn a 1-0 deficit to Barcelona in the Camp Nou on Tuesday night.

The weekend also sees key matches as teams look to scramble clear of the relegation zone. The biggest of those sees Burnley entertain Cardiff City, who are five points from safety.

A win for Burnley would see them safe and leave Cardiff struggling, although the Welsh side would still have a chance if Brighton fail to capitalize on Bournemouth's notoriously poor away from home.

Southampton can also take a step closer towards safety if they can win at home to an impressive Wolves side, who last week lost the Cup semifinal to Watford.

Finally Fulham, who are already relegated, entertain Everton, whose recent upturn in form has given them hopes of a top-seven finish and a possible place in Europe.