Paul Merson's predictions for Manchester City vs Liverpool and other Premier League GW13 fixtures

Paul Merson predicts Manchester City vs Liverpool
Manchester City vs Liverpool always promises entertainment

We’ve all been waiting for Premier League action to return after the international fixtures. The importance of qualifiers for various potential tournaments has been reduced due to the new and relaxed qualification guidelines. So the return of club football brings some much-needed excitement back into the footballing world.

I feel like a little kid at Christmas waiting for this slew of Premier League fixtures heading our way. We have some wonderful games this weekend with teams all across the Premier League table playing important matches in the context of their respective campaigns.

So let’s get right into it and start off with the big one this weekend


Manchester City vs Liverpool

Manchester City will be hoping that Erling Haaland is fit for the clash against Liverpool
Manchester City will be hoping that Erling Haaland is fit for the clash against Liverpool

What a game to start off the weekend although we didn’t need this one to be an afternoon kickoff. I worry about it because it’s not exactly fair to all the players who were away on international duty.

It’s a great game. People keep telling me that Manchester City won’t win the league again this season as they’re not as strong as they were last term. But we know how they peak towards the business end of the season. If they lose this game, then the race for the title race gets blown wide open.

If City win this one, I’d be worried for the rest of the league. Liverpool might not be at their best as well as they have a lot of South American players who will return late after their international commitments.

But if you look at Liverpool’s attack, they have some great options. They have five forwards who are going to get double figures this season.

If Haaland is fit, then I think City edge this. I think there will be goals in this one. Both managers play an attacking brand of football. However, it’s tough to go against City at home.

Liverpool have a few selection headaches. I think they’ll play Joe Gomez at left-back instead of Kostas Tsimikas. He is more of a defender and he’ll tuck in. You’ve gotta be able to defend against City. In midfield, I’d probably play Wataru Endo and push Alexis Mac Allister in the 'number 8' postion. He keeps the ball and that’s the kind of thing you want to do against Man City. If you want to beat City, you’ve got to capitalise on that extra pass that goes through the lines.

You need players who can pick that pass. Endo is the man for me here because he is patient and there is the added advantage of unlocking Mac Allister's full potential.

Liverpool have shown that they can be really shaky when they come back after the international break. I remember them getting blown away in the first half of that game against Wolverhampton Wanderers under similar circumstances.

Considering everything, I predict a narrow home win for Manchester City against their title rivals.

Predicted scoreline: Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool


Sheffield United vs Bournemouth

Sheffield United will be hoping for a crucial home win against Bournemouth
Sheffield United will be hoping for a crucial home win against Bournemouth

This is a massive football match. I don’t think either of these teams are going to go above 30 points. These two teams have to treat this game like a cup final. Sheffield United have to win this one as I do not see them beating any of the big boys.

Bournemouth are coming off a 2-0 win over Newcastle United and will be confident of avoiding defeat here.

However, I think Sheffield United are going to win this one. This is one of their biggest games of the season and the home crowd could make a difference.

Predicted scoreline: Sheffield United 2-1 Bournemouth


Nottingham Forest vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Nottingham Forest have been tough to beat at home this season
Nottingham Forest have been tough to beat at home this season

For me, Brighton are a bag of revels. You don’t know what you’re gonna get. They’re brilliant one day and then all over the place in the next. It’s a tricky game and these are the games that can embarrass you as a pundit because your predictions can go horribly wrong.

I'm actually going to go with Nottingham Forest here and it’s only because of the sheer unpredictability of Brighton. I can’t exactly rely on Brighton given their form of late. Forest have got to win their home games and they should be up for the challenge.

Predicted scoreline: Nottingham Forest 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion


Burnley vs West Ham United

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany will be desperate for a win against West Ham
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany will be desperate for a win against West Ham

Burnley have got to win their home games if they are to have any chance of staying in the Premier League. They’re struggling right now and have lost six matches on the trot across competitions, however, it’s a good time to play West Ham.

A couple of their crucial players, Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen, had to leave the Jamaica and England camps respectively due to injury, and if they’re not going to play, the Hammers will be weak.

If these big names are missing, then Burnley could win this one. Antonio, especially, is going to be a big miss for West Ham. A win here will be a huge boost for Burnley given Everton’s points deduction.

Predicted scoreline: Burnley 1-0 West Ham United


Luton Town vs Crystal Palace

Luton Town will have to be at their best against Crystal Palace
Luton Town will have to be at their best against Crystal Palace

This is a massive game for Luton Town. They’ve really got to win this game. If they win it, what a weekend it will be for them! I think with Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, Palace have the X-factor. If they both play, Palace will fancy their chances.

Luton have got to play like they did against Liverpool at home prior to the international break. That game must have given them the belief that they belong in the Premier League. However, if they lose here, it’s one step forward and two steps back for them.

As I’ve already said, it’s a really big weekend for the teams at the bottom of the table. They could all win this weekend. If Luton can stop Eze from doing this thing, they have a great chance of winning here. Palace don’t score a lot of goals and that could cost them against a team that will be determined to pick up points at home.

Predicted scoreline: Luton Town 1-0 Crystal Palace


Newcastle United vs Chelsea

Cole Palmer has been in fine form for Chelsea
Cole Palmer has been in fine form for Chelsea

This is going to be another huge game. It’s one of those games where the result will be dictated by the availability of players. If Chelsea can get through the first 30 minutes without getting conceding a goal, this could be an extremely interesting encounter.

Chelsea are starting to adapt to Mauricio Pochettino’s style. They are able to give any side a run for their money at this point. I think Chelsea have to stick with Nicolas Jackson, Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer in attack. Sterling and Palmer have been in great form and they will be key here once again.

Chelsea’s team, at the moment, is starting to pick itself and it’s a good thing. Earlier, we used to sit around wondering how they were going to line up. But that’s changed now.

Despite all that, Newcastle at home are always up for any challenge and I see this game ending in a draw.

Predicted scoreline: Newcastle United 1-1 Chelsea


Brentford vs Arsenal

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal will face a stern test against Brentford
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal will face a stern test against Brentford

Arsenal will go into this game after having known the result of City and Liverpool’s clash. Brentford are a strong team and if Arsenal can match their physicality and be careful during set-pieces, they should win here. Hopefully, Martin Odegaard is going to be fit for this one.

West Ham might have lost to Brentford at home, but they were able to open the Bees up very well and the Gunners are a much better unit than the Hammers. The Gtech Community Stadium is a hard place to go and win a football match but I still think Arsenal are going to get themselves a massive result here.

Predicted scoreline: Brentford 1-3 Arsenal


Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa

Tottenham will need to get back to winning ways soon
Tottenham will need to get back to winning ways soon

There are about five Premier League teams that are fighting for a spot in Europe this season and Spurs are one of them. Tottenham are still a very good team even with their injuries. Save for that mad few minutes at the end of the game against Wolves, Spurs did well in that game.

As for Aston Villa, it’s hard to finish in the top four with an away record like theirs. They have to go to Tottenham and ensure they don’t get beaten there. As things stand, they are putting themselves under too much pressure to do it all at Villa Park. But that bubble will burst soon when the big teams come around to visit. It’ll be a massive result for whoever wins this game.

The international break could be a bit of an equalizer and I think the points will be shared here.

Predicted scoreline: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Aston Villa


Everton vs Manchester United

Everton vs Manchester United promises to be an intriguing career
Everton vs Manchester United promises to be an intriguing career

The atmosphere at Goodison Park will be mindblowing this Sunday. After what happened with Everton’s point deduction, the fans are going to be up for this one.

I don’t see Everton losing this game. It’s us against the world as far as Sean Dyche’s men are concerned and Goodison Park will be rocking.

Manchester United will be up against a team determined to prove everyone wrong. I’d actually be shocked if Everton got beaten in this one. Everton players work hard for each other and that is something we can’t really say about the Red Devils at this point in time.

Predicted scoreline: Everton 2-1 Manchester United


Fulham vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham FC - Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham FC - Premier League

I like Wolves. I think they have been absolutely outstanding this season. I think they are a hard team to beat. I worry for Fulham. The Cottagers don’t score enough goals. They miss Aleksandar Mitrovic dearly.

But I'm going to go for a draw here. Pedro Neto is likely to miss this one due to injury. He has been the heartbeat of this Wolves side.

Predicted scoreline: Fulham 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

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