Liverpool performed a stunning late turnaround to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Selhurst Park last weekend to leapfrog Arsenal at the Premier League summit.
Mohamed Salah’s 200th goal for the Reds initiated the comeback before Harvey Elliott’s stoppage-time winner extended their winning league run to three matches, moving them a point clear of the Gunners.
Following last season’s dismal fifth-place finish, Jurgen Klopp’s side are back on track, establishing themselves as genuine title candidates after only losing once in the opening 16 Premier League matches.
They have hauled 11 wins in that sequence, leaving perennial champions Manchester City four points behind as we approach the business end of the calendar year.
With Boxing Day and a busy Christmas schedule fast approaching, the high-flying Merseyside giants spearhead the top-four logjam, with only four points separating four title contenders.
As a fiercely contested title race begins to take shape, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Man City’s next five Premier League fixtures could play a pivotal role in defining the 2023/24 champions.
Manchester United (H) – Sunday, December 17
With Thursday’s Europa League trip to Royale Union Saint-Gilloise a mere formality after sealing a top-place finish in Group E, Klopp can rotate his squad to avoid fatigue ahead of the Red Devils’ visit to Anfield.
Expectations are sky-high around the Reds camp after an outrageous home form in 2023/24. They’ve won all 11 competitive outings at Anfield this season, noticeably netting 3+ goals on nine occasions.
In a buoyant mood, Liverpool will be looking to recreate last season’s historic 7-0 demolition of Man Utd and consolidate their title credentials at the expense of Erik ten Hag’s troubled side.
Unlike the Merseysiders, United’s season has been an unmitigated disaster, with the Dutchman’s underperforming team earning the wooden spoon in their Champions League group.
Arsenal (H) – Saturday, December 23
If the standings remain unchanged after the weekend, Arsenal’s mouth-watering visit to Anfield a fortnight from now will have all the makings of a title six-pointer.
Liverpool’s dominant four-game winning streak in this fixture halted last term as the Gunners triumphed 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium before holding the Reds to a 2-2 draw in April.
A competitive-looking League Cup quarter-final tie against Arsenal’s cross-capital rivals, West Ham United, will be a dress rehearsal ahead of this Premier League classic.
Burnley (A) – Tuesday, December 26
While others would probably still be nursing a pounding hangover after the Christmas celebration, Liverpool face a Boxing Day trip to Lancashire for a must-win clash against hot relegation candidates Burnley.
Vincent Kompany’s side smashed a 100-point landmark during a memorable promotion campaign in 2022/23 but have yet to hit the ground running following their swift top-flight return.
Second from bottom, courtesy of a superior goal difference to fellow newcomers Sheffield United, the Clarets have earned a notorious reputation as the Premier League whipping boys this term.
Newcastle United (H) – Monday, January 1
It’s impossible to bet against Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United side even when an ominous-looking injury crisis threatens to undermine their effort to replicate last season’s success.
However, as the only Premier League side to have emerged victorious at St James’ Park this season – beating the Magpies 2-1 despite trailing by a goal and a man in August – Liverpool ought to get the new calendar year off to a flying start.
Bournemouth (A) – Sunday, January 21
The Reds’ second top-flight outing of 2024 takes them to the Vitality Stadium, with a resurgent Bournemouth side waiting in the wings.
Despite the Cherries’ perennial struggles in the lower reaches, Klopp knows he can’t take this encounter lightly after Gary O’Neil’s side strung together a four-game unbeaten league run, bookended by an outstanding 3-0 triumph at Man Utd.
Brighton & Hove Albion (H) – December 17
Liverpool (A) – December 23
West Ham United (H) – December 28
Fulham (A) – December 31
Crystal Palace (H) – January 20
Brentford (A) – December 17
Sheffield United (H) – December 22
Manchester United (A) – December 26
Burnley (H) – December 30
Everton (A) – January 14
Crystal Palace (H) – December 16
Everton (A) – December 27
Sheffield United (H) – December 30
Newcastle United (A) – January 13
Burnley (H) – January 31
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