Jesse Lingard can improve West Ham, Ralph Hasenhüttl must regroup again, and Pep Guardiola should resist overthinking

Pep Guardiola may be a tactical genius, but as Spinal Tap’s guitarist once said: “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” The Manchester City manager has proven as much with his tendency to overcomplicate things in big matches. Few know this better than Jürgen Klopp, whose Liverpool team have more than once been grateful beneficiaries of Guardiola’s needlessly intricate one-off gameplans. There is no call for such complexity on Sunday. City head to Anfield having won 13 games in a row in all competitions, while their opponents have won three of their past 10, lost two on the bounce at home and kept one clean sheet this year. The Anfield crowd, which has in recent years fuelled early blitzkriegs against City, will be absent. Guardiola’s main task may be psychological rather than tactical: to ensure his players take to the pitch with the same freedom of the past two months. Or to put it in plain terms, to avoid messing with a winning formula. AH

Liverpool v Manchester City, Sunday 4.30pm (all times GMT)

Tottenham v West Brom, Sunday 12pm

Fulham v West Ham, Saturday 5.30pm

Wolves v Leicester, Sunday 2pm

Sheffield United v Chelsea, Sunday 7.15pm

Aston Villa v Arsenal, Saturday 12.30pm

Leeds United v Crystal Palace, Monday 8pm

Newcastle v Southampton, Saturday 3pm

Manchester United v Everton, Saturday 8pm

Burnley v Brighton, Saturday 3pm

Continue reading...