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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Germany look to be lacking leaders and could fall short in Russia

The Liverpool legend answers the week's big questions

Joachim Low's German outfit lack the leaders of four years ago
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What’s your best bet of the weekend?

Newcastle to beat Huddersfield. The Toon have won their last two at home, including that massive 3-0 success against Southampton. That suggests Rafa has got his team believing in themselves in pressure situations. Newcastle’s next three games are really tough so they could do with the breathing space that three points will provide.

Which favourites look the most vulnerable?

Manchester City look too short at Everton, who are showing encouraging signs at last under Sam Allardyce. With the title race done and dusted I don’t see Pep Guardiola taking any chances – his big game over the next few days is not Everton away, but Liverpool away in the Champions League and that’s where his focus will be.

Will Chelsea finish in the top four and what is the bet for their clash with Spurs?

Regardless of what happens in this game, I’d still take Chelsea to miss out on the top four. I was really impressed with them in spells in Barcelona and if you’re going to take on Tottenham, do it when they’re missing Harry Kane. But Chelsea seem to have an air of resignation that Antonio Conte is on his way and they’ve been treading water in league games.

Who caught the eye during the international break?

I’m not sure Joachim Low is any the wiser after Germany’s games against Spain and Brazil. The likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane didn’t do themselves any favours but I think it’s because they are integrating into a team missing leaders. This German side lacks the authority of the 2014 group and I’m worried about their chances.

Where is the value when Liverpool face Manchester City on Wednesday?

I’d probably say a draw, which would arguably suit both sides. City, if they can get a goal, will fancy their chances because they appear to be almost unbeatable at their own place. But Liverpool, with the pace they possess, won’t mind going and launching raids on the counter. They beat City at home and were the better team away until Sadio Mane was sent off. 

Give us a winner on the midweek coupon

Real Madrid at Juventus. The Italians look a side in decline to me. They squeezed past Spurs in the last 16 after being outplayed for two ties. Real, on the other hand, showed all their European nous by utterly outplaying Paris St-Germain when few thought they would. It’s all about knowhow and Real have that in abundance.

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Regardless of what happens in this game, I’d still take Chelsea to miss out on the top four.
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