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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

'People are getting carried away where Liverpool are concerned'

The Premier League legend answers the week's big questions

Liverpool celebrate during their 4-3 win over Manchester City
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What’s your best bet for the weekend?
Manchester United
to win at Burnley. It looks like Burnley have hit a dead end, which was inevitable at some stage. United turned in another average performance against Stoke on Monday and won 3-0 easily enough. They are winning games without being exciting which means there’s more to come. 

Which favourites look the most vulnerable?
It would be classic Liverpool to beat the runaway leaders one week and then fail to beat the bottom club the next. They were excellent for periods against Manchester City but people get carried away where Liverpool are concerned because we all know they have daft results in them. Swansea are improving and Liverpool are too short. 

Who would get the better deal of a Mkhitaryan/Sanchez swap?
My hunch is Arsenal. It’s not so long ago that Henrik Mkhitaryan was rightly regarded as one of the best number tens in world football. But he has lost his way and he needs an arm around his shoulder. Jose Mourinho was never going to offer that but Arsene Wenger may well do so. 

Will Paul Lambert keep Stoke in the Premier League?
I was surprised by the appointment given that Lambert’s recent record in management isn’t the greatest. But he’s still got contacts in Germany, where he was popular, and he’s already taking advantage of those links in the transfer window. He’ll have an idea of the side he wants Stoke to be and I’m not sure if Mark Hughes was clear in that.

Can Theo Walcott play his way into the England World Cup squad at Everton?
Yes, of course. Pace is a great weapon at any level and Walcott has that in abundance. What he needs is to be injury-free and given a run in a side, which looks highly likely at Everton where Sam Allardyce’s options aren’t great. This is a seriously brave move from Walcott because the Everton audience isn’t easy to please, but it shows how keen he is to finally realise his potential. 

What’s your best bet for the second legs of the League Cup semi-finals?
Arsenal to qualify. The tie is on a knife-edge after the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea were seriously tepid. The Gunners might just have the measure of Chelsea in cup football and Arsene Wenger has shown in recent seasons that domestic cups are his strength. The teams aren’t in particularly great form but I reckon Arsenal are overpriced to go through.

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It would be classic Liverpool to beat the runaway leaders one week and then fail to beat the bottom club the next
E.W. Terms
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