Crystal Palace v Liverpool, 13:30
Palace played a frustratingly large part in the Liverpool title challenge last season, or the failure of the same, and with the press needing something to focus on right now that has not been something the likes of Steven Gerrard are being allowed to forget. The away team are only five points ahead of Palace in the table and fifteen from the top which is a great illustration of their situation, and with Liverpool not having won in three matches and Palace winless in five this could be a desperate game and mediocre spectacle to boot. Even a spot in the top four will only be up for grabs for so long and Brendan Rodgers can’t afford to see that gap grow further, but the tension may up the tempo and bring a bit of the Liverpool of old out of this current Reds line-up.
Mile Jedinak and Yannick Bolasie will be assessed by Crystal Palace following long-haul flights and James McArthur faces a fitness test on a calf problem. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is out until the New Year, but Mario Balotelli should be fit to start up front.
Hull v Spurs, 16:00
Just like Liverpool, this Tottenham side is playing some disappointing football at present that even the hardcore fans are struggling to love, and a trip to Hull has the potential to be a tricky one for a team that has lost three of their last five in the Premier League. Hull have only won once in their last ten outings in the division, a 2-0 victory over Palace, but recent draws with Arsenal and Liverpool at least illustrate what a tricky team they can be to beat, even for sides with considerable resources and good depth.
Hull manager Steve Bruce is expected to make and Michael Dawson, Nikica Jelavic and Curtis Davies could all return after injury, along with star keeper Allan McGregor. Tottenham will be without the suspended Kyle Naughton, and Andros Townsend withdrew from England duty with an ankle injury.
Aston Villa v Southampton, 20:00
Going into this match away against Aston Villa, it is incredible to note that Southampton are not only eleven points clear of Liverpool and Tottenham at the time of writing, but also a point above Manchester City before kick-off. Eight wins from their last nine Premier League matches is the sort of form you’d not expect from a team that lost their manager, captain and star centre-back over the summer, but Ronald Koeman has shown as much ability in the dugout as he did on the pitch in his playing days, and his side could go within four points of leaders Chelsea if they beat a Villa side who’ve lost six and drawn one in their last seven matches.
Villa have a host of issues, including knocks to Ron Vlaar, Philippe Senderos, Fabian Delph and Nathan Baker, as well as Libor Kozak’s broken leg, but Alan Hutton might be fit to start this match with a bit of luck. Southampton should have Dusan Tadic, Morgan Schneiderlin and Steve Davis back today, but Jay Rodriguez, James Ward-Prowse and Sam Gallagher are not available.