Blogs & Opinion


Paul Merson's Premier League midweek predictions

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 24th March 2014 view comments

Liverpool v Sunderland (7.30pm, Wed, Sky Sports 1)

If I was Gus Poyet I would not take my first team to Liverpool on Wednesday night. I would play the reserves.

I say that 100% because the next game is West Ham at home on Monday and looking at their fixtures they absolutely have to get three points in that game.

Poyet: should he play the reserves at Anfield?

Poyet: should he play the reserves at Anfield?

That one is a must-must-must-must-must-must-win game because after that they play Tottenham, Everton, Man City and Chelsea back-to-back.

Let's be honest, they are not going to get anything at Liverpool whatever team they play so you have to weigh things up. West Ham is such a big game and they have to get things right in that one.

You've got to be realistic. They have a chance of beating West Ham, but they haven't got the best of chances at Anfield, so why not rest everybody? People will talk about goal difference - but it won't even go to that if they don't win any games and get some points on the board.

I would take the gamble and rest the first team on Wednesday night. It doesn't matter if they get walloped, just forget that. West Ham at home is 100% more winnable than Liverpool away and I really believe that.

If you take your best team you will sit back and defend for 90 minutes - but Liverpool will break them down because their front players are on fire.

So if you lose the game 1-0 or 2-0 what's the point? They've got to travel all the way there and all the way back with a must-win game coming up on Monday.

If they don't beat West Ham then you'd have to bet they would be relegated - even if they won one of the four games against the big teams after that.

People might not agree with me, but that's the way I look at it. They have to beat West Ham at home and I honestly believe that's what they should do.

Phil Thompson was watching Sunderland's game with Norwich on Saturday and if they play like that at Anfield then Liverpool will score at least six or seven. At least.

Liverpool are majorly in the title race now. However, Chelsea achieved a very big football result against Arsenal and I just think Jose Mourinho will be able to go to Anfield and do something. Liverpool are playing great, but I think he can go there and stifle them

But I can't see Sunderland doing that. It will be a big win for Liverpool, no matter who plays for Sunderland.

PAUL PREDICTS: 5-0

West Ham v Hull

Both of these teams are just one or two results away from safety and if one of them wins this game then that would pretty much be their safety secured, for me.

West Ham have seen how ruthless the Premier League is. They went on a good run and were in the top half of the table and now they've lost three on the bounce and they're back in it all of a sudden.

As long as they win another game soon, I don't think they will get relegated because I can't see Sunderland winning three more matches than them. West Ham and Hull would need to have a shocking end to the season to get relegated from here.

Hull have been playing well. They got a good result against West Brom and I think they need to get their points on the board very quickly so they can concentrate on the semi-finals of the FA Cup, which is a big game for them.

They don't want to go to Wembley in the middle of a relegation battle and they need a couple of wins so they can focus on that.

I think this will be an entertaining draw - and both sides would be fairly happy with that.

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-2

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Gerrard hard to replace

Jamie Carragher says there’s no natural replacement for Steven Gerrard in the England team....

Martin Tyler

Tyler: We need Stevie's values

Steven Gerrard can inspire the next generation of England stars even in retirement, says Martin Tyler....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Didier Drogba edges closer to Chelsea return, Atletico Madrid eye Javier Hernandez and New York City sign Frank Lampard.

Jose considers Drogba return

Jose Mourinho has confirmed he is considering bringing former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba back to Stamford Bridge.

Rodgers expects Gerrard deal

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is expecting a new contract to be 'sorted' for captain Steven Gerrard.

Giggs: Van Gaal like Fergie

Ryan Giggs has hailed Louis van Gaal's early impact and has acknowledged the similarities with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Carroll set for surgery

West Ham's Andy Carroll is to have surgery after suffering an ankle injury which could keep him out for four months.

Features

Trevor Francis questions whether Hart or Caballero will be Man City's goalkeeper

Trevor Francis questions whether Hart or Caballero will be Man City's goalkeeper

Trevor Francis says the International Champions Cup will provide the first indicator over Joe Hart's future in the Manchester City team, following the arrival of Willy Caballero.

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has found early success with 3-5-2 and might be tempted to stick with it

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has found early success with 3-5-2 and might be tempted to stick with it

One of the first questions put to Louis van Gaal in his opening press conference as Manchester United manager was whether he would be introducing the same formation and philosophy right through the club’s youth system.