EPL Predictions: Picks, Top Players for Week 30 Premier League Fixtures

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2018

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, top, and Liverpool's Joe Gomez, bottom, during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield, Liverpool, England, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Manchester United and Liverpool will renew their historic rivalry on Saturday, as two of the Premier League's biggest clubs will headline Week 30 of the 2017-18 campaign.

Both sides are battling it out for a spot in next year's UEFA Champions League and sit in the top four of the standings―albeit far behind leaders Manchester City.

The Citizens will face Stoke City on Monday, Arsenal host Watford on Sunday and Chelsea will take on Crystal Palace on Saturday. Here's a look at the full schedule, complete with picks.

      

Saturday, March 10

12:30 p.m. GMT: Manchester United vs. Liverpool (draw)

3 p.m. GMT: Newcastle United vs. Southampton (draw)

3 p.m. GMT: West Bromwich Albion vs. Leicester City (Leicester)

3 p.m. GMT: West Ham United vs. Burnley (draw)

3 p.m. GMT: Everton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (Brighton)

3 p.m. GMT: Huddersfield Town vs. Swansea City (Huddersfield)

5:30 p.m. GMT: Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace (Chelsea)

     

Sunday, March 11

1:30 p.m. GMT: Arsenal vs. Watford (Arsenal)

4 p.m. GMT: Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs)

     

Monday, March 12

8 p.m. GMT: Stoke City vs. Manchester City (Manchester City)

          

Here are some top players to keep an eye on.

     

Liverpool: Roberto Firmino

While Mohamed Salah leads the Reds in scoring with 24 Premier League goals, fellow attacker Roberto Firmino has been just as important, and arguably even more so.

The Brazilian has replaced compatriot Philippe Coutinho as the main creative force following the latter's departure for Barcelona, playing a key role in the buildup play without forgetting about his duties inside the penalty box.

As a result, he's been exceptionally productive of late, with at least a goal or assist in his last three Premier League outings. He's had both in more matches than anyone else:

United are not afraid to set up shop in front of their own box against the top clubs, limiting the space inside their own half and playing for a draw if they have to. Such tactics would negate Salah's tremendous speed, which remains his best asset on the pitch.

In that case, the Reds will likely turn to the dribbling and passing ability of their top creative men, starting with Firmino. If the former Hoffenheim star can drop a little deeper and create separation from his marker, he could be the key to unlocking the United defence.

         

Manchester United: David De Gea

The man tasked with keeping the likes of Salah and Firmino from scoring will be David De Gea, and he does this better than just about everyone else in the world.

The Spain international remains United's top player, capable of winning the team plenty of points every season.

The Red Devils have recognised his greatness on numerous occasions:

Even if United's defence play a flawless match, it's unlikely Liverpool will not have at least a few looks on goal. Manager Jurgen Klopp has his side playing spectacular attacking football―they will create chances, even against the best of defences.

There's every chance De Gea will be kept busy on Saturday, but, in all likelihood, he'll be up to the task.

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