Liverpool top at Christmas, but where at New Year?

With two of their most difficult away games of the season coming up, Liverpool in touching distance of the top could be a good result.

Some Liverpool fans will have laughed at the start of the season if you told them they were going to be top as they sat down for their Christmas dinner.

But that’s where they are in what seems to be one of the most open title races in years with two points covering the top five places, and the reigning Champions sitting in eighth place, eight points behind.

With a difficult pair of away games coming up for Liverpool as they visit both Manchester City and Chelsea before the end of the calendar year, how many points will they be happy with, and which position will they end up in?

Manchester City are odds on favourites going into their game with Liverpool given they have a 100% record at home, whilst Chelsea have dropped just the two points on their own patch against West Bromwich Albion – and to many have looked unconvincing.

People will point to the statistic that Liverpool have never lost two on the bounce under Brendan Rodgers, and this will be the biggest test of that yet. The fact Liverpool could be in fourth place come kick off on Boxing Day suggests how tight this league is, and if Liverpool in are in the top four places going into 2014, it is hard to see many fans turning their nose up at that.

If Liverpool pick up the same points haul as they did in these two fixtures last season, that would leave them on 38 points after 19 games – two points per game seems to have sides right in the thick of it this season.

Chelsea would be expected to beat Swansea and Manchester City are nailed on to beat Crystal Palace so would lead Liverpool by two points, whilst Chelsea would need to hammer Swansea to leapfrog the Reds.

Arsenal have a trip to West Ham which the Gunners are expected to win and a tricky trip to St James’ Park to face Newcastle United – so would expect to take at least four points that fixture.

Everton have two home games, one against bottom of the table Sunderland and the other against Southampton – both would be regarded as winnable given the form of the two sides, and you would expect them to pick up maximum points.

So the top five could possibly read:

1. Arsenal P19, 40pts

2. Everton P19, 40pts

3. Man City P19, 39pts

4. Liverpool P19, 38pts

5. Chelsea P19, 38pts

image: © Ben Sutherland

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