If you are a Liverpool fan then the Christmas period could not have gone much better. Not only did Liverpool confirm themselves as the World Club Champions following their victory over Flamengo in Dubai, but dropped points by Leicester and Manchester City over the festive period meant that the Reds strengthened their position at the top of the table despite playing a game less than their rivals.

So as 2020 kicks off, things are looking extremely positive for Liverpool as they sit 13 points clear of Leicester City, 14 points ahead of Manchester City, with a game in hand on both and the chance to extend that to 16 and 17 points respectively if they can win that game in hand (away at West Ham), which will take place in late January.

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2020 begins with the traditional New Year’s Day set of fixtures but Liverpool aren’t involved until the evening of the 2nd January when they face Sheffield United, however the other 18 teams will be in action on a busy New Year’s Day program.

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Let’s now preview and tip each of the games being played across January 1st and 2nd 2020 to kick off the year in style. Kick off times are 3pm on 1st January unless stated.

Premier League – Matchday 21

  • Brighton v Chelsea (12.30)

Chelsea produced a fine late comeback to beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates on Boxing Day and they will head to the south coast knowing their away form is far stronger than their home form at present. Brighton have been playing well for Graham Potter of late but perhaps haven’t picked up the rewards those performances have merited and it looks like that could be the case today. Chelsea are now closer to Man Utd in fifth than Man City in third and they will know that they need to be more consistent. I think they’ll achieve that by landing the win here. Tip – Chelsea to win – 10/11.

  • Burnley v Aston Villa (12.30)

Both these teams were well beaten on Boxing Day, Burnley 2-0 at home to Man Utd, while Aston Villa went down 3-0 away to Watford who played a large portion of the game with 10-men. Of the two, I feel Burnley are going to be the most adept at bouncing back from their last game especially against a Villa side who have won just one of their last five and have been well beaten in some of the others. Tip – Burnley to win – 4/5.

  • Newcastle United v Leicester City

Defeats to Manchester United and Everton have made it a tough Christmas period for Newcastle and they now face a tricky task taking on a Leicester side who bounced back from losing two on the bounce to beat West Ham on the road at the weekend. Brendan Rodgers men still remain in second spot behind Liverpool but they have fallen further behind in the title race after they dropped eight points across their last four game. I still feel they have enough to get the job done here against a Newcastle side missing some of their more explosive players. Tip – Leicester to win – 3/5.

  • Southampton v Tottenham

It’s strange to think that the team that has lost 9-0 at home this season, comes into this game in the best form, with Jose Mourinho in the opposition dugout. The Saints have nabbed an impressive seven point haul over the festive period to move out of the relegation zone and up to 15th, while Spurs picked up just four points to move to sixth in the table. Spurs though are starting to score more freely but they are defensively susceptible. That said, I feel they will do enough to claim the win here. Tip – Tottenham to win – 11/10.

  • Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers

After facing the teams third and top, Wolves now take on a Watford side in 19th, but they are also a Watford side who have picked up seven of the last nine points available. Nigel Pearson has done a fine job tightening up this team since he took over as manager and they look well capable of clawing their way out of the drop zone. Wolves though are a very tough team to beat and after narrowly losing at Anfield and beating Man City at home, I think the likely result here is a share of the spoils. Tip- Draw – 12/5.

  • Manchester City v Everton (5.30)

Everton have found form over their last five games, winning the first two matches of Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure as manager. Manchester City have slipped up against Wolves over the festive period and in truth, they haven’t been at their imperious best for a few games and it has cost them. Everton will make this a difficult game and if they can counter on City effectively they could well spring an upset here. I am backing the Toffees to keep their good run of form going here by picking up a surprise point. Tip – Draw – 5/1.

  • Norwich City v Crystal Palace (5.30)

It is rapidly becoming a bit of a crisis at Norwich City. The Canaries have picked up a few draws of late, but wins have been thin on the ground and that has seen them drop to the bottom of the table. Palace have been in decent form of late, losing just one of their last five to move into 9th in the table and I think the Eagles will have just a bit too much for the Canaries here. Tip – Crystal Palace to win – 15/8.

  • West Ham v Bournemouth (5.30)

Over the last few weeks of the season, these two teams have been undergoing a nightmarish time in terms of form and results and both have dropped into precarious positions in the league table.West Ham parted ways with Manuel Pellegrini after their last defeat and with a new manager incoming, I am expecting their squad, which is far better than their league position suggests, to react to that positively. Bournemouth are struggling with injuries at the moment which does not help their cause and as such, I am backing West Ham to land the win. Tip – West Ham to win – 10/11.

  • Arsenal v Manchester United (8.00)

This game used to be the clash between the top two in the Premier League for many years but now it is a game between two sides hoping to move away from mid-table mediocrity. Of the two, Man Utd look best placed to do that after a decent Christmas period saw them land two wins after their shock defeat at Watford. Arsenal were beaten by Chelsea at home last time out but played well for the first half before conceding two late goals. I think they’ll learn from that and pick up a win here against a United side whose away form has been shocking this season. Tip – Arsenal to win – 8/5.

  • Liverpool v Sheffield Utd (8pm – Tue 2nd Jan)

It has been almost the perfect Christmas for Liverpool fans, watching their team win the Club World Cup and pick up two more wins in the Premier League, while their rivals have dropped points. The Reds have extended their lead to 13 points and now have a game in hand over their rivals too. Sheffield United have had a tougher period of games, but they will make it tough at Anfield, but in truth, there is no way I can see anything other than a Liverpool win here. Tip – Liverpool to win – 2/9.

*All odds shown were correct as of 10.30am on Monday 30th December 2019