Premier League: What you need to know this weekend

James Sharman and Craig Forrest get us set for week 8 in the Premier League, which kicks off with a dandy, in Manchester United visiting Anfield to face off against Liverpool.

The Premier League continues this weekend with Matchday 8, and Sportsnet will have live coverage of five games:

Saturday, October 14
• Manchester City vs. Stoke City, 9:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
• Swansea City vs. Huddersfield Town, 9:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE)
• Watford vs. Arsenal, noon ET (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

Sunday, October 15
• Southampton vs. Newcastle United, 10:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

Monday, October 16
• Leicester City vs. West Bromwich Albion, 2:00 p.m. ET (Sportsnet World)

Here’s what you need to know ahead of this weekend…

THE BIG GAME

Liverpool vs. Manchester United: Manchester United enters the weekend tied with Manchester City atop the table on 19 points, seven points clear of Liverpool. United will be looking to keep pace with their city rivals and put some more distance between themselves and Liverpool when they visit Anfield on Saturday.

Liverpool are winless in six Premier League matches against Manchester United (with four losses), which represents their worst run against United since an eight-match winless streak between 2004 and 2008. More bad news for Liverpool: Romelu Lukaku has been in scorching form this campaign, and he could become the first player to score eight goals in his first eight Premier League appearances for United.

Liverpool have confirmed that Sadio Mane will miss up to six weeks with a hamstring injury. Manchester United will be without midfielders Marouane Fellaini (knee), Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba (hamstring).

PLAYER TO WATCH

Petr Cech, Arsenal: The Czech Republic goalkeeper has been in fine form lately, recording clean sheets in each of the Gunners’ last four Premier League matches. Cech hasn’t kept four consecutive clean sheets in the league since February 2015, and he’ll be looking to extend his streak on Saturday when Arsenal visits Watford.

MANE OUT FOR SIX WEEKS WITH HAMSTRING INJURY

Liverpool announced this week that Sadio Mane sustained a hamstring injury while playing for Senegal in a World Cup qualifying game versus Cape Verde last weekend. The Liverpool winger is expected to be sidelined for a month and a half, and could miss up to six games, including Saturday’s visit by Manchester United to Anfield. Mane has three goals in four Premier League matches this season.

SANCHEZ, OZIL COULD BE SOLD IN JANUARY

Manager Arsene Wenger said this week that Arsenal could sell Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in January when the transfer window re-opens. Sanchez and Ozil are out of contract at the end of the season, and if Arsenal doesn’t re-sign them they both would be free to leave and join another club, and the Gunners wouldn’t receive a transfer fee. Wenger was asked if the club might sell them in January to avoid them walking away next summer, and he answered, “It is possible. Once you’re in our kind of situation, we have envisaged every solution, yes.” Arsenal visits Watford on Saturday.

PALACE STILL SEARCHING FOR WINS, GOALS

It’s been a rough time for Crystal Palace, who have opened the season with seven consecutive games without a win or even scoring a single goal. It won’t get any easier this weekend for Palace on Matchday 8, as they’ll host defending English champions Chelsea at Selhurst Park. The good news for Palace is that winger Wilfried Zaha, who has been out since getting injured on the opening weekend, was back in training this week and could return to action on Saturday. The bad news is that striker Christian Benteke is still out injured and on-loan playmaker Ruben Loftus-Cheek is ineligible against his parent club.

SPURS’ WEMBLEY WOES

Tottenham has established itself as road warrior this season, winning all four of its away matches by a combined score of 12-2. Spurs’ form at home, though, has left a lot to be desired – they’ve yet to win any of their three games at Wembley Stadium, and have dropped seven of nine points so fa at their temporary home. They’ll attempt to finally break out at home when they host Bournemouth on Saturday.

INTERESTING STAT

THE BIG QUESTION

Every week, Sportsnet’s soccer panel will debate The Big Question. Have your say by voting in the poll below:

HE SAID IT

“Do I like to go to Anfield? Yes, I love it. Do I like to play against Liverpool? Yes. I like amazing stadiums, the best opponents, but the preparation is not different. It’s just a match.” – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

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