Liverpool’s attack has lacked a cutting edge in recent weeks but will things be different when the leaders host Watford on Wednesday?
BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson said: “Their front three are not playing well but I think the issue with Liverpool now is that people have started to work them out.
“They realise that if they sit in and pack the middle of the pitch then they can crowd out Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in the area where they do a lot of their work.
“If you can stop the width from the full-backs too, then the midfield does not have the nous to play their way through”.
Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.
This week’s guest is Tom McFarland, co-founder of London soul collective Jungle.
Tom is a QPR season-ticket holder who started watching his local team when he was five and has spent the past 25 years following their ups and downs.
Any ups this year now look unlikely – Rangers now only have a remote chance of returning to the Premier League for the first time since 2015 following a run of seven straight Championship defeats going back to 12 January.
Rangers were eighth on Boxing Day, two points off the play-offs, but have slumped to 18th, and are now only nine points above the relegation zone.
“We had a dreadful start to the season, including a 7-1 hammering at West Brom, but then we seemed to turn a corner and we were great up until Christmas,” McFarland told BBC Sport.
“I don’t know whether Steve McClaren has tried to change our style of play slightly since then, but things have fallen apart.
“It didn’t help that we lost Geoff Cameron to injury, when he had been a real lynch-pin in front of the back four – the kind of experienced Premier League head you need in the Championship.
“Another key midfielder, Mass Luongo, went off to the Asian Cup with Australia and missed a few games too, and the players who have come in have not cut the mustard unfortunately.”
|Premier League predictions – week 27|
|Cardiff v Everton||x-x||1-2||2-1|
|Huddersfield v Wolves||x-x||0-2||0-2|
|Leicester v Brighton||x-x||2-0||1-1|
|Newcastle v Burnley||x-x||1-1||2-1|
|Arsenal v Bournemouth||x-x||2-0||3-0|
|Southampton v Fulham||x-x||2-1||1-0|
|Chelsea v Tottenham||x-x||1-1||1-3|
|Crystal Palace v Man Utd||x-x||2-1||1-2|
|Liverpool v Watford||x-x||2-0||2-0|
|Man City v West Ham||x-x||3-1||3-1|
A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.
All kick-offs 19:45 GMT unless stated.
Cardiff v Everton
I think Cardiff will get over Friday’s 5-1 defeat by Watford pretty quickly, Neil Warnock will not let his team dwell on a bad night, but I still fancy Everton here.
They have been on a poor run but they will have gone 17 days without a game by kick-off which is exactly what they needed in their situation.
It will have helped them on the training ground, because it allows them to work on things – defending set-pieces for example.
I don’t see their break causing any problems with their sharpness. Their players have probably had a few days off but Toffees boss Marco Silva has had the chance to work them hard and get them ready for this game.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-2
Tom’s prediction: I think Cardiff will probably nick this. Everton are not set up right at the moment. 2-1
Huddersfield v Wolves
I know Huddersfield were down to 10 men for most of their defeat at Newcastle on Saturday, but they ended up getting a bit of a battering.
It only looks a matter of time until the Terriers’ relegation is confirmed, but they should be ready for the Championship because they have had time to plan for it.
Wolves managed to get a point at Bournemouth despite a couple of debatable penalties being awarded against them. I think they will have too much for the home side.
Lawro’s prediction: 0-2
Tom’s prediction: 0-2
Leicester v Brighton
Claude Puel’s departure from Leicester had been coming for a while, so it was no surprise to see him sacked on Sunday.
There have been a few names bandied about as his replacement and talk of an interim manager until the end of the season, but the Foxes have not been the same since they won the league in 2016 and I don’t think they will find a solution until they sort the dressing room out.
Yes Puel was on a bad run and had lost five of his past six league games. He did not help himself either when he picked a weakened team that lost to League Two side Newport County in the FA Cup.
But, from the outside, it appears there is an issue at Leicester with player power, and the amount of influence some individuals have.
Whether or not that played a part in Puel leaving, I am expecting to see a reaction from the Leicester players on Tuesday, and I also expect them to win – that is the way football works.
Brighton are on a bad run themselves at the moment, with only two points from their past six games. Their manager Chris Hughton probably thought ‘that is all we need’ when he heard Puel had gone.
I do think the Seagulls will kick on again, but it is more likely to happen at home because their away record is pretty poor.
They play Huddersfield at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, which should be the time when they return to winning ways.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Tom’s prediction: 1-1
Newcastle v Burnley (20:00 GMT)
Both of these teams had good wins over the weekend, especially Burnley’s against Tottenham, and both of them seem to be heading in the right direction away from the relegation zone.
A draw here would not be a bad result for either side, and that is exactly what I think will happen.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Tom’s prediction: 2-1
Arsenal v Bournemouth
Arsenal have already disposed of one south coast team at the Emirates Stadium this week, and I am going for the same result again.
The Gunners are back up into fourth place after beating Southampton on Sunday and although they have some issues that need sorting out, their home form against teams from mid-table and below is not one of them.
Bournemouth have not won on the road in the league since the end of October. I cannot see them changing that on Wednesday.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Tom’s prediction: 3-0
Southampton v Fulham
Fulham’s defeat by West Ham on Friday could have been a very different story if the referee had spotted Javier Hernandez’s handball as he scored the Hammers’ equaliser.
A lot of people moan about VAR, and it is by no means perfect, but that is the kind of incident where it will help the officials get the decision right. As things are, the goal stood – and it changed the game.
Some of Fulham’s problems are of their own making, though, and they fell apart defensively after that.
They were abysmal at the back and, on that evidence alone, I have to go with a Southampton win here.
The Saints’ revival under Ralph Hasenhuttl has hit the buffers a bit in the last few weeks, and this is the biggest game of their season – there is no doubt about that.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1
Tom’s prediction: I would like to think that Southampton are going to win this, and it is probably not going to be pretty. 1-0
Chelsea v Tottenham (20:00 GMT)
I thought Chelsea played well in the Carabao Cup final, but what happened with Kepa Arrizabalaga obviously overshadowed any improvement in their performance.
Maurizio Sarri needs to sort out Kepa but a telling off and a fine is all it will take.
The problem with what happened is that it gives the impression that the manager is not in control and, on the back of the results he has had, it makes a bad situation even worse.
But it is done and now they both just need to move on. If they do, then as the number one Kepa should be in goal for this game and he will have the chance to redeem himself on the pitch.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino also had a frustrating weekend.
He was in the news for his reaction after Saturday’s defeat by Burnley.
I had predicted a draw, knowing that Harry Kane was coming back. Part of my thinking was that, when a team’s best player is out, you get a little bit extra from all the other players. When he returns, they relax a tiny bit.
It is going to take time for Kane to get back to his best but Spurs are on a tough run. They have got the north London derby against Arsenal coming up at the weekend too.
Lawro’s prediction: 1-1
Tom’s prediction: I feel sorry for Sarri, who is trying to implement his own style when it does not seem like his players are buying into it, but obviously it is great that Chelsea are floundering. 1-3
Crystal Palace v Man Utd (20:00 GMT)
United’s injury problems from their draw with Liverpool weekend are going to affect the team that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can put out in this one.
He dealt very well with what happened, but the game itself was very poor and Liverpool did not pose much of a threat.
I just have a feeling that Palace will be different, and that they are going to surprise people here. They are playing well and they going to go for it attack-wise too.
Michy Batshuayi is up and running after scoring against Leicester on Saturday, Wilfried Zaha is back from suspension, and I think they will cause United problems.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-1
Tom’s prediction: I love the way United are playing under Solskjaer at the moment. 1-2
Liverpool v Watford (20:00 GMT)
Manchester United and Liverpool both looked ordinary on Sunday and I just felt Manchester City would have reacted to what happened far better than Liverpool did.
When United lost most of their midfield, City would have just gone ‘bang’ and blown them away, but that says a bit more about Liverpool at the moment than anything else.
I just wonder whether Reds boss Jurgen Klopp might change things here, and go with the 4-2-3-1 that he has used quite a bit recently.
That way, Xherdan Shaqiri comes in, Roberto Firmino drops deeper into the number 10 position and Salah goes through the middle as the centre-forward, rather than out wide.
Shaqiri could be the player who gives Liverpool the boost they need, because he makes thing happen.
This is a tricky week for the Reds, with the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park coming up on Sunday. What they really want ahead of that is a decent performance and a comfortable victory.
I think they will get the win, but they are going to have work for it because Watford are on a good run and they will provide a serious test.
Lawro’s prediction: 2-0
Tom’s prediction: I don’t see Watford getting anything at Anfield. I would love Liverpool to win the league but I do feel they have got a big stumble in them so I think City will probably do it. 2-0
Man City v West Ham (20:00 GMT)
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, who won the title as City boss in 2014, will get a good reception from the home fans but his side are in for a tough night.
City have some injury problems, including Fernandinho who will be a big miss in midfield because they struggle to replace him, but they have got enough good players on form to hurt the Hammers.
It also helps Pep Guardiola’s side that they have just won the Carabao Cup too. It is not quite a case of ‘pressure off’ but it is one piece of silverware in the bag.
Everyone will feel good on the back of that, but at the same side Pep will make sure that they stay grounded.
West Ham carry a threat up front, but they are not great defensively and I don’t think City will struggle to find a way through.
Lawro’s prediction: 3-1
Tom’s prediction: 3-1
Lawro was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.
How did Lawro do last time?
From the last round of Premier League games, Lawro got five correct results, including two exact scores, from eight matches for a total of 110 points.
He beat rapper Yungen, who got four correct results and one exact score, for a total of 70 points.
Lawro and Yungen both predicted Manchester City would beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final, but that game does not count towards their totals.
|Total scores after week 27|
|Lawro v Guests|
|+/- DENOTE POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAWRO’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION|
GUEST LEADERBOARD 218-19
|140||The 1975’s Ross MacDonald|
|90||Jim Glennie, Mario Hezonja, Karl Pilkington, Chris Stark|
|86||Lawro (average after 27 weeks)|
|80||Richard Ashcroft, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg James, Mark Wahlberg|
|60||Jamie Dornan & Paul Conroy, Idris Elba, Dolph Lundgren, Mumford & Sons, Dillian Whyte|
|50||Bring Me The Horizon, Theo Ellis, Drew McIntyre, Mohamed Sanu, Dolph Ziggler|
|40||Tom Grennan, Josh Warrington|
|30||Ryan Fitzpatrick, Oti Mabuse|
Lawro’s best score: 260 points (week seven v Karl Pilkington)
Lawro’s worst score: 20 points (week 24 v Grime star Yizzy & week 25 v Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarter-back Ryan Fitzpatrick and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu)