Who will win top-two battle at Anfield? Lawro’s predictions v Radio 1 DJ Stark

Lawro's predictions

Liverpool versus Manchester City is the game of the weekend, with the Premier League’s top two meeting at Anfield – but how much will the outcome affect the title race?

BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson said: “It is in danger of getting a little bit over-hyped, I’m afraid.

“If this is billed as the battle of the champions and all that – in mid-October – then I will smash my telly. There is still such an awfully long way to go.

“Yes, I am looking forward to it, yes they are the best two teams in the league and yes it should be a fantastic game of football, but it is not going to decide the title.”

Lawro is making predictions for all 380 top-flight matches this season, against a variety of guests.

This week’s guest is Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark.

Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark<!–

Stark says being a Watford fan at the moment is “the best thing ever”. He explains: “Normally, everyone treats you like an underdog, so everyone expects you to get relegated at the beginning of the season. Right now, though, it is amazing because we are absolutely smashing it.”

Stark, who co-presents ‘That Peter Crouch podcast’, describes himself as a “massive” Watford fan and says: “I have been for pretty much all my whole life.

“I have got to admit I was a little bit of a Manchester United fan for like the first five years of my life, but I think you just write that off to ignorance don’t you? No offence to United fans.

“I have got too many Watford heroes to mention – at the moment big Troy Deeney is one of them, I just think he is amazing and he has done wonders for Watford.

“He gets written off every season and comes back stronger, so I love Troy.

“From Watford teams gone by, I would say Paul Robinson – because I play left-back myself, even though I am right-footed – and Heidar Helguson, who was brilliant when he was up front for us.

“Then obviously there are legends of Watford’s history, like Graham Taylor, Luther Blissett and John Barnes – the big names.”

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.


All kick-offs 15:00 BST unless stated.


Brighton v West Ham<!–

Brighton v West Ham (20:00 GMT)

After their awful start to the season, West Ham are now on a decent run of form with two wins and a draw in their past three league games.

I’ve been reading about how a rant by their captain Mark Noble is behind their improvement, but I don’t think that suddenly means it is all plain sailing for them.

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West Ham 3-1 Man Utd: Pellegrini happy and says ‘today was the test we needed’

It would probably be typical of the Hammers at the moment if they have a stumble just as they start to get back on their feet.

That’s why I am going for a Brighton win. Their home form is going to be vital for them this season because they have won only two out of 23 away Premier League games since winning promotion in 2017.

The Seagulls’ only win at the Amex this campaign came against Manchester United but they were unlucky to lose there to Tottenham and fought back well to draw with Fulham.

And the thing I have noticed about them under Chris Hughton generally is that, when they really need a win, they seem to be able to get one.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Chris’s prediction: This is a tricky one – I am not sure about West Ham at the moment. 2-1


Burnley v Huddersfield<!–

Burnley v Huddersfield

This game is not too far away from being a derby because the two clubs are only about 20 miles apart.

Burnley nicked the points against Cardiff last week, but that is not a bad thing.

It was a bit reminiscent of what they did so well and so often last season, which was to pinch the win when they were under all sorts of pressure.

Huddersfield’s problems are well documented, and they include a lack of goals.

Snapshot of bottom of Premier League table - 15th Brighton, 16th Southampton, 17th Fulham, 18th Newcastle, 19th Cardiff and 20th Huddersfield<!–

The issues that they have got are not going to go away, and it is already looking like it will be a long, hard season for them.

They will get a break one day, but I don’t see it happening on Saturday. Another win for Burnley would put them back on an even keel after their own poor start.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Chris’s prediction: I have a lot of respect for Burnley and Huddersfield, but I love Clarets boss Sean Dyche. Based on that, I am going to go for a Burnley win. 3-1

Crystal Palace v Wolves<!–

Crystal Palace v Wolves

Wolves fans feared the worst when I finally tipped them to win last week, but I was right.

They left it late against Southampton, with two goals in the last 11 minutes, but they deserved their victory.

Palace, meanwhile, got beaten by Bournemouth on Monday night after conceding a stupid late penalty.

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Bournemouth 2-1 Crystal Palace: Eagles’ lack of discipline worries Roy Hodgson

I am expecting a response from the Eagles but, because of their form and the way they are playing, Wolves are probably expected to win this.

I am not so sure. I know Wolves have already been to Old Trafford and picked up a point but Selhurst Park is a very different environment, and I think they might find it tough there.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Chris’s prediction: 2-0

Leicester v Everton<!–

Leicester v Everton

Both teams ended up comfortable winners last time out, with Leicester winning at Newcastle and Everton beating Fulham.

The Toffees always seem to create chances when they are away from home but they are yet to win on the road this season, and I am backing Leicester to edge this.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Chris’s prediction: 1-2

Tottenham v Cardiff<!–

Tottenham v Cardiff

This is going to be a very different test for Tottenham after their defeat by Barcelona in midweek.

Spurs just have to look at that Barca game in isolation, and forget about it, because it will have no bearing on this game.

Cardiff will try to close Tottenham down and stop them playing but it is going to be difficult for them at Wembley.

The Bluebirds are in a similar situation to Huddersfield in that they are down at the bottom of the table and do not appear to have the personnel to do much about it.

Snapshot of top of Premier League table - 1st Man City, 2nd Liverpool, 3rd Chelsea, 4th Tottenham, 5th Arsenal and 6th Watford<!–

At the top end, with two of the three teams above them – Manchester City and Liverpool – playing each other, this is a big chance for Tottenham to get closer to at least one of them.

Lawro’s prediction: 3-0

Chris’s prediction: It is whether I want to go for the safe bet here? It is Tottenham at home, although is it really home yet? Do you know what, I am going to put some faith in Cardiff for this one – let’s be different. 0-1

Watford v Bournemouth<!–

Watford v Bournemouth

This is sixth versus seventh and, although Watford also began strongly last season, this has been by far Bournemouth’s best start to a campaign since they were promoted to the Premier League in 2015.

Both teams play good attacking football and both of them have had blips – Bournemouth’s came in their defeat by Burnley a couple of weeks ago, and Watford’s when they lost to Arsenal last time out.

But what they also both had in common was they still created lots of chances in those games. Their attacking play is a real positive.

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‘We deserved more than this result’ – Garcia

If I am being critical, Bournemouth probably give away too many chances too, and that is why I am going for a Hornets win here.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Chris’s prediction: Ah Watford – my team! I am going to be at this one and I think we are going to keep grinding out the results. 4-0

Chris on where Watford will finish this season: This season is really up for grabs, because we have started so well.

Can we keep this going? There is such an amazing energy at the club at the moment and if we can keep that up then really we can win any game.

We can get a lot of points this season, and the dream would be to finish in a Champions League place. It is achievable, I genuinely think it is.

If we manage it, it would make Watford history, and we would have the best party ever.

We have started well, there is a good feeling around the club, we have got an amazing team and we have got some quality players so why not? Let’s go for it.

Man Utd v Newcastle<!–

Man Utd v Newcastle (17:30 BST)

The situation at Old Trafford is a strange one in many ways and I can’t help feeling that the strained relationship we see in public between Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and his players is only the tip of the iceberg.

It is a problem that is not going to go away, either. At the start of September, United won three games – all away from home – but they were still just one defeat away from another crisis.

Mourinho is not helping matter with what he is saying either. His message seems to be ‘it is not my fault’ but I’m sorry, he is the manager, and they carry the can.

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Some players care more than others – Mourinho

Ultimately, looking at the way his team is playing at the moment, you would have to seriously question his man-management style and say it does not work in the current climate at Old Trafford.

If Mourinho does not get on with Paul Pogba and they don’t communicate much, then fine. If Mourinho can still get him to play well on a regular basis then does it matter? No, absolutely not – yet, it seems, with Mourinho, all of that does matter.

Mourinho might be thinking he can get Pogba out of the door in January but he has still got to manage him between now and the start of next year.

I don’t think Mourinho’s job is in any serious danger at the moment but I would be very interested in United’s share price at the moment because, if that starts to drop. then the club’s American owners are going to get involved.

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Mourinho ‘not interested’ in Scholes criticism

As far as this game goes, it is going to be about whether Manchester United can break Newcastle down.

The Magpies have had a terrible start to the season and, however their manager organises his players, I cannot see them really having much joy on the counter-attack.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-0

Chris’s prediction: Everything about this game makes me think that Manchester United should get the win here, however I just can’t put that much faith in this Manchester United team at the moment. Newcastle could do with a confidence boost and I think they will get it at Old Trafford. 2-3


Fulham v Arsenal<!–

Fulham v Arsenal (12:00 BST)

Ryan Sessegnon clattered the bar for Fulham against Everton last week when the game was goalless.

I just felt if the Cottagers were going to get a positive result at Goodison Park, they had to score first.

Unfortunately for them, they didn’t – and they ended up collapsing a little bit in the end.

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Fulham need to be more clinical – Jokanovic

I think they might get something out of this game, though. Arsenal are still on a very good run, but they played in Azerbaijan on Thursday while Fulham have had the week off.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Chris’s prediction: I think Fulham can get a couple of goals here, and I am going to put this down as a draw. 2-2

Southampton v Chelsea<!–

Southampton v Chelsea (14:15 BST)

Imagine the mess Southampton would be in if Danny Ings had not been scoring goals for them?

Chelsea have been doing much better, obviously. Their draw with Liverpool was a brilliant game to watch and the Blues played really well.

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Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool: Maurizio Sarri says draw was ‘right result’

I still think Maurizio Sarri’s side can look vulnerable, though, particularly away from home.

I am not convinced by Antonio Rudiger or David Luiz at the back because they just strike me as a pair who might have one or two off days.

I know Saints have not won at home yet, and the Blues have not lost away but I think we will see that run of results reverse on Sunday, and I suspect Ings is going to play a big part.

Lawro’s prediction: 2-1

Chris’s prediction: 0-3

Liverpool v Man City<!–

Liverpool v Man City (16:30 BST)

Manchester City were so dominant last season because they had long spells where they were near their peak.

In contrast, I don’t think either of these teams are playing near their best level yet.

But from my memory of winning the league myself with Liverpool, that does not matter – you just try to win games, regardless of how well you are playing.

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Champions League: Napoli 1-0 Liverpool – Klopp takes blame for defeat

And both teams just seem to keep on doing that. They are still getting results in the Premier League despite their players not really hitting their stride individually or collectively.

People are seeing City and Liverpool both being in quite average form as being a negative issue but, if you look at it another way, then they are both near the top of the table and they haven’t even started playing the way they can.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Chris’s prediction: This is the big one. I really think anything could happen at this game but it is at Anfield so I am going to give Liverpool the benefit of the doubt. 2-1

How did Lawro do last week?

Lawro got eight correct results, including six perfect scores, from 10 matches for a total of 260 points – not only his highest score of the season, but also his best of all-time.

He beat comedian Karl Pilkington, who got six correct results, with one exact score, for a total of 90 points.

Lawro's League Table<!–


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