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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

Super Salah out to show Chelsea they made a huge mistake and the Premier League talking points

The Egyptian, who is bang in form for Liverpool, returns to the club that let him leave on Saturday.

1. Premier League’s top scorer faces former club

DURING JOSE MOURINHO’S second spell in charge of Chelsea, the club let a number of talented, young players leave — only for them to flourish elsewhere.

Kevin De Bruyne was shipped off to Germany but he has since returned to become arguably the Premier League’s top player this season with Manchester City.

After a couple of loan spells, the Blues allowed Romelu Lukaku join Everton. Only last summer, Chelsea attempted to bring the Belgian striker back, but reportedly lost out to Manchester United and ended up signing Alvaro Morata instead.

Champions League - Sevilla v Liverpool Salah in the red of Liverpool and Chelsea's blue. Source: Bevilacqua Giuliano/ABACA & Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images

Mohamed Salah falls into that same bracket. Signed from FC Basel in January 2014, the Egyptian was limited to just 19 appearances before being farmed out to Fiorentina. He would later join Roma, initially on loan, but returned to English football in June as Liverpool splashed out £36.9 million (which could rise to £43.9m with add-ons) for his services.

So far, it looks like money well spent. The 25-year-old forward is currently the league’s top scorer with nine goals. He’s also got four in five games in the Champions League this term.

Salah will lead the line at Anfield on Saturday when the Reds aim to bounce back from letting a thee-goal lead slip at Sevilla in midweek. Their opponents? Only the reigning champions and his former club, who are just back from a 5,000-mile round trip to Azerbaijan.

2. Seagulls pay first visit to Old Trafford in 25 years

In the grander scheme of things, Man United’s loss away to Basel on Wednesday is likely to prove largely insignificant as they still look set to top their Champions League group.

That said, it still represents an unwanted defeat and Mourinho will be hoping for a response when they return to league action on Saturday. Brighton are the visitors to Old Trafford for the first time since 1993 — when the Red Devils were 1-0 winners in an FA Cup fourth-round tie.

The visitors have begun life in the Premier League encouragingly and sit ninth in the table after 12 matches. Chris Hughton, who would be an ideal candidate to one day take charge of Ireland, has once again proved himself an excellent manager and the Seagulls are unbeaten in their last five league fixtures.

Although they conceded two against Stoke on Monday, Ireland defender Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk have worked well together at centre-half, but they could have their work cut out with Romelu Lukaku breaking his goalscoring duck recently and Zlatan Ibrahimovic fit once again.

3. Life after Pulis begins for Baggies

Tony Pulis already appeared resigned to the fact that his sacking was inevitable after the 4-0 drubbing by Chelsea last Saturday. Sure enough, West Brom relieved the Welshman of his duties two days later.

He has always been known as a safe pair of hands when it comes to keeping a club in the top flight, but the 17th-placed Baggies have decided to cut ties and appoint assistant boss Gary Megson on a caretaker basis.

The 58-year-old — who managed the club once before between 2000 and 2004 — will begin his second spell in charge at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. And, in truth, it’s an unenviable task to attempt to end their four-game losing streak away to a Tottenham side that secured top spot in their Champions League group by seeing off Borussia Dortmund the other day.

4. Man City look unstoppable right now

They may not have been at their best, but Man City extended their unbeaten run to 19 matches against Feyenoord on Tuesday. Already eight points clear at the top of the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s side have undoubtedly set the bar so far.

Huddersfield Town v Manchester City - Emirates FA Cup - Fifth Round - John Smith's Stadium Wagner and Guardiola. Source: Mike Egerton

All three of the sides promoted to the top flight last summer are holding their own at the moment and Huddersfield will be happy at their 10th-place position in the table heading into this latest encounter at the John Smith’s Stadium.

However, David Wagner’s side were handed their biggest defeat of the campaign last time out — going down 4-0 away to Bournemouth, thanks largely to Callum Wilson’s hat-trick.

City forward Raheem Sterling managed 10 goals in all competitions last season, but the England international has shown considerable improvements with 11 to his name already this term.

5. Unsworth’s stint has quickly turned sour

Today marks one month since David Unsworth was named caretaker manager of Everton following Ronald Koeman’s dismissal. The former Toffees defender was well-liked by fans and highly thought of by the club thanks to his role as boss of their U23s.

However, in that short time, the Merseyside club have lost four, drawn one and won one. ‘Unsy’ accepted that Thursday’s 5-1 hammering by Italian outfit Atalanta left “a bad taste” in the mouths of supporters — many of whom didn’t even both to show as the attendance at Goodison Park was just 17,431 to witness a horrible end to their European campaign.

The search for a new manager doesn’t appear to be nearing an end with their offer of £20 million for Marco Silva reportedly turned down by Watford. Everton, who are just three points clear of the drop zone and winless away from home  in 14 attempts, travel to St Mary’s to take on Southampton on Sunday.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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Ben Blake

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