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5 talking points ahead of this weekend's Premier League fixtures

5 talking points ahead of this weekend's Premier League fixtures
© Reuters
Liverpool are bidding to return to the Premier League summit.

This weekend sees not only the FA Cup quarter-finals take place but also five Premier League matches.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the talking points ahead of the top-flight action.

Liverpool eyeing return to the summit

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are at Fulham on Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA).
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are at Fulham on Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA).

While leaders Manchester City play in the cup, second-placed Liverpool can reclaim top spot when they visit Fulham on Sunday. The Reds have been held to draws in each of their last three away league games but go into the contest on-song, having beaten Burnley 4-2 at Anfield last weekend and then produced a superb 3-1 Champions League win at Bayern Munich on Wednesday. Second-bottom Fulham will be hoping Jurgen Klopp's men suffer some kind of hangover from the Germany trip as they look to halt their losing run. The 3-1 reverse at Leicester last time out – the Cottagers' second match with Scott Parker in charge – was a sixth defeat on the spin.

Chelsea's top-four chase

Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea currently lie sixth (Steven Paston/PA).
Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea currently lie sixth (Steven Paston/PA).

The only other club in the top six playing a league match this weekend is the one currently lowest among them – Chelsea. Maurizio Sarri's side, who drew 1-1 with Wolves last weekend thanks to Eden Hazard's stoppage-time equaliser, face Everton away looking make the battle for Champions League places even tighter. Chelsea are currently one point behind fifth-placed Manchester United, three behind fourth-placed Arsenal and four behind third-placed Tottenham, with a game in hand over all of them.

Focus on Pickford

Jordan Pickford (centre) made some high-profile errors last weekend (Owen Humphreys/PA).
Jordan Pickford (centre) made some high-profile errors last weekend (Owen Humphreys/PA).

There will be considerable interest in how Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford fares in Sunday's contest at Goodison Park. The 25-year-old former Sunderland player made a couple of high-profile errors in last weekend's 3-2 loss at Newcastle before being named in Gareth Southgate's England squad on Wednesday. Pickford will certainly want to put in a strong performance in his final game before the international break.

Will Burnley stop the rot?

Sean Dyche's Burnley are two points above the relegation zone (Martin Rickett/PA).
Sean Dyche's Burnley are two points above the relegation zone (Martin Rickett/PA).

Burnley were six points clear of the relegation zone in 14th place on February 23 after beating Spurs 2-1 at Turf Moor, their fifth victory in an eight-match unbeaten run. But since then they have lost three times in a row, and they head into Saturday's home clash against Leicester lying 17th and only two points above 18th-placed Cardiff. Returning to winning ways against the Foxes looks no easy task, with their tails up after registering their first victory under Brendan Rodgers' management last time out.

Magpies momentum

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has seen his men win five of their last eight games (Owen Humphreys/PA).
Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has seen his men win five of their last eight games (Owen Humphreys/PA).

Newcastle head into their match at Bournemouth on Saturday looking to add another win to their fine run of results – five victories in the last eight games. Having been in the drop zone before that run, Rafael Benitez's men are now six points clear of it, and will move above the 12th-placed Cherries with a win.

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Darren O'Dea in action for Dundee in March 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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