EPL Preview: Aguero eyes City record, Klopp and Wagner face off

Wagner's side arrive on a high after beating Manchester United for the first time since 1952 last Saturday which sees it lying in a respectable 11th place after nine matches.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero is one goal away from becoming the outright all-time record goal-scorer for the club.   -  AP

 

David Wagner considers Jurgen Klopp to be a member of his family but on Saturday the former will set aside their close ties and hope his Huddersfield side beat Liverpool for the first time since 1959.

Wagner's side arrive on a high after beating Manchester United for the first time since 1952 last Saturday which sees it lying in a respectable 11th place after nine matches.

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A win over Liverpool would lift Huddersfield above it and increase the pressure that is building on his great friend -- who is godfather to one of Wagner's three children whilst the Terriers handler was best man at Klopp's wedding -- after a disappointing start to the season domestically.

Poor league form -- plus an early exit in the League Cup -- has left it already 12 points adrift of leader Manchester City.

City travels to out of form West Brom which will seek to emulate second tier Wolves earlier this week in denying Sergio Aguero the outright all-time scoring record for the club.

An ideal weekend for City manager Pep Guardiola would be a win for his team and a draw between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur -- second and third respectively -- which are both five points adrift of the Spaniard's side.

Wagner -- who was brought in by then head coach Klopp to coach Borussia Dortmund's reserves in 2011 -- is downplaying the personal part and highlighting the remarkable rise of his modest club.

"It's a great relationship. It's more than a friendship," said Wagner.

"Maybe he's more a family member rather than a friend.

"But I think the real important and extraordinary story is Huddersfield Town meets Liverpool in the Premier League in a competitive game.

"I think nobody should forget this. This is the real extraordinary story.

"I don't know for how many years, the last time this football club was able to play at Anfield in a competitive game. This is the big story for us."

Aguero on the brink

Aguero's failure to move ahead of Eric Brook's mark of 177 goals against Wolves was blamed by Guardiola on the quality of the ball but the City manager says it is only a matter of time before he does take sole charge of the record.

"If not the next game, it's another one. If not, another one. If not, another one," said Guardiola, whose side have already beaten West Brom away this season in the League Cup.

"He has to be focused, play football and the situation is going to happen.

"It is not a record he has to break by scoring 50 more goals. It's one more goal."

Arsenal looking to kick on

Arsenal look prepared to field Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette on Swansea on Saturday after the trio all scored against Everton last weekend.

The 5-2 win in the Premier League on Merseyside doubled as the first time that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had played the three players in the same XI.

Fitness concerns were the main reason for that in a fledgling season that saw Chile star Sanchez and Germany's Ozil begin it without extending contracts that will expire after the end of the current campaign.

"What people questioned is their commitment to the team and the club," Wenger said.

"I didn't and what happened on Sunday reinforces my belief even more. What we want from them is to show that week in, week out.

"We created good chances against Everton by playing at a high pace, so the focus will be to put a high pace into the game and try to create chances and be positive again.

"Ozil, Lacazette and Alexis can create chances, they can score goals, but I believe as well that up front you depend a lot on the quality of the build-up at the back and at home the speed of our passing will be absolutely important to create chances."

Batshuayi on the rise

The Blues head to the south coast lifted by last weekend's victory over Watford that came after Conte's side had been trailing to the Hornets and were apparently on course for another home defeat.

But instead of being forced to endure a fresh inquest into his side's failings, Conte was able to reflect on an impressive display of character that was capped by a two-goal match-winning performance from Michy Batshuayi.

The Belgian started against Everton but is expected to return to the bench for the meeting with Eddie Howe's team -- which will also be Chelsea's opponent in the quarterfinal of the League Cup.

Italian boss Conte, though, has seen enough in the forward's recent outings to suggest Batshuayi is now ready to shoulder more responsibility.

"Last season was difficult for him but it was also difficult for me," Conte said. "Now he's ready to start and come out and during the game and have a good impact.

"Sometimes if I decide to play with two strikers, maybe I don't know, but it's important to know I can count on him," the manager added.

Fixtures

Saturday (07:30 p.m. IST kick-offs unless stated)

Arsenal v Swansea, Bournemouth v Chelsea (10:00 p.m.), Liverpool v Huddersfield, Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur (05:00 p.m.), West Brom v Manchester City, Crystal Palace v West Ham, Watford v Stoke.

Sunday

Brighton v Southampton (07:00 p.m.), Leicester v Everton (09:30 p.m.)

Tuesday

Burnley v Newcastle United (01:30 a.m.)