Premier League questions: Manchester United’s Liverpool aim, Harry Kane’s fitness

From Liverpool’s challenge against rejuvenated old foes to Harry Kane’s fitness, we pick out some key questions ahead of the Premier League weekend.

All eyes on Ranieri? (West Ham vs Fulham, Friday, Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm)

Time is running out for Fulham.

They are seven points from safety with 12 games of the season remaining and have only won twice since Claudio Ranieri’s appointment in November.

Ranieri has come under fire for leaving out Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon, while fans made clear their feelings when the Italian took off Andre Schurrle for Cyrus Christie in the defeat to Manchester United last time out.

Ranieri needs to find a solution to Fulham’s problems very soon.

West Ham vs Fulham

February 22, 2019, 7:00pm

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Will Camarasa return to boost Cardiff? (Cardiff vs Watford, Friday, 7.45pm)

On the pitch it has been a positive few weeks for Cardiff.

They have beaten Bournemouth and Southampton to give their hopes of avoiding relegation a huge boost. They are now out of the bottom three and still have some inviting fixtures to come as they face Watford, out-of-form Everton and West Ham at home in their next three games.

So will Neil Warnock stick with the same XI this weekend?

Victor Camarasa, who has been arguably Cardiff’s best player this season, has not started for a month due to injury but came off the bench against Southampton to set up Kenneth Zohore’s late winner.

With Josh Murphy and January signing Leandro Bacuna also starting as subs against Saints, Warnock has midfield options as the fight for survival gathers pace.

How to handle Kane? (Burnley vs Tottenham, Saturday, Sky Sports Premier League from 11.30am)

Tottenham striker Harry Kane is ahead of schedule on his return from injury and could feature against Burnley after returning to full training.

But, given he was originally supposed to be out until March, will Mauricio Pochettino be wary about rushing Kane back into action?

Spurs have some crucial games following their trip to Turf Moor as they face Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League and then travel to Borussia Dortmund for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Burnley vs Tottenham

February 23, 2019, 11:30am

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Liverpool rise to the challenge? (Man Utd vs Liverpool, Sunday, Sky Sports Premier League from 1pm)

The last time that Manchester United hosted Liverpool in the Premier League with the Reds as high as second in the table was October 1996.

United won 1-0 on that occasion thanks to a David Beckham strike and would go on to secure the title that season.

Liverpool can take a big step towards their first Premier League title if they can win at Old Trafford on Sunday. But even though they were rampant against United when they met in December, this is a very different United side.

Liverpool have also only won one of their last nine league games at Old Trafford.

Don’t forget, this one’s a 2.05pm kick-off. Don’t miss it.

See Man Utd v Liverpool and the Carabao Cup Final between Chelsea and Man City with a special offer on our two football channels.

Man Utd vs Liverpool

February 24, 2019, 1:00pm

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Will Wolves maintain league focus? (Bournemouth vs Wolves, Saturday, 3pm)

Wolves have a plum FA Cup quarter-final tie at home to Manchester United to look forward to but are unbeaten in seven in all competitions and occupy a lofty seventh spot in the Premier League.

With games against Huddersfield and Cardiff following a trip to the Vitality, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men will be hopeful of extending that run to consolidate their position as best outside the ‘big six’.

Can they keep their eye on the ball in the top flight to maintain valuable momentum by the time their shot at the last four comes around? Having won the reverse fixture 2-0, Nuno’s side are looking to complete a league double over the Cherries for the first time.

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Will Almiron start? (Newcastle vs Huddersfield, Saturday, 3pm)

As they were not in the FA Cup, Newcastle instead warmed up for potentially decisive home games against relegation rivals Huddersfield and Burnley with a trip to Spain.

Their training camp also featured a game against CSKA Moscow, where Rafa Benitez paid close attention to Miguel Almiron, firing plenty of instructions during a 1-1 draw.

The 25-year-old showed some encouraging signs during his debut from the bench against Wolves; after some further bedding-in time, will Benitez hand him his first start?

PLAY SUPER 6: Simply predict the correct scores for our six selected matches for your chance to win the jackpot.

Will Vardy return? (Leicester vs Crystal Palace, Saturday, 3pm)

Leicester showed plenty of encouraging signs against Tottenham in their last match and were perhaps unfortunate to leave Wembley empty-handed, but the big talking point regarding the Foxes was the decision to start with Jamie Vardy on the bench.

Manager Claude Puel said he wanted to “develop other options than Jamie” and try to ease some of the pressure on the striker.

However, Puel must have known the decision would amplify reports of friction between himself and Vardy, who missed a penalty and then scored after coming off the bench.

Will Puel now turn back to Vardy or risk leaving him out again?

Can Arsenal find consistency? (Arsenal vs Southampton, Sunday, 2.05pm)

How things have changed since Southampton beat Arsenal in December.

The Gunners were on a 22-match unbeaten run when they lost 3-2 at St Mary’s, but their form since has been nowhere near as consistent, recording as many wins as losses over the last month.

They are, though, in a better position in the Premier League in terms of their top-four aspirations as they are just a point behind fourth-placed Manchester United, compared to three behind Chelsea after they lost to Southampton.

They have also been particularly strong at the Emirates, unbeaten in 12 Premier League home games and winning the last six in a row.

With four of their next five league games at home, this could be the start of a crucial run for the Gunners.

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