Premier League preview: Liverpool face Man City title test

Liverpool may be top of the table at Christmas but they face a test of their title credentials when they travel to Manchester City on Boxing Day.

Third-placed City are a point behind the Reds and have a 100% league record at Etihad Stadium so far this season.

Only two points separate the top five.

Second-placed Arsenal are at West Ham, while Chelsea, who are fourth, host Swansea. Everton, in fifth, entertain Sunderland, while Manchester United travel to Hull.

Reigning champions United are eighth, six points off the top four and eight points adrift of Liverpool.

Top at Christmas

  • The last three times (1990-91, 1996-97, 2008-09) Liverpool have been top at Christmas they have failed to win the title.
  • The last time they were top at Christmas and did win the title was 1987-88.

Source: Opta

Striker Robin van Persie and midfielder Michael Carrick have respective thigh and Achilles injuries but the Old Trafford club's boss David Moyes hinted the pair could be back soon.

"This is the time when miracles happen," said the Scot. "Let us hope there is one for Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick."

All 20 Premier League teams will be playing on Boxing Day. The game at Hull gets proceedings under way at 12:45 GMT, while the match between City and Liverpool at 17:30 GMT concludes the action.

City have won all eight league games at home and scored 35 goals in the process, including six against both Tottenham and Arsenal and four in the Manchester derby.

But the Reds have the Premier League's top scorer, Luis Suarez, in their ranks. The Uruguayan, who missed the start of the season because of suspension, has 19 goals from 12 games so far.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers played down his side's title chances after a win over Cardiff and thinks Manchester City are the favourites.

Arsenal, who make a trip across London to Upton Park, drew 0-0 with Chelsea on Monday have now gone three league games without a win as they go for a first title since 2004.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, says this season's title race is "unbelievable" as he prepares to pit his wits against Swansea counterpart Michael Laudrup.

Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood

New Tottenham boss Sherwood's first game in permanent charge will be against West Brom

Tottenham have appointed Tim Sherwood as their new head coach. The 44-year-old's first game in permanent charge will be a home game against West Brom.

Spurs have failed to win in their last three league games at White Hart Lane and face a managerless Baggies side who are three points above the relegation zone.

Newcastle, in sixth, are one of the top-flight's form teams with six wins from their last eight outings and they host Stoke.

The Potters are unbeaten in four league matches but have lost five and won just once in their eight away games.

Malky Mackay remains in charge of Cardiff, despite owner Vincent Tan sending him an email recently telling him to resign or be sacked.

The Bluebirds are four points off the relegation zone as they prepare to face a Southampton side who have not won in six games.

I thought I would be sacked - Mackay

Mackay is eager for the club to resolve their off-field problems to help in the club's battle for survival.

Asked whether the situation might hinder their hopes of staying up, he replied: "Yes, absolutely. You can't have your dirty linen washed in public every week of the year without it affecting the club.

"I'm not saying it immediately affects the players because that's my job to make sure I protect them."

Crystal Palace and Fulham are both in the bottom three on 13 points and they will hope to help their fight against relegation when they play Aston Villa and Norwich respectively.

Bottom-of-the-table Sunderland have 10 points as they travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton, whose manager Roberto Martinez is wary of the threat posed by the Black Cats.

"I'm fully focused on respecting a team like Sunderland," said Martinez, who believes Black Cats boss Gus Poyet is capable of bringing success to the club. "We'll have to be at our best."