Mo Salah and Erling Haaland to face unlucky duo after World Cup breaks
With both missing out on the World Cup later this year Mo Salah and Erling Haaland will be ready to explode by the time the Premier League returns on Boxing Day.
So spare a thought for the defenders they'll be coming up against after spending the Christmas period stewing in a festive broth of jealousy – with Egypt and Norway both failing to make it to Qatar.
Aston Villa will host Liverpool while Manchester City travel to Leeds United in what will be the first bit of Premier League action for nearly a month-and-a-half – with the mid-season break beginning on November 13.
Liverpool's trip to Villa Park will see Steven Gerrard go head-to-head with his former club for just the third time, while City's clash with Leeds pits Haaland against his boyhood club (at one point at least) for the first time ever – with both games being shown live on Amazon Prime.
The 21-year-old was born in Leeds, with his father Alfie playing for United at the time, and the former Dortmund man once dreamed of winning the Premier League with his hometown club.
"I want to be the best possible," Haaland said during an appearance on Norwegian TV show Aftenposten back in 2017. "The dream is to win the Premier League with Leeds. In addition, the goal is to become a better player than dad was. I hope to be able to get more international matches than he did."
Who will score more goals next season – Salah or Haaland? Let us know in the comments section.
Egypt were heartbreakingly denied a place at the World Cup after losing to Senegal in a penalty shootout – with Salah missing the opening spot-kick after being targeted by laser pens – just two months after suffering the same fate in the Africa Cup of Nations final.
It's the second time during Salah's international career that Egypt have failed to reach the tournament, and in his only appearance in 2018 the Pharaohs lost all three of their group matches before being sent home.
Norway meanwhile finished third in their World Cup qualifying group, three points off a play-off spot which went to Turkey. The Scandinavians haven't made the finals since 1998 and have only reached three in their entire history, meaning that, in all likelihood, Haaland will never get to play in one.
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