Previews: Gerrard doubtful for Liverpool opener

LONDON - Brief news ahead of this weekend's Premier League matches:

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez could be without captain Steven Gerrard for Sunday's visit to Tottenham Hotspur because of a groin injury.

"Because the game with Tottenham is on Sunday, maybe he will have a chance," Benitez told the club's website. "But if it was on Saturday it would have been more difficult for him."

Daniel Agger, Fabio Aurelio and new signing Alberto Aquilani are all missing through injury but Benitez should have defensive duo Jamie Carragher (ankle) and Martin Skrtel (hamstring) available after injury.

Tottenham will be without defensive pair Jonathan Woodgate (groin) and Michael Dawson (Achilles) but new signing Sebastien Bassong, who joined from Newcastle United, is available and is likely to partner Ledley King in the centre of defence.

Chelsea's biggest off-season acquisition Russian Yuri Zhirkov (knee) is their only doubt for the opening match of the Premier League season against Hull City.

Hull have a host of injury problems for their trip to London with Richard Garcia, Ian Ashbee and Jimmy Bullard all ruled out while striker Craig Fagan and goalkeeper Boaz Myhill face late fitness tests.

Arsenal's sole major signing of the close season, Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen is available to make his debut for the club against Everton on Saturday after recovering from a hamstring injury which had plagued his pre-season preparations.

However Arsene Wenger will be without Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Samir Nasri (leg), Theo Walcott (back), Johan Djourou (knee) and Lukasz Fabianski (knee).

Everton have injury problems also with Mikel Arteta (knee) Yakubu (Achilles), Phil Jagielka (knee) and Victor Anichebe (knee) all out and striker Jo and midfielder Marouane Fellaini undergoing late fitness tests.

Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz will not make his debut against former club Blackburn Rovers on Saturday because of a knee injury.

New signings Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Kolo Toure could make their debuts but midfielder Vincent Kompany is out with a toe injury.

Goalkeeper David James is fit to start Portsmouth's opening match at home to Fulham on Saturday despite missing England's midweek 2-2 draw with Netherlands after shoulder surgery.

Burnley have defensive problems ahead of their first top-flight campaign in 33 years.

Captain Steven Caldwell (groin), Michael Duff (ankle) and David Edgar (suspension) are all out of the trip to Stoke City on Saturday.