Four Matches to watch: Liverpool dare Manchester United as Atletico plot Barcelona fall

Liverpool beat Everton to boost top-4 chances [Photo: theguardian.com]
Liverpool beat Everton to boost top-4 chances [Photo: theguardian.com]

Liverpool v Man. United @Anfield @12:30 on Oct 14

The last three encounters between these sides have ended in draws and there is the likelihood that on Saturday, the teams will not be separated.

Though there is a big caveat – Sadio Mane is injured and Liverpool have been at their most vulnerable when the Senegalese forward has been absent. Without Mane, Liverpool’s winning percentage drops drastically from 61% to 43%. United have their own injury worries with Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba out but Romelu Lukakau will be aiming to become the first man to score eight goals in the first eight EPL games. No matter the XI that is thrown on by Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho, you kind of suspect the first goal on Saturday would determine the winner.

Current Form: Liverpool [D-D-W-L-D]; Man. Utd [W-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

Sun    15/01/17      PRL    Man. Utd      1 – 1   Liverpool

Mon    17/10/16      PRL    Liverpool     0 – 0 Man. Utd

Thu    17/03/16      UEL   Man. Utd      1 – 1   Liverpool

Thu    10/03/16      UEL   Liverpool     2 – 0 Man. Utd

Sun    17/01/16      PRL    Liverpool     0 – 1   Man. Utd

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Man. United

Roma v Napoli @Stadio Olimpico @7:45pm on Oct 14

The two most attacking teams in Serie A jog out for a monster clash on Saturday. Roma are on a good run but not better than Napoli, who have taken Italy by storm this season. The attacking trident of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, and Jose Callejon have between them scored 13 goals already with Mertens on seven.

But the home team is also in good form – five straight wins in all competitions with captain Daniele De Rossi and his deputy, Radja Nainggolan, leading the charge from the middle of the park. Edin Dzeko is also scoring goals – having already nicked seven goals also. With a trip to London to face Chelsea looming next week, manager, Eusebio Di Francesco does not need another home defeat.

Di Francesco has to work without Stephan El Shaarawy, Patrik Schick, Gregoire Defrel and Emerson Palmieri, while Arakdiusz Milik is a long term absentee for the current league leaders.

Current Form: Roma [W-W-W-W-W]; Napoli [W-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

Sat    04/03/17     SEA   AS Roma      1 – 2   Napoli

Sat    15/10/16      SEA   SSNapoli     1 – 3   Roma

Mon    25/04/16     SEA   AS Roma      1 – 0   Napoli

Sun    13/12/15      SEA   SSNapoli     0 – 0 AS Roma

Sat    04/04/15     SEA   AS Roma      1 – 0   SS Napoli

Prediction: Roma 1-3 Napoli

Atletico v Barcelona @Wanda Metropolitano @7:45pm on Oct 14

Lionel Messi and Barcelona seem to be running away with the league but we are just in the eighth, and Saturday sees the Catalans take a trip to the new Wanda Metropolitano to face Atletico – who are also unbeaten in the league!

Atletico’s long time right back, Juanfran believes Los Colchoneros must be ‘excellent’ to stand a chance against a Messi-led team.

“As a team, we must be excellent to win but Barcelona are not just Messi, they are a team of stars and have enjoyed an incredible start to the league.

“We have to counter their strengths and believe in ourselves, to concentrate and be on top of our game but even then they can hurt you,” he added.

Messi likes playing Atletico – having scored 27 goals against them in 34 matches – his second favourite opponent after Sevilla. Stop Messi on Saturday and Diego Simeone’s team may stand a chance of stopping this juggernaut.

Current Form: Atletico [D-L-W-W-W]; Barcelona [W-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

Sun    26/02/17     PRD    Atletico       1 – 2   Barcelona

Tue    07/02/17     CDR   Barcelona     1 – 1   Atletico

Wed   01/02/17      CDR   Atletico       1 – 2   Barcelona

Wed   21/09/16      PRD    Barcelona     1 – 1   Atletico

Wed   13/04/16      UCL   Atletico       2 – 0 Barcelona

Prediction: Atletico 1-2 Barcelona

 

Inter Milan v AC Milan @San Siro @7:45pm on Oct 15

The first Derby Della Madonnina of the season promises to be a defining one. While Luciano Spaletti has seemingly got Inter purring again, Vincenzo Montella’s AC Milan look stalled by not gelling together all the new players brought in during the summer.

Current form favours Inter but they have not won the derby since a 1-0 win in 2015 – losing two of the next three. Montella’s headache would be getting the best from his starting XI, something he is unsure of at the moment while Mauro Icardi would be looking to get back on the score sheet.

Current Form: Inter Milan [W-W-D-W-W]; AC Milan [L-W-L-W-W]

Head to head

Sat    15/04/17      SEA   Inter Milan 2 – 2 AC Milan

Sun    20/11/16      SEA   AC Milan      2 – 2 Inter Milan

Sun    31/01/16      SEA   AC Milan      3 – 0 Inter Milan

Wed   21/10/15      CLF    AC Milan      0 – 1   Inter Milan

Sun    13/09/15      SEA   Inter Milan 1 – 0   AC Milan

Prediction: Inter Milan 2-2 AC Milan


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