European soccer weekend: Liverpool bids to keep 100% start
By The Associated Press
What to watch in the leading soccer leagues in Europe this weekend:
It’s only the second round of Serie A and already there are two high-profile matches.
Eight-time defending champion Juventus hosts perennial runner-up Napoli and Roma and Lazio meet in the Rome derby.
Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said his squad has everything it needs to win the title and now his side needs to back that up.
Napoli fans have labeled new Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri a traitor for taking over their bitter rival after making his name in Naples but Sarri may miss the game while he recovers from pneumonia.
Also this weekend, AC Milan looks to snap back from a disappointing loss when it hosts Brescia, while Inter Milan can build off its strong start as it visits Cagliari.
Liverpool is the only team in England’s four professional leagues to have a 100% record this season and Jürgen Klopp’s side goes for a fourth straight Premier League win in an away match at Burnley on Saturday.
Seeking a first English league title since 1990, Liverpool has beaten Norwich, Southampton and Arsenal so far.
That was the first time Arsenal dropped points this season and Unai Emery’s team will look to rebound by beating Tottenham in the North London derby on Sunday.
In other matches, defending champion Manchester City hosts Brighton, Manchester United travels to Southampton and Chelsea is at home to Sheffield United. Watford, the only team without a point so far, is away to Newcastle.
Barcelona is expected to be without the injured Lionel Messi again when it travels to promoted Osasuna on Saturday.
Messi has already missed the team’s first two league games because of a calf injury. He hasn’t been training regularly with the rest of the squad and coach Ernesto Valverde says he is not going to take any risks with the playmaker. Valverde is already certain to be without two other forwards because of injuries – Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembele.
Real Madrid will remain without the injured Eden Hazard when it visits Villarreal on Sunday, and coach Zinedine Zidane will also be without James Rodríguez because of an injury. James had played well in the 1-1 draw against Valladolid last Saturday, his first match back after two seasons on loan with Bayern Munich.
Sevilla and Atlético Madrid are the only two teams to start the league with two consecutive victories. Atlético will host Eibar on Sunday, while Sevilla takes on Celta Vigo on Friday.
Bayern Munich’s best “new signing” appears to be Robert Lewandowski, who extended his contract with the club by two years on Thursday. The Polish striker has started the season in fine form and scored all five of the side’s Bundesliga goals in two games so far.
Lewandowski stole the limelight from new signings Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic as they made their debuts in the 3-0 win at Schalke last weekend and has a chance to add to his tally against visiting Mainz on Saturday. Mainz has started with two defeats.
Borussia Dortmund visits Union Berlin for Saturday’s late game, when Germany midfielder Julian Brandt is likely to make his first Dortmund start after impressing twice as a substitute.
Union claimed its first Bundesliga goal and its first point in the league in a 1-1 draw at Augsburg last weekend, but will find Dortmund a different caliber. Dortmund has eight goals already.
Borussia Mönchengladbach gets the third round underway against Leipzig on Friday. Leipzig is one of five teams to have won both their opening games.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has to figure out what to do with his injury-hit attack, while also keeping an eye on Senegal striker Habib Diallo in Friday’s trip to Metz.
After netting 26 league goals to help Metz get promoted, Diallo has started the season strongly with three goals in three games.
PSG forwards Edinson Cavani (hip) and Kylian Mbappe (hamstring) both picked up injuries last weekend, and with Neymar still unavailable as he seeks to push through a move to Barcelona, Tuchel has only Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting as a recognized striker.
Reassuringly, Choupo-Moting scored twice in the 4-0 win against Toulouse on Sunday night, so will be full of confidence after being fourth-choice all last season.
Rennes, which beat PSG this season, is at home on Sunday to Nice, which was bought this week by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.
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