What to watch in the leading leagues in European soccer this weekend:
Liverpool could finish the weekend with a nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Heading into Sunday’s match against Manchester City, Liverpool is six points ahead of the defending champions. City has not won at Anfield since 2003 – five years before an influx of cash from Abu Dhabi transformed the team into perennial title contenders.
City, however, could be displaced from second place with a loss if Leicester, the surprise champion in 2016, beats Arsenal, which has collected only one point from its last three games and has dropped to fifth place.
Tottenham is faring worse in the league, sitting five places below Saturday’s opponent, Sheffield United, in 11th place.
Also, fourth-place Chelsea hosts Crystal Palace and could also move into second place depending on other results.
– By Rob Harris in London.
It will be a meeting of clubs heading in opposite directions when AC Milan visits Juventus in Serie A on Sunday.
Milan is struggling both financially and on the field in only 11th place, while Juventus is the eight-time defending champion and holds a one-point lead over Inter Milan at the top the standings.
Inter hosts Hellas Verona on Saturday and will have a chance to put pressure on Juventus.
Third-place Roma visits Parma and surprising Cagliari, which is level on points for fourth place and the final Champions League berth, hosts Fiorentina looking to extend its unbeaten streak to 10 matches.
– By Andrew Dampf in Rome.
Coming off two games without a victory, Barcelona will have a good opportunity to recover its winning form at home on Saturday against struggling Celta Vigo.
Barcelona leads the Spanish league on goal difference ahead of Real Madrid. Barcelona lost at Levante 3-1 in its last league match and was has held to a 0-0 draw by Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Oscar Garcia will debut as Celta coach following the firing of Fran Escriba.
Real Madrid will aim to follow up on its best performance of the season, a 6-0 win over Galatasaray in the Champions League, when it visits Eibar on Saturday.
Atletico Madrid hosts Espanyol on Sunday after losing at Bayer Leverkusen 2-1. Atletico is in fourth place, one point off the pace, and has gone three matches overall without a victory.
Third-place Real Sociedad welcomes Leganes on Friday in the debut of Mexican coach Javier Aguirre for the troubled Madrid-based club.
– By Joseph Wilson in Barcelona.
Bayern Munich hosts Borussia Dortmund for the Bundesliga’s most eagerly anticipated match-up on Saturday.
But the buildup has been dominated by speculation over who will take over as coach of Bayern following Niko Kovac’s dismissal on Sunday.
Bayern’s biggest league defeat in more than 10 years, Saturday’s 5-1 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt, was the final straw for Kovac, who had overseen a number of lackluster performances since the 7-2 thrashing of Tottenham in the Champions League.
Dortmund appears to have put its own difficulties behind it after stretching its winning streak to three games on Tuesday. Dortmund came from two goals down to beat Inter Milan 3-2.
Also Saturday, Hertha Berlin hosts Leipzig in a game that will commemorate 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The German capital’s other team, Union Berlin, is at Mainz.
League leader Borussia Monchengladbach hosts Werder Bremen on Sunday.
– By Ciaran Fahey in Berlin.
Just as Lyon seemed to be turning the corner after a run of frustrating results and a change of coach, top scorer Memphis Depay sustained an injury which could keep him out for several weeks.
The Netherlands striker netted his 11th goal of the season in the 3-1 win over Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday, scoring for a fourth straight game in the competition and then going off after straining his right hamstring.
Moussa Dembele, who has scored eight league goals this season, will lead the attack as Lyon looks to move up the standings and into contention for a Champions League place next season.
League leader Paris Saint-Germain, which is seven points ahead of second-place Nantes, is at ninth-place Brest on Saturday.
PSG’s all-time leading scorer, Edinson Cavani, is in contention to start after coming on as a second-half substitute in Wednesday’s 1-0 home win over Club Brugge in the Champions League.
Mauro Icardi scored in that game but took a hard knock on his calf and had to come off. He could be rested, while coach Thomas Tuchel could also leave out Kylian Mbappe after the France striker’s poor performance against Brugge.
On Sunday, Nantes is at home against a resurgent Saint-Etienne under the guidance of coach Claude Puel.
– By Jerome Pugmire in Paris.
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