Mourinho goes to Liverpool, the Derby della Madonnina and Dortmund take on Leipzig

Mourinho goes to Liverpool, the Derby della Madonnina and Dortmund take on Leipzig

By Severin Luebke

38, that is the number of league titles between the two most successful clubs in the history of English Football. But Manchester have not won in 4 years and Liverpool last won a title in 1990, this is a game to prove they can still challenge. In Italy two heavy weights meet in the Milan derby. Finally in Germany it is old vs new, or the people against corporations. Let’s have a look:

Liverpool vs Manchester United

Let’s not deny that in many cases the PL’s ticket prices has meant the fire has gone out of derbies, but this one is different. Just remember that in his last derby 2 years ago, Steven Gerrard got sent off after 38 seconds of the second half. With Klopp starting to feel the pressure and Mourinho never to be one to avoid confrontation, I would be very surprised if we do not see some crunching tackles, early and often.

In a big blow to the Reds, Sadio Mane will be out for the next 6 weeks and in a team that has been struggling to score this will put the onus on a weak front line.  Mo Salah is likely to come back with a spring in his step after he fired Egypt to the 2018 World Cup, but it will be up to Coutinho and Firmino to support him. ­

A win for the Red Devils would give them their best start to the season ever. However, they will be missing Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, who scored two goals against Crystal Palace. However, the Manchester midfield is very deep with Juan Mata and Ander Herrera being adequate replacements for the two.

In terms of tactics, like Kenny Dalglish, I that Mourinho will go with his tried and tested method of “parking the bus” against Liverpool. This may prove to be effective, especially because Liverpool is vulnerable to quick counter attacks.  The Reds have been creating chances, the question will be: can they finish them? Home advantage will certainly help and I expect an entertaining 1-1 draw.

Inter Milan vs AC Milan

No doubt the coup of the transfer period in Italy was the ability of the Rossoneri, not only to keep their talented keeper Gianluigi (where have I heard that name before) Donnarumma, but also bring on-board Leonardo Bonucci. In most pundits eyes this moved them from mid-table to contender. Well, seven games in and it appears Inter are the real contenders. Currently in third, Luciano Spalletti has shown the team how to best incorporate their superb goal scorer Mauro Icardi. Having scored six goals in the first seven games, he is showing why they bought the former Barcelona youth product from Sampdoria in 2013.

AC have been defensively frail in their opening matches and, like any good Italian team will want to build from a solid backline, which will require Vincenzo Montella to really reign in his wing-backs. This should not be a problem for Ricardo Rodriguez who played at the back regularly for Wolfsburg, but may be difficult on the right where he may well play Ignazio Abate to shore up his back three. But Milan’s real concern will be at the front, where they will miss Hakan Calhanoglu due to his sending off against Roma. Not only that but Andre Silva and Nikola Kalinic, their two front men, really needs to start scoring regularly. They both missed good opportunities against Roma and I do not expect them to turn it around. Therefore, a win for Inter, 2-0

Dortmund vs Leipzig

This is rapidly turning into one of the most heated matches of the year, fuelled by the intense animosity the Dortmund fans have for RB Leipzig.  The history here is not complex. Dortmund, a team founded by former miners, a true working man’s team despise the corporate support Leipzig have been receiving from the Red Bull corporation, which has allowed them to get to the Bundesliga. Every year when these teams meet new banners are unveiled that mock the Leipzig club for its lack of history and corporate backing. That hostility turned violent last year and as a result, Leipzig have had to hire bodyguards for their team.

On the pitch it will be a tight affair. Although Dortmund’s new coach Peter Bosz has, much like other German clubs, a bad time in Europe their form in the league is very good. A win here would be their fourth in a row and would allow them to really put space between them and Bayern Munich. I expect BVB’s attacking style to be too much for an unsettled centre-back pairing. Dortmund will see off Leipzig, 3-1.

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