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United face Liverpool as Spain's odd couple meet

Published: Friday 14 October 2011, 11.29CET
Manchester United FC travel to rivals Liverpool FC in the pick of the weekend games while in Spain surprise package Levante UD host Málaga CF as picks out some key ties.

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Published: Friday 14 October 2011, 11.29CET

United face Liverpool as Spain's odd couple meet

Manchester United FC travel to rivals Liverpool FC in the pick of the weekend games while in Spain surprise package Levante UD host Málaga CF as picks out some key ties.

England: Liverpool FC v Manchester United FC (Saturday, 13.45)
United travel to Liverpool for the first time since surpassing their rivals' record of 18 league titles. Sir Alex Ferguson's side are unbeaten so far this term and sit top of the Premier League, level on 19 points with Manchester City FC, but they have not won at Anfield since December 2007. Wayne Rooney's nine goals in six league appearances have been instrumental in United's impressive start and the former Everton FC forward is ready for the challenge. "For me, it is a massive game," he said. "To beat Liverpool is always a great feeling and a great day when you do that."

Czech Republic: AC Sparta Praha v FC Slovan Liberec (Saturday, 18.20)
Sparta have made the best ever start to a Czech First League season, winning all nine of their matches and scoring 23 goals while conceding just four. That run includes a 3-0 defeat of city rivals SK Slavia Praha but they will be put to the test when Slovan, who boast the second best away record in the division, travel to the capital. Slovan Liberec coach Jaroslav Šilhavý said: "We want to take the first points of the season from them."

Netherlands: AFC Ajax v AZ Alkmaar (Saturday, 18.45)
AZ are the unexpected Eredivisie leaders with 21 points from eight matches, their best start since returning to the top flight in 1998, and could move nine points clear of title favourites Ajax with a win in Amsterdam. Rasmus Elm's six goals from midfield have played a key part in AZ's success while Jozy Altidore and Roy Beerens have proved a handful up front. AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek still played down talk of a title challenge. "That is nonsense," said the former Feyenoord and sc Heerenveen coach. "We still have 26 matches to go.” Ajax will take heart from the fact that they have not lost at home to AZ since the 1980/81 season.

Belgium: Club Brugge KV v KAA Gent (Sunday, 14.30)
Club Brugge have the only unbeaten record in the Belgian top flight but sit in third place, level on points with a Gent side coached by Trond Sollied, a man who will be familiar with his surroundings at the Jan Breydelstadion. The Norwegian coach won Belgian titles in 2003 and 2005 during his five-season spell in charge of Club Brugge but is undeterred by a return to his former club. "I will only start to think about Brugge on Friday," he said. "The fans and press focus on it, not me as I do not have the time for that. All my energy is in the work with my team, not on our opponents."

Spain: Levante UD v Málaga CF (Sunday, 18.00)
After a run of four straight wins, including a 1-0 triumph against Real Madrid CF, Levante have caused a stir in Spain and, for the first time in their history, they share top spot with FC Barcelona. Their success has been built on a mean defence, which has conceded the fewest goals in the top flight (three) but they face an entirely different proposition when Málaga, who have only failed to score once this term and sit one point behind them in fourth, pay a visit. "Prior to the start of the campaign I wanted to think that our team would be super competitive but not to the point that we would be second in the standings," said Levante midfielder José Barkero. "Let's hope it continues."

Italy: S.S. Lazio v AS Roma (Sunday, 20.45)
The Roman rivals have started the season in identical fashion with two wins, two draws and a defeat and sit six and seventh in Serie A. There is bad news, though, for the Giallorossi who will be without captain Francesco Totti with a thigh injury. "It's sad for me to say that I'll miss the game," explained the 35-year-old forward. "I tried hard to recover, but I'm not fit yet." Roma coach Luis Enrique is boosted by the news that goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg will return for the derby after recovering from a head injury while Lazio striker Miroslav Klose is certain that he will feature despite knee trouble. "Of course I'll play in the game," he said.

All times CET

Last updated: 06/12/13 7.40CET