Clubs get busy after int’l break | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 17, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:23 AM, October 17, 2020

Clubs get busy after int’l break

A resurgent AC Milan are looking to reclaim local bragging rights, while Hoffenheim target another big scalp in the Bundesliga and an awkward assignment awaits Barcelona. Here are some of the standout actions in Europe this weekend.

Can Everton end Liverpool hoodoo?

Everton have been rivals to Liverpool in name only for the past decade, without a win against their near-neighbours since 2010.

But the Goodison Park club are top of the table with four wins out of four and Jurgen Klopp will not be relishing the short trip across Stanley Park.

The champions are smarting from their pummelling at Villa, which followed impressive wins against Chelsea and Arsenal, and it will be the defence that is giving the German boss his biggest headache.

Liverpool have conceded 11 goals in the Premier League so far -- only West Brom have conceded more (13) -- and they are coming up against the Premier League's joint top-scorer in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has six goals.

The forward, who scored for England on his debut last week, is quick to praise fellow attackers James Rodriguez and Richarlison.

"I demand high standards from myself every day," he told Everton TV. "I continue to work hard, like I always have, to get into this position. I am just grateful the quality behind me is producing the opportunities for me to score the goals."

Milan confident ahead of derby

AC Milan have not beaten Inter in Serie A in eight attempts since a 3-0 victory in January 2016. They have lost their last four meetings and have only finished above their local rivals once in seven years.

But there is belief among the Rossoneri that the tide might be turning in Milan ahead of Saturday's "Derby della Madonnina".

Antonio Conte's Inter have started this campaign with seven points out of nine. However, Milan have won three out of three to sit joint-top with Atalanta. On Saturday they will have Zlatan Ibrahimovic back after coronavirus.

"The gap with Inter has been reduced, because the club did well in the transfer market, although Inter have also strengthened," Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma told Sky Italia.

"(Coach Stefano) Pioli is doing great things and now we need to go out on the field and show that the gap has been reduced."

Messi to be rested?

After helping Argentina to a World Cup qualifying win in Bolivia, and ahead of Barcelona's Champions League opener against Ferencvaros, Lionel Messi could start on the bench at Getafe in La Liga.

The game will be an awkward one for Ronald Koeman's side, who have taken seven points from a possible nine in La Liga and host Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the campaign next weekend.

Madrid are already three points ahead of Barca, albeit having played a game more, and they appear to have a more straightforward assignment against Cadiz.

Can Hoffenheim do it again?

Hoffenheim made headlines last month when they beat Bayern Munich 4-1. On Saturday the side coached by ex-Bayern reserve boss Sebastian Hoeness are looking to get the better of Borussia Dortmund.

Both sides have taken six points from their first three games, and this match brings together two of the hottest strikers in Europe.

Erling Braut Haaland has been a sensation for Dortmund and scored twice in their 4-0 win over Freiburg last time out. But the Bundesliga's top scorer is Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric with six goals, plus two more in the German Cup.

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