Football, the American version, will be back on a lot of screens across the United States this weekend after a prolonged absence. But soccer, following a two-week international break that felt like a summer layoff, still takes centre stage here.
In Europe the top divisions can settle into a groove until the next international layoff, that is, somewhat annoyingly, in a month’s time. Still, for the continent’s grandest sides, there’ll be an expectancy to recoup a lot of points early on; lavish summer spending leads to more pressure.
All kick-offs are in Eastern Time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Manchester City vs. Liverpool
There’s going to be goals here. City, who will be seeking to take the initiative on home soil, against a Liverpool side that are the most dangerous in the Premier League on the counter-attack should produce a cracker.
Though City are sitting pretty on seven points after three games, as of yet Pep Guardiola’s side haven’t hit top gear. Against Brighton in Week 1 they were efficient, against Everton in Week 2 they battled hard, while against Bournemouth, after 96 minutes of toil, they eventually grabbed a late winner through Raheem Sterling.
This will be their first meeting with a genuine title rival and it’ll be fascinating to see what approach Guardiola opts for. Especially against a Liverpool side that overcame their first major test of the season with a flourish, annihilating an appalling Arsenal outfit 4-0 at Anfield. You can guarantee manager Jurgen Klopp will have his players up for this one.
The Reds have fared pretty well at City under Klopp too, with Liverpool winning 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on his first visit. Last term the two teams played out a breathless 1-1 draw and you sense the pattern of the match will be similarly frantic.
Valencia vs. Atletico Madrid
With the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium not ready for a while yet, Atletico Madrid will continue their run of away games with a testing trip to Valencia.
Given their iconic manager Diego Simeone signed a new contract with the football club leading up to this game, Atletico should be bouncing into this one. Their coach had previously reduced his deal until 2018, though a two-year extension will see him stay until 2020. For a team that’s been built in his image, that’s vital.