Super Sunday: Madrid hosts fierce rivals, Barcelona as Man City visits Liverpool

Super Sunday: Madrid hosts fierce rivals, Barcelona

One of the biggest fixtures on the football calendar will take place at Bernabeu on Sunday afternoon, with Real Madrid welcoming bitter rivals Barcelona for the latest instalment of El Clasico.

Both teams have collected 22 points from their opening eight matches of the 2022-23 La Liga season, with Barcelona at the head of the table due to their superior goal difference.

Real Madrid proved to be far too strong for Barcelona and indeed the rest of the competition in La Liga last term, ultimately finishing 13 points clear of the Catalan giants at the summit, but it does appear that this season’s title race will be a lot closer.

Los Blancos have won four of their last five league games against Barcelona, but they suffered a 4-0 defeat to their bitter rivals in the corresponding fixture at Bernabeu last season.

The league title will not be won or lost this weekend, but a victory for either team would leave them full of confidence at a relatively early stage of the campaign.

Real Madrid will again definitely be without the services of Dani Ceballos due to a hamstring injury, while Thibaut Courtois has lost his battle to overcome a back problem in time for El Clasico.

As a result, Andriy Lunin is set to continue between the sticks, while Antonio Rudiger is fit despite suffering a nasty head injury when scoring his side’s leveller against Shakhtar in the Champions League.

As for Barcelona, Jules Kounde is expected to make a timely return from injury for the Catalan side, with the Frenchman set to line up in the middle of the defence alongside Eric Garcia, replacing Gerard Pique in the process.

In England, the reigning champions meet the faltering challengers in a blockbuster Anfield encounter on Sunday afternoon, as Liverpool host Manchester City in the Premier League.

A 13-point chasm already separates the two powerhouses in the table, with the Reds going down 3-2 to Arsenal last weekend while City bested Southampton 4-0.

For the past five years, the Premier League title race has almost always come down to a two-horse battle between Liverpool and Man City, but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has already admitted that Sunday’s clash will not decide the destiny of the title for his side this time around.

 the Liverpool boss may ultimately side with the 4-3-3 amid fears of his crop being overrun in midfield, with Firmino possibly being the unlucky one to take up a spot on the bench.

The Man City infirmary is nowhere near as full as Liverpool’s, and Guardiola has confirmed that Erling Braut Haaland will be fine to lead the line after being rested as a precaution in midweek.