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The UEFA Champions League is back for Matchday 2! This week's slate of games includes some throwbacks to recent epic duels in the European competition and features the two best left-footed players on earth – with Mohamed Salah putting in a strong bid that he should be considered No. 1 as of late.
At week's end, an age-old English rivalry takes place in the Premier League, though nowadays there seems to be a disparity between the quality of each club: surging Liverpool vs. struggling Manchester United.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming week:
Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool
Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 3:00PM ET | Live stream
Result: Atletico (+230), Draw (+230), Liverpool (+125)
Goals: 2.5 — Over (+100), Under (-125)
This one takes place at the Wanda in Madrid, but memories of the matchup bring us back to Anfield when Atletico stunned Liverpool in extra time just days before COVID-19 shutdown the globe.
With an aggregate score of 1-1 in the second leg of the 2020 Champions League Round of 16, the Reds proceeded to take the lead early in extra time, but not before Atletico smashed three unanswered away goals to knock out the reigning UCL winners at their fortress.
Liverpool enters Tuesday's matchup flying high though. The Group B leaders smashed Porto 5-1 on the road last time out in the Champions League — a club that tied Atletico — and are coming off a 5-0 thrashing of Watford on the weekend. The Reds are yet to lose this season.
At the forefront of it all, Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian magician displayed brilliance against Manchester City before the international break and repeated it vs. Watford — with a perfectly weighted pass for Sadio Mane to finish and a brilliant Messi-esque goal of his own on both occasions.
Mo Salah scored another beauty earlier today 😍
The best player in the Premier League? 👀 pic.twitter.com/wQEshwNGFI
— DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) October 17, 2021
Lining up on the other side of the pitch is someone who similarly galvanized Liverpool's faithful: Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan striker already crushed one of his former clubs when he scored and assisted vs. Barcelona before the international break. Now he’ll have the chance to do it again vs. Liverpool.
The Spanish League Champions should be well-rested entering this one, having not played since before the break. As +230 underdogs, watch for a potential upset once again.
PSG vs. RB Leipzig
Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 3:00PM ET | Live stream
Result: PSG (-200), Draw (+360), RB Leipzig (+475)
Goals: 2.5 — Over (-200), Under (+162)
PSG and Leipzig have seen a lot of each other in recent years. In 2019-20, they faced off in the single-knockout UCL semifinal, and PSG prevailed 3-0. Last season, the clubs faced each other in Group H – with each club winning three points at home.
The clubs begin the first of two Group A matches on Tuesday in Paris, and if the odds suggest anything, Leipzig is in for a tough one.
Jesse Marsch’s men are last place in the group with losses to Man City and Club Brugge, and eighth in the Bundesliga – a far cry from the form that’s seen them finish top three in six of the last eight seasons.
Meanwhile, PSG is leading Group A after defeating Man City 2-0 last time out, where Messi scored his first and only goal with the club so far. But, of course, it was spectacular.
MESSI SCORES HIS FIRST PSG GOAL IN STYLE 🔥
Worth. The. Wait. pic.twitter.com/VOGw7gj16w
— DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) September 28, 2021
The French giants are also cruising to a Ligue 1 title only 10 games into the season after taking a one-year sabbatical away from their throne. And we haven’t even seen the devastating front three of Neymar-Mbappe-Messi start clicking yet. Tuesday’s tilt should provide a nice testing ground for them to work out their kinks, should they all feature.
On the Leipzig side, all eyes will be on Christopher Nkunku, a former PSG academy and professional player. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder is off to a cracking start to his 2021-22 campaign, with four Bundesliga goals in seven appearances and four Champions League goals in only two appearances.
Man United vs. Liverpool
Sunday, Oct. 24 at 11:30AM ET | Live stream
Result: Man United (+210), Draw (+250), Liverpool (+120)
Goals: 2.5 — Over (-150), Under (+120)
It’s a difficult week of matchups for Liverpool, but nothing it shouldn’t be capable of handling.
The Reds arrive at Old Trafford as significant favourites against the Red Devils. Imagine reading that 10 years ago.
United are coming off a 4-2 loss to Leicester, a club which has struggled early on in the season, and are now 2-1-4 since thrashing Newcastle in Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut with the club. Including Leicester, the losses have come to Everton, West Ham and Young Boys – not exactly Europe’s best.
This game is ridiculous! 😲
JAMIE VARDY PUTS LEICESTER BACK IN FRONT! pic.twitter.com/mjnKkN0Z2i
— DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) October 16, 2021
Crisis? Maybe not yet, but that record could look even worse by the end of the week. If that’s the case, gaffer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might have to wish his dream job goodbye, and Ronaldo will probably see if he can dye his Manchester shirt blue come January.
They face Group F leaders Atalanta in the Champions League Wednesday as well.
Even though Harry Maguire has returned to lead the back four, it’s clearly not enough if the team is allowing four goals to Leicester. Fellow centre back Raphael Varane remains out for some weeks.
Mason Greenwood continues to impress and Marcus Rashford scored in his season debut, which is encouraging, but much of the offence has run dry. Jadon Sancho, the £73m man, is still without a goal or assist in nine appearances with the club.
Things are not going well for United, and Liverpool are primed to add to their misery.
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