A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Chelsea and Liverpool find themselves in unusual midtable territory ahead of their Premier League showdown at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp's team has lost back-to-back league games and slipped to ninth place. Tenth-place Chelsea ended a four-game winless run in all competitions with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last weekend. None of the top three are in action but fourth-place Newcastle visits Palace in the nightcap. West Ham hopes to have new striker Danny Ings available when fellow struggler Everton visits London Stadium. Last-place Southampton hosts Aston Villa. Nottingham Forest is at Bournemouth, and Leicester hosts Brighton.
Real Sociedad can pull level on points with second-place Real Madrid if it adds to its run of eight straight wins at Rayo Vallecano. Half of those victories have come in the Spanish league where the Basque Country club has taken hold of third place. Netherlands striker Memphis Depay could debut for Atlético Madrid after completing his transfer from Spanish leader Barcelona. Atlético hosts Valladolid needing a win to protect its claim on fourth place and the last Champions League berth. Real Betis is at Espanyol. Sevilla plays Cádiz with both strugglers trying to escape the relegation zone.
After watching Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich restart the league on Friday, chasing Freiburg, Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin are all in action. Freiburg visits Wolfsburg for its first game since forward Kevin Schade left for Premier League team Brentford. Frankfurt hosts last-place Schalke and Union welcomes Hoffenheim. Union was also weakened during the winter transfer period after losing right back Julian Ryerson to Borussia Dortmund. Relegation-threatened Stuttgart hosts Mainz and Cologne welcomes Werder Bremen.
Serie A leader Napoli will be without dribbling wizard Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who is ill, for a visit to regional rival Salernitana. While Napoli’s lead is up to nine points over defending champion AC Milan, Salernitana has had a wild week following an 8-2 rout by Atalanta. Salernitana fired coach Davide Nicola on Monday and rehired the 49-year-old Italian on Wednesday. Also, Lecce visits Hellas Verona and Fiorentina plays Torino.
Lyon is under pressure from unhappy fans after some poor recent results and can ill afford to slip up when it visits fifth-tier Chambery for a place in the French Cup's round of 16. Toulouse hosts Ajaccio in a game between top-tier teams, while top-flight Lorient plays second-tier Bastia in Corsica. Highly rated Nigeria striker Terem Moffi is not in the Lorient squad amid a reported imminent transfer.
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The Associated Press