MATCHDAY: Liverpool begins League Cup defense

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday:

ENGLAND

Liverpool begins its League Cup title defense with a home game against third-tier Derby County while Manchester City hosts Chelsea in the marquee match of the third round. This is the round where teams playing in Europe this season enter the competition. Liverpool won both of the domestic cups last season, beating Chelsea in both finals. City had won the League Cup in six of the previous eight years. Erling Haaland returned from a foot injury by scoring City's stoppage-time winner against Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday but is still not 100%, according to manager Pep Guardiola, so is a doubt for the Chelsea game. There are four more all-Premier League matches: Nottingham Forest vs. Tottenham; Arsenal vs. Brighton; Newcastle vs. Crystal Palace; and Wolverhampton vs. Leeds.

SPAIN

Atlético Madrid tries to end a four-match winless streak in all competitions when it visits Mallorca in the Spanish league. Atlético has struggled recently, coming off elimination in the Champions League and missing out on qualification for the Europa League playoffs. It is coming off a 1-1 home draw against Espanyol and a 3-2 loss at relegation-threatened Cádiz in the Spanish league, where it is in danger of dropping out of the Champions League places. Midtable Mallorca is unbeaten in three league games, with wins at Valencia and at Villarreal. Sevilla looks to move further away from the relegation zone when it hosts Real Sociedad, while Villarreal — still winless under new coach Quique Setién — visits Espanyol and Almería hosts Getafe.

ITALY

Atalanta can move level with defending champion AC Milan in second place in Serie A with a win at Serie B champion Lecce after Milan was held to a 0-0 draw at Cremonese on Tuesday. Sixth-place Roma looks to bounce back from a Rome derby loss when it visits Sassuolo, while Inter Milan hosts Bologna and Fiorentina faces Salernitana hoping to extend its winning streak in all competitions to five matches.

GERMANY

After reaching the last 16 of the Champions League, Leipzig aims to shift its Bundesliga campaign up a gear against surprise challenger Freiburg, which was second after last week's games, while Leipzig was outside the Champions League places in sixth. It's their first meeting since Leipzig beat Freiburg on penalties in last season's German Cup final. After a crushing 5-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen cost it the Bundesliga top spot, Union Berlin hosts Augsburg, while Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen visits Cologne. On a high after qualifying from its Champions League group, Eintracht Frankfurt plays Hoffenheim. Last-place Schalke faces Mainz.

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The Associated Press