THE WEEKEND REVIEW..

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Liverpool and Manchester United share the spoils..

All the talk prior to this game was how Liverpool would eventually match the 18-game unbeaten streak that was held by Manchester City. That is sadly how low expectations are in the red side of Manchester these days. On the d-day, Liverpool could easily have lost the game. Manchester United came with a game-plan and executed it to perfection – well, almost.

There was some VAR controversy leading to United’s goal – which was the wrong call – but on the balance of play, it was probably deserved.

For Manchester United, playing better than the reigning European Champions is obviously a step in the right direction. However, the question is, “Can Manchester be this fired up when they play the lesser teams?” The answer so far has been a resounding “no”.

For Liverpool, playing so poorly and still getting a point away from home could be characterized as stuff of champions. However, the lack of depth in the squad is quite telling. There seems to be no replacements for most of the first team players. Mohammed Salah, for instance has not had a great start but was still missed – due to injury – and Divock Origi offered practically nothing going forward, although same can be said for Mane and Firmino. Everyone needs to come to the party to get Liverpool past the finish line this time around. Liverpool now leads with six.

Juventus battle for the win..

So far, Maurizio Sarri – and Juventus – are still finding their feet this new season but it seems their quality all over the pitch gets to bail them out time and time again. Over the weekend, it was not an impressive display from them but their quality shone through again. At the dying moments of the game, Buffon made one very spectacular save to ensure that the Old Lady took all three points back to Turin. Buffon is 41 years of age. Talk about fine wine! Inter Milan is still very closely behind.

Barcelona move top after comfortable win, Real Madrid falter.

It is obviously no coincidence that Barcelona plays better when Messi is around. Against Elche away from home, the trident of Griezmann, Suarez and Messi (GSM?) all got goals to ensure that they went top pending when Real Madrid played Mallorca. That game was also arguably Barcelona’s best performance this season. The GSM combination seems here to stay. La Liga, watch out.

For Real Madrid, a lot of changes were made prior to the game and that ultimately affected the balance of the team due to injuries- Bale, Modric – and Hazard being left out because he was expecting the birth of his fourth child. However, that is not an excuse because not a lot of chances were created even after going a goal down in the seventh minute. It was a poor all round display. Unfortunately, the rest of the league – bar Barcelona – are not even taking advantage of the poor display and results from the bigger teams.

Fortunately for Madrid, the El Clasico has been postponed. Time will tell if Zidane and his team can turn these poor performances (and results) around.