Weekend Wanderings: Liverpool look to leapfrog Manchester United, Celtic’s Old Firm dominance under threat and Fiorentina honour Davide Astori

It’s being billed as ‘rivalries weekend’ – and with good reason. The football fixture list has some iconic showdowns on it and it is sure to bring us plenty of entertainment. Here Alasdair Hooper highlights the games you should be looking out for…

1) Will Liverpool overtake Manchester United in the Premier League?

Fresh off the back of qualifying for the last eight of the Champions League Liverpool turn their attention back to league action on Saturday, and they face a daunting trip to old rivals Old Trafford.

Manchester United’s performances in the league have been a topic of much debate recently and it took a special performance to bounce back from going 2-0 down against Crystal Palace to maintain their position in second.

However, just two points behind in third lurk Jurgen Klopp’s Reds who are in fine free-scoring form. They may no longer have Philippe Coutinho to call upon these days but the prolific attacking threat remains and Virgil van Dijk, plus the form of Loris Karius, has solidified the defence.

As ever Jose Mourinho’s team selection will be eagerly anticipated but this fixture often produces fireworks in one way or another.

2) Can Aston Villa throw a spanner in the works for Wolves?

Wolves have been flying high at the top of the Championship for most of the season but they have stuttered somewhat in recent games.

Two draws and one defeat in the last five games has seen their lead at the summit cut to six points with Cardiff their closest challengers.

However, in third place is Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa who are also in a good run of form. Glenn Whelan misses out on the game through injury but there is plenty of talent in the Villa team to cause Wolves problems.

This makes for an exciting top-of-the-table clash on Saturday evening.

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3) Will Rangers close in on Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership?

One of the fiercest rival clashes in football takes place this weekend – the Old Firm derby.

Graeme Murty has revived Rangers’ fortunes. The Ibrox side are currently just six points behind Celtic, although they have played a game more, but with four wins on the bounce they will be in a buoyant mood.

Brendan Rodgers’ team, however, will be desperate for victory and they remain a cut above the rest in the league.

4) Are Derby going to find their form against Nottingham Forest?

Nottingham Forest take on Derby in another Championship cracker on Sunday. Based on league position, you would say fifth-placed Rams are the clear favourites at the City Ground but it’s not quite as easy as that.

With four wins and a draw in their last five games, Forest are the form team whereas Gary Rowett’s men have stumbled of late.

Aitor Karanka seems to have finally found the right balance but derbies are unpredictable and a shock could be on the cards.

5) Football remembers Davide Astori

Last Sunday, all of the Serie A fixtures were postponed following the tragic death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori aged just 31. This weekend clubs will pay tribute to the Italian.

On Thursday people lined the streets of Florence for the defender’s funeral and Fiorentina will honour the man who meant so much to so many when they play Benevento on Sunday.

Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992

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