Weekend Wanderings: United and Liverpool searching for a response after league cup loss

With another round of Carabao Cup action now behind us, the alarm bells have started ringing at certain clubs – look away now Manchester United fans.

The often-mocked league cup has thrown up some interesting storylines ahead of this weekend’s latest round of fixtures, but there are also plenty of questions to answer across Europe.

Alasdair Hooper runs through the games you should be keeping tabs on this weekend.

1) Are Manchester United re-entering crisis mode?

On Tuesday night, Manchester United slipped back into the ‘crisis’ doldrums following a shock exit to Derby in the Carabao Cup.

While the use of the word crisis may be exaggerated, at this stage Jose Mourinho’s team always seem to be one step away from a blowout.

The defeat was then followed by a Pogba-shaped problem, which always gets people talking.

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So, what can the club do to stop people raising questions?

Well, a win this weekend would be a welcome start, but they face a West Ham side which held Chelsea to a goalless draw and then thumped Macclesfield 8-0.

With West Ham’s new look midfield, which now includes Declan Rice, and the potential return of Marko Arnautovic, the Hammers finally look like a team worth worrying about,

Will Manchester United suffer more misery at the hands of former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini?

2) Will a full-strength Liverpool exact revenge on the Blues?

As part of the midweek treat, Chelsea and Liverpool’s league cup match-up served up an enticing encounter with Eden Hazard’s fabulous goal proving to be the winner.

This Saturday, the two go head to head once again at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool will be looking for revenge as well as the chance to maintain their 100-per-cent league record.

The team selected by the Reds in midweek had several changes, so, from a fans’ perspective, the return of Salah and Firmino to the starting line up could well throw up a different task for Maurizio Sarri’s team.

With two high-octane teams – and two high-octane managers – it is sure to be an exciting fixture.

3) Are Celtic slipping up in their quest for ten titles in a row?

In answer to that question – yes.

Will it prove crucial in the end? Probably not.

The start of Celtic’s quest for a tenth successive league title could have gone a lot smoother.

Last weekend’s defeat to Kilmarnock left the Hoops sixth in the table – six points behind leaders Hearts.

There are signs that Brendan Rodgers’ team aren’t quite clicking, but a midweek cup win against St Johnstone is sure to boost confidence.

This weekend, Celtic take on Aberdeen and both sides will be searching for a result that could kick start their season.

Derek McInnes’ team are more than capable at causing Celtic some bother. Watch this space.

4) Who will come out on top in the Madrid derby?

Real Madrid – and Barcelona for that matter – were handed a bit of a shock in midweek as both the Spanish giants fell to a defeat.

From a Los Blancos perspective, their 3-0 loss to Sevilla would have been a real shock to the system.

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While Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer around, the team still possess an abundance of quality, but this Saturday serves up a derby that has certainly been a feisty match-up in recent years.

Of course, you would expect that with Diego Simeone in the opposite dugout.

Atletico Madrid sit just two points, and a place, behind city rivals Real and they could well leapfrog them with a win.

With an abundance of talent on show it is a game no one will want to miss.

5) Will Lazio make it five in a row in the Rome derby?

From one capital city derby to another. This Saturday, we are also given the treat of Roma against Lazio.

After a slight stutter at the start of the season, Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio have won their last four Serie A games.

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However, in their way stand Roma who – despite their change in playing personnel over the summer – have failed to hit the high notes.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s side have lost two, drawn two and won two of their six games so far, so consistency is currently alluding them.

However, with so much talent set to take to the pitch at the Stadio Olimpico it is sure to appeal to plenty of neutral football fans.

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992

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