Weekend Wanderings: Liverpool face Manchester United as Crystal Palace take on Manchester City and West Ham Women v Tottenham Women

After another week of drama, the domestic leagues in the men’s game get back up and running.

With several clubs having a tough time lately – particularly in Manchester – the pressure will be on to rectify past slip-ups.

Alasdair Hooper is back with the games you should be focusing on this weekend.

Liverpool v Manchester United (Sunday, 4.30pm)

The highlight fixture of the weekend is a rivalry like no other – yet both sides’ current fortunes are polar opposites.

Liverpool are riding high eight points clear at the top of the league. Manchester United are in disarray and are two points from the relegation zone.

Much of the focus here will be on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team who, ultimately, look devoid of confidence, ideas and personnel.

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After their defeat to Newcastle most observers are struggling to see how United get anything from this game at Anfield. There’s also the small matter of David De Gea being a doubt for the match due to injury.

That said, stranger things have happened in football. Naturally, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if Manchester United managed to raise their game against their fierce rivals.

Jurgen Klopp’s side, therefore, will have to make sure they’re focused on the task in hand to keep up their perfect start.

A big win here will send out a massive statement and dish out another hammer blow to a United side playing catch up.

Crystal Palace v Manchester City (Saturday, 5.30pm)

While the problems with Manchester City are nowhere near at the level as their neighbours, you can’t deny there is something up.

Two surprise defeats have left Pep Guardiola’s team eight points adrift of the leaders, with their most recent loss to Wolves showcasing their weaknesses in defence.

Injuries have played a part in their poor form, as well as Rodri still getting to grips with his midfield role, but the team need a turnaround in fortunes.

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On paper, playing Crystal Palace should be comfortable enough – except that really isn’t the case.

Palace were one of the teams that beat City last season and their incredible form this season has them in sixth place.

A win for the Eagles would see them overtake City, showing just how well Roy Hodgson has done to get the best out of these players.

Manchester United Women v Manchester City Women (Sunday, 2pm)

In the women’s football calendar, it’s time for the next round of the Continental Cup group stage to take centre stage.

Among the list of fixtures are some standout match-ups, the latest women’s Manchester derby being one of them.

Few can forget the fanfare that surrounded the first one – held at the Etihad Stadium on the opening day of the WSL season – but this one is also sure to be a close affair.

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A Caroline Weir strike settled things in the league fixture, but with both teams settling into their stride – and City coming off a tough Champions League fixture in midweek – will we see a different outcome?

West Ham Women v Tottenham Women (Sunday, 3pm)

Another London derby, but West Ham will hope things play out differently compared to when they hosted Tottenham a matter of weeks ago.

On that occasion it was a headline fixture at the London Stadium, a game the Hammers lost 2-0 thanks to a poor first half showing and a failure to be clinical in attack during the second period.

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This time there is no London Stadium and they come in after a crucial win over Brighton in the league.

Tottenham, meanwhile, have shown they have more than enough to compete with the best, but a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United last week was a tough blow.

Spurs also suffered a 4-0 loss in the first round of Continental Cup games to Reading – they won’t want a repeat of that.

Sampdoria v Roma (Sunday, 2pm)

Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong. Everyone’s favourite Claudio Ranieri takes on his former team – Roma – with his new team – Sampdoria – after replacing the man who he previously replaced at Roma.

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Things have hardly been positive for Eusebio Di Francesco, who was fired by Sampdoria on October 7 after six losses in seven games, but all attention is now back on a certain Ranieri who replaces his Italian compatriot for the second time in a year.

He also takes over a team bottom of Serie A and with the worst defence in the league.

From his perspective he will hope it will not be a similar scenario to the one he faced at Fulham last year.

Roma, meanwhile, are still trying to find their feet under Paulo Fonseca, who took over from Ranieri in the summer.

They currently sit fifth but will be missing Edin Dzeko, Cengiz Under and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in their quest for points on Sunday.

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992

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