Weekend Wanderings: Liverpool v Manchester City as Arsenal Women take on Chelsea Women and West Ham United face Everton

It’s that time of the year where the focus is just as intense on transfer incomings and outgoings as it is on results.

With rumours about which player might end up where throughout January, and head coaches likely to be pushing for reinforcements, it’s never been more crucial for teams to keep their focus.

Alasdair Hooper is back with all the important games you can look forward to in this Weekend Wanderings.

Liverpool v Manchester United (Sunday, 4.30pm)

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There are two ways to look at this fixture – one of the great English football club rivalries or a sign of how far apart the two teams are this year.

In reality Liverpool v Manchester United is one of the blockbuster features of any league season, and let’s not forget that the Red Devils are the only team not to lose to Jurgen Klopp’s team in the league this campaign.

In fact, of the 31 teams Jurgen Klopp has faced 10 or more times in his managerial career, his worst win percentage is against Manchester United at 20 per cent.

However, despite the numbers, the team currently top of the Premier League standings are favourites again and rightfully so.

Quite simply they have been on another level and Manchester United remain erratically inconsistent. Will it be the same again?

Arsenal Women v Chelsea Women (Sunday, 2pm)

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The other blockbuster domestic fixture sees WSL title-chasers Arsenal and Chelsea go head to head at a sold-out Meadow Park in Borehamwood.

While the likes of Kim Little, Vivianne Miedema and Sam Kerr all taking to the same field will obviously draw people in, the magnitude this fixture will have on the title race can’t be understated.

Arsenal currently lead the way on 33 points but Chelsea, in third, are just four points behind with a game in hand.

Should Emma Hayes’ side win here then that might just put them in the driving seat ahead of the likes of Arsenal and second-placed Manchester City.

The tactical outfoxing between Hayes and Joe Montemurro has also always been an interesting point of analysis. It looks set to be another gripping game.

 West Ham United v Everton (Saturday, 3pm)

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Back in the Premier League one of Saturday’s fixtures sees a lot of familiar faces.

It also features two clubs who really didn’t expect to be where they are now – as well as two managers.

David Moyes’ West Ham side host Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton at the London Stadium – with Moyes of course taking on his former club where he arguably made his name in the top division.

But both managers find themselves in very similar situations, thrust into their current roles in charge of two underperforming teams that spent big in the summer.

History however, favours Everton with the Hammers winning just three of their last 23 league meetings.

In their favour, this time, they might actually have a goalkeeper who can stop things as they re-signed their former goalkeeper Darren Randolph to deputise for the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

Real Madrid v Sevilla (Saturday, 3pm)

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Fresh from winning the ‘esteemed’ Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, Real Madrid’s next assignment is at home against Sevilla.

Of course, Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui has his own history with Los Blancos but he brings a side that could be quite a match for the team currently sitting in second to Barcelona.

The away side’s fine form sees them fourth in La Liga, just five points behind both Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top, and they are more than capable of doing some damage.

That said, Sevilla have not beaten Real Madrid at the Bernabeu since December 2008. That’s quite a mental block to try and get over.

Lazio v Sampdoria (Saturday, 2pm)

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In Italy, the two-horse title race has very quickly become a three-horse one.

Put simply, Lazio cannot stop winning – a victory here would mean they would become the fifth side in Serie A history to record a streak of more than 10 consecutive wins.

They are now just four points behind Inter and six behind Juventus, with a game in hand.

Up against them this weekend is Sampdoria, and boyhood Roma fan Claudio Ranieri.

Following a dismal start to the season the former Leicester boss has managed to turn things around to an extent to lift the club out of the relegation zone.

However, they will want to keep that momentum going to pull away – and Ranieri would certainly get a degree of satisfaction from halting Lazio in their tracks.

Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992

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