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Weekend Roundup: Liverpool, Inter maintain perfect start, Real Madrid go top

As Liverpool extended their winning streak to 16 games, Real Madrid climbed to the top of the table after a goalless derby, and Antonio Conte established his dominance in Serie A with six wins in six.

Into the busy season, things around Europe have started to take shape which foretells the course of the season. From Liverpool and Inter not flailing for even a point so far into the season to Real Madrid taking the lead in La Liga despite their stop-start season to Leicester City slowly making their mark under Brendan Rodgers, the weekend had its fair share of hullabaloo.

LIVERPOOL AIM FOR MANCHESTER CITY RECORD

On their trip to the Bramall Lane, Jurgen Klopp’s men were faced with an inspired defensive block of Sheffield United. But the saviour arrived in the form of Georginio Wijnaldum just after the hour-mark, whose right-footed volley from outside the box was spilled in by Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson. Fighting ugly and holding onto the lead through superior performances of Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool became only the second Premier League team to start their season with seven wins out of seven after Chelsea in 2005/06.

Liverpool extended their club-record winning streak to 16 games, and are aiming for the league record set by Manchester City in 2017. Jurgen Klopp’s transformation of the ethos of the team is evident from the fact that Liverpool have only lost once in their last 46 league games.

After Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Everton, Liverpool enjoy a healthy lead of five points over the reigning champions. The domestic and European champions are set to meet each other on November 10.

REAL TAKE THE LEAD AFTER MADRID STALEMATE

Disappointing its global audience who had expected a repeat of Atletico Madrid defeating their city rivals in a ten-goal thriller in the International Champions Cup in pre-season, the Madrid derby at Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday ended as a goalless draw. In a game where Jan Oblak and Thibaut Courtois combined, the goalkeepers had to make just four saves, it can be considered to be a toothless affair between the two multi-millionaire clubs.

Joao Felix threatened in the first half off a counter-attack, Karim Benzema’s 75th-minute header was saved by the Slovenian goalkeeper, but apart from that, the likes of Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, and Diego Costa had quiet games. Real Madrid resumed the top of the table, with their third consecutive clean sheet, with 15 points from seven games, ahead of Atletico Madrid and promoted Granada.

Meanwhile, the result extended Atletico’s four-year winless streak at home against Real Madrid in La Liga. On the other hand, in Lionel Messi’s absence, Barcelona grabbed a safe 2-0 win at Getafe, while Sevilla stopped Real Sociedad from going top after defeating them 3-2, and Santi Cazorla continued his fine form in Villarreal’s 5-1 win over Real Betis.

ANTONIO CONTE’S HOMECOMING REMAINS UNBLEMISHED

Ever since coming back to Italy after his three-year leave, the ex-Juventus manager has made life living hell for the eight-successive Serie A champions with his metamorphosed Inter Milan side. The Nerazzurri built on their perfect start to the season, as they defeated bottom-placed Sampdoria 3-1 at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Saturday, where so far they have scored league second-best 13 goals and conceded just two.

A dominant performance marked by Alexis Sanchez’s goal and sending off, Inter have now won their first six league games of a season for the first time since 1966/67 and only the second time in their history. Conte made several changes to his side ahead of Barcelona’s visit in the Champions League on Wednesday, resting Romelu Lukaku, Diego Godin and Nicolo Barella and giving the Chilean forward his full debut.

On the other hand, Juventus and Napoli picked up the maximum points at home, defeating SPAL 2-0, and Brescia 2-1 respectively. Atalanta maintained their vibrant start to their season, by winning 4-1 against Sassuolo, but AC Milan continued their dismal start to the season under Marco Giampaolo after their second consecutive loss to Fiorentina on Sunday.

DWINDLING DORTMUND KEEP FALLING BACK

Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus had an outburst previous week after they had drawn 2-2 against Eintracht Frankfurt, when he had lambasted a Sky reporter for asking whether they were suffering from a “mentality problem”. After a similar 2-2 draw against Werder Bremen at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday, it’s uncertain what the Lucien Favre-coached side have to say now.

Although goals from Mario Gotze and Marco Reus kept Dortmund in the lead till the hour-mark, 21-year-old Marco Friedl’s first senior goal earned Werder Bremen a point, which dropped the home side to seventh in the table, with 11 points from six games. To drop two points to a side which hasn’t finished higher than eighth in the league since 2009/10; without Max Kruse, and eight first-team players due to injury; is not a promising look for Favre’s men.

Title contenders, Bayern Munich stayed at the top of the table with 14 points after defeating newly promoted Paderborn 3-2, and second-placed RB Leipzig slumped to a surprise 3-1 defeat to Schalke.

BRENDAN RODGERS DOING WONDERS AT LEICESTER

Leicester City climbed to third in the table after absolutely demolishing Newcastle United 5-0 at King Power Stadium on Sunday. In what was more of a Brendan Rodgers masterclass rather than a usual Newcastle United meltdown, an all-round performance and a Jamie Vardy brace handed the home team their biggest Premier League team.

Ever since Brendan Rodgers took charge of Leicester City in March, his team has won the third-most points in the Premier League (31), way ahead of Chelsea (30), Arsenal (28), Manchester United (22) and Tottenham Hotspur (19). Only Liverpool (49) and Manchester City (43) have picked up more points than the Foxes in that period.

A superb solo goal by Ricardo Pereira, a red card to Isaac Hayden and Jamie Vardy’s 84th and 85th goals in the Premier League later, the Foxes look well prepared to take on Liverpool at Anfield next weekend.

On a Monday night clash, Manchester United will host Arsenal at Old Trafford.

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