In­ter’s ti­tle as­pi­ra­tions are fad­ing fast

The Star Late Edition - - SPORT -

IN­TER Mi­lan visit run­away lead­ers Ju­ven­tus to­day in a Se­rie A clas­sic that may well be their last chance to re­main in the race for the ti­tle.

The third-placed Ner­az­zurri clinched a sin­gle point from their last two away games, crash­ing 4-1 at Ata­lanta and draw­ing 2-2 at Roma, which dropped them 11 points be­hind the Turin cham­pi­ons.

Juve’s pace has been im­pres­sive, with only two points dropped as they drew 1-1 at home to Genoa in Oc­to­ber for a tally of 40 points from 14 games – a league record at this point of the sea­son.

Star­ring at the Al­lianz Arena will be home hero Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and In­ter cap­tain Mauro Icardi, on 10 and eight goals re­spec­tively, when they tackle the league’s two tight­est de­fences – Juve have con­ceded eight goals, four fewer than In­ter.

“We need to go there to look to get the three points, af­ter try­ing to do so against Roma,” the Ner­az­zurri’s cen­tre-back Mi­lan Skriniar said. “They’re strong but we have a com­pet­i­tive squad too. Cris­tiano Ron­aldo? It’s tough to mark him but we’re fo­cused on their whole team.”

Closely watch­ing the big match will be Napoli, who lost 3-1 in Turin in late Septem­ber and sit se­cond with an eight-point gap be­fore a home game with se­cond-bot­tom Frosi­none to­mor­row.

“Juve are very strong and con­sis­tent but not un­reach­able,” Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti told LIVER­POOL will be look­ing to take top spot in the Premier League as lead­ers Manch­ester City travel to Chelsea in the big­gest match of the week­end.

Juer­gen Klopp’s side go to Bournemouth for to­mor­row’s early kick-off know­ing vic­tory would send them top and put a lit­tle pres­sure on City be­fore they take on Chelsea at Stam­ford Bridge later in the day.

Nei­ther of the top two sides have dropped a point since they drew 0-0 at An­field in early Oc­to­ber, leav­ing City two points clear of Liver­pool.

Hav­ing left Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench and rested Sa­dio Mane in the mid­week 3-1 win at Burn­ley, Klopp is likely to ro­tate his side fur­ther for the jour­ney to the south coast. De­fender Joe Gomez will miss out with an an­kle in­jury but Liver­pool cap­tain Jor­dan Hen­der­son said the squad sim­ply need to fo­cus on main­tain­ing their best ever start to a top-flight sea­son.

“We are not re­ally in­ter­ested in City, to be hon­est, be­cause there is a long way to go,” Hen­der­son said. “We know how good they are, we ex­pect them to win. We just ex­pect our­selves to win games and per­form to the level that we have been, and if we do that we can keep win­ning.”

All Premier League sides face a packed sched­ule over the Christ­mas pe­riod but Hen­der­son is en­cour­aged by the strength in depth Liver­pool have shown in their squad.

“The games are com­ing thick and fast, a lot of games in a short space of time,” he said. But we showed we can use the squad and still per­form to the level we know we are ca­pa­ble of and win games, and that’s a big plus for us.”

City go to Chelsea full of con­fi­dence while the hosts have to bounce back af­ter their mid­week de­feat at Wolves. Chelsea man­ager Mau­r­izio Sarri said City were in a dif­fer­ent class to the rest.

“City are the best team in Europe, maybe the best in the world,” he said.

“They can win the Cham­pi­ons League, but that de­pends on mo­ments. Last sea­son I think they were the best team in the Cham­pi­ons League, but they played two matches not in the best mo­ment of the sea­son.”

City have con­ceded just seven goals in 15 matches – se­cond only to Liver­pool, who have six – and de­fender Ni­co­las Ota­mendi said the en­tire squad was work­ing to­gether.

“It’s team­work, not just credit (to) us, the de­fend­ers,” he said.

“Con­ced­ing very few goals is very im­por­tant for all of us. Goal dif­fer­ence could be very im­por­tant at the end of the sea­son.”

DPA

LIVER­POOL’S Roberto Firmino came off the bench against Burn­ley on Wed­nes­day night to score for the ti­tle chal­lengers, who romped to a 3-1 vic­tory. He has been key in the Reds’ game­plan, along with de­fender Vir­gil van Dijk, right. | Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.