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Matchday Preview: Manchester City, Liverpool In English Premier League Action; Real Madrid Play Espanyol

Manchester City will look to close the gap on Arsenal as they visit Crystal Palace whereas Real Madrid host Espanyol sans Karim Benzema in the squad.

Manchester City have set their sights on a treble this season.
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A look at what’s happening in European football on Saturday:

ENGLAND

Manchester City will try to keep the pressure on Premier League leader Arsenal when it plays at Crystal Palace. Second-placed City is five points off the lead and faces a Palace team that hasn’t won since New Year’s Eve. Suddenly surging Liverpool can bolster its top-four bid in the early kickoff at last-placed Bournemouth. Jurgen Klopp’s team has four wins in its five-game league unbeaten run — all clean sheets — and is up to fifth place, three points behind Tottenham. Everything clicked in Liverpool’s 7-0 rout of Manchester United last weekend. Tottenham, eliminated from the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday by AC Milan, will host Nottingham Forest amid reports Spurs manager Antonio Conte may be on his way out. Chelsea will go for three wins in a row at Leicester. Leeds is one spot above the relegation zone and hosts a Brighton team that is contending for a European spot. Brentford takes its 12-game league unbeaten run to relegation-threatened Everton.

SPAIN

Real Madrid hosts Espanyol without Karim Benzema, who is recovering from an ankle knock before next week’s Champions League game against Liverpool. Coach Carlo Ancelotti says Rodrygo will start in Benzema’s place. Madrid can not afford any more stumbles after falling nine points behind Liga leader Barcelona. Madrid has drawn twice in the league, and lost to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, in its last three games. Osasuna visits relegation-threatened Valencia aiming to extend its run of five away league games without a loss. Rayo Vallecano can move into a Conference League spot with a win at Celta Vigo, and last-placed Elche hosts Valladolid.

ITALY

After Inter Milan’s surprise loss at Spezia, Serie A leader Napoli can extend its advantage to 18 points with a win over Atalanta. But Atalanta also need the points in a tight battle for the Champions League qualifying spots. Napoli will be looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss at home to Lazio but also could have one eye on Wednesday’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League last 16. Atalanta has won just one of its past six matches — losing four of them — to slip to sixth spot, five points behind fourth-placed Roma. Lazio has a point more than Roma and can move into second spot with a result at Bologna. Also, Empoli hosts Udinese.

GERMANY

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are level on points at the top of the Bundesliga as each prepares to play a local rival. Bayern hosts Augsburg in the pick of the early games before Dortmund takes on Schalke late in the day. Dortmund and Schalke contest what is traditionally one of Germany’s biggest soccer rivalries. Dortmund’s winning run was ended by Chelsea on Tuesday, while Schalke is in the relegation zone but on its best form of the season. Leipzig aims to stay on course for Champions League qualification against Borussia Mönchengladbach, while out-of-form Eintracht Frankfurt plays Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin takes on Mainz.

FRANCE

The league is the only chance of silverware for Paris Saint-Germain after being knocked out of the Champions League and the French Cup. PSG has an eight-point lead over second-placed Marseille and will rely on Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi when they visit struggling Brest. The defending champion will have to tinker in defense as right back Achraf Hakimi and center backs Marquinhos and Nordi Mukiele are all injured. Brest sits one point above the relegation zone and will miss midfielder Mahdi Camara through suspension. Rennes has been inconsistent since forward Martin Terrier suffered a season-ending knee injury in January but could pull within two points of third place with a victory at lowly Auxerre. Auxerre is in the relegation zone despite a five-game unbeaten run.

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