Premier League news, Manchester United vs Liverpool, line-ups, transfers, preview, teams

It’s only the third round of the Premier League season, but the new campaign has already delivered some huge storylines – and that’s only set to continue this weekend.

Liverpool travel to Manchester United in the biggest match of the season so far, and one that could have huge consequences for both teams’ campaigns.

But there’s no shortage of other blockbusters around the parks!

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LEEDS BOSS ‘DISAPPOINTED’ AS TUCHEL’S BAN SUSPENDED

Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch says he’d be “disappointed” if Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was on the touchline for the fixture between the two sides despite the latter being sent off in the Blues’ clash against Tottenham.

Tuchel and Spurs boss Antonio Conte were both handed their marching orders after the game as a post-match handshake exploded into a fiery clash between the two.

The German was handed a $AUD60k fine and a one-game ban while Conte was hit with a $25k fine but would not face any time away from the dugout.

However, Tuchel’s ban has been suspended, meaning he is free to take to the touchline at Elland Road on Sunday night (AEST).

It’s a decision that would not have gone down well with Marsch, as the American said that Tuchel avoiding the punishment for his red card “did not seem right”.

“He won’t be there, right?” March said.

“Are they saying he might be able to be on the bench? That doesn’t seem right, does it?

“If you get a red card, you are out of the match. I would be disappointed if they allow him to be on the bench.

“There is a simple rule in football. Whether it’s soccer or football, if you get a red card you can’t play the next match.”

Thomas Tuchel was sent off for his clash with Antonio Conte but his one-match ban has been suspended.  (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Thomas Tuchel was sent off for his clash with Antonio Conte but his one-match ban has been suspended. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)Source: AFP

UTD ON RED ALERT AHEAD OF CRUCIAL TEST

It’s been an utterly chaotic start to the season for Manchester United. A hodgepodge transfer window; Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer request; protests against the owners and a possible sale: Erik ten Hag has walked into Old Trafford to discover the theater of dreams is more like a field of landmines.

Bottom of the Premier League ladder for the first time since the inaugural season in ’92-93. Four straight league losses for the first time since 1979, and seven-straight losses away from home for the first time since 10 on the trot in 1936.

This was meant to be the honeymoon phase for the new Dutch boss – Brighton and promoted Brentford were seen as relatively easy tests to open the season. Liverpool, it was predicted, would be their true reality check.

Instead, they’re at rock bottom. Defeat to Liverpool would be three in a row at Old Trafford against their bitter rivals for the first time ever – so maybe it’s not rock bottom yet.

Things aren’t rosy for the Reds either. Winless from their first two matches, star signing Darwin Nunez red carded after a brain explosion and suspended for this clash, not to mention injuries galore.

Is it too early to say this match could define both team’s seasons?

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Victory could inspire United to turn things around – like they did 30 years ago under Sir Alex Ferguson to win the maiden Premier League title. Defeat could push them to desperation in the transfer window (although ten Hag might be grateful for anything that convinces the club to bring in much-needed reinforcements).

Assuming City continues their imperious form on Monday morning against Newcastle (1.30am AEST), Liverpool could be as many as seven points off the leaders before they even set foot on Old Trafford the day after. The pressure will be immense.

A historic victory over their fiercest rivals could finally ignite their season. Defeat could prove disastrous.

It doesn’t get any bigger than this.

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PORTUGAL’S NEXT BIG THING SET TO DEBUT

Wolves could hand a debut to “one of the best players in the world” when they face Tottenham in the first match of the third round of the new season.

23-year-old Matheus Nunes has become Wolverhampton’s record signing after arriving from Sporting Lisbon for 45 million euros plus up to five million euros in add-ons, and he’s been tipped to feature immediately for Bruno Lage’s men when they visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night (9.30pm AEST).

Nunes starred for Sporting in their drought-breaking 2020-21 Portuguese league title win – their first in 19 years – and continued his stunning rise last season in a superb Champions League run.

Manchester City ended their continental dream at the last 16, before City boss Pep Guardiola lavished praise on Nunes, calling him “one of the best players in the world”.

Tuchel & Conte see red in feisty derby | 00:42

Nunes was subsequently strongly linked with a move to Liverpool, West Ham, or City – but Wolves used their strong Portuguese connections to sign what will be the 23rd player from that nation to line up for Wolves since 2016.

As Nunes said: “I think the club itself (convinced me to come) and also I spoke to some of my teammates because I play with them for the national team.

“The coach as well, he really wanted me and I wanted to play in the Premier League. I think it’s the right next step for me and I’m very happy to be here.”

Meanwhile, Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White (22) will join Nottingham Forest as the promoted side continue their spending spree.

Having lost to Leeds and drawn against Fulham, Wolves need to find a spark – but Spurs could prove a brutal test, having crushed Southampton then clinched a draw at Chelsea.

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SLUGGISH STARTS IN SLIDING DOORS MOMENT

Maybe Southampton’s dismal start came as little surprise – but who foresaw Leicester starting the new season so poorly?

Leicester shipped two goals to Brentford in a draw then four to Arsenal. Southampton copped four from Spurs and another two in a draw with Leeds. It’s the kind of horror defensive record on both sides that should make you sit up and take notice (and only Man Utd has also conceded six so far).

Could the Foxes even join the Saints in a relegation battle this season? Despite coach Brendan Rodgers’ desperate calls for reinforcements, the team has so far signed just one player: third-choice keeper Alex Smithies.

What’s even more intriguing is that both teams, following this weekend, next face Manchester United and Chelsea in their next two league matches.

Leicester centre-back Wesley Fofana is a top transfer target for the Blues, while Jamie Vardy has been linked to the Red Devils. After finishing eighth last season, Foxes fans would hold little hope of matching that this time around if they lose both of those stars.

But the return of winger Harvey Barnes – a possible starter, Rodgers said – could allow the Foxes to shift away from their 3-5-1-1 formation and back to Rodgers’ preferred 4-3-3 shape.

Harvey Barnes will return from a knee injury for Leicester in a massive boost.Source: Getty Images

The Saints finished 15th last season, and have now won just once in their last 14 PL games (three draws, 10 losses). They haven’t won away from home in their last eight attempts since February. Romain Perraud, Tino Livramento and Theo Walcott are all long-term injury absences – big blows, all of them.

Things could turn very ugly very quickly for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men.

Southampton’s Austrian manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has serious problems to address.Source: AFP

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