After a jam-packed week full of Champions League and Europa League action, European soccer is ready to shift back to domestic contests. Check out our weekend soccer rundown with the best bets in Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League for April 12-14.
Italian Serie A: AC Milan vs. Lazio
Currently winless in four league matches, Milan’s top four chances have taken a real hit recently. Despite boasting the fifth-best defense in Serie A, a pressing issue of late for Gennaro Gattuso’s side has been a leaky back four, as his team has failed to keep a clean sheet in five top-flight fixtures.
Milan Team News
- Fabio Borini and Patrick Cutrone are in contention for a start up front, but Samu Castillejo looks set for a spot in the bench.
- Hakan Calhanoglu is expected to play in midfield for as long as Lucas Paqueta is sidelined.
Lazio Team News
- No surprises are expected from Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi, who will only have to make a couple of picks in midfield.
AC Milan has only picked up one point from their last four matches, so this game has a make-or-break feel about it for the home side. Lazio is three points behind Milan but have a game in hand on their rivals. Taking points from them here will be the objective. The two sides have already faced off recently, drawing 0-0 in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final. Another stalemate is on the cards on Saturday.
Spanish La Liga: Sevilla vs. Real Betis
A spring of hope has seen Sevilla win four of their last five La Liga games (W4, L1), with all victories in that sequence featuring Joaquín Caparrós’ men winning the second half. In addition, they were able to do so with a clean sheet (while winning to-nil overall) in their last three victories.
Sevilla Team News
- Jesus Navas and Sergio Escudero both return from suspension and should feature at left and right-back, respectively.
- Tomas Vaclik is back fit after a back problem and should replace Juan Soriano in between the sticks.
- Gabriel Mercado is expected to get the nod at center-back over Sergi Gomez and Simon Kjaer.
Real Betis Team News
- Sergio Canales is unlikely to be risked from the start by Quique Setien, after spraining his ankle recently.
- Cristian Tello and Antonio Barragan should hold their places, despite Francis and Junior’s return to fitness.
- Joaquin is expected to support Jese in attack, with Giovani Lo Celso starting from the off too.
Sevilla has only won two of their last four home league matches. They also failed to beat Slavia Prague at home in the Europa League last 16. Real Betis has won just one of their last four league matches and has only won one of their last four away games. Neither side are in good form heading into the derby, but these matches are usually very entertaining.
English Premier League: Liverpool vs. Chelsea
There will be fireworks when Liverpool and Chelsea face each other at Anfield in the Premier League derby. Liverpool was able to come from behind to beat Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium, and they will be looking to retain top position in the standings with a win over Maurizio Sarri’s troops.
Liverpool Team News
- Jordan Henderson has been integral for Liverpool since being afforded a more offensive role, and he will continue in that role here, alongside Fabinho and one other midfielder.
- Andrew Robertson sat out Liverpool’s 2-0 win over FC Porto through suspension on Tuesday night and will be fresh to return to the starting XI on Sunday.
- Naby Keita has scored in successive Liverpool matches and should get the nod over James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum in midfield.
- Dejan Lovren replaced Joel Matip at the back in midweek and will hope to continue here, though Joe Gomez is back in contention after a long spell out injured.
Chelsea Team News
- Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri made wholesale changes for Thursday’s 1-0 win away to Slavia Prague and will recall upon his usual XI here.
- As Willian and Pedro both started in the Europa League, you can only imagine that Callum Hudson-Odoi has a great chance of featuring from the off at Anfield.
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek started Chelsea’s last Premier League game, but don’t be surprised if Sarri opts for more control here with Mateo Kovacic or Ross Barkley.
With Manchester City due to play Crystal Palace prior to this match, Liverpool could find themselves one point behind in the title race at kick-off. There will be huge pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s side if City do beat Palace, though they haven’t lost a home league game all season and have only dropped points twice. Chelsea are finding their feet under Maurizio Sarri at the ideal moment in the season and should fancy their chances of securing a top-four finish. They start the weekend in third, but that will likely change by the time this match starts. Like Liverpool, the pressure will be on if results go against them prior to kick-off. The home side in this fixture over the last six meetings has scored exactly one goal and four of the last five games between the two sides at Anfield have finished 1-1.