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Africa: Four Matches to Watch This Weekend

Liverpool’s recent form is shaky.

Nasarawa United v Kano Pillars @Lafia Township Stadium @4pm on Jan.10

Nasarawa are the early pace setters with two wins out of two in the NPFL but Sunday’s visitors, four-time champions, Kano Pillars, have also started brightly – with a win and a draw in their first two matches under new manager, Frenchman, Lionel Emmanuel Soccia. Pillars’ captain and legend, Rabiu Alli, already has two goals.

Nasarawa have scored two goals in each of their two matches and will seek to continue in Lafia on Sunday, though they have played goalless draws with Pillars in their last three visits.

Speaking to Brila FM after defeating Heartland last week in Owerri, Nasarawa manager, Bala Nkiyu said, “We can’t start dreaming now – out of 38 matches, we have just played two matches, we have not started anything even at 20 matches, because anything can happen, but we have to keep the fire burning.” Can his team score and deliver a first win in Lafia over Pillars at the fourth time of asking on Sunday?

Current Form: Nasarawa [W-W-D-L-W]; Kano Pillars [W-D-D-L-L]

Head-to-head

26/12/19 NPF Nasarawa United 0 – 0 Kano Pillars

09/05/19 NPF Nasarawa United 0 – 0 Kano Pillars

03/02/19 NPF Kano Pillars 3 – 0 Nasarawa United

20/05/18 NPF Nasarawa United 0 – 0 Kano Pillars

17/01/18 NPF Kano Pillars 2 – 0 Nasarawa United

Prediction: Nasarawa United 1-1 Kano Pillars

RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund @Red Bull Arena @6:30pm on Jan.9

Leipzig are two points off the top of the Bundesliga table while Dortmund are six points off Julian Nagelsmann’s men but the interesting duel will be that between RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Dortmund’s goal machine, Erling Haaland with Leipzig’s goalkeeper, Peter Gulacsi in great form, having kept four consecutive clean sheets in the league.

With the change of managers at Dortmund, Edin Terzic has come in with a more aggressive approach though he will be without Jude Bellingham, Thorgan Hazard, while Haaland will be assessed before the encounter.

Dortmund cannot afford to lose more ground in the Bundesliga, so what will give on Saturday?

Current Form: RB Leipzig [W-W-D-W-W]; Borussia Dortmund [W-W-L-W-L]

Head-to-head

20/06/20 BUN RB Leipzig 0 – 2 Borussia Dortmund

17/12/19 BUN Borussia Dortmund 3 – 3 RB Leipzig

19/01/19 BUN RB Leipzig 0 – 1 Borussia Dortmund

26/08/18 BUN Borussia Dortmund 4 – 1 RB Leipzig

03/03/18 BUN RB Leipzig 1 – 1 Borussia Dortmund

Prediction: RB Leipzig 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Aston Villa v Liverpool @Villa Park @8:45pm on Jan.8

In Liverpool’s last two visits to Villa Park, the Reds have conceded 12 goals and scored two. The 7-2 win last October was a shock, while the 5-0 loss 12 months ago was expected because Jurgen Klopp sent a U-20 side to play the League Cup encounter.

Now the shoe seems to be on the other foot, with Villa’s first team having to self-quarantine after a COVID-19 breakout at their Bodymoor Heath training facility has been shut.

Liverpool are amid their worst run in three years – two points from their last three league matches.

Villa will play with a mixture of U-23 and U-18 players with Liverpool ready to exact their pound of flesh.

Current Form: Aston Villa [L-D-W-W-D]; Liverpool [L-D-D-W-W]

Head-to-head

04/10/20 PRL Aston Villa 7 – 2 Liverpool

05/07/20 PRL Liverpool 2 – 0 Aston Villa

17/12/19 LEC Aston Villa 5 – 0 Liverpool

02/11/19 PRL Aston Villa 1 – 2 Liverpool

14/02/16 PRL Aston Villa 0 – 6 Liverpool

Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool

Sevilla v Real Sociedad @Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan @2pm on Jan.9

Sevilla have 27 points from 15 matches while Real Sociedad, having played the full complement of 18 matches, have 30 points with a goal difference of +14, compared to +7 for Sevilla. This emphasises how far Real Sociedad have fallen off the perch in recent times, having claimed just four points out of a possible 15 while the homers, Sevilla, are on an eight-match unbeaten sequence that includes six wins.