MATCHDAY: Liverpool starts its EPL campaign at Fulham
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:
Liverpool opens its Premier League campaign at promoted Fulham with a revamped attack following the departure of Sadio Mane, although manager Jurgen Klopp remained coy on whether new signing Darwin Nunez will start up front. With Diogo Jota injured, Nunez made a big impact as a second-half substitute in last Saturday’s Community Shield win over Manchester City. But Klopp hinted he may opt to give the Uruguayan more time to settle in. “Darwin is ready, but does that mean he has to start?” Klopp posed. Chelsea faces a tough opener away at Everton in the late kickoff, while Tottenham hosts Southampton in one of four 3 p.m. matches. Everton is without a recognized striker after Brazil forward Richarlison was sold to Tottenham and Dominic Calwert Lewin was ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury.
Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen clash in the opening round while Union Berlin hosts Hertha Berlin for what is sure to be a heated city derby. Dortmund has reinforced its squad in both attack and defense to help make up for the departure of top-scorer Erling Haaland but the most impactful change may prove to be the reappointment of Edin Terzić as coach. Terzić made a good impression in his first stint in charge, helping Dortmund win the German Cup in 2019. Leverkusen will be hoping to atone for its surprise early exit in the German Cup last weekend. Coach Gerardo Seoane will expect a reaction from his players. Hertha was also knocked out of the cup and new coach Sandro Schwarz can ill afford another setback. But Hertha, which has lost a host of players and signed a host more, is the underdog for its trip to Union. Also, Borussia Mönchengladbach hosts Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg welcomes promoted Werder Bremen, Bochum hosts Mainz, and Augsburg plays beaten cup finalist Freiburg.
Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain starts its campaign for a record 11th league title at Clermont, which narrowly avoided relegation last season. Kylian Mbappe will miss the match because of a groin issue. PSG began the season impressively by routing Nantes 4-0 in the Champions Trophy, the traditional curtainraiser between the French league champion and the French Cup winner. Under new coach Christophe Galtier, PSG is playing with three center backs as the defense looked vulnerable on the road last season. PSG has strengthened its midfield by hiring Vitinha from Porto and Renato Sanches from Lille. Strasbourg hosts Monaco in a clash between two contenders for European spots. Monaco finished third last season while Strasbourg had its best finish since 1980 with sixth place. Monaco boosted its offense by signing Japan winger Takumi Minamino from Liverpool and Switzerland forward Breel Embolo from Borussia Monchengladbach. The Mediterranean side will miss Germany striker Kevin Volland and Russia midfielder Aleksandr Golovin, both suspended.
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