Soccer News and Notes: Liverpool Loses Game, Wins Title

The England Premier League title race was clinched last week when Manchester City lost at Chelsea and Liverpool celebrated a top-flight England title for the first time since 1990. The Reds had a celebration hangover as they went out in the first game as titleholders and were blown out at City 4-0.

They return to Anfield this weekend against relegation-battle side Aston Villa for a chance to get back on track.

City is firmly in second but needs to win an appeal against the CAS to stay in Champions League football for 2020-21. Meanwhile, Leicester City is falling apart with two draws and a loss since the restart as they have been shutout twice and have just one goal.

They and Chelsea, who lost to then 17th place West Ham on Wednesday, will need to bounce back quickly to hold off Manchester United and Wolverhampton for the last two Champions League spots.

Real Madrid Takes Over La Liga

Real Madrid is playing great at the right time as they attempt to dethrone their arch-rivals the two-time defending La Liga champions from Barcelona. Los Blancos have won all five games since the restart while outscoring their opponents 11-2, and they lead the league in only allowing 21 goals all season.

Meanwhile, Barcelona has faltered to four points behind Real Madrid with three draws in six games since the restart.

Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are in the final two Champions League spots, trying to hold off Real Villarreal, Getafe, and Real Sociedad. Mallorca is five points behind Celta Vigo in the final spot to avoid relegation while Leganes and Espanyol are likely on their way out of La Liga for next season.

Juventus Going After Title No. 9

Lazio got a much-needed win on Tuesday to close the gap on Italian giants Juventus to four points with nine games left to play. Lazio last won the Scudetto in 2000, and Juve has won eight titles in a row and an Italian-record 35 overall, 17 more than the next best teams.

Cristiano Ronaldo has a team-best 24 league goals for Juventus, five behind Lazio’s Ciro Immobile for the golden boot.

Inter has also closed the gap to four points on Lazio for second place while Atalanta is in the final Champions League spot, 12 points ahead of struggling Roma. The bottom of the table really only has one race as Lecce sits one point behind Genoa for safety. SPAL is six points behind Lecce, and Brescia is in dead last, eight points from safety.

German Playoff First-Leg Draw

The battle to play in the Bundesliga next year saw Werder Bremen and Heidenheim draw the first leg 0-0 in Bremen on Thursday in the relegation playoff. Werder Bremen had 67% of the possession, and Heidenheim didn’t get a shot on goal, but neither team could score in 90 minutes.

Bad news for Bremen as captain and central defender Niklas Moisander was shown two yellow cards and will be suspended for Monday’s return leg in Heidenheim.

Heidenheim has never played in Bundesliga as this year’s third-place finish in 2. Bundesliga was their best-ever result. Current coach Frank Schmidt is the longest-tenured coach in either of Germany’s top two leagues as he took over after retiring from Heidenheim as a player in 2007.

Meanwhile, Werder Bremen has the most seasons ever in Germany’s top flight and were last relegated in 1980, but won 2. Bundesliga the next season to get promoted back to the top level.

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