Soccer is on TV: This weekend Serie A opens play while EPL has a showdown

Winless Barcelona is hoping that star Lionel Messi returns to the lineup this weekend.
(Alex Livesey / Getty Images)

Italy’s Serie A gets its season started this weekend while Liverpool and Arsenal meet in a faceoff that can leave just one team perfect three weeks into the English Premier League schedule. In Spain, meanwhile, winless Barcelona is hoping for the return of a healthy Lionel Messi.

EPL: Liverpool is the reigning European champion. Arsenal was the Europa League runner-up last season. And two weeks into the new season, they’re the only unbeaten, untied teams remaining in the Premier League. At least one of them won’t be able to say that after Saturday, when the teams square off at Anfield (NBC, Universo, 9:30 a.m. PDT). Liverpool hasn’t lost in its last eight meetings with Arsenal, going 4-0-4.

La Liga: Lionel Messi, who has been sidelined because of a calf injury, was expected to participate in full training with his Barcelona teammates Friday and will probably see his first action of the season Sunday when his team plays host to Real Betis (BeIN Sports, noon PDT). Without Messi, the two-time defending La Liga champions were shut out in their opener, a 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao. Betis has won just one of its last 16 league matches against Barcelona, but that match was the last time the teams played at Camp Nou in November 2018.

Serie A: The Italian league will be the last of Europe’s five major circuits to get started, kicking off this weekend with a schedule that includes Genoa traveling to Roma on Sunday (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, 11:45 a.m. PDT). Roma, sixth in the table last season, hasn’t lost a league game to Genoa since May 2014.