Soccer on TV: Which team is second best in Ligue 1?

Marseille forward Valere Germain controls the ball during a game against Trelissac on Jan. 5
Marseille forward Valere Germain controls the ball during a game against Trelissac on Jan. 5 in Limoges, France.
(Nicolas Tucat / AFP/Getty Images)

With Spain and Germany still on holiday break, the league schedule in Europe remains a bit sparse. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting matchups. In England, Liverpool and Tottenham have been heading in different directions since meeting in last spring’s Champions League final. And while Paris Saint-Germain has broken away from the pack in pursuit of a third straight French title, the only teams within a dozen points of the leader meet Friday to decide who’s second best.

Ligue 1: Marseille hasn’t won a French first-division title in a decade. And it probably won’t win one this season. But halfway into the Ligue 1 schedule, Frank McCourt’s team is the only one within striking distance of two-time defending champion Paris Saint-Germain. Marseille (11-3-5) could strengthen its hold on second place with a win over third-place Rennes (10-5-3) on Friday (BeIN Sports, 11:30 a.m. PT). Marseille hasn’t lost a league match since getting shut out by PSG in October, while Rennes took a five-game winning streak into the winter break. Two of Rennes’ five losses have come at home, where Friday’s match will be played; these two teams played to a 1-1 draw in Marseille in September. Marseille’s 29 goals are tied for third most in the league.

EPL: Tottenham has lost more league games (three) since November under Jose Mourinho than Liverpool has lost under Juergen Klopp in 20 months and 62 matches. But if Tottenham needs a glimmer of hope to hang on to, it would be the fact that Saturday’s match (NBC, Telemundo, 9:30 a.m. PT) isn’t being played at Anfield: Liverpool hasn’t lost at home in 51 games dating to April of 2017. Tottenham will be without captain Harry Kane, who will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring. The Reds (19-0-1), who haven’t allowed a league goal in more than a month, go into the weekend with a 13-point lead atop the standings while the Spurs (8-7-6) are a point out of a European tournament berth in sixth place after winning just one of their last four EPL starts.