Bayern Munich remain eight points clear of Wolfsburg at the top of the Bundesliga table after both sides won on Saturday – beating Stuttgart and Hoffenheim respectively – while Borussia Dortmund climbed off the bottom of the table with a 3-0 victory over Freiburg.
Atletico Madrid blew the La Liga title race wide open by extending their unbeaten run over Real Madrid to six games this season with a 4-0 thrashing of the European champions on Saturday.
First-half goals from Tiago and Saul Niguez put Atletico in command before Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic sealed a first home league win over Real since 1999 just after the hour mark.
Atletico have now beaten their city rivals twice in La Liga and over two legs in the Spanish Supercup and Copa del Rey this season to bounce back in fine style from their heartbreaking loss in the Champions League final last season.
Real still lead their city rivals by four points, but Barcelona can move to within a point of the leaders should they beat Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
— Miha Žakelj (@MihaZakelj) February 7, 2015
World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo returned from a two-game ban, but the visitors were otherwise depleted without the injured Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Luka Modric, James Rodriguez and suspended Marcelo.
The hosts went in front on 13 minutes when Mandzukic laid Juanfran’s cross from the right into the path of Tiago on the edge of the area and the Portuguese’s low effort had too much power for Iker Casillas, who will feel he should have kept it out.
Four minutes later Atletico doubled their lead with a move of real quality as Guilherme Siqueira hurtled down the left and his cross was acrobatically turned home by Saul with an overhead kick.
The Frenchman did get the goal his performance deserved 24 minutes from time when Saul headed Arda Turan’s cross back across goal and he outmuscled international team-mate Raphael Varane to prod home from a yard out.
And Real’s embarrassment was complete a minute from time when substitute Fernando Torres crossed for Mandzukic to power home a header into the far corner.
The second Merseyside derby of the season takes place at Goodison Park on Saturday as Liverpool travel to face Everton. Five league position and twelve points separate the neighbours, with Liverpool currently leading the way in seventh place.
#360stats: Weekend Premier League facts and figures
– Fantasy Tips: Why Diego Costa could give you the blues
To gather an insight into the minds of the two sets of fans we asked members of the respective supporters' clubs to share with us their predictions, likely line-ups and players to watch.
Do you agree or have they missed the mark? Use #360Fans to share with us your thoughts.
DANIEL WATSON – DUBAI REDS
For many of the Liverpool born Dubai Reds this is the biggest fixture of the season. If we beat the Toffees, the messages are sent to friends and family back home who sit on the wrong side of the fence. Lose, and the phone goes off for a couple of days.
We go into the game as favourites despite being away from home. Our form has been mixed over the last few weeks. We are becoming hard to beat and players are beginning to excel like last season. Sterling and Coutinho are obvious choices for the key player tag in this game but for me it has to be Steve Gerrard! This will be his final derby so he'll want to put in a big performance.
Despite Everton's poor form, the Meryside derby can be a catalyst for a turn in fortune. Liverpool will have to watch out for Mirallas, he is a very influential player on his day and has the potential to make something happen.
That said with the fire in Gerrard's belly, the form of Coutinho and Sterling, combined with the new found solidity at the back provided by Mignolet's upturn in form, Liverpool should pick up the win.
I'm going for a 3-0 victory. Pile the misery on for the Blues and put some pressure on Martinez. Gerrard has to score at some point.
There are rumours of fitness concerns for Lucas and Markovic. Sturridge is unlikely to start the game but almost certain to feature at some stage.
LIVERPOOL LIKELY LINE-UP: Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Sakho; Markovic, Henderson, Lucas, Moreno; Gerrard, Coutinho; Sterling
LIVERPOOL PLAYER TO WATCH – Emre Can. The German 21 year old, signed in the summer from Bayer Leverkusen, has excelled since becoming a regular for the Reds in November. Strong in defence with a good range of passing, it was his sublime chipped ball to Sterling that finally broke Bolton’s resistance in midweek.
ROSS BURRILL – EVERTON
The 224th Merseyside Derby takes place tonight and, if recent history suggests anything, it will be full of drama, goals and no shortage of yellow or red cards.
Everton go into the fixture a disappointing 12th place in the league, having won just three times since October. Liverpool, meanwhile, have taken 16 of the last 18 points available; add in the fact that Reds star striker Daniel Sturridge has now returned from injury and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Evertonians will be dreading tonight’s match. But as the old cliché goes, form goes out the window in the Derby and the unexpected happens – such as Toffee’s captain Phil Jagielka scoring a last-minute equaliser with a half-volley from 30 yards out to silence the Kop earlier this season.
Goodison Park will no doubt be rocking, especially after ending a six-game winless streak with victory at Crystal Palace last weekend, and with Liverpool having had a tough FA Cup tie at Bolton in midweek, a first Everton Derby win since 2010 feels quite possible for this long-suffering Bluenose!
EVERTON LIKELY LINE-UP: Robles; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines; Besic, Barry; McGeady, Naismith, Mirallas, Lukaku.
EVERTON PLAYER TO WATCH – Muhamed Besic. The young Bosnian international is quickly becoming a cult figure at Goodison with his tenacious, passionate personality winning the hearts of Evertonians. But it’s not just his demeanour that makes him stand out – comfortable on the ball, positionally astute and a strong tackler, he’s making the £4m price-tag look like the bargain of the summer.
Prediction: A 2-1 win with a goal from Lukaku and a pen from Mirallas…
WHERE TO WATCH: The Merseyside Derby is also known as the Friendly Derby, with brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, fathers and sons often going to the game together, but in different colours. The same can be said for Girders on JBR in Dubai where I’ve often shared a beverage or two with a Liverpool Fan whilst watching the game much to my dismay!