A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Monday:
Riyad Mahrez is preparing for Manchester City’s visit to Crystal Palace saying the close Premier League title race with Liverpool is bringing out the best in him. The winger is enjoying a superb season, having scored 21 times in all competitions, to keep City firmly in contention for three trophies. Quadruple-chasing Liverpool is also still fighting on the same three fronts and its Premier League form in particular means City has little room for error. Liverpool cut champion City’s lead at the top of the standings to three points by beating Brighton on Saturday. Mahrez said: “I have to have pressure. I wouldn’t be good if I didn’t have pressure. It makes you better, it makes you hungrier.” The game at Selhurst Park gives City a chance to keep Liverpool at arm’s length for a little longer. Palace won at the Etihad Stadium in October.
Real Madrid makes a rare Monday appearance when it visits relegation-threatened Mallorca to try to increase its lead in the Spanish league over second-place Sevilla. Madrid is seven points ahead after Sevilla’s 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. It will be Madrid’s first game since its epic comeback win on Wednesday over Paris Saint-Germain to advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Madrid has won three in a row in the Spanish league and is unbeaten in seven straight, with five victories and two draws. Mallorca has lost four in a row and sits just above the relegation zone.
Seventh-place Lazio looks to boost its chances of securing a Europa League spot when the Roman club hosts relegation-threatened Venezia in Serie A. Maurizio Sarri’s team is also looking to maintain its momentum following a 3-0 win at Cagliari before the Rome derby next weekend. Lazio won 3-1 at Venezia in December. Venezia’s key midfielder Mattia Aramu is suspended, as is coach Paolo Zanetti.