Jurgen Klopp dismissed Pep Guardiola's suggestion that Liverpool have already wrapped up the Premier League title.

Klopp's Liverpool have won their opening five matches to be two points clear of reigning champions Manchester City atop the table heading into Sunday's trip to Chelsea.

City manager Guardiola declared, "Congratulations Liverpool, you are the champions" following last week's shock 3-2 defeat at Norwich City, which allowed the Reds to move five points clear prior to the titleholders' 8-0 humiliation of Watford on Saturday.

Liverpool boss Klopp – whose side finished just one point adrift of City last season – responded to Guardiola's comment and said: "It hasn't been won already.

"This season won't be like last season. We have seen that already, with every team making big steps.

"There is not [a] team in the league who I think will go down with hardly any points. You've got Watford who were at the bottom with two points but, ­performance-wise, they could ­already have had five, six or seven points.

"Wolves are also struggling a bit – but will end up going back up – so we have ­already seen that the league is different this season.

"I think that's why Pep ­responded like he did with a joke because ­nothing has happened so far.

"We've had just five games and so many things can still happen. You simply cannot think that far ahead.

"We have enough to do just ­thinking about the next game, then the next game and the next game."

While Liverpool agonisingly missed out on the Premier League title last term, the Reds have continued to establish themselves as one of Europe's elite under Klopp.

Liverpool won the 2018-19 Champions League trophy after defeating Tottenham in June – a particularly satisfying achievement for former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp, who had lost his previous six finals.

"It's nice for me to tick that box," Klopp told Sky Sports. "Some people said I was a nearly-man. I didn't feel like that - the finals I've reached shows something was okay - but it's nice. I don't have to worry about it anymore."

David Alaba should be available for Bayern Munich's next Champions League game against Tottenham, according to Niko Kovac.

The left-back tore a muscle in his left thigh before Bayern's 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig earlier in the month.

He subsequently missed the 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade that got Bayern's Group B campaign up and running.

But after Bayern beat Cologne 4-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Kovac assured that Alaba's absence will not be a long lay-off.

"David Alaba is making progress," the coach said. "We need to increase the intensity of his running each day before he can re-join team training. We hope to have him ready for Tottenham.

"I think Paderborn will be too early. That will probably also interest the Austrian national coach. He will be fully operational again by the next international break."

Bayern go to London on October 1 for what is expected to be a game that helps decide who tops their Champions League group.

But prior to that clash, Bayern eased to a 4-0 win at home to Cologne partly thanks to Robert Lewandowski's double, while Philippe Coutinho's penalty opened his account for the club.

"We performed well today, especially since we only had 72 hours of rest since Wednesday," Kovac added.

"Cologne did well, it was not always easy to find the right solution. In the second half we did a better job, we created good chances.

"4-0 sounds pretty high, but we could have scored one or two more. Seven goals this week, you can build on that."

Cologne coach Achim Beierlorzer felt the scoreline flattered the champions.

"4-0 feels extremely bitter for us," he said. "At the end of the first half we were already really good in the game and had good chances to score. Bayern struck three minutes after the kick-off, because we were not awake. The corner for 2-0 has hit us very hard.

"If you want to get something here, the gameplay has to fit. But the way we were on the road today encourages me for the next games. It's bitter that we did not score a goal today."

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho believes the midweek Champions League loss to Napoli will not affect the club's Premier League form leading into Sunday's game against Chelsea.

The European champions lost 2-0 at Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday, their first since being beaten by Manchester City on penalties in the Community Shield.

Jurgen Klopp's men won six successive matches in between as they lifted the European Super Cup and opened up a five-point advantage atop the Premier League.

Brazil international Fabinho views that run as a greater guide to what will happen at Stamford Bridge than the failure in Italy.

"I think the momentum of the team has been very important up until now," Fabinho told his club's website.

"Each victory increases our confidence and spurs us on to play even better.

"I don't think the defeat at Napoli will make us lose our momentum, we will continue trying to play well and be focused on our objectives.

"We lost the game on Tuesday, but I don't think we played badly.

"We did what we'd been doing in the Premier League, so we need to keep up this momentum. We've had a great start in the league and need to keep winning. We're playing in the same style and doing what we're used to."

Visiting a Chelsea side that put five past Wolves last weekend is another major hurdle for the Reds to clear in their quest to go one better than last season's second-place finish.

An exceptional end to that campaign and a fine start to this term sees Liverpool take a 14-game Premier League winning streak to London.

"I know these are numbers, but they are very important numbers for us," Fabinho said.

"It shows how consistent our team is and that's really important for a side like ours which looks to do important things in the Premier League.

"I hope we continue like this like we did last season and that we get even better this season."

Reggae Boy Leon Bailey will not play for the country when it takes on a pair of games against Aruba in October.

The Reggae Boyz begin their CONCACAF Nations League tie against Aruba at the National Stadium in Kingston on October 12 but then move on to Curacao for the away leg two days later.

Bailey’s unavailability was confirmed when scans showed a muscular tear following Bayer Leverkusen's UEFA Champions League game against Locomotiv Moscow.

Bailey has proved a little underwhelming, since coming into the Reggae Boyz line up for, first the Gold Cup, and now the CNL, but managed to score his first goal for the outfit earlier this month as the side crushed Antigua & Barbuda 6-0.

Bailey will be absent for about a month and won’t be available until November 15 and 18 when the Reggae Boyz take on Antigua & Barbuda and Guyana.

Pep Guardiola is hopeful midfielder Fernandinho stays at Manchester City beyond the end of the season when his contract expires.

The 34-year-old joined City in 2013 from Shakhtar Donetsk and has gone on to become a vital – if often unheralded – cog in the team.

He featured 29 times last season as City edged out Liverpool in the title race, while he looks set for an important role at centre-back over the coming weeks following injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones.

Spain international midfielder Rodri was brought in from Atletico Madrid in the transfer window, with every indication suggesting him to be the long-term replacement for Fernandinho.

But Guardiola has no desire to see him leave, even if he is unsure about what is happening in terms of discussions.

"It's not my business, I'm sorry guys, it's Txiki's [Begiristain, City sporting director] business," Guardiola told reporters when asked if there had been progress in talks. "Do you have Txiki's phone number?

"Of course, he is a joyful player," Guardiola added when asked if he wanted the Brazilian to stay.

"What he has done for all of us, especially me as a manager, our time together has paid off, it's incredible. He's incredible, so no doubts."

Left-back Benjamin Mendy is closing in on a return to fitness after he missed the majority of last season with a serious knee injury.

And Guardiola is excited for the France international's comeback, convinced he will add another dimension to City's play.

"In the future he is going to play a little bit more regularly and try to understand what we want to do, because he has missed two seasons without training and the guy, to understand things, he has to practice," he said.

"Just for the videos, or just talking, he has to train and play and play and play and always we dreamed that he would be an incredibly important player for us.

"With him we can attack more constantly, he brings a special quality that only he has in our team, so with [Oleksandr] Zinchenko we cannot attack the wides and deep, but his qualities are completely different.

"With Mendy we can do that. Hopefully he can be fit, healthy and play."

Pep Guardiola insists he will not be concerned if Manchester City fail to win a single title this season, adamant their last two campaigns should be considered "exceptions".

City were beaten 3-2 away to Norwich City last time out in the Premier League, leaving the champions five points adrift of pacesetters Liverpool, who have won all five of their matches.

The Reds and City went the distance in the title race last term, with Guardiola's side ultimately lifting the trophy after accumulating 98 points, one more than their rivals.

Having dropped points in two matches already and suffered injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, Guardiola is tempering expectations of City in 2019-20.

He said in Friday's news conference: "I'm going to tell you something, we are not going to win the next 10 Premier Leagues in a row, not even the next one or the next four or five in a row, that is impossible, that is not going to happen.

"I'm not concerned about that, I am concerned for every single game to be close, close to who we are and our strong points, of which we have many, but you know if the people believe what Norwich has done, if they do it every time, they will beat us, so we will see if we can find a solution to it.

"With football, having the same players and what we did last season, maybe that won't work this season. One more year and different personal problems, maybe manager personal problems, everything influences the team.

"One little detail can have a big impact on the performance of the team and on players, so that's why it can happen. It is part of the process to lose games, it's a normality, it happens.

"The exceptions are what we have done two seasons ago and what Liverpool and Man City did last season, that is an exception, but the team will lose games.

"The problem is, know the reason why, or if you have figured out the reason why, try to find a solution for the next ones, so I'm not really concerned if we don't win any titles this year.

"I want to win again as much as possible with titles, but it's a different approach when I see my life, see my career, my profession, around the games like the people expect.

"So, when you hear 'they are invincible', 'they are the best team in the universe', or whatever, it seems bad, it's not true.

"I saw many good things against Norwich and I've seen many good things against Shakhtar [Donetsk]. In one game it was enough, another game it was not enough, but we are not going to win every game all the time, we are not going to win all the titles.

"No one can do that, Manchester City neither, so we will try. Did we try against Norwich? Of course we tried, we did not give up, we didn't say, 'we are going to lose'. That didn't happen, we tried and we tried and we tried.

"So hopefully, the last game of the season against Norwich here [the Etihad Stadium], we can think about it [the defeat to Norwich] and see if we can beat them, a little revenge to win the Premier League."

City return to Premier League action on Saturday when they host rock-bottom Watford.

Matthijs de Ligt has been backed by Fabio Capello to recover from his shaky start and prove his worth at Juventus.

Juventus signed De Ligt from Ajax for a reported €75million in July after seeing off competition from a number of European rivals for his signature.

Having been an unused substitute against Parma on the opening weekend, the Netherlands international has since started Juve's 4-3 win against Napoli, the goalless stalemate with Fiorentina and the 2-2 draw at Atletico Madrid.

De Ligt has come in for criticism for his performances so far, especially in the seven-goal thriller with Napoli, but Capello insists the Dutch youngster will return to his best form over time.

"He is young and should be given time to find confidence in a new environment and with new companions," Capello told Tuttosport. "His qualities are not up for debate. He is a great defender."

Juve looked disjointed in their goalless draw at Fiorentina but responded with a better performance against Atletico in midweek, Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi putting them two goals ahead in Madrid.

Atleti hit back with two goals from set-pieces to snatch a point, but Capello believes his former club showed the type of spirit that can take them all the way in this season's Champions League.

"​I saw a great personality demonstrated on a very difficult field such as the Wanda Metropolitano," he said. 

"The Bianconeri suffered. Their players gave everything. It was a different Juventus to the one in Florence - they faced Atletico without fear.

"Juventus, even after the mockery of the comeback they suffered, did not settle for an away draw in the last minutes and sought the goal to make it 3-2. 

"I am convinced that if Juve face every game with the personality of this game against Atletico Madrid, they can get to the final."

Real Madrid can overcome their indifferent start to the season and deliver a major trophy, according to Kaka.

After finishing 19 points behind LaLiga winners Barcelona and being eliminated from the Champions League by Ajax in the round of 16 last season, Madrid have won just two of their opening five competitive matches of 2019-20.

Draws against Real Valladolid and Villarreal in LaLiga and a 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League have left coach Zinedine Zidane's position under threat at a club where he won three consecutive European titles in his first spell as coach.

Kaka, who won the LaLiga title with Madrid in 2011-12 and the Copa del Rey a season earlier, noted the expectation around Santiago Bernabeu, telling Omnisport: "For Real Madrid, we always have to win something.

"Of course, this is the pressure for Zidane – he needs to win something. LaLiga or the Champions League. These are the two championships that are the most important for the supporters and the club.

"Of course, he knows that. I think Real Madrid as a very good team, very good players and an unbelievable coach.

"Real Madrid is ready to win something this season again."

Madrid's €100million close-season signing Eden Hazard came in for criticism after a disappointing performance at Parc des Princes, where Zidane substituted him after 70 minutes.

However, Kaka believes the Belgium international will thrive in Spanish football.

"He's very good and playing in Spain gives him a little more space than here in England," Kaka said of Hazard.

"He'll have the chance, when he gets used to playing in Spain, he'll be more comfortable and we will see a lot of magic from Hazard as well."

Speculating on whether Hazard can compete with Lionel Messi for the LaLiga limelight in the way that Cristiano Ronaldo did during his spell at Madrid, Kaka added: "I think we were lucky to watch these two players [Messi and Ronaldo] playing in a battle against each other. It was really, really nice.

"Now, we love to see how Real Madrid are going to handle Barcelona, how Real Madrid can win the league again. And, of course, Hazard will be one of the keys for these chances for Real Madrid.

"If they are going to create this rivalry between Hazard and Messi... we will see."

Inter Miami have found their star signing, set to land Manchester City playmaker David Silva.

The MLS side, set to start playing next year, have been linked with numerous big names, with Barcelona star Lionel Messi among them.

But they appear to have found the man to lead them into their debut campaign.

 

TOP STORY – DAVID SILVA SET TO JOIN MLS SIDE INTER MIAMI

David Silva is likely to join Inter Miami at the end of the 2019-20 season, according to the Independent.

The 33-year-old has previously said this campaign would be his last with Manchester City, the club he arrived at in 2010.

David Beckham is a co-owner of Inter Miami and it seems they are set to land the star they have been chasing.

ROUND-UP

- Unsurprisingly, Erling Haaland's Champions League exploits have led to interest from a couple of Europe's biggest clubs. The RB Salzburg forward, 19, scored a hat-trick against Genk on Tuesday. Barcelona have watched Haaland previously, according to Mundo Deportivo, while The Sun reports Manchester United have also joined the race for the Norway international.

- Barcelona may be busy in January, but only with departures. Marca reports the LaLiga giants are not planning to make any signings despite continued interest in Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, but are considering selling first-team players Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti and Arturo Vidal.

- Mason Greenwood is set to re-sign with Manchester United. The Sun reports the forward, who scored his first senior goal for the club in the Europa League on Thursday, will sign a new contract before his 18th birthday on October 1, taking his wages from £800 to £25,000 per week.

- Antoine Griezmann made the move from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona in the close season and the forward received quite the bonus. The France international landed a €14million commission to sign for Barcelona, according to El Mundo.

- Like Haaland, another RB Salzburg player is being chased by a Premier League club. Arsenal have made a fresh approach for playmaker Dominik Szoboszlai, according to The Sun, having also chased the 18-year-old Hungarian during the close season.

- There appears to be some tension at Inter. Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic exchanged words in the dressing room and had to be separated by team-mates after a 1-1 Champions League draw at home to Slavia Prague on Tuesday, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Bernardo Silva insisted Manchester City have nothing to prove to their critics and has backed his side to cope with their defensive crisis.

City have won back-to-back Premier League titles and enjoyed a clean sweep of domestic honours in a memorable campaign last time out.

But Pep Guardiola's men find themselves five points behind Liverpool with five matches of the 2019-20 league campaign played following last weekend's shock 3-2 error-ridden loss at Norwich City.

The reigning English champions returned to winning ways on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League and Silva is taking little notice of the criticism he and his team-mates have faced in recent days.

"People can criticise and say what they want," he told reporters after the victory in Kharkiv. "We don't need to prove anything to anyone, after what we've done the last two seasons. We're relaxed.

"Of course we're not happy, because we want to do better and we know losing against Norwich isn't ideal, but all teams have good and bad moments.

"It's impossible to stay three seasons, only with good moments.

"Sometimes you will have bad moments and it's the way you react to those bad moments that shows and proved how good a team you are and that's what we'll try to do.

"Every time we've had bad moments in the past, we've always reacted well, and that's what we'll try to do again."

Nicolas Otamendi was City's only established centre-back for their trip to Shakhtar after John Stones joined Aymeric Laporte in the treatment room.

Fernandinho filled in alongside Otamendi and looked comfortable as City kept a clean sheet, giving Silva confidence that his side can deal with the double blow.

"We saw last season that Fernandinho's able to play in that position," the Portuguese said. "He's very intelligent and when you understand the game and you're intelligent like he is, it's easy.

"Obviously it's not the ideal situation, because we don't have a lot of centre-backs right now, but it's what we have and we have no complaints."

He added: "In the Premier League we're five points behind. We want to do better, we want to try to close the gap a little bit, but in the Champions League it was a great way to start the group stage.

"We want to keep going this way, keep improving and try to win games."

Manchester City return to Premier League action with a home match against Watford on Saturday.

Alphonse Areola apologised to Real Madrid supporters after a photograph of him smiling with Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting surfaced in the aftermath of his side's 3-0 Champions League defeat.

Areola, who is on loan at Madrid from Ligue 1 champions PSG this season, said comments on the photo that appeared on social networks upset him and the goalkeeper underlined his commitment to Zinedine Zidane's team following Wednesday's defeat.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Areola explained: "Dear Real Madrid fans, I feel very sad for some comments on a photo that circulated on social networks.

"I want all Madrid fans to know that my heart has been white since I signed for this club and I can't stand the slightest doubt about my motivation, my loyalty and my involvement with Real Madrid, our Madrid.

"Yesterday's defeat has affected me as well as everyone who forms this great family.

"After the game I had a reunion with my former team-mates and friends, who had not given me time to say goodbye. 

"Therefore, I reiterate my apologies to the Madrid fans who have felt offended, it was not my wish and I hope that together we can achieve many successes."

Areola was on the bench for the game as Thibaut Courtois started midweek, while Keylor Navas – who moved in the opposite direction – kept a clean sheet for PSG.

Eden Hazard's performance in Real Madrid's 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was criticised by former Barcelona and Brazil forward Rivaldo, who said Los Blancos "escaped a historic beating" at Parc des Princes.

Former Chelsea player Hazard mustered a solitary shot off target and a single key pass before Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane replaced him with Lucas Vazquez in the 70th minute, with PSG leading 2-0.

Rivaldo said he was impressed by the French champions but questioned the strength of Zidane's squad after Madrid laboured in the absence of the injured Luka Modric and suspended Sergio Ramos.

"PSG offered an exhibition even without Neymar and Mbappe, their biggest stars," Rivaldo told AS. "Real Madrid escaped a historic beating.

"Eden had a bad debut match in Champions with Real Madrid, but even when you're a great player you need your teammates to help you shine and prove your worth.

"When you don't have enough players to supply replacements with the same quality, then the matter can get ugly. I think Zidane might be forced to go to the January market to recruit one or two great signings for the team.

"I think Zidane has a lot of work ahead to return this team to what it was when he won three consecutive Champions Leagues."

Looking at his former club Barcelona, Rivaldo issued a word of caution to those talking up the potential of 16-year-old playmaker Ansu Fati.

The Guinea-Bissau-born teenager has made three LaLiga appearances for Ernesto Valverde's side this season and was given his Champions League bow in a goalless draw with Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening.

Fati played 59 minutes of a cagey match before being replaced by Lionel Messi, but Rivaldo said it is too soon to draw comparisons between the two.

He said: "It would be putting too much pressure on his shoulders. He is still a kid who is not yet even a member of the first team. We will give him time and space to play his football and in the future we will see whether or not he is the new Messi."

Ilkay Gundogan welcomed the return to fitness of Benjamin Mendy as "a big boost" for Manchester City at a time when the club are without two key defenders.

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones missed City's 3-0 Champions League Group C victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday with injuries and Pep Guardiola moved Fernandinho into central defence alongside Nicolas Otamendi.

Mendy came on as a second-half substitute to make his first appearance since City's Champions League quarter-final elimination to Tottenham in April and Gundogan highlighted the importance of his return.

"It was great to see Benjamin back and it is a big boost for us," Gundogan told the club's official website.

"Having him available again will be great for the team because we have missed him for the past five months and it's also good for him.

"His fitness will improve as he gets some more game time and last night was an important step forward for him.

"We have lost a number of players recently, so having an important member of the squad return is just what we needed.

"We are competing in so many competitions and every player has a part to play so I'm really happy to see him return."

Gundogan made his fourth start of the season against Shakhtar and put in an impressive performance as he played the full 90 minutes of the win.

After playing a role in Riyad Mahrez opening the scoring, Gundogan got City's second and spent the game pulling the strings alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri in midfield.

He gave a modest assessment of his own performance while looking ahead to City's clash with Watford on Saturday, when they will hope to bounce back from a 3-2 defeat at Norwich City in their last Premier League outing.

"I'm happy but I know I can still improve," said Gundogan. "It was good to get a goal and also play the full 90 minutes because I think I needed that.

"It helps me, it helps the team and it helps everyone because we wanted to respond quickly.

"As you can imagine, the defeat at Norwich was very hard to take for us, that's why beating Shakhtar was even more important and we can take this win into Saturday's game against Watford which is already very close."

Barcelona expect to announce an eye-watering turnover in excess of €1billion ahead of schedule in 2020.

The forecast is claimed to be "a new record in the world of sport" and is on course to be reached before the club's stated target of 2021.

LaLiga champions in four of the past five seasons, Barca's revenue climbed €76million to a club-record €990m for the 2018-19 season.

The Camp Nou outfit spent large sums on Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann ahead of the 2019-20 campaign but project a three per cent reduction in "sporting salaries" and nine per cent increase in income for player transfers and loans after parting with Andre Gomes, Malcom and Jasper Cillessen among other fringe members of Ernesto Valverde's squad.

Barca's finances might look less robust if the club succeeds in its attempts to sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain. 

The Brazil international moved between the teams for €222m in August 2017 but wants to return to his former employers, who investigated the possibility of a deal during the last transfer window.

On the pitch, head coach Valverde's hopes of retaining his job appear to hinge heavily on delivering victory in the Champions League.

Lionel Messi made the competition a priority when he spoke of being committed to Barca on the condition of sustained success.

"For me, money or a clause don't mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team," he told SPORT this month.

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas insisted he took no special satisfaction from helping to pile the pain on his former club Real Madrid in the Champions League.

A lacklustre Madrid were soundly beaten 3-0 at Parc des Princes on Wednesday and have now won just two of their opening five matches in all competitions this term.

Navas, 32, made his second start for PSG after joining the Ligue 1 champions from Madrid in a deadline-day deal that saw Alphonse Areola head in the opposite direction.

Another former Madrid player, Angel Di Maria, scored twice for the hosts before Thomas Meunier added the final blow in second-half stoppage time.

"I am very happy because we won, not because we beat Real Madrid," Navas said.

"My team-mates put in a great effort, gave their best and we won, which is really important for us.

"I have no resentment towards anyone at Real. I just want to enjoy the moment I have here at my new club. Everyone is very motivated and I will defend my new colours as I did with Madrid.

"I want to continue writing my story. The one I lived in Madrid was very beautiful. I want to be happy here, enjoy every moment and for my family to be happy, that is the main thing."

Family, Navas claimed, was the reason he accepted PSG's offer of a four-year contract, and not because he had lost his starting place to Thibaut Courtois.

The Costa Rica international spent five seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, winning the Champions League three times.

"I did not leave Real Madrid because of that," he said, when asked about the rivalry with Courtois.

"I left because my family and I thought this was the best option for us. I was welcomed as if I had been here for a very long time.

"The best I can give is to defend these colours to the death, to work hard and to try to win important games."

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