Pep Guardiola made no effort to hide his irritation after Manchester City were denied a penalty in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

City have been on the receiving end of some tough VAR calls this campaign, most notably in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in August when Gabriel Jesus' stoppage-time goal was ruled out for what appeared to be an accidental handball by Aymeric Laporte.

The video review system did not help City at Selhurst Park, with the assistant referee deeming Anthony Taylor's decision not to award the visitors a penalty for what seemed to be a blatant push on Kevin De Bruyne by Wilfried Zaha was correct.

Though the decision did not cost City, who missed several chances to further the lead handed to them by Jesus and David Silva, Guardiola was left furious.

"It's diving. It's diving, it's diving," Guardiola, who also referred to a similar incident in a match against Bournemouth earlier in the campaign, sarcastically told a news conference when asked if his team should have had a penalty.

"Every weekend it is always diving. [Like at] Bournemouth. But against Tottenham it was hands, real hands in the 94th minute. It's diving again.

"Of course, I am [frustrated]. Next question."

With Nicolas Otamendi injured and John Stones not fit enough to start, Guardiola named midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri as his centre-back pairing.

"Thank you so much to both of them," Guardiola said.

"It is not easy playing in different positions against the strikers Palace have; Zaha, [Jordan] Ayew, [Christian] Benteke and [Andros] Townsend at the end, they did really well."

At the other end of the pitch, Guardiola elected to start Jesus over Sergio Aguero, with the Brazilian's goal taking him onto 50 for City.

Jesus has now scored in each of his past seven starts in all competitions and Guardiola insisted he is delighted with the performances of his strikers.

"I'm not going to talk about how important Sergio is for our club, he is so important," Guardiola added.

"Gabriel, he came back from Brazil, he had rhythm. Sergio was 10 days away without training, but both are important. When Sergio plays he is at a good level and when Gabriel plays he is at a good level, after that I will take a decision."

Gabriel Jesus joined an illustrious list of players after scoring his 50th Manchester City goal in the Premier League champions' 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Jesus sent a glancing header in off the post to put City ahead 39 minutes into Saturday's encounter at Selhurst Park.

David Silva doubled City's advantage with a wonderful volley two minutes later as Pep Guardiola's side moved to within five points of league leaders Liverpool.

With his goal, Jesus brought up the milestone of 50 in all competitions for City, having joined the club in January 2017.

The 22-year-old also became the seventh player to achieve the feat while playing for Guardiola, joining Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, along with City team-mates Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.

Jesus is only eight behind Pedro, but Messi leads the way with an incredible 211 goals during four seasons under Guardiola at Barca.

"I'm very happy, you know, because last season I had a difficult start to the season," Jesus, who has now scored in each of his last seven starts for City, told Sky Sports.

"This season is going to be different for me. I worked hard as well. I focus on the goal all the time and I think that's why I score a lot."

1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona - 211

2. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City - 103

3. Thomas Muller, Bayern Munich - 79

4. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City; Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich - both 67

6. Pedro, Barcelona - 58

7. Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City - 50

Bernardo Silva had just set up the opening goal for Manchester City with a sumptuous cross – a suggestion that last season's form might be starting to return.

But this was no time for the Portugal playmaker to rest on his laurels and he set about harassing Crystal Palace left-winger Jeffrey Schlupp, whose pass towards the danger zone where specialist centre-backs should reside was intercepted.

Rodri's outing in the heart of the City defence was unexpected and frequently uneasy during the early stages at Selhurst Park. A slip momentarily left Wilfried Zaha unattended before a rushed, hacked clearance went unpunished.

Pep Guardiola deployed his two defensive midfield commanders. Rodri and Fernandinho, in defence due to Nicolas Otamendi joining Aymeric Laporte in the treatment room and John Stones not yet being match fit following an ailment of his own. City entered the field eight points behind Liverpool in the title race, with the decision not to replace Vincent Kompany starting to look season defining.

But if being the last line of protection against attacks does not come naturally to Rodri, he specialises in starting them. His interception from Schlupp doubled as an expertly cushioned pass to David Silva and City were away.

Kompany's successor as club captain deposited the ball at Kevin De Bruyne's feet in unfussy, one-touch fashion. Where the 2-0 loss to Wolves played out under a fug of doubt and laboured decision making, the whirring cogs of Guardiola's machine were clicking into place.

De Bruyne promptly pushed down the accelerator, powering through midfield. The Belgium star, who did not start either of City's league defeats in the opening eight games, had already proved a menace to Palace. His twinkling triangle on the right flank alongside Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo providing a persistent first half threat.

A great gift of De Bruyne's, a player on record as saying her prefers assists to goals, is he knows when to slip from leading man to supporting character. He found the opening goalscorer Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazil striker's scruffy diving header a little over a minute earlier was his fifth in as many starts for City this season. But the presence on the bench of club-record goalscorer Sergio Aguero – a man not so clinical behind the wheel on the road to training going off this week's evidence – means Jesus must always strive, always prove himself and always make the decision to please his manager.

A pass to the buccaneering Benjamin Mendy was just that. Fit again, for now, the left-back and his ravaged knees provides Guardiola with an extra dimension he will need if a third Premier League title in succession can be achieved despite early arrears.

Mendy's touch was heavy but he was fortunate to see the ball fall to Raheem Sterling, Manchester City's sure thing.

Goals 12 and 13 of the season for club and country came as England routed Bulgaria in midweek, Sterling revelling in tormenting those who send vile abuse his way.

An inspirational figure with improvement still in him – as evidenced by a couple of second-half attempts against Palace – Sterling's chipped pass over the top of the home defence was a string on his bow drawing the sweetest sound.

It was a pass worthy of David Silva, who on this occasion watched the whole picture unfold and found himself on the end of it. For all their discomfort over the early weeks of this campaign, operating without their long-time creator and magician will really sting City this time next year.

His clinical over-the-shoulder volley through Wayne Hennessey's legs was equal to many of his finest moments over a wonderful decade in the Premier League and crowned a little masterpiece. 2-0 was enough for the three points.

Second-half wastefulness and Ederson's athletic stops from Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha showed City will have to be sharper in their next Premier League away game. That's at Anfield next month, but after talking about putting his players in the fridge over Christmas, Guardiola will have seen enough in a cool, calculated gem of a goal to suggest there is life in this title race.

Pep Guardiola thinks Manchester City can still be more clinical, despite seeing his side produce a largely comfortable 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Gabriel Jesus and David Silva scored within 93 seconds of one another with the first half drawing to a close at Selhurst Park, the second a particularly fine effort as Raheem Sterling producied a memorable assist.

In truth, City might have been far more comfortable winners, with Sterling, Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne guilty of missing presentable second-half chances.

"We enjoyed the second goal - it was nice. But in the Premier League we have to score the third and fourth because it was difficult in the end with the pressure," Guardiola told BBC Sport.

"If [Christian] Benteke scores to make it 2-1, then it's difficult. The only problem is we could not score the third one. We deserved it but have to be more clinical."

City produced a fine riposte to a 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves prior to the international break to cut the gap to Liverpool to five points ahead of the unbeaten Premier League leaders' trip to Manchester United on Sunday.

Guardiola hopes the victory is the start of another run for his defending champions.

"Hopefully we can start from here and continue our good performance," he added. "Their keeper made a lot of saves but hopefully we can be more clinical."

City started the match with a makeshift centre-back pairing of Fernandinho and Rodri, who performed well at the heart of the visitors' defence.

He said: "Our build-up was quicker because they have more intelligence and they pass the ball so well because they are central midfielders.

"The season is too long, everybody is going to play. It's another option we have."

Roy Hodgson had no qualms over the result but rued the fact Palace conceded the goals in such quick succession.

"I thought they worked unbelievably hard, we came across a Man City side in top form, I thought their pressure was excellent they gave us literally no time on the ball whatsoever," he said.

"It was unlucky the two goals came so close after the other, had we got in 1-0, who knows? I've no complaints over the result. 

"I'm proud of the way we kept fighting, we never dropped the heads or gave up and could have come up with a goal on our sheet."

Benteke almost brought Palace back into the game with his first touch, but saw his thumping header brilliantly tipped on to the bar by Ederson as his wait for a maiden Palace goal of the campaign continued.

"It would have been a great moment for him. It was such a good header and I don't know how the keeper kept it out," Hodgson added.

"I was thinking, 'Oh great, Christian's got off the mark with a great goal against the champions'. But hopefully he can still take confidence from that and take that into the next games."

Gabriel Jesus and David Silva were on target as Manchester City issued a fine response to their Wolves setback with a convincing 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.

A limp 2-0 home defeat before the international break left City eight points adrift of unbeaten Premier League leaders Liverpool, a gap cut to five – at least until Sunday – at Selhurst Park.

City dominated the first half but it took until the 39th minute for Jesus' diving header to break the deadlock, with Silva finishing Raheem Sterling's exquisite assist just 93 seconds later.

Pep Guardiola's side failed to add to their advantage after the break but it was not for the want of trying in a one-sided encounter.

Silva disappointingly struck an edge-of-the-box effort straight at Wayne Hennessey, who palmed away a bending Bernardo Silva strike as City roared out the blocks.

Having been frustrated for much of the half, a quickfire double had City in control.

Jesus stooped low to head home Bernardo Silva's fine whipped cross off the right post for his 50th City goal before David Silva drilled a volley through Hennessey's legs from Sterling's wonderful chipped pass.

Kevin De Bruyne was lucky to escape punishment for a high boot on Cheikhou Kouyate, but there was no City let up after the break and Sterling rattled the outside of the left upright with a near-post drive. 

Anthony Taylor dismissed a De Bruyne penalty claim for a shove from Wilfried Zaha and Jesus' left-foot stinger was well saved at full stretch by Hennessey, who also did well to tip over Bernardo Silva's dipper.

Ederson stunningly tipped substitute Christian Benteke's header onto the bar in a rare Palace threat, but Jesus and Sterling missed further chances and De Bruyne also rattled the post in a routine City win.


What does it mean? This is not Liverpool's title to lose…yet

When City toiled their way to defeat against Wolves, some pundits decided the Premier League title was already Liverpool's to lose. Such a notion at the beginning of October always looked a faintly ridiculous one and Guardiola's men proved that at Selhurst Park. Liverpool remain in a great position, of course, but there is plenty of life in the race for the title.

Bernardo and David remain City's Silva linings

Not many in a City shirt came out with any credit against Wolves, but it was much more like it at on Saturday with David and Bernardo Silva back to their typically influential best. The former finished the match with a goal and two key passes, while the latter had three key passes and an assist in a fine all-round display.

Where Ayew, Jordan?

Palace's gameplan was obvious from the start: allow City to have the ball and try and play on the counter-attack. It worked relatively well until the visitors made the breakthrough and in truth an isolated Ayew did very little to help his side's cause – a particular disappointment given City were employing a makeshift centre-back pairing of Rodri and Fernandinho.

What's next?

City welcome Atalanta to the Etihad Stadium for matchweek three of the Champions League on Tuesday, while Palace make the short hop across London to visit Arsenal a week on Sunday.

Atalanta collapsed from 3-0 up to draw at Lazio on Saturday, missing the chance to move to the top of the Serie A table.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side have made a superb start to the domestic season, despite suffering consecutive defeats to begin their debut Champions League campaign.

The Bergamo outfit could have climbed to the Serie A summit with victory in Rome - at least until champions Juventus played later on Saturday - and were cruising at half-time.

Atalanta, who face Manchester City away on Tuesday, led as Luis Muriel scored twice in quick succession midway through the first half.

Captain Alejandro Gomez then stretched their advantage further heading into the break.

But the visitors fell apart in quite spectacular fashion, with their lead cut thanks to two goals in two minutes from Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa.

Atalanta still looked to have held on until Immobile, who won and dispatched a penalty for his first, again went down in the area and converted from the spot in the 92nd minute.

The Italy striker then comically failed in his attempts to take his shirt off in celebration, falling over but still earning a yellow card.

The moment of hilarity was of little comfort to Atalanta ahead of a daunting European trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Gabriel Jesus has insisted injuries are more to blame for Manchester City's suspect Premier League form than any loss of intensity.

City slipped to a 2-0 home defeat to Wolves before the international break that highlighted their defensive frailties.

The champions shipped three in a shock loss at Norwich City less than a month earlier and now find themselves eight points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

Benjamin Mendy and Aymeric Laporte are to remain on the sidelines for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace and striker Jesus views those absences, along with John Stones' limited availability, as being of greater concern than the team's attitude.

"I don't think it's a matter of the team relaxing," Jesus said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

"We have a few players injured, very important players for us. Obviously their absence is going to take its toll on the team.

"It happened - we lost two games.

"We are aware that it's part of football and defeats are going to happen. But we must pick ourselves up and carry on working."

That begins on the road to sixth-placed Palace, who beat City at the Etihad Stadium last season.

Pep Guardiola's men did make amends in the reverse fixture in April but the Eagles will be full of confidence following impressive wins over Norwich and West Ham.

"Playing against Crystal Palace is always difficult, no matter if we won in our last game there at Selhurst Park or not," Jesus said.

"It was a very difficult game, as usual.

“Last season, we lost our game against them at home and we won away. You can see how curious football is."

Sergio Aguero and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been included in FIFA 20's first Ultimate Scream pack ahead of Halloween.

EA Sports announced the release of the FIFA Ultimate Team cards on Friday, with Manchester City striker Aguero and LA Galaxy star Ibrahimovic among the standout names.

Top-rated Aguero is joined in the first batch by fellow Premier League players Dele Alli, Nicolas Otamendi and Bernard, with a second group of players to be released next Friday.

Below, we have the list of FUT cards that are up for grabs.

FUT Ultimate Scream pack

LM: Bernard (Everton) - 84

CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) - 85

LM: Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund) - 85

CAM: Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) - 85

CB: Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan) - 86

CDM: William Carvalho (Real Betis) - 86

CAM: Dele Alli (Tottenham) - 87

CAM: James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) - 88

CAM: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) - 88

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) - 88

ST: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) - 91

Pep Guardiola has a plan to make sure his Manchester City players cope with playing twice in less than 48 hours in December: "Go home, open the fridge and get inside."

The reigning champions have been dealt a tricky hand over the festive period following fixture changes for live television coverage, with their trip to Wolves now starting at 19:45 local time on December 27.

They then welcome Sheffield United to the Etihad Stadium on December 29, that game kicking off at 18:00, before a home match against Everton on January 1, 2020.

Asked what he can do to combat such a quick turnaround between travelling to Molineux and hosting the Blades before the turn of the year, Guardiola replied: "Players to the fridge. I'm not joking.

"Go home, open the fridge and get inside for 48 hours. See you at the Etihad Stadium [on December 29].

"When I open the fridge to make an omelette, maybe I can talk with my players. But apart from that, no way.

"It happened in my first season here. I think we played on December 31 at Anfield and then at home against Burnley [on January 2]."

Before needing to be concerned about Christmas plans, however, Guardiola and his squad must focus on closing the gap to a red-hot Liverpool side in the coming weeks.

After missing out by a solitary point in a thrilling title race in 2018-19, Jurgen Klopp's Reds have started the new Premier League season with eight successive wins.

City, in contrast, have suffered defeats to Norwich City and Wolves to sit eight points off the pace in second. However, Guardiola understands there is still a long way to go, particularly with Aymeric Laporte set to bolster the squad with a return from a knee injury early in 2020.

"For 11 years, no team in England has won back-to-back [titles]. It is difficult, of course it is," the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss told the media ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

"But you have a rival that is unstoppable right now. Eight games, eight wins. We lost games, but in Spain the big clubs lost games, in Italy the big clubs lost games, here we are facing one team who are champions of Europe and didn't lose one game.

"It's difficult. In some games we could win but we didn't win. Our mistakes punished us a lot. During the season there are ups and downs. We try to get better and improve.

"From tomorrow [Saturday] and in the Champions League, we try to make an incredible step forward, to win the game against Atalanta [on Tuesday], then in February Laporte will be back, most of the players will be back.

"We will see what happens in the later stages. Normally, when you win what we have won the last two seasons and you arrive in March and April being there, after that it's more difficult to drop points. But, in the earliest stages of the season, sometimes it's normal."

Manchester City midfielder Rodri is amazed by the intensity of Liverpool's play under Jurgen Klopp, saying his teams attack their opponents "like animals".

Defending Premier League champions City trail last term's runners-up Liverpool by eight points after eight matches following shock early defeats to Norwich City and Wolves.

Rodri has started seven times in the league since arriving from Atletico Madrid in July and also played a full part in August's Community Shield clash with Liverpool, which City won on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

The Spain international was immediately struck by Liverpool's breathless brand of football, but City are still preparing to pounce on any slip-ups.

"I touched down [in England] to find one of the best teams I've seen in recent years," Rodri told the Guardian.

"Liverpool get seen as a counter-attacking team, but they dominate, score from set-plays, the attacking mechanisms are well-worked, they have variety.

"Klopp's teams are tough, physical. They go at you like animals. They're like a knife - one comes at you, then another.

"But every team has their bad moment and we have to be there [if they do]."

City travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday, while Liverpool take on bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford the following day.

Pep Guardiola admitted "the broadcasters are the bosses" in response to Manchester City's rearranged festive fixture list - but again called for players to receive greater protection amid punishing schedules.

City were initially set to travel to Wolves on Boxing Day but that game has been pushed back by 24 hours for live coverage, with the Sheffield United home game moved to December 29.

Still, they have less than 48 hours of rest between those two fixtures - with the reigning Premier League champions then starting 2020 by hosting Everton on January 1.

While a fan of playing during the Christmas period, a custom that he has become used to since moving to England, Guardiola fears the desire to squeeze in so many matches is a major concern.

He used the example of Neymar - who suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Brazil in a friendly against Nigeria last week, ruling him out for up to four weeks - as an example of the risks of playing too often.

Asked for his thoughts about City's fixture changes announced this week, Guardiola told the media: "It is what it is. Since I came here, every season it happened the same.

"The broadcasters are the bosses in this situation. I love to play Boxing Day and winter time when everybody stops, when families and kids go the stadiums and enjoy the games. I like it.

"The problem is the same. So now Neymar is injured again, but they travel for friendly games in Nigeria or Abu Dhabi, or wherever far away, then come back.

"We don't protect the players – the system doesn't protect them. It's too much. Honestly, it's too much."

Guardiola was speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace - a game that could see both Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones return from injury.

While stopping short of confirming the duo will be available to feature at Selhurst Park, the City boss was upbeat over their outlook.

"Some of them are better. Kevin is back and John trained in the last two days and is good," he said. "[Benjamin] Mendy as well, maybe later, but as well."

Sergio Aguero was involved in a minor car crash in midweek, but Guardiola had positive news on the striker's status: "He is fine. The car is not fine."

Virgil van Dijk insists matches against Manchester United are no longer the most important of Liverpool's season.

The Premier League leaders will be looking to protect and potentially improve their eight-point advantage when they travel to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Eight straight league victories have given Jurgen Klopp's men control of the title race and firm favouritism against a United side languishing in 12th.

Previous meetings between the bitter rivals might have been viewed as season showpieces but, with European champions Liverpool now challenging for trophies on multiple fronts, defender Van Dijk said other occasions deserve greater billing.

"It's massive, but it's more massive for the fans," the Netherlands international told Sky Sports.

"I think all of the Champions League games are as big as this.

"The whole atmosphere and leading to the actual game is bigger than some other games but I don't think it's the biggest of the season.

"The big ones are [in] the Champions League and the ones that are hopefully going to win us the Premier League title."

United are set to be without first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea and star midfielder Paul Pogba through injury, compounding a poor run of form that involved a 1-0 loss to Newcastle United last time out.

"They're not in the best way, they're not fully confident and they're not in the situation they want to be in," Van Dijk said.

"But the good thing about football is you can bounce back in any game. They might think this is the best occasion to bounce back from it, but we know that.

"We want to go out and fight for every metre on the pitch and try to take the three points back to Liverpool."

Injuries also plagued United when the teams drew 0-0 at Old Trafford in February, a result that proved costly for Liverpool as a solitary point ultimately separated them and champions Manchester City.

While shock losses to Norwich City and Wolves have left the holders with plenty of catching up to do, Van Dijk denied the title pressure has now shifted to Anfield.

"I don't think we have anything to lose," he said.

"Man City are the champions, they're defending their title and we want to get it. In my point of view, we just have to go for it."

The Premier League returns this weekend after the international break, with leaders Liverpool travelling to Manchester United in the pick of the fixtures.

Manchester City trail Liverpool by eight points and cannot afford another setback when they make the trip to Crystal Palace, while Chelsea host Newcastle United and Tottenham take on Watford.

The last of the 10 games takes place in Yorkshire on Monday as Sheffield United welcome third-place Arsenal, who have played more Premier League games at Bramall Lane without victory than they have any other ground in the competition.

Ahead of this weekend's action, test your top-flight knowledge with our Opta-powered big Friday Premier League quiz!

Answers are at the bottom of the page.

 

1. Newcastle United are seeking just a second win in 26 away league meetings with Chelsea when they head to Stamford Bridge. Who was in charge of United when they picked up that previous victory in May 2012?

2. Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has failed to find the net in six previous Premier League visits to Selhurst Park. At which other ground has he failed to score at more often?

3. Watford travel to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, meaning their last three meetings with Spurs in all competitions will have taken place in different stadiums. Name the other two...

4. Liverpool have won five previous Premier League away meetings with Manchester United. Can you name the only two sides to have won at Old Trafford more often?

5. Everton will be looking to return winning ways when they host West Ham on Saturday. Which Toffees player has scored (once) or provided an assist (twice) in each of his three Premier League appearances against West Ham?

 

Answers:

1. Alan Pardew
2. Anfield (seven times)
3. Stadium MK (September 2018) and Wembley (January 2019)
4. Chelsea (six) and Manchester City (seven)
5. Gylfi Sigurdsson

The transfer window may be shut, but Paul Pogba's future is still making headlines.

Pogba – who is set to miss the Premier League showdown against Liverpool due to injury – reportedly eyed a Manchester United exit and a move to Real Madrid.

A switch to the Santiago Bernabeu could be on the horizon after Pogba was snapped with Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane in the United Arab Emirates.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA MEETS ZIDANE IN DUBAI

Pogba has been linked with a fresh move to Madrid after the United star was pictured with Zidane, reports The Mirror.

Pogba wanted to leave United during the previous window, with LaLiga giants Madrid and former club Juventus the two favourites to sign the Frenchman, but a move did not materialise.

However, Pogba – recovering from a foot injury – was seen with Madrid head coach Zidane during his trip to Dubai, fuelling fresh speculation over his future at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to 90min, United are monitoring Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani. The 32-year-old Uruguay international is out of contract at this season's end and has been linked to Juve, Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami.

- Inter are chasing Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali and Atalanta's Dejan Kulusevski, says Calciomercato. Both players are 19 years of age and attracting interest in Serie A.

- Calciomercato also reports Tottenham are ready to send Christian Eriksen to Juventus in exchange for Adrien Rabiot. Eriksen's contract expires at the end of the season and has been linked to the likes of Madrid and United, while Rabiot only moved to Turin from PSG at the end of 2018-19.

- Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, United, Spurs and Inter have been credited with interest in Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria, according to Bild.

- Manchester City have emerged as favourites to sign Hearts teenager Aaron Hickey, claims the Daily Star.

Manchester City and Liverpool have been fined by UEFA for incidents that took place during Champions League matches this month.

The teams were charged two weeks ago and UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) met on Thursday to decide their punishments.

City have been slapped with a €15,750 (£13,000) fine for the throwing of objects in their 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb on October 1.

Dinamo have also been ordered to pay €20,000 (£17,300) for the same offence and acts of damages in the away end at the Etihad Stadium.

Liverpool were sanctioned to the tune of €10,000 (£8,600) after their supporters came onto the pitch during and after their 4-3 Champions League win against Salzburg at Anfield on October 2.

A group of youngsters climbed over the hoardings at full-time and ran towards Andy Robertson to collect his shirt, while another spectator entered the pitch midway through the second half and was led away by stewards. Salzburg were fined €3,250 (£2,800) over the throwing of objects.

Ajax must pay a total of €68,000 (£58,800) in fines. Acts of damages and crowd disturbances from the travelling fans at Mestalla has resulted in a ban from selling tickets for their trip to Chelsea on November 11, while they must contact Valencia within 30 days and agree compensation.

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