Chelsea star Christian Pulisic has withdrawn from the United States' squad due to a hip injury.

The winger was part of the initial selection for the CONCACAF Nations League fixtures with Canada and Cuba this month.

However, head coach Gregg Berhalter confirmed a joint decision had been made to not risk Pulisic's fitness.

"Christian is officially at this stage ruled out. We just got that information. This was a collaborative decision with the club, looking after the best interest of the player," he said.

"These decisions are always difficult because this group and the coaching staff want nothing more than to have Christian here, but it was a risk we weren't willing to take at this time."

Pulisic has been in great form for a Chelsea side that sit third in the Premier League, scoring five goals in nine top-flight outings during his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez claims he almost joined Arsenal in 2016 and accused Leicester City of costing him "two years at the highest level".

Algeria international Mahrez was the star turn in the Foxes side that shocked the football world to win the Premier League title in the 2015-16 campaign under Claudio Ranieri.

However, the Foxes struggled in their defence the following season and Mahrez sought a move away from the King Power Stadium.

Mahrez finally got his wish in July 2018 when he joined City for a reported £60million and he won a Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup treble in his maiden campaign.

But the 28-year-old felt he should have been allowed to move on sooner.

Speaking to France Football, Mahrez said: "After the title-winning year, if I was in a top team, it would not have been the same story.

"For me, it is clear that I lost two years at the very highest level. I lost two years!

"Because instead of being at City at 27, I could have been there at 24 or 25. Leicester blocked me. They told me: 'You cannot go, you cannot go!'

"My agent had talked with [Arsene] Wenger, who really wanted to sign me, [and] it was almost done with Arsenal in the summer of 2016... I was really frustrated.

"It's not easy to go from being the PFA Players' Player of the Year to being part of a team fighting for Premier League survival. It's not the same job.

"Everyone is waiting on you and expects you to perform."

Anthony Martial's return has been crucial to Manchester United's recent upturn in form, according to team-mate Daniel James.

France forward Martial missed almost two months of action with a thigh injury before returning off the bench late in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool on October 20. 

The Red Devils have since won five of their six matches since, with a limp 1-0 loss at Bournemouth the only blot in that run.

Martial, James and Marcus Rashford were in scintillating form as Brighton and Hove Albion were swept aside 3-1 on Sunday, a result that left United seventh heading into the international break.

And James, who turned 22 on Sunday, believes Martial's influence has been pivotal to the recent improvement.

"Since he's come back in, we've got that focal point," James said after the Brighton game. 

"He's a great link-up player. He can come short or go in behind. It's been important for me and for Marcus since he's come back into the team to get that interlink.

"Since he's come back, he's got goals and he's got assists and he's been great for us."

James arrived from Championship side Swansea City in a reported £15million deal in June and has taken on a prominent role in the team, appearing in all 12 Premier League fixtures this term.

The Wales winger concedes he did not expect to feature so much but is relishing the opportunity.

"Coming in was always going to be tough and it was going to be different from playing in the Championship," he added. 

"I think I've taken it in my stride, tried to calm myself down a bit and think, 'I'm here for a reason'.

"At the start of the season, I maybe didn't think I would play as much. Every game I've been learning and the gaffer has trusted me and I've really enjoyed it."

Anthony Martial is still very much part of France's plans going forward despite missing out on selection this time around, says head coach Didier Deschamps.

Manchester United forward Martial has been in fine form for the Red Devils since returning from the thigh injury that ruled him out for two months three weeks ago.

The 23-year-old has scored three goals in his past six outings and has linked well with Marcus Rashford and Daniel James at Old Trafford.

However, Martial – whose last international appearance came in a friendly against Russia in March 2018 – has again been omitted for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers with Moldova and Albania.

Deschamps, though, says he is likely to be included in the future.

"He was part of the French team on a regular basis, but recently he was often injured," he said. 

"He came back not so long ago and it's going well in his role as a central striker with Manchester United.

"But for a long time he's been part of the players likely to be called." 

Olivier Giroud is included despite the experienced striker's limited game time for Chelsea this season.

The 33-year-old has made just six appearances and played just 120 minutes of Premier League football.

Giroud continues to be selected regularly by Deschamps, the former Arsenal forward having earned his trust.

"Maybe that means something but it's mostly what happened on the pitch that means something," he added. 

"If he is the one I used the most, do not forget either the ratio of matches and goals. 

"There are not many in front of him in terms of goals in the history of the France team. He did the right thing, he answered the trust."

Deschamps also expects Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe to be fit to feature even though he missed the 2-1 Ligue 1 win at Brest on Saturday with a muscular issue.

"He [Mbappe] has not arrived yet, [but] will be there," Deschamps said. "There was a communication between the two doctors on the fact it was a precaution.

"There was no particular concern compared to our deadline of Thursday."

France have called up Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi to replace the injured Blaise Matuidi for this month's final Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Juventus star Matuidi was diagnosed with a rib problem during medical tests in Turin on Monday, having played 70 minutes of Sunday's 1-0 Serie A win over AC Milan.

"The midfielder today underwent an MRI scan, which showed a fracture of the cartilage of the 10th rib," Juve said in a statement.

"I'm unfortunately out of the squad," Matuidi wrote earlier on Twitter.

"But I'm certain that France will get qualification. I'm looking forward to coming back for the next dates."

The French Football Federation confirmed Guendouzi will link up with the squad at Clairefontaine later on Monday.

The reigning world champions will qualify for Euro 2020 from Group H if they beat Moldova in Paris on Thursday, or if Iceland fail to win against Turkey.

"Qualifying has never historically been simple for Les Bleus," head coach Didier Deschamps told reporters on Monday.

"We only took one point from six against Turkey, but the main objective is to qualify.

"It's our goal to finish first, but that's not in our hands anymore because of Turkey. But even if we're first, we wouldn't necessarily be seeded for the draw [for the finals]."

France finish their qualifying campaign with an away game against Albania on November 17.

Manchester City midfielder Rodri is not giving up on retaining the Premier League title after Sunday's 3-1 loss to Liverpool, highlighting the Reds' inability to hold on to their lead last season.

A thrilling encounter at Anfield left Liverpool with a nine-point lead over City, their most likely long-term challengers.

Many feel City now have too much ground to make up if they are to retain their crown, but they found themselves in a similar situation last season.

Although Rodri was not at the club at the time, the Spain international is well aware of how City fought back from being seven points behind the Reds to lift the trophy for a second successive season in 2018-19.

When asked if defeat at Anfield ended City's Premier League chances, Rodri told reporters: "Absolutely not. This team has shown it many times before.

"This team has won the Premier League two seasons in a row and that isn't a coincidence. This team has earned the respect and being considered for the title race.

"Last season, the team was seven points behind - and it could have been ten in case of losing [when the teams met in January] - and they managed to win the league in the end.

"We are in November. There are still a lot [of games] left. They [Liverpool] are very strong at the moment and they are having everything right. Let's see what happens in the future."

Rodri is also adamant Liverpool were fortunate to take all three points on Sunday, convinced City were significantly better on the day.

"They were more clinical than us, I think that was the key factor. I think we were much better overall," he said. "We created more chances than them, but they arrived to our goal three times and scored three goals."

Left-back Angelino, who impressed going forward in a rare Premier League start, was similarly rueful of City's inability to make the most of their chances, insisting the 3-1 defeat was harsh on the champions.

"I think so," he said when asked if City deserved a better result. "We created chances, we had opportunities to get back into the game, but, unluckily, we couldn't make it.

"We played really well, we have created many chances, we have only conceded three chances to Liverpool, but against a team like them, if you give them a chance, they take advantage of it.

"We have had more chances than them but, at the end of the day, we didn't use them. We are happy for the way we played.

"I think the whole team fought until the end, we gave everything and, if we keep playing like at Anfield, we can achieve great things."

Adama Traore will have medical tests to determine the severity of an injury that has forced his withdrawal from the Spain squad, with Pablo Sarabia taking his place.

Traore – who had reportedly been close to declaring for Mali, the country of his parents – was called into Robert Moreno's squad for the first time on Saturday as a replacement for Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno.

But the winger suffered an injury in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa the following day and will be unable to feature in the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Malta and Romania, with Spain aiming to clinch top spot in Group F.

It remains to be seen if the problem will keep him sidelined for Wolves after the international break, with Traore set for tests on Monday.

He told the website of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) : "Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the call-up of the national team because of an injury in the game we played this Sunday against Aston Villa.

"I am sorry I cannot be in this squad, but I will continue working to be in the best possible condition for the next lists, God willing.

"I want to give thanks for the confidence that the coach has placed in me. This Monday I will have medical tests at my club, Wolves, to know the extent of the injury."

Traore, 23, represented his birth nation Spain at various youth levels through to Under-21, but a career with the senior side for a long time had seemed unlikely.

Media speculation in recent weeks claimed he had chosen to represent Mali, as a photo of him holding the African nation's jersey circulated on social media last week.

Some criticised his call-up, suggesting Spain had only selected Traore in an attempt to stop him featuring for Mali, which would have prevented him from future appearances for La Roja.

Paris Saint-Germain winger Sarabia takes his place in the selection.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk admitted the win over Manchester City was "a bit special" even as he refused to look too far into the future.

The European champions took an eight-point lead atop the Premier League thanks to goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in a 3-1 victory at Anfield on Sunday.

The top-of-the-table clash was billed as a key fixture in the context of a title race of which Liverpool are now firmly in charge.

Star centre-back Van Dijk, who was at pains to highlight the gruelling schedule that lies ahead of the Reds, acknowledged the match carried extra meaning.

"It's like any other three points, of course, but it was a bit special because you are playing against the champions, your direct rival, and I think it was a very good game to watch," the Netherlands international told reporters.

"Obviously we are very happy to get the three points.

"We all know and we all feel there are so many games left that so many things can happen between now and May.

"The only thing which can happen is for everyone to stay fit and we need everyone to play as well as they can. We are very happy with the position we are in, but we cannot take it for granted. We just have to keep going and take it game by game.

"You can imagine everyone is happy we got three points again, especially before an international break.

"It is not a nice feeling if you go into the international break having dropped points, especially at home, so we were very good, and we had to be if we were going to get the three points."

City roared back from a seven-point deficit at the turn of the year to beat Liverpool to the title last term and Van Dijk expects Pep Guardiola's side to mount another strong challenge.

"They are the champions first of all, so they will definitely be up there again," he said.

"The other teams have been doing well. The only thing we focus on is the game ahead of us, it's pretty boring that I keep saying it, but it is actually a fact. Let's just go for it."

Nine points separate Liverpool and fourth-place City, with Leicester City and Chelsea occupying the spots in between.

Georginio Wijnaldum wants Liverpool to implement the lessons of last season after taking a commanding lead atop the Premier League.

The Reds were clinical in a 3-1 victory over Manchester City that put nine points between the teams after 12 games.

Leicester City and Chelsea are a point closer, but Liverpool appear ready to bury the ghosts of being pipped to the title last term.

Jurgen Klopp's men were 10 points clear of City at the top at the end of last December only to go on to lose the title race by a single point.

"We have confidence because of the results we are getting but also because of the football we are playing. That's what we showed [on Sunday]," Wijnaldum told the Liverpool website.

"It's always good if you have a gap between the teams behind you [but] you can see with last season that it means nothing, because if you don't perform and get the results you need to get, they can close the gap really quick.

"So, what we have to do is just focus game by game and give our all and then at the end of the season we will see where we are.

"But I think we just have to enjoy the moment we are in now, because we worked hard for it, and try to carry on."

Early goals from Fabinho and Mohamed Salah, along with some favourable refereeing decisions, gave Liverpool a comfortable buffer at half-time of the Anfield encounter.

Jordan Henderson crossed for Sadio Mane to add a third after the interval before Bernardo Silva pegged one back for City with just over 10 minutes to play.

Wijnaldum commended the visitors for making life difficult for Liverpool in the second half.

"They just grew in the game and we tried to stop them with all we had," the midfielder said.

"That's what we did but you could still see that they have a lot of quality, so we did everything but sometimes they still came through our press. 

"That's the kind of team we were playing against, but I think overall we did a tremendous job by playing the way we played in there and we can be proud of ourselves."

Alexandre Lacazette says the international break has come at the right time for an Arsenal side devoid of confidence.

The Gunners lost 2-0 at Leicester City on Saturday as their winless run stretched to five matches in all competitions.

Rumours concerning the future of head coach Unai Emery continue to circulate but the under-pressure Spaniard insists he has "recovered" from criticism before and intends to do so again.

France forward Lacazette, who is not in the squad for this month's final Euro 2020 qualifying matches, hopes the two-week break before Arsenal's next Premier League game allows them to refresh psychologically.

"We miss confidence and we need the international break," Lacazette said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"I hope we are going to come back well. We need to work more than we do now to find confidence.

"We are very disappointed. We had chances in the first half [against Leicester]. We couldn't score, and you need to take your chances in this type of game.

"We have to work again and keep working every day. But I think we didn't play so bad, we just missed our chances in the first half."

Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League, eight points adrift of the top four, and facing an uphill battle to attain anything better than Europa League qualification.

The north London outfit have not featured in the Champions League since the 2016-17 season, their second-last under Arsene Wenger.

"We want to be top four of course," said Lacazette, who admitted "it is going to be hard".

"We still have time until the end of the season. We are going to work to come back."

Arsenal's next match is at home to struggling Southampton on November 23.

AC Milan, Bologna, Perth Glory, Inter and even Juventus have been linked to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic's LA Galaxy contract is set to expire before the end of the year and the veteran striker is not short of suitors.

And a return to Old Trafford could be on the cards for the 38-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TARGETING IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United are preparing to make a move for former striker Ibrahimovic, reports Mail Online.

Ibrahimovic left United for MLS outfit LA Galaxy in 2018 and he has flourished in the United States, where he has scored 53 goals across two seasons.

But with Ibrahimovic – who has been linked to AC Milan, Bologna and A-League side Perth Glory – coming off contract and United looking to bolster their attacking options following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, a Manchester comeback has been mooted.

ROUND-UP

Inter are set to back Antonio Conte in the January transfer window. Following Conte's outburst over a lack of squad planning after Inter's Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund, Calciomercato says the Nerazzurri are ready to sign Parma duo Matteo Darmian and Dejan Kulusevski. Darmian only arrived from Manchester United at the start of the season, while teenage midfielder Kulusevski is on loan from Atalanta.

- Pressure is mounting on Unai Emery but Arsenal are not worried. According to the Mail, the Gunners will not be panicked into sacking head coach Emery – whose side have gone four league games without a win and sit sixth, eight points outside of the top four. Former Spain and Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has emerged as a possible replacement.

- Despite Southampton's poor form, the Premier League strugglers are still behind boss Ralph Hasenhuttl according to The Sun. The Saints are 19th and three points adrift of safety amid a seven-match winless streak in the league – highlighted by a record 9-0 humiliation against Leicester City.

Dries Mertens could be set to leave Napoli. Second on the club's all-time scoring list, Corriere dello Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport claim Mertens has agreed to join Inter as a free agent at the end of the season. The 32-year-old has called Naples home since arriving from PSV in 2013.

Frank Lampard put Willian's future in the hands of Chelsea officials but hopes the in-form winger will be rewarded with a new contract.

Brazil international Willian has so far made a compelling case for an extension to his existing deal, which expires at the end of the season.

The 31-year-old assisted Tammy Abraham's opener in the weekend win over Crystal Palace and has scored in victories against Brighton and Hove Albion, Lille and Burnley this term.

His performances have eased the pressure on the younger members of Lampard's squad and the Blues boss made his appreciation clear following Saturday's 2-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge.

But he also admitted the final decision on fresh terms will not be his to make.

"The word isn't 'no-brainer' because I can't get involved in the money. That's up to the club to do," Lampard said.

"But everyone sees how much I'm relying on him and picking him and, in what he is producing, I love him at this football club. So there's my answer.

"I know his qualities from playing with him but when I looked at Willy over the last couple of years, he was in and out of the team. You're not sure, from the outside [what's happening]. I want to see him happy.

"Willy is a happy, easygoing lad who loves his football and that was the first thing I said to him at the start of the season.

"I saw him being huge in the way I wanted to play. Naturally, on the ball, we all know his ability to go by [markers] one-v-one and shift people and cross or get shots away.

"But his off-the-ball work is an outstanding example for Callum Hudson-Odoi, for Christian Pulisic, for other young players who think the only part of the game is going by people, crossing or shooting."

Lampard continued: "He does the other side brilliantly with absolute humility. He's been a joy and one of the experienced players who is helping the young boys."

Willian recently confirmed Chelsea turned down an offer for his services from Barcelona in 2018.

Ilkay Gundogan insisted the Premier League title race was not over, although the midfielder accepted Manchester City were in an "uncomfortable" position.

The champions suffered a 3-1 loss to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, falling nine points behind Jurgen Klopp's league leaders.

City claimed the title last season despite slipping seven points behind and Gundogan is retaining hope they can again rally.

"We have to accept it, but there is a long way to go. Last season in January we were quite far behind and able to turn it around," the midfielder said, via the Manchester Evening News.

"But we are not independent any more. We have to see how our competitors do, especially Liverpool, and that makes the situation more uncomfortable.

"We have to keep trying to play well and amass as many points as possible. I don't feel the title has already gone, and I don't think the Liverpool players will feel like that, because we are all professionals.

"We all try to do our best on the pitch but sometimes it doesn't work out – we are human beings."

City fell behind in the sixth minute at Anfield, Fabinho's stunning strike giving the hosts the lead after the visitors were denied a penalty for a potential handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold at the other end.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane added goals for Liverpool before Bernardo Silva's 78th-minute strike, but Gundogan felt the opener hurt City.

"It was [a killer], also maybe because of the action just before the goal was scored. I felt like they were a bit positive in the seconds after the hand situation, and Fabinho scored a great goal," he said.

"It's always tough when they score the first, especially at Anfield, and then go straight away for the second one, with the crowd and their emotions.

"It takes a tough mentality to fight against that and unfortunately they scored the second straight after. It's a defeat and we have to take it."

Liverpool's unbeaten Premier League season continued in some style as they turned on the style in a 3-1 win over Manchester City, who they have not lost to at Anfield in the top flight since May 2003.

Meanwhile, it was another tough weekend for Premier League fans across North London, with Arsenal and Tottenham both dropping points as the dark clouds continue to gather around both clubs.

Arsenal's defeat at high-flying Leicester City left the Gunners winless in their last four top-flight outings, while Spurs are without a victory in five attempts after their 1-1 draw at home with Sheffield United.

With Arsenal failing to win, Manchester United had the opportunity to narrow the gap between sixth and seventh to just one point and they did just that, bringing Brighton and Hove Albion's two-game winning streak to an end in a 3-1 victory.

All four games produced a feast of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are brought to light below.

DEFEAT LEAVES GUARDIOLA WITH LOWEST CITY POINTS HAUL

Trips to Liverpool have rarely been kind to Pep Guardiola during his time at Manchester City and Sunday's defeat was his fourth during his time in the Premier League.

City have amassed 25 points this season - Guardiola's lowest return after 12 games of a Premier League season - and he is more than three points behind the league leaders for the first time at this stage of a season.

Liverpool sit eight points clear of second-placed Leicester City and only Manchester United in 1993-94 have been further ahead after 12 games in the Premier League era.

The Reds prospered courtesy of goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, the latter scoring at Anfield in the league for the 22nd time since August 2018.

No other top-flight player has scored more at a single venue in the same period.

RASHFORD REVELS IN UNITED'S HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Marcus Rashford gave the Old Trafford crowd a rare moment to savour in a difficult season when his shot ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar to put Manchester United 3-1 up against Brighton.

It was the 22-year-old's 30th goal on home turf for the Red Devils, six of which have come in 2019-20, and he needs three more to equal his best goal return in home matches (nine in 2017-18).

Rashford's form has been key to United's recent upturn in fortunes at Old Trafford, where they are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches and their last seven across all competitions - their longest run under the same manager since March 2018 (eight unbeaten under Jose Mourinho).

Solskjaer named his youngest Premier League starting line-up of the season, averaging 23 years and 350 days, and his side extended Brighton's miserable run on the road against the top flight's "big six": the Seagulls are winless in 15 such games.

ARSENAL IN WORST START FOR 37 YEARS

Unai Emery might be running out of chances after a 2-0 loss to Leicester City condemned Arsenal to their worst record at this stage of a top-flight season since 1982-83.

The Gunners accumulated 17 points from 12 games in 2014-15, as many as they have now, but could at least lay claim to a positive goal difference of +5 at that time, unlike the -1 that resides next to their disappointing points tally this term.

Saturday's trip to the King Power Stadium marked Emery's 50th Premier League match in charge and his 13th defeat.

He has overseen 25 victories and led the club to 87 points, two fewer than Arsene Wenger accrued over his final 50 matches as manager.

The contrast could not be greater to electrifying Leicester, who have now won five successive Premier League home games and boast one more point (26 in total) than they did at this point of their title-winning 2015-16 campaign.

SON SHINING BUT SPURS STILL STUCK IN DARKNESS

If there is some comfort to be found for Arsenal, it is in the malaise affecting north London rivals Tottenham.

Mauricio Pochettino's men could only draw 1-1 with Sheffield United, who became the third promoted side – after Blackburn Rovers (1992-93) and Nottingham Forest (1994-95) – to go unbeaten through their opening six away games of a Premier League season.

George Baldock's goal earned a share of the spoils and means Spurs have dropped a league-high 12 points from winning positions this season.

Worse still, the Champions League finalists have banked only 14 points, their lowest tally after 12 games since 2008-09, a season that cost Juande Ramos his job.

Son Heung-min, scorer of the opener, is one player pulling his weight. The South Korea star has netted five times in his past five appearances in all competitions.

Pep Guardiola insisted his post-match greeting of referee Michael Oliver was not sarcastic as sought to avoid blaming the match officials for Manchester City's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

City face a tall order to win a third consecutive Premier League title after goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino gave the Reds a resounding 3-1 win on Sunday.

Liverpool are eight points clear of Leicester City and Chelsea at the top of the table and nine better off than Guardiola's City, who lie fourth.

City were aggrieved to see a handball claim against Trent Alexander-Arnold inside the Liverpool box go unpunished immediately before the counter-attack for Fabinho's stunning opener, while further marginal penalty claims during the second half fell on deaf ears.

Raheem Sterling went down following an arm in the back from Sadio Mane before chipping the ball into Alexander-Arnold's hand.

After the full-time whistle, Guardiola was seen saying "thank you very much" to Oliver and his assistants in exaggerated fashion but looked to steer clear of any further controversy in his post-match news conference.

"It would not be nice [to take about the referee] after we lose," City manager Guardiola said.

"Ask Mike Riley [general manager of English referees body PGMOL] and the big bosses about that, don't ask to me.

"It was not sarcastic, it was, 'thank you so much'. I said the same in the Tottenham game at home [when Gabriel Jesus had an injury-time winner ruled out after a VAR review].

"Most of the time when I go to the referees and my colleagues, always I say 'thank you so much, good luck'. It's uncomfortable for me because it looks like 'ah, Pep complains' - congratulations Liverpool, 3-1.

"I don't know what happens in the future, if this or that happens in the game. We never know what happens in the future. But on the decisions, ask the big bosses. The guys who understand everything of that game."

One factor culpable for the loss very much under Guardiola's control is the threadbare composition of City's defence.

Long-serving captain Vincent Kompany left at the end of last season and the decision not to replace him with a specialist centre-back option has been compounded by Aymeric Laporte's meniscus injury.

Holding midfielder Fernandinho again lined up in the heart of defence alongside John Stones at Anfield, whose own fitness struggles have run parallel to Nicolas Otamendi's form dipping considerably.

Angelino made a second Premier League start, with the injury-ravaged Benjamin Mendy deemed unavailable by his manager. The left-back attacked promisingly throughout and hit the post, although he and Fernandinho were both arguably culpable for Salah's 13th-minute goal from Andy Robertson's searching cross.

"Mendy could not train yesterday due to some problems, so I decided for Angelino," Guardiola said. "Mendy is not injured, he goes to his national team now. We played so good.

"Of course we have a young player like Angelino, Fernandinho is helping us playing that position, John Stones comes back after a long injury; their back four is the same all the time but we have to move it for many reasons."

Nevertheless, Guardiola insisted he did not regret an expansive approach that saw his side have more shots, win more corners and enjoy the majority of possession against their victorious opponents.

"We decided to play the way we did because it's the way we won two Premier Leagues in a row, seven titles in three seasons, and sometimes the people say 'oh we like to watch Manchester City play football'," he added.

"The teams who come here to play, they know how difficult it is, the way we do it. Of course, we have to improve in the box and be more solid. Hopefully we can improve in the future."

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