Rodri says "tactical fouls" are among the aspects of football he is learning since signing for Manchester City.

The midfielder, who joined from Atletico Madrid in July, has appeared in all eight Premier League games for Pep Guardiola's side this term so far.

Guardiola last year issued a strong rebuttal to suggestions from ex-Manchester United captain Gary Neville that City deliberately commit fouls to break up play.

"We try to play, of course sometimes we make fouls. Never my teams are focused on making something wrong for the opponents," said Guardiola.

"We try to attack, to play our game but never to do that to avoid what they do. It's never happened in my career and never will happen in my career because I understand the game in a different approach."

After City beat West Ham 5-0 in August, the club's former manager Manuel Pellegrini highlighted the number of fouls committed by Guardiola's team.

And Rodri confirmed he has been working on 'tactical fouls', as well as other aspects to playing a new position, since swapping Madrid for Manchester.

"I think it's a big challenge for me because I never used to play this position particularly," Rodri said to ESPN FC. "I didn't have this exact role in the team.

"We have lots of offensive players and many other teams try to counter-attack you and a lot of the time you're alone but it's good for me.

"I am learning new things, how to go, when to stay, when I have to do a tactical foul, when I have to jump.

"It's good for me to learn these things. And for the team it's good because we need those offensive players to be able to play our game."

Defeats to Norwich City and Wolves have left City eight points behind Liverpool, who have a 100 per cent Premier League record, in the table.

With neighbours Manchester United struggling, Rodri was asked if Jurgen Klopp's Reds should now be considered City's main rivals.

"I don't know, I had never been in the city before, I don't know how people in the city feel," he said, City having pipped Liverpool to the title by a point last season.

"But the team to beat is Liverpool now and that has been seen the last two seasons. They are the champions of Europe so everyone wants to beat them, not just us.

"They're a great team, they have improved a lot of things, they're a very good team, and they're the best team in England and in Europe."

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola insists he would not consider selling midfielder Phil Foden for €500m (£460m) because he is the only player at the could who cannot be sold "under any circumstances".

Foden, 19, has long been championed as a star of the future for City and England, having been around Guardiola's first-team squad for almost three years already.

He played named player of the tournament after England's Under-17 World Cup success in 2017 and has steadily become a more prominent player in City's senior squad, playing 26 matches across all competitions last season.

The midfielder has featured for just 10 minutes in the Premier League this term, sparking suggestions he is being held back by City.

But, with David Silva set to leave the club when his contract expires next year, Guardiola is convinced Foden will take over from the former Spain international.

"He [Foden] is the only player that can’t be sold under any circumstances — the only one. Not even for €500m," Guardiola says in the new book Pep's City: The Making of a Superteam, which was written by Spanish journalists Pol Ballus and Lu Martin and is being serialised by in The Sun.

"Phil's going nowhere — Phil is City. We won't be signing anyone else for that position. When David Silva leaves, we know exactly who our new magician will be.

"He's grown up with us. He's one of us and he's going to be brilliant — one of the Premier League's best. One thing is clear, Foden has a place in City's first-team.

"I'd be interested to see if a different manager would have given him his chance to develop or loan him out.

"I don't like leaving him out of certain games, but I must think of the whole squad. Phil understands that."

Bernardo Silva has been granted an extension until October 21 to respond to the Football Association (FA) charge relating to his racially insensitive tweet to Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

Silva last month tweeted – and subsequently deleted – a photo of a young Mendy and a dated image from Conguitos, a Spanish confectionary brand that has been criticised for having racist connotations. The post was captioned "Guess who?".

A week ago, the FA charged the 25-year-old playmaker with an alleged breach of FA Rule E3 on account of the post being "insulting and/or improper and/or [bringing] the game into disrepute".

It was further alleged the offence amounts to an "aggravated breach" because it included "reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin".

Silva was given until Wednesday, October 9 to provide a response, but Omnisport understands the extension of 12 days was granted following an application to the chairman of the judicial panel.

If found guilty, Silva could face a fine and/or a suspension and be enrolled on an education course.

The FA this year increased its minimum ban for instances of racist abuse during matches to six games, although this does not automatically apply to social media posts.

Silva and Mendy are firm friends from their time together at Monaco, before each signed for City in 2017. As part of a submission to the FA, in which Silva expressed regret for any hurt unintentionally caused, Mendy issued support on his team-mate's behalf – stating he took no offence over the post.

City manager Pep Guardiola and forward Raheem Sterling are among those to have defended Silva's character in the aftermath of the tweet, which was condemned by anti-discrimination pressure group Kick It Out.

Raheem Sterling's role as the leader of England's young generation has won praise from former Liverpool forward Emile Heskey.

Sterling and England are back in action against the Czech Republic on Friday, with the formality of qualification for Euro 2020 on course to be confirmed during the current international break.

Gareth Southgate's side boast a 100 per cent record in Group A – a Sterling hat-trick against this week's opponents having set the wheels in motion at Wembley in March.

The Manchester City star has finally brought his prolific club form to the international arena, with six goals in the campaign so far.

Speaking to Omnisport about the leading lights in England's current crop of youngsters, Heskey noted Sterling remains only 24 – something his prominent stance against racism and discrimination off the field belies.

"Sterling is still young, isn't he? Even though he's played for so long he's still young," he said.

"The role that he's actually playing now, as a mentor for some of the kids, is amazing. The strides that he's taken within his game is amazing.

"Now he's on social media using that platform to help with the racism, with the bullying and it's amazing.

"Someone who has taken on so much as a young kid, I don't think I could have taken on that much as a young kid.

"What is he, 24 now? I don't think I could have taken on that much at 24. It's too much for me but he seems to have taken everything in stride, and given more."

Heskey represented England at four major tournaments between 2000 and 2010 and, with the likes of Jadon Sancho revelling alongside Sterling and captain Harry Kane up front, he feels Southgate's side might be able to go further than the so-called "golden generation" he was a part of alongside David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Michael Owen.

"I would like to think England could win the Euros," he added. "They've got flair, they've got goals, defensively they just need to be a little bit more sound and sterner.

"But they've got the ability to go all the way."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be concerned that one more significant defeat could see him sacked as Manchester United manager.

Although Ed Woodward has given his backing to the former striker and insisted the club has faith in their longer-term plan, it seems the loss to Newcastle United on Sunday has caused particular concern.

AC Milan, meanwhile, could make a change in the dugout on Tuesday, while Real Madrid are considering a Chelsea midfielder.

 

TOP STORY – SOLKSJAER FACING SACK IF UNITED LOSE HANDSOMELY TO LIVERPOOL

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may not survive at Manchester United if they suffer a significant defeat to Liverpool.

The Daily Mail and the Mirror claim executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was very concerned by the manner of the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United, despite giving the manager public support.

It is suggested Woodward could choose to dismiss Solskjaer if United are beaten heavily by league leaders Liverpool on October 20 - much as Jose Mourinho was sacked after a 3-1 loss at Anfield last year.

 

ROUND-UP

- United are in desperate need of goals but one of their targets, Moussa Dembele, could be stolen away from Lyon by Everton for £40million in January, according to Football Insider.

AC Milan are another major club ready to make a change in the dugout. Gianluca Di Marzio claims the Rossoneri could replace Marco Giampaolo with former Inter boss Stefano Pioli as early as Tuesday.

- Inter, meanwhile, are plotting a bid for out-of-favour Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, according to Calciomercato.com.

Real Madrid appear to have turned a corner under Zinedine Zidane but the former France star still wants a new midfielder. Sport say he has sanctioned a possible January bid for Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.

- In France, Sylvinho paid the price for Lyon's poor form - particularly Sunday's derby defeat to Saint-Etienne - and the Ligue 1 side are considering former Valencia boss Marcelino as his replacement, according to Soccer Link.

Manchester City are already hoping Liverpool drop points in the Premier League title race, according to Ilkay Gundogan.

City's 2-0 loss at home to Wolves on Sunday left Jurgen Klopp's team eight points clear at the top of the table.

Pep Guardiola's side cut a similar Liverpool lead to retain the title last season, though Gundogan accepts City need the Reds to slip up. 

"We had the same, or a similar situation last year but at a much later stage," the Germany midfielder told reporters.

"It's quite early in the season and there are still a lot of points to play for, but if we want to speak about the Premier League title, we have to hope Liverpool will drop points."

Liverpool have started the season with eight straight wins but benefited from strokes of luck in their past two wins, with goalkeeper Dean Henderson's error for Sheffield United resulting in a tight victory before James Milner converted a debatable late penalty to down Leicester City.

"It's not that easy to take these things and see your biggest rival win all the time, with things that you can't control," said Gundogan. "It was no different last year, when they also won a lot of games, as we did.

"This time we are the side that have struggled quite a bit more and they have continued better. That's a fact we want to change.

"Watching their games and situation doesn't really help us to be honest - we need to fix our situation and drop as few points as possible.

"We have definitely dropped too many points in the early part of the season. If that's the case in the next few weeks the gap will be even bigger, so we have to win as much as possible."

While Gundogan acknowledged City are looking for Liverpool to slip up, Virgil van Dijk says Liverpool are not focusing on the side that pipped them to last term's title.

"It doesn't happen so much that they [City] didn't even score one goal at home, but a great performance from Wolves," Van Dijk told Sky Sports. "You have to give credit to them. 

"They will try to bounce back from it and until then we just have to focus on international football.

"We tried it [to win the league] last year and City were just a little bit better. So far we're getting the points.

"There's always room for improvement in our game and we just have to focus on ourselves, not on any gaps or points differences between us and the others, us and City.

"A lot of busy periods coming up, December and January, so anything can happen."

Liverpool lost Mohamed Salah to injury at the end of the Leicester win, with Klopp furious about a challenge on the forward from Hamza Choudhury.

Van Dijk, though, expects Salah to be available for the home league match against rivals Manchester United after the international break.

"I think he should be not too bad," Van Dijk added. "The good thing is he has plenty of time to recover. He'll probably get that time to recover as well. So I'm not concerned that he's not going to be ready for United away."

Marco Giampaolo's time at AC Milan could already be over and the Serie A giants are considering replacements.

Milan overcame Genoa for their third win in seven league games this season, but they are still struggling in 13th in the table.

Giampaolo's stint at the helm at San Siro may be over already after just over three months in charge.

 

TOP STORY – MILAN CONSIDER GIAMPAOLO'S FUTURE WITH PIOLI, SPALLETTI FAVOURITES

Milan are leaning towards sacking Giampaolo despite the win over Genoa, according to CalcioMercato.

SempreMilan reports the club almost sacked Giampaolo at half-time, when the side were trailing before fighting back.

According to Sky Sport, former Inter coaches Stefano Pioli and Luciano Spalletti are favourites for the Milan job.

 

ROUND-UP

- Looking to strengthen in January, Manchester United sent scouts to watch Lyon forward Moussa Dembele against Saint-Etienne on Sunday, according to the Daily Mail. Dembele came off the bench for struggling Lyon in the 1-0 loss.

- Juventus and Inter look set to battle for the Serie A title and they could be fighting elsewhere too. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Italian giants are set to fight to sign Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali.

- Leicester City are looking for a replacement for Ben Chilwell as they prepare for clubs to bid for the left-back, according to The Sun, which links Manchester City and Chelsea with £50million moves for the England international.

- Out to improve their defence, Arsenal are targeting Wolves centre-back Willy Boly, according to The Sun. A France youth international, Boly joined Wolves from Porto, initially on loan before the move was made permanent last year.

- Newcastle United could make a move for Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall in January, The Sun reports. Worrall, 22, is coming out of contract at season's end and the Premier League club could land him on the cheap in early 2020.

Could we have seen a potentially decisive weekend in the Premier League title race?

Liverpool opened an eight-point lead over Manchester City at the summit as James Milner's last-gasp penalty secured a precious 2-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

The Reds moved eight points clear with the last-gasp triumph – and City were unable to cut into it as they slipped to a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves on Sunday.

As for Manchester United, their torrid recent form continued with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United, while struggling Tottenham were on the end of a resounding 3-0 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's top games.

 

REDS LEAVE IT LATE TO MAINTAIN PERFECT START

Victory over Leicester means Liverpool have now won their past 17 Premier League games, just one short of Manchester City's top-flight record of 18.

They have also become just the seventh side in history to win each of their opening eight matches in an English top-flight season.

The Reds forged ahead through Sadio Mane's 50th league goal for the club in what was his 100th appearance in the competition for Jurgen Klopp's side.

James Maddison gave the Foxes hope of a point, though, with their first and only shot on target.

However, Milner stepped up deep into added time to seal yet another win for the hosts. It marked the 34th time they have scored a winning goal in a Premier League match in or after the 90th minute, which is at least nine more than any other team

TRAORE DOUBLE DOWNS INSIPID CITY

City were failed to respond to Liverpool's victory, slipping to just a fourth home league defeat in 61 matches under Pep Guardiola.

It was the first time they have lost a Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium without scoring since March 2016, when they were beaten 1-0 by neighbours Manchester United.

Wolves were indebted to a superb double from Adama Traore inside the final 10 minutes to claim their second league win of the season. Remarkably, he had failed to score in his previous 32 Premier League matches.

The result marked the first time Wolves have beaten City away from home in a top-flight fixture since December 1979.

LONGSTAFF PILES MISERY ON SOLSKJAER

United's woeful start to the season reached a new low on Sunday. The sorry defeat at Newcastle means they have won a mere nine points from their opening eight games – their lowest total at this stage since the 1989-90 campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's beleaguered squad are now winless in their last eight away league games – their longest such run in the top flight since September 1989, when they went 11 games without victory.

Under-pressure Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, meanwhile, can celebrate after registering his first ever win as a manager against the club he served as a player, doing so at the 23rd attempt.

Victory came courtesy of Matty Longstaff's drilled effort 18 minutes from time, the 19-year-old becoming the youngest player to score on his Premier League debut for Newcastle.

SEAGULLS SWOOP TO TAKE ADVANTAGE

Tottenham's defeat at Brighton means they have now lost 17 games in all competitions in 2019 – more than any other top-flight side.

Brighton went ahead after just three minutes, Neal Maupay nodding in after Hugo Lloris fumbled a cross - injuring himself in the process. Only Asmir Begovic (21) has made more errors leading to goals than Lloris (18) in the Premier League since his debut in the competition in October 2012.

Nineteen-year-old Aaron Connolly then added two more either side of the interval to seal a memorable win for the hosts. The Irishman is the first teenager to start a Premier League game for Brighton and also the first to score in the league for the Seagulls since Jake Forster-Caskey in April 2014.

The win equalled Brighton's biggest margin of victory in a top-flight game and meant they scored more than once in a league home game for the first time in 16 matches.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said "there are a lot of games to go" after his side handed the Premier League title advantage to Liverpool with a shock home defeat to Wolves.

The Reds – last season's runners-up behind City – opened up an eight-point lead over Guardiola's men on Saturday with a last-gasp win over Leicester City.

City were unable to bridge that gap at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, however, with two late Adama Traore goals giving Wolves a surprise, but thoroughly deserved, three points.

The margin of victory could have been even greater had Nuno Espirito Santo's side taken advantage of a host of opportunities handed to them in the first half by City's porous defence.

Guardiola defended his players, however, and believes there is plenty of time left in the campaign for them to claw their way back into contention for a third consecutive Premier League triumph.

"Come on guys, there are a lot of games to go," he told a media conference. "We lost to a good team, who were really organised, so strong in the air and so fast in the counter attack.

"I know these guys [his players]. Still they are incredibly involved and can do it. What happened, happened. Most of the teams who won [the Premier League] in the past, the year after, don't win.

"Today, we were not at our usual level. The previous games were good, but the distance is big. I know that. Liverpool is not dropping points. But we are in October; there is still a lot of games and competitions."

The continued absence of Aymeric Laporte and John Stones meant Guardiola was once again forced into fielding Nicolas Otamendi and midfielder Fernandinho in central defence.

They were caught out on a number of occasions by Wolves' incisive counter-attacking moves, while Otamendi was guilty of a host of misplaced passes and errant challenges throughout the 90 minutes.

Guardiola defended the pair, though, and stated they were not helped by the carelessness of the players in front of them.

"They were quite good," he said. "They suffered because we lost the position in front of them. No central defenders can defend the kind of balls we lose there. They were good."

Adama Traore's two-goal haul in Wolves' shock victory over Manchester City was a reward for playing "to the limit of his strengths", according to Nuno Espirito Santo.

Wolves defended stoically at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday and consistently threatened on the counter-attack, though the game remained goalless at half-time.

City dominated possession after the restart but were unable to find a breakthrough and Traore punished them on the break in the 80th minute before completing a 2-0 triumph in stoppage time.

Traore played most of the game at right wing-back but was moved up front late on and used his pace to put the hosts' makeshift defence to the sword.

"He played good. He went to the limit of his strengths. He did very well. Not only him, all the players did well. We have to congratulate them today, they were fantastic," said Nuno, who steered his team to a 1-0 win at Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday.

"I am very, very proud, it was a very good performance [by the team]. More than the performance was the work of the players, they ran.

"It's very difficult to play against City, they are so good, they move the ball so fast, it requires a lot of high-speed running, so the boys worked very hard.

"I'm happy and I'm satisfied because this is how we work. All the games we've had, we always compete under our game plan. Sometimes we perform better than others, but the motivation to compete and prepare for the game is always there.

"This is what makes me more proud, having a fantastic group of players that want to grow and believe in the way we work. Now we have the challenge to sustain this level of performance, this is the hardest part of football."

Traore, who showed surprising composure to get on the scoreboard for the first time since September 2018, praised Nuno's approach to the game.

"The plan always works with the manager. I believe in him and how he works, and he believes in me and that is important," the former Barcelona youngster told beIN SPORTS.

"I've been playing in different positions and today I played in right wing-back and striker. Whatever the position I can adapt my quality there. [Nuno] makes me a better player.

"I think everyone on the pitch worked so hard, so I'm happy for everyone."

With eight games gone, reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are eight points adrift of early pacesetters Liverpool following a shock 2-0 loss to Wolves on Sunday.

City's start to 2019-20 has been hindered by a series of defensive injuries. Their best centre-back, Aymeric Laporte, is a long-term absentee, while Benjamin Mendy joined John Stones as a hamstring injury victim this weekend.

Add the fact they failed to replace long-serving captain Vincent Kompany in the transfer window and it is no surprise their defence is in dire straits.

The paucity of first-team options at the back is making manager Pep Guardiola go against his instincts.

Prior to a 2-2 draw against Tottenham in August, a match for which Laporte was available, Guardiola was asked about the possibility of deploying club-record signing Rodri and Fernandinho together in defensive midfield for crunch matches.

"I don't believe in football putting these two guys [in front of the defence] gives you more security for the team," said Guardiola. "I've never believed in my life that by putting in more defensive holding midfielders you defend better.

"You play better, especially with the ball, when everybody commits and everybody fights without the ball. So when we defend better it's because there are 11 reasons. You have to find the balance."

Guardiola has been forced to use his first-choice holding midfielder Fernandinho as a centre-back, hastening a planned transition for the 34-year-old and meaning City they are without the man they need screening a makeshift back four.

Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri sat in front of the defence on Sunday and proved Guardiola right; two holding midfielders does not always provide greater security.

City were vulnerable to the break. A stray pass from Riyad Mahrez in the 19th minute let Raul Jimenez in and only a fine recovering tackle from Fernandinho kept him at bay, the Brazilian somehow managing to block Patrick Cutrone's follow-up while down on the deck too.

The champions' case was not aided by Nicolas Otamendi. In times like these, what Guardiola needs most is a competent performance from his only fit centre-back. The Argentine failed to rise to the occasion.

Otamendi's stray pass on halfway let Wolves break again, with Fernandinho just doing enough to put Jimenez off without conceding a penalty when the Mexican was one-on-one with Ederson.

Wolves were at the door, and City were leaving it wide open.

It perhaps did not help that Guardiola deployed Joao Cancelo, a player far more familiar with the right side of the back four, at left-back while Oleksandr Zinchenko and Angelino started on the bench.

Zinchenko was sent on at the conclusion of a lacklustre first half, but City remained without any drive from midfield or a coherent attack. They sent in 29 crosses from open play – since the start of last season the only times they attempted more in the Premier League was during similar shock defeats to Norwich City (31) and Crystal Palace (30).

David Silva rattled the crossbar from a free-kick in City's best chance before Cancelo ceded possession high up the pitch and Wolves surged clear. Jimenez negotiated a flailing and ineffective Otamendi challenge and squared for Adama Traore to slot an uncharacteristically composed finish beyond Ederson.

Another rapid break saw a disjointed City carved apart with ease and Traore complete the scoring in the fourth added minute.

The international break has arrived at a good time for City and Guardiola – with Stones and the influential Kevin De Bruyne expected to be back when they resume at Crystal Palace on October 19 – although the chance to bolster their centre-back options in the January transfer window may be their best opportunity to set things straight.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his side were way off their best as they slipped to a shock 2-0 home defeat to Wolves on Sunday.

Adama Traore's two breakaway goals in the final 10 minutes mean the Premier League champions remain eight points adrift of leaders Liverpool after the Reds' last-gasp winner against Leicester City on Saturday.

Wolves squandered a host of earlier opportunities to score before Traore's late double, and Guardiola – whose side have now lost two of their eight league games this season – concedes it was a "bad day" for the club.

"We started decent, quite well, but conceded counter-attacks," he told BBC Sport. "We were not at our best. We had chances to score but it was a bad day and lost the game.

"We did not make good decisions; we had problems in that sense. We are a team that plays a specific way, but it is a bad day. That happens sometimes.  Now we have the international break, then we can come back and go to the other games."

Kyle Walker was substituted at half-time, with Guardiola revealing the defender has struggled after an infection this week.

"Kyle did not feel good," Guardiola confirmed. "He did not train well after an infection and we had to change him."

City return to action after the international break on October 19 with a visit to high-flying Crystal Palace.

Adama Traore's double means Manchester City remain eight points behind Liverpool at the Premier League summit as Wolves stormed to a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The Reds' last-gasp win over Leicester City a day earlier opened up a sizeable lead over Pep Guardiola's side, who were unable to reduce the deficit after an insipid display.

City were second best to their well-drilled opponents for long periods, with Traore's two breakaway goals in the final 10 minutes handing Nuno Espirito Santo's side a thoroughly deserved three points.

The result means the Premier League champions have already lost two of their eight league games this season, while Wolves move up to 11th after just their second win of the campaign.

Benjamin Mendy has suffered a hamstring injury but should return after the international break, Manchester City have confirmed.  

The France international made his first start of the season in the 8-0 mauling of Watford on September 21, a game in which he came off at half-time. 

Mendy played the full 90 minutes as City beat Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League in midweek but he was replaced by Joao Cancelo for the visit of Wolves in the Premier League on Sunday. 

The 25-year-old has endured an injury nightmare since joining from Monaco for £52million in July 2017, making just 18 Premier League appearances after twice undergoing knee surgery. 

Mendy has not been included in the France squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey.

Kevin De Bruyne's groin injury – sustained against Everton last weekend – kept him out of the City squad for the clash with Wolves, while Bernardo Silva started on the substitutes' bench. 

Wayne Rooney has predicted Liverpool will win the Premier League title, preventing Manchester City from becoming champions for the third straight season.

Rooney, a former Manchester United captain and the club's all-time record goalscorer, faces seeing his old team's two rivals fight for the title for the second campaign in a row.

Liverpool moved eight points clear at the top after Saturday's dramatic defeat of Leicester City, James Milner's 95th-minute penalty securing a 17th successive league win, with City in action at home to Wolves on Sunday.

Ex-England striker Rooney, who will join Championship side Derby County as a player-coach in January, feels it will be Jurgen Klopp's Reds who come out on top this term.

"In my opinion, Liverpool look the strongest," DC United star Rooney told boxing outlet iFL TV after Gennady Golovkin beat Sergiy Derevyanchenko at Madison Square Garden. 

"City are a fantastic team. I think Liverpool have improved on last year. City have stayed at that level of great consistency. I think Liverpool."

Another of Rooney's former sides have had a tough start to 2019-20 with Burnley inflicting a fourth successive Premier League loss on Liverpool's city rivals Everton.

Pressure is growing on Marco Silva with the Toffees 17th in the table, a point above the relegation zone, but Rooney expects his boyhood club to improve.

"I think the players are too good to be where they are in the league," he added.

"Once results start coming, they'll definitely get out of it."

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