Pep Guardiola was expecting Manchester City to start the new campaign on top form but insists "the season is still so young" as his team instead toil in the bottom half of the Premier League.

City are in Champions League action against Olympiacos on Wednesday, looking to advance to the last 16 with a fourth straight victory.

As well as delivering another result on the European stage, though, Guardiola recognises the match is important to "recover our feelings" after another painful outing in the Premier League.

City went down 2-0 at early leaders Tottenham on Saturday and now lie 13th in the table, already eight points off the pace with a game in hand to play.

A return of 12 points from eight games is City's worst start to a league season since 2008-09 (10 points), while their failings in attack are particularly concerning, netting just 10 times - a low since scoring six times in eight matches in 2006-07.

Guardiola is confident his side will turn their fortunes around, though, explaining: "I had a feeling we would do really well this season. I don't know why [we haven't].

"From the beginning, I expected a reaction after how we finished the last season against Lyon in Portugal. I have a good feeling.

"We know what we have to do. We are a team who last season scored a lot and now we are struggling.

"I have to find a solution, to find the right way to attack more fluently and have the feeling that we can score goals. But in the way we play, I'm quite good, quite happy.

"There are little details still we have to improve, conceding penalties that are unnecessary, sometimes we miss clear chances we have to score.

"But the moment will break. In one or two games, this kind of thing will get better. The season is still so young and I'm fully optimistic we're going to do a good season."

Guardiola is also willing to stay patient with record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, who watched on from the bench at Spurs as City had 22 shots without finding the net.

Aguero suffered a knee injury in June and has played just 110 minutes in the league so far this season, attempting a single shot that failed to hit the target.

"We want him to come back," Guardiola said. "Today he trained again. That he can recover a good feeling in his knee is the most important thing.

"I know it is not easy [being] injured but we wait for him and it's a step at a time.

"We still have many, many games this season to play and we will need him. We want him to recover and be back in the best condition."

In the meantime, new signing Ferran Torres has taken on a striking role, still waiting on his first Premier League goal but scoring three times in three matches in the Champions League.

Another goal against Olympiacos would make him just the third City player - after Aguero and Raheem Sterling - to net in four straight games in the competition.

Torres said of his responsibility to the team: "Obviously we have had a few injuries of our strikers in the squad.

"But I think we are scoring goals as a team - probably not as many as we would like but we are also facing difficult opponents as well, so it's difficult.

"We are working hard as a team to sort that out and I am confident that the goals will arrive.

"Playing as a striker is not my natural position but I feel very comfortable playing there. I am also scoring goals so it is good.

"When you work hard and make sacrifices for the team, you get your rewards, so I am trying to work hard to keep scoring goals."

Tanguy Ndombele is refusing to give up on his chances of representing France at the rescheduled Euro 2020 after starting the season in rejuvenated form for Tottenham.

Spurs splashed out a club-record fee, reported to be £64million, to sign the midfielder from Lyon ahead of last season but injuries and poor form contributed to an underwhelming debut Premier League campaign.

Indeed, a lack of game time under Jose Mourinho led to suggestions Spurs may decide to move Ndombele on and Juventus were linked with an interest earlier this year.

But Ndombele has begun the season in impressive fashion for table-topping Spurs, appearing in each of their nine top-flight games and starting seven of those.

He already has a goal and an assist, managing two in each category over the entirety of last season, while he has created seven chances for team-mates (he had only 12 in 2019-20), won 29 duels and completed 23 recoveries.

Having seemingly earned the trust of the notoriously tough-to-please Mourinho, Ndombele is now focused on regaining a spot in France's squad having last earned a call up for Les Bleus a year ago.

"I'm trying to do the best possible. I am still learning. We all want to go to the Euros. We will give ourselves the means to go there," he told beIN SPORTS.  

"I agree with the fact of gaining in [consistency]. There are some very good players in my position. 

"But I do not admit defeat and we will see at the end."

Spurs are on an eight-match unbeaten run in the top flight since losing their opening game to Everton and sit top of the pile on goal difference ahead of Liverpool.

Forget Lionel Messi and Harry Kane, Manchester City reportedly want Jack Grealish.

Grealish, 25, has starred for Aston Villa this season and also impressed with England during the international break.

And the playmaker seems to have impressed City manager Pep Guardiola.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY TARGET GREALISH OVER MESSI, KANE

Guardiola wants Manchester City to make a move for Villa star Grealish, according to The Independent.

The report says Barcelona star Messi and Tottenham forward Kane were discussed as potential signings, but Guardiola is an admirer of Grealish.

Only Kane (nine) has more Premier League assists than Grealish (five) this season, while the latter has also netted four times.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City may soon have good news to report about Kevin De Bruyne. TodoFichajes reports De Bruyne has agreed to a new contract at City until 2025.

- Still linked with a move to Barcelona, Lautaro Martinez's future at Inter is unclear. However, FC Inter News says there is optimism Martinez will re-sign at Inter, who want to extend the forward's deal through to 2025.

- Having conceded 14 goals in eight Premier League games this season, Manchester United are reportedly considering moves for defenders. 90min reports Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres has moved top of their shortlist alongside RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano.

- As he struggles for game time at Inter, Christian Eriksen is being linked with a move. Tuttomercatoweb reports Borussia Dortmund are keeping an eye on the midfielder's situation, with the Bundesliga club having apparently been interested in the Denmark international during the previous transfer window too.

Nicolas Pepe says he is "deeply sorry" after being shown a red card in Arsenal's 0-0 Premier League draw with Leeds United on Sunday. 

The 25-year-old was shown a straight red after 51 minutes at Elland Road for headbutting Ezgjan Alioski.

Pepe and Alioski received abusive messages on social media following the off-the-ball incident, which were later condemned by both players' clubs.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta described the winger's actions as "unacceptable" and the Ivory Coast international has now taken to social media to apologise for his conduct.

"Yesterday I let my team down at a crucial time of the game and there is no excuse for my behaviour," Pepe wrote on Instagram.

"I am deeply sorry and would like to apologise to the fans, my team-mates, my coach and everyone else at the club."

Pepe has struggled this season, with the game against Leeds marking just his second start in the Premier League.

He has scored once and created just two chances for his team-mates, although one of those did lead to a goal.

Frank Lampard assured Olivier Giroud he will get plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks but is willing to discuss his future if the France star feels he needs more game time.

Giroud appeared headed for the exit door last January but remained at Stamford Bridge and helped the Blues to a top-four finish, scoring eight goals in the final 12 games of last term.

But the arrival of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig coupled with the early season form of Tammy Abraham has seen Giroud struggle for minutes under Lampard in 2020-21.

Speaking to Telefoot this week, Giroud stated he may have to ponder his future in the next transfer window as he aims to nail down a spot in France's Euro 2020 squad.

Lampard understands Giroud's concerns but with matches coming thick and fast, the Blues boss says the veteran forward will feature prominently.

"I do have plans to have Oli with us, he's a very important player in our squad, and was a big part of our squad last year," Lampard told a news conference ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Rennes. 

"When you look at his Chelsea career in terms of league starts he's played a relative amount. He's a big part of us going forward. 

"I want him to stay here, I have a very good relationship with Oli. If ever he felt it was going to go a different way I'd talk to him. At the moment he's very important to me."

He added: "When he doesn't play he's a great support, we have really grown up conversations as we did in January. 

"I'll be relying on top players, top strikers as I see it for us. I'll always be honest with Oli I think he's still got a big contribution for us. I don't want to be drawn in November about conversations that might happen in January."

Lampard, who as expected confirmed Kai Havertz is fit after recovering from coronavirus and Thiago Silva travels having been rested for the win over Newcastle United, has been impressed by the form of Abraham.

The England striker, who has five goals in 13 games this season, is showing signs of a promising partnership with Werner and Lampard says his task now is to show more consistency.

"Yeah I'm really pleased with him, he's playing really well at the minute, his all round game off the ball work for the team, link up play is good," Lampard said. 

"In some parts I think it got forgotten how good he was the first half of last season, he was a big reason for us finishing fourth. 

"The second half was more difficult for him. That's normal for a young player, he's still young, but now he's seeing a mirror of how he is in training. He's training brilliantly, he's enthusiastic, that's when he's at this best. I hope that continues.

"When they play like Tammy is at the minute they make my decisions easier because he's playing so well. Tammy should take credit, his next challenge is to remain consistent."

Lampard also talked up the qualities of Mason Mount, who has faced suggestions on social media of receiving favouritism from the Chelsea boss and his England manager Gareth Southgate.

For Lampard, Mount epitomises what managers look for in a player and believes social media has changed the way footballers face scrutiny.

"We have a big fanbase, it's very easy for someone to sit on a phone and make very harsh statements," he added. "With Mason he looks clean cut, he did an advert with his top off and that's about as edgy as he gets! 

"There are a hundred things in his game to impress his manager. He's a different type of footballer. When I say that I don't want to add fuel to the fire of people saying he's my son!

"He's got a lot to improve on, he can add more goals, add more assists, but he's a quality football player who can only get better. 

"Mason Mount or anyone will not be getting favouritism. In midfield we have options, out wide we have options, no one gets the edge from me other than how they train and perform."

After an international break that seemed to go on for months rather than days, the Premier League was back with typical gusto this weekend.

Tottenham and Liverpool earned impressive wins over Manchester City and Leicester City respectively to sit top of the pile on 20 points, with Chelsea and the Foxes hot in their wake.

But away from the more obvious facts and figures there are always some hidden gems that you may have missed.

With help from the geniuses at Opta, we have delved into some of the quirkier things to emerge from the Premier League these past few days.


Reds pass the test

Diogo Jota made history by becoming the first Liverpool player to score in each of his first four home top-flight appearances for the Reds.

More impressively, his goal in the beating of Leicester came at the end of a sequence of 30 passes – the first time they have tallied so many in the build-up since Opta began collecting such data in the 2006-07 season.

In that same period, the most a team has had leading to goal was Tottenham when Nacer Chadli netted against QPR in August 2014 with a whopping 48 passes.

Manchester United (Juan Mata 45 versus Southampton), Manchester City (Ilkay Gundogan 44 versus Manchester United), Southampton (Morgan Schneiderlin 40 versus Newcastle United), and Manchester United again (Ashley Young 37 versus Blackburn Rovers) complete the top five in the metric.

Relief for Ole

A poor run of form had seen the pressure grow on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United but back-to-back Premier League wins has helped his cause a little.

Saturday's 1-0 win over West Brom – secured by Bruno Fernandes' second-half penalty – ended a run of 323 minutes without a Premier League goal at Old Trafford.

Only twice have United gone longer without celebrating at home in the competition, the longest being 361 minutes between March and August 2002, while they went 334 minutes between April and August 2007.

Worryingly for Solskjaer, he has another streak in the top five with United going 235 minutes without a Premier League home goal between January and February earlier this year.

Grim reading for the Steel City

Chris Wilder and his Sheffield United side have little to smile about right now as a 1-0 home defeat to West Ham on Sunday left them with just one point from their opening nine matches.

Only three teams have ever accrued such a paltry sum at the same stage of a Premier League season.

Coincidentally, Steel City rivals Sheffield Wednesday did so in 1999-00, while Manchester City are the other unfortunate side in 1995-96. In a potentially bad omen for the Blades, both sides went on to be relegated.

With Wednesday mired in relegation trouble of their own in the Championship, both sides of the Sheffield divide will hope for a boost in fortunes as we edge towards Christmas.

Own goal-woe for Fernandez and Evans

Come on admit it…we all love it when a player ends up with egg on their face and scores past their own goalkeeper. In fact, the more comical the own goal the better.

Over the weekend, two particularly luckless players continued their rotten luck in this regard.

Federico Fernandez was on the scoresheet for the wrong team as Newcastle United were beaten by Chelsea. Since his Premier League debut in 2014, no other player has more own goals than his five – level with Lewis Dunk.

Jonny Evans racked up a sixth Premier League own goal as Leicester City were outclassed by Liverpool. Only Richard Dunne (10), Jamie Carragher (7) and Martin Skrtel (7) have put more in their own net.

Fulham paying the penalty

There are never any guarantees that a penalty will bring a goal…just ask poor Fulham fans.

Ivan Cavaleiro's miss from 12 yards in the 3-2 loss to Everton on Sunday means the Cottagers have missed five of their past eight Premier League penalties, with three different takers in that time.

Both Arsenal and Leicester City have missed five in a row in the competition before (the Gunners between October 1992 and November 1993, and the Foxes August 1994 to September 1996).

The most recent example of a side failing with four in a row was Manchester City last season.

Arsenal and Leeds United have condemned the "vile abuse" aimed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski on social media following Sunday's Premier League clash.

Pepe was shown a straight red card 51 minutes into the goalless draw at Elland Road for headbutting Alioski, the incident being spotted by VAR.

Team-mate Kieran Tierney had to be dragged away from the makeshift Leeds left-back after confronting him at the full-time whistle.

Alioski and Pepe received abusive messages on social media and their respective clubs united in releasing a statement on Monday.

"We utterly condemn the vile abuse directed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski on social media following our match against Leeds United," Arsenal's statement read.

"This is completely unacceptable and we will be working with the police and authorities to do everything we can to trace and prosecute the culprits."

Former Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips screenshotted some of the racist remarks aimed at Pepe and questioned why more is not being done to halt the abuse.

A Leeds statement, posted at the same time as Arsenal's, added: "The vile abuse directed at Ezgjan Alioski and Nicolas Pepe on social media after yesterday's Premier League game with Arsenal will not be tolerated by Leeds United.

"We will work closely with the police and the footballing authorities to ensure those responsible are identified and punished."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta accused Pep of letting Arsenal down with his "unacceptable" conduct against Leeds, with the 10 men having to hold on for a point in Yorkshire.

The Gunners have received five Premier League red cards since Arteta took over last December – at least two more than any other club in that period.

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde has confirmed he held talks with Pep Guardiola over a move to Manchester City and was offered "guarantees" over playing time.

Kounde played 40 times for Sevilla in his maiden campaign with the Andalusian side, including nine games in their victorious Europa League run.

The France Under-21s international's form saw him strongly linked with a move to City during the most recent transfer window but a deal failed to materialise.

Sevilla sporting director Monchi revealed in September his side had knocked back an offer from an unnamed club, less than a week before City signed Ruben Dias from Benfica for a club-record fee.

Kounde has helped Sevilla keep two clean sheets in his five LaLiga appearances this term but has admitted he was keen on a move to the Etihad Stadium.

"Yes, I spoke with Guardiola," he told Canal Football Club. "I had him on the phone, it went very well. We had a discussion, in Spanish, he has some words in French.

"I was interested in going. It was a super opportunity. I had guarantees around playing time, but it wasn't done. 

"They [Sevilla] could have said it was a very good sum and that they were not going to do any better, but it shows what they think of me, that I am a boy who works hard and who can improve, which is why they declined I think."

Kounde was overlooked for France's latest squad, not helped by a spell on the sidelines because of coronavirus, but the 22-year-old is hopeful of being part of Didier Deschamps' plans for next year's rearranged Euro 2020.

"My objective is the European Championships," he said. "That was the case last year before the tournament had to be postponed.

"It's something that drives me. It's something I'm going to fight for. It's something that is going to guide me every day."

Liverpool made light work of Leicester City to move level on points with Premier League leaders Tottenham on a day that saw a couple of records broken at Anfield.

Inspired by another impressive Diogo Jota showing, the Reds eased to a routine victory to keep their positive momentum going at a time when their squad is getting more depleted by the week.

Merseyside rivals Everton were also victorious in Sunday's top-flight action with a narrow win at Fulham, while West Ham saw off Sheffield United and 10-man Arsenal were held by toothless Leeds United.

Using Opta data, we take a look at the key facts from the day's four Premier League fixtures.

 

Fulham 2-3 Everton: Calvert-Lewin at the double as Toffees inflict more capital punishment

Dominic Calvert-Lewin maintained his impressive scoring run with a couple of goals as Everton returned to winning ways in the early kick-off at Craven Cottage.

The England international scored after just 42 seconds – the earliest league goal Everton have netted since April 2017 – before Bobby Decordova-Reid's temporary leveller.

That made it goals in back-to-back home league games for Decordova-Reid for the first time since April 2018 when he was playing in the Championship with Bristol City.

Calvert-Lewin restored Everton's lead for his 10th league goal in nine outings this term, Lucas Digne setting up both that goal and Abdoulaye Doucoure's six minutes later.

Since making his competition debut in August 2018, only Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson (both 26) have more assists among defenders than Digne's 15.

A struggling Fulham side wasted a chance to get back into the game when Ivan Cavaleiro became the latest player for the south London side to miss from the penalty spot.

They have missed five of their past eight top-flight penalties, including the previous three, which have each taken by different players (Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ademola Lookman and Cavaleiro).

Ruben Loftus-Cheek did pull one back but Everton, who have conceded twice or more in six straight league games for the first time in 12 years, held on for a third straight league win in London – their best such run since April 1987.

Sheffield United 0-1 West Ham: Blunt Blades still seeking first victory

Sebastien Haller scored from outside the box for the first time in his top-flight career, on what was his 190th such appearance, to earn West Ham a slender victory at Sheffield United.

The striker, who has also previously played in the Eredivisie and Bundesliga, scored from range after 56 minutes for his sixth goal in all competitions this season – double the number of any other West Ham player.

United were unable to respond and are now without a win in 13 games in all competitions, making this their worst run since October 2013.

Chris Wilder's men have lost four top-flight matches in a row and are only the third side in Premier League history to pick up one point or fewer from their opening nine games, after Manchester City in 1995-96 and Sheffield Wednesday in 1999-2000.

West Ham are now unbeaten in their past 12 Premier League games against sides starting the day bottom, winning five in a row, and they are the first London club to win at Bramall Lane in the competition in 12 attempts since October 2006.

Leeds United 0-0 Arsenal: Hot-headed Gunners fire another blank

Arsenal failed to score for the fourth time in five Premier League outings as they played out a stalemate with Leeds at Elland Road.

Firing blanks has become the norm for Arsenal but there was nothing usual about the scoreline from Leeds' perspective – only their third goalless draw in 101 league games under Marcelo Bielsa.

Leeds now have 41 clean sheets across those 101 matches, not including play-offs, which is more than any other side in the top four tiers of English football in that period.

The Gunners have scored just nine league goals in the same number of league games in 2020-21 – their lowest tally at this stage since 1986-87 when scoring six times.

Mikel Arteta's side had to play almost an entire half with 10 men after Nicolas Pepe was given the first red card of his career in Europe's top five leagues, this being his 146th such appearance.

That was the fifth red card Arsenal have received in the league since Arteta took over in December 2019 – at least two more than any other club.

A point can be considered a good result on the balance of things given Leeds had 25 shots – the third most a team has managed in the Premier League this term, behind only Manchester United v Newcastle United (28) and Leeds v Aston Villa (27).

Liverpool 3-0 Leicester City: Rampant Reds win again at fortress Anfield

A lot has been made of Liverpool's depleted backline but makeshift centre-back pairing Fabinho and Joel Matip withstood everything Leicester chucked at them, the Reds keeping a fourth clean sheet in seven games and conceding only three times in that run.

Jonny Evans' own goal after 21 minutes put Liverpool on their way – the sixth time the former Manchester United defender has put into his own net in the Premier League, which is behind only Richard Dunne (10), Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel (both seven)

Jota doubled the hosts' advantage before half-time against his favourite opponents to become the first Liverpool player ever to score in his first four home top-flight league appearances.

It was a special goal in more ways than one, too, as it came after a sequence of 30 passes – the most in the build-up to any goal by the reigning champions since Opta started collecting data in 2006-07.

Jurgen Klopp's side added a deserved third goal to their tally late on through Roberto Firmino, who has now scored in two of Liverpool's five home league matches this term, compared to one in 19 such outings in 2019-20.

The routine home win makes it 64 home league matches without defeat for Liverpool – now officially the longest run in the club's history, with 53 of those games ending in victory.

It was another unhappy reunion with Liverpool for their former boss Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, as he has lost all three league encounters with the Reds since taking charge of Leicester, conceding nine goals in the process.

Brendan Rodgers questioned the narrative about Liverpool being "depleted" after Leicester City were well beaten on Sunday.

Rodgers' Leicester suffered a 3-0 loss at Anfield as Liverpool extended their unbeaten home run in the league to 64 games – a club record.

Jurgen Klopp was without the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcantara for the Premier League encounter.

But Leicester manager Rodgers suggested there had been too much focus on the injury concerns of his former side, who moved level on points with Premier League leaders Tottenham.

He also pointed to Leicester's own absentees, with Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu, Timothy Castagne and Wilfred Ndidi all missing from the game.

"We don't dwell on it. We've had a terrific start. We were beaten by the better team," he told a news conference.

"Everyone talked about Liverpool's injuries and that was the narrative leading into this game but it's still a top-class team with players at the front end of the pitch who can hurt you.

"There's still a number of players out but the players have been great, doing everything and it just wasn't our night, so we move on."

With Van Dijk and Joe Gomez out, Fabinho slotted into the centre of defence alongside Joel Matip, while James Milner started at right-back due to Alexander-Arnold's calf injury.

Rodgers said it was still a strong Liverpool defence, as Klopp's side kept their fourth clean sheet in seven games in all competitions.

"I don't really see it as a depleted backline," he said.

"I know they're missing Virgil van Dijk, but Matip is a top defender, Fabinho has filled in, he played there against Chelsea and played there against top players.

"Andy Robertson has always played, Alisson is the number one goalkeeper and wherever James Milner plays he does an incredible job. I don’t go with that narrative, they're still very strong with top players.

"You look at their midfield, players who have always played. They're just an outstanding team, super organised, play really hard with quality and were the better team."

After Jonny Evans' 21st-minute own goal, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino scored for Liverpool, the result leaving Leicester in fourth in the table – two points adrift of Spurs and Klopp's men.

Manchester City will reportedly opt against making a move for Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave Barca during the close season, but ended up staying with the LaLiga giants.

Still, talk about his future continues, with City the most strongly linked.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY WON'T TRY TO SIGN MESSI

Manchester City will not try to sign Barcelona star Messi, Spanish football expert Semra Hunter told Sky Sports News.

The report says Messi's age and wage demands are a major reason the Premier League giants will not pursue him.

Messi, a six-time Ballon d'Or winner, is out of contract at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Are Real Madrid looking for a replacement for 35-year-old midfielder Luka Modric? Fichajes.net reports Madrid see Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as the ideal replacement for Croatia star Modric.

- Barcelona will try to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia in January amid an injury crisis in defence, according to Sport. Gerard Pique (knee) and Sergi Roberto (thigh) are both set for spells on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Marca says Barcelona are set for a meeting to decide whether they should sign a replacement for Pique.

- Fabian Ruiz has impressed for Napoli, leading to interest from elsewhere. CalcioMercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are still targeting the midfielder.

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Inter, Christian Eriksen is linked with a return to the Premier League. Corriere dello Sport reports Manchester United and Arsenal are considering the former Tottenham star.

- With Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele linked with moves, Lyon may be eyeing replacements. Le 10 Sport says Reims and Senegal forward Boulaye Dia and Leicester City forward Islam Slimani are both targets.

Jurgen Klopp praised Roberto Firmino for a "super game" after Liverpool's 3-0 win over Leicester City in the Premier League.

Firmino headed in the sealer at Anfield on Sunday as Liverpool extended their unbeaten league run at home to a club record 64 games.

Often criticised, Firmino scored his second goal of the season and the Brazilian's 48 passes, 41 successful passes and six shots were the most he has managed in any Premier League game this campaign.

Klopp hailed the forward and said he was pleased to see the 29-year-old also get on the scoresheet, heading in James Milner's 86th-minute corner.

"We were really happy and relieved. He deserved it so much. He played a super game, he played a super game and was so important for us again," the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

"You could see in the face of all the players when he scored that everybody thought, 'Yes, exactly the right goalscorer'."

Firmino's goal came after Diogo Jota doubled Liverpool's lead following Jonny Evans' 21st-minute own goal.

Klopp was proud of his players for setting a club record with their unbeaten league run at home, but said it was something he would reflect on at another time.

"Look, my problem is that in the moment I spoke so much about football, I have so much to think about how we can play the next game and things like this," he said.

"So, it doesn't feel it. Maybe it's not right but there will be a moment, for sure, in the future when I think back – and hopefully it will be a different number and not only 64.

"It's absolutely incredible, but it's all about the boys. It's really difficult to achieve something like this but when you think about how tight a lot of games were then it doesn't happen just like this. You have to really dig in for that and the boys did that.

"I said it a few times before, we really enjoy playing here. It's our ground, it's our home, everything feels home – even when the people are not here. It doesn't feel right but we have to do it and we are happy that we can play.

"So, what the boys put out there on the pitch performance-wise is absolutely incredible and it's the only reason for the number. Obviously it's pretty tricky and pretty difficult to set records for this incredible club because our fathers or grandfathers, they were obviously pretty good. So having this record now, I'm happy for the players but it doesn't feel like a big moment, to be honest, because we play on Wednesday and that's actually my only concern at the moment."

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah will return to training on Monday after testing negative for coronavirus, manager Jurgen Klopp said.

Salah missed Liverpool's 3-0 win over Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Egypt.

But in a boost for Klopp's injury-hit side, Salah is set to return to training in the lead up to Wednesday's Champions League clash at home to Atalanta.

"That's what I've heard, yes, it [was] negative today. I think he is from now on pretty normal in testing," the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

"Tomorrow we have the UEFA testing for the Champions League and I am pretty sure he will be in that.

"He can now train with us tomorrow, that's it. He will have two tests in the next two days, so, yes, he will be tested like all of us."

Since arriving at Liverpool in 2017, Salah has missed just seven Premier League games – and Klopp's men are unbeaten, although their win percentage drops to 57.1, compared to 73.3 when the star forward plays. They also average more goals for (2.3 to 1.9) and points per game (2.4 to 2.1) with Salah.

Against Leicester, Liverpool extended their unbeaten home run in the league to a club record 64 games after Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino scored following Jonny Evans' first-half own goal.

But they suffered yet another injury concern, with midfielder Naby Keita hurting his hamstring in the win.

Klopp also confirmed Xherdan Shaqiri was sidelined with a muscle injury.

"Shaq, how I know it, he had a muscle injury with the national team which he didn't really realise," he said.

"Now he trained with us, we gave him a day off and then he came back and was involved in the session, but was not fully involved and all these kind of things. He just did a little bit, after that he felt a little bit. Then we did a scan and they found he has an injury from five or six days ago.

"Nobody knew about that, not even Shaq knew about it, but that's how things sometimes are and so he was not able to be involved."

Jurgen Klopp was overjoyed by the performance and emphatic result in Sunday's 3-0 win over Leicester City, surmising that his team was "on fire".

Liverpool's problems have been well-documented this season and they only got worse during the international break, as Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah became the latest to join the lengthy absentee list due to injuries and illness.

They were expected to at least be put under pressure by Leicester City on Sunday, with the Reds fielding a makeshift back four and the Foxes having won all four of their previous away games in the Premier League this term.

But in reality Liverpool were utterly dominant and cruised to a straightforward win that not only took them level with leaders Tottenham on 20 points, but set a new record of 64 unbeaten top-flight matches at Anfield.

Jonny Evans' own goal was added to by Diogo Jota – who became the first Liverpool player ever to score in each of his first four Anfield league games – and Roberto Firmino rounded the win off late on, leaving Klopp thrilled.

He told Sky Sports: "We deserved it, 100 per cent.

"The boys played an incredible game against a top, top, top opponent and playing them like we played tonight, I don't take things like this for granted to be honest.

"The boys were really on fire football-wise. They played and played and played. Obviously Leicester defends in a specific way, Jamie Vardy was much deeper than last season, so it makes it even more tricky.

"The front line defended really well and offensively we were incredible, we should have scored more goals. That is a top sign for a big game."

One of the Liverpool players featuring out of position in the defence was James Milner, who filled in at right-back with Trent Alexander-Arnold out until December.

The experienced midfielder has become known for his reliability and versatility in recent years, and it was his performance that pleased Klopp most.

"We scored three goals and didn't concede one, we defended exceptionally well, controlled the game," he told BBC Sport.

"There were a lot of good things, I can't pick one that pleased me most - maybe the performance of James Milner at right back. He played an exceptional game, first there and then in midfield.

"That is what we expect from ourselves. Injuries were a massive shock in that moment but the boys have to offer solutions."

Pep Guardiola has warned Sergio Aguero cannot solve Manchester City's goalscoring problems on his own as the Argentina striker prepares to make his latest return from injury. 

Aguero missed the start of this season as he continued to recover after undergoing meniscus surgery in June. 

He featured in October's 1-0 win over Arsenal and scored a penalty in City's opening 3-1 Champions League victory against Porto, only to pull up with a hamstring injury at the halfway point of the club's next Premier League outing at West Ham. 

City's all-time record goalscorer remained an unused substitute as Guardiola's side went down to a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on Saturday - a result that leaves them languishing in the bottom half of the table with 12 points and 10 goals from their eight top-flight matches so far. 

For a team that has scored 102, 95 and 106 in their past three completed league campaigns it represents a startling drop-off, with Aguero's enforced role on the periphery easy to identify as a major part of the problem. 

Since Guardiola took charge of City in 2016, Aguero has scored 78 Premier League goals, with his attacking colleagues Raheem Sterling (64) and Gabriel Jesus (43) next on the list. 

In terms of shot conversion, the trio are similar, with Aguero netting from 24.5 per cent of his attempts - a shade below Sterling on 26.2 and a touch better than Jesus (22.3). When it comes to converting those opportunities Opta classes as big chances, Jesus (36.5 per cent) is far more wasteful than Sterling (50.5) and Aguero (53.4). 

Where the one-time Atletico Madrid favourite stands apart is the frequency of his goals, which come every 107.9 minutes. Jesus' goals-per-minute reading is 131.1, with Sterling further back on 174.7.

The England winger improves to one every 152.1 minutes if counted from the beginning of the 2017-18 campaign, although Aguero’s astonishing return falls to 103.7 counting from City's "centurions" season onwards. 

"I'm not going to say that we don't need Sergio, we need him," Guardiola said of Aguero, who is out of contract at the end of the campaign. 

"But Sergio is 32 years old and was five months injured with a difficult and dangerous injury. 

"He came back, played 50 minutes [then] 55 and he was injured again. 

"We want it and I want Sergio fit. I am not discovering how important he is for us, what he has done in the Premier League. But we have to be careful to not get back again and be injured again. 

"You have to see the moment to put him [on the pitch]. Hopefully it can be soon and he can maintain the regularity to play games." 

Aguero is likely to feature during either the midweek Champions League trip to Olympiacos or Burnley's visit the Etihad Stadium next Saturday. 

A packed schedule has City in action every midweek until the end of England's festive fixture period - a situation that is far from ideal as Guardiola ponders tactical tweaks to a team that again showed familiar flaws in north London. 

"It's impossible. Impossible," he replied when asked how realistic it was to make major adjustments on the training field. 

"But all the clubs are the same - I'm not saying we are at an advantage or a disadvantage. But it is impossible. There is not time."

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