Liverpool have confirmed Virgil van Dijk has damaged ligaments in his knee and is likely to miss most of the rest of the season.

The Netherlands international is set to undergo surgery on an injury sustained in the first half of the 2-2 Merseyside derby draw following a challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The Reds were leading 1-0 thanks to a goal from Sadio Mane after two minutes and 15 seconds at Goodison Park, the fastest scored in this fixture in the Premier League era.

Barely three minutes later, Fabinho looped the ball into the Everton penalty area towards Van Dijk and Pickford lunged into the centre-back, missing the ball.

Pickford was spared the risk of a penalty and possible card from the referee as Van Dijk was narrowly offside when Fabinho crossed.

Van Dijk was treated on the pitch but was unable to continue, walking gingerly down the touchline as Joe Gomez came on to replace him.

"Liverpool FC can confirm Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Everton," the Premier League champions said in a statement on Sunday.

"The centre-back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park.

"Van Dijk was required to be substituted and further assessment on the injury has revealed an operation will be needed.

"No specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.

"Following surgery, Van Dijk will begin a rehabilitation programme with the club's medical team to enable him to reach full fitness as soon as possible."

Manager Jurgen Klopp said he did not have a clear view of the incident but was critical of the general use of VAR in the 2-2 draw, with a marginal offside call having denied Jordan Henderson a late winner.

"I didn't see it back, it took a while so obviously the offside was not too big and Pickford kicks him completely," he told Sky Sports.

"Then the Henderson goal, it was the pass for Sadio, and I didn't see offside. Maybe somebody can explain it to me. The picture I've seen was not offside."

The loss of Van Dijk comes as Liverpool enter a packed run of matches until the next international break in November.

They play six times in the next three weeks, including Champions League games against Ajax, Midtjylland and Atalanta and a Premier League trip to Manchester City on November 7.

After 2,709 days, Gareth Bale is a Premier League player again.

The Wales star came off the bench in Tottenham's clash with West Ham on Sunday for his first appearance since rejoining on loan from Real Madrid.

 

He replaced Steven Bergwijn in the 72nd minute, with Tottenham leading 3-0 at the time thanks to two early goals from Harry Kane and a first-minute strike from Son Heung-min.

Bale was straight into the action too, having a shot saved almost immediately after his introduction.

It was Bale's first game in England's top flight since May 19, 2013, when he helped Spurs to a 1-0 win over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.

He scored the only goal of that contest in the 89th minute as Spurs just missed out on a top-four spot, finishing a point behind Arsenal in the table.

The home side, then managed by Andre Villas-Boas, struggled against a Sunderland side who narrowly avoided relegation but Bale managed nine shots in the game – five of which were on target.

His goal, when it finally came, took him to 37 goal involvements in all competitions – only Robin van Persie (39) and Juan Mata (49) were involved in more for a Premier League club that season.

Bale then completed his £100million move to Real Madrid and went on to score 80 times in 171 appearances in LaLiga, his last goal coming against Villarreal on September 1, 2019.

Liverpool have confirmed Virgil van Dijk has damaged ligaments in his knee and is likely to miss most of the rest of the season.

The Netherlands international is set to undergo surgery on an injury sustained in the first half of the 2-2 Merseyside derby draw following a challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Tottenham star Harry Kane set a new Premier League record in the first half of Sunday's clash with West Ham.

Kane set up Son Heung-min to open the scoring in the first minute at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a fine long pass.

The England striker then scored two of his own in the next quarter of an hour, drilling an effort beyond Lukasz Fabianski from the edge of the box before heading in a pinpoint cross from Sergio Reguilon.

Spurs' flying start saw Kane reach 12 goal involvements (five scored, seven assisted) in his first five matches of the 2020-21 league season. No player has ever managed as many in their opening five games of a campaign in the Premier League era, with the previous best of 11 set by Thierry Henry for Arsenal in 2004-05.

The 27-year-old has been involved in a remarkable 23 goals in his most recent 12 competitive outings for Spurs, scoring 15 and assisting eight. He has managed at least one goal and one assist in each of his past three games.

Kane and Son's partnership continues to flourish. They have combined for 28 goals in the Premier League, the fourth most of any combination in the competition's history and only six goals behind record-holders Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba (36).

The duo have thrived under Jose Mourinho. Since he took charge last November, Kane (33) and Son (30) have had a direct hand in more goals in all competitions than any other players in England's top tier.

Gareth Bale could make his first appearance since rejoining Tottenham after he was named on the bench for the Premier League fixture with West Ham.

The Welshman returned to his former club on loan from Real Madrid in late September but was unable to play immediately due to a knee injury.

Spurs always said the target was for Bale to feature after the international games in October, and that is set to be the case as they resume domestic duties following the break.

Jose Mourinho has included Bale among the substitutes for Sunday's game, along with another new recruit in Carlos Vinicius.

Bale scored 55 goals in 203 matches for Spurs during his first stint. He was twice named PFA Player of the Year, the second time coming after a 2012-13 campaign that saw him register 26 goals in 44 matches in all competitions.

The 31-year-old moved to Madrid and managed over a century of goals during his spell in Spain, helping the LaLiga club win the Champions League on four occasions.

However, he became a peripheral figure under Zinedine Zidane during their title-winning campaign in 2019-20, making just 20 appearances in all competitions.

Tottenham have lost just three of their last 27 home London derbies in the Premier League, while Mourinho has never suffered defeat in 12 previous meetings with Hammers boss David Moyes.

Jadon Sancho did not leave Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United because the Red Devils "misjudged" the situation, according to Hans-Joachim Watzke.

England winger Sancho was said to be United's number one target during the transfer window but Dortmund refused to budge from a reported €120million asking price.

The failed lengthy pursuit led to renewed criticism of United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and his dealings in the market.

After the deadline, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc admitted Sancho would have been allowed to depart Signal Iduna Park had the club's demands been met.

CEO Watzke further expanded on Dortmund's position, though did not specifically name United when discussing what occurred.

"[They] misjudged the situation. We would be more willing to compromise. We had a clear line and will continue to do so next summer," Watzke told ZDF Sports.

"In this industry, you can never say that a player is completely unsellable." 

United are already rumoured to be planning a fresh move for Sancho in the January window when big-money moves are generally harder to strike.

Watzke was asked if he felt Sancho would have left amid rumours he was keen for a switch to Old Trafford.

"I heard and read everywhere in the spring that Sancho was gone. But he's here," he added.

"We had an agreement with him and it didn't look like that." 

Former Manchester United and Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck has joined Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 29-year-old, who left Watford at the end of last season, has signed a one-year contract with Graham Potter's side.

He could be in line to make his debut in the Premier League game against West Brom on October 26.

"We are delighted to have Danny joining us. He will complement our existing striking options," Potter said via Brighton's website.

"He's got an undoubted pedigree, and he is quick and technically very good. He will add to our attacking threat and we are thrilled to add another player of his experience and quality."

Welbeck has only started nine league matches in the past two seasons, having endured significant injury problems in recent years.

A Premier League winner with United in 2012-13, the club he joined as a boy, Welbeck moved to Arsenal in 2014 after being deemed surplus to requirements by Louis van Gaal.

He managed four goals and three assists in 27 league games in his first season with the Gunners and scored against his old club to knock them out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford, but he missed the latter weeks of the season with a knee injury that later required surgery.

Welbeck, who has been capped 42 times by England, at last returned in February 2016 only to suffer another knee injury that saw him miss Euro 2016 and kept him sidelined for close to another year.

He worked his way back into the Arsenal side and managed 28 league appearances in 2017-18, but a broken ankle sustained in a Europa League match with Sporting CP effectively ended his Gunners career.

After his Arsenal contract expired last year, he signed for Watford, scoring three times in 20 games in all competitions before being released in October.

Bruno Fernandes says Manchester United players were shocked to see Aaron Wan-Bissaka scoring against Newcastle United, claiming: "We didn't know he could shoot!"

The full-back marked his 50th appearance for the Red Devils with his first goal for the club in Saturday's 4-1 victory at St James' Park.

Fernandes had earlier put the visitors ahead, having missed his first of 11 penalties for the Red Devils, after Harry Maguire had cancelled out an early Luke Shaw own goal.

Wan-Bissaka made it 3-1 with an emphatic strike following a one-two with Marcus Rashford, who added a late fourth.

It was the 22-year-old's first goal in England's top flight in his 80th appearance in the competition. In that time, he has attempted 18 shots and found the target just three times.

Fernandes says the players were teasing Wan-Bissaka in the dressing room, suggesting his goal was actually a bad cross.

"We didn't know he could shoot!" he said to MUTV. "It's difficult to believe that he can score because we never see him shoot.

"We were joking to him in the dressing room, saying that we all thought he wanted to cross and he had a bad one and scored.

"I'm happy for him; he deserved to be involved in these situations.  We want him to be more positive, more in the box, because he has such great qualities.

"Everyone knows him as a defensive player but he can show more as an offensive player. I think he has the quality to do that."

Wan-Bissaka, the 116th different United player to score in the Premier League, admitted he had no thoughts of finesse when he bore down on goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who saved eight of the 28 shots attempted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

"It's a good feeling, quite an inspiring one. It was a good team performance as well," said the former Crystal Palace man.

"I just wanted to smash it. The keeper had been saving a few shots during the game, so I thought, 'This time, let me just roof it'."

Will Manchester City land Lionel Messi?

City were reportedly close to luring Messi to the Premier League during the previous transfer window.

Messi remains at Barcelona, but City are believed to be planning another move.

 

TOP STORY – CITY CONTEMPLATING MESSI MOVE

Manchester City are considering an offer to prise Lionel Messi from Barcelona in January, according to the Daily Star.

Messi handed in a transfer request at the start of the season and the Barca captain was tipped to join City before opting to remain at Camp Nou.

Pep Guardiola's City, however, have not given up on Messi as they eye a £15million (€16m) bid for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner – who was also linked to Juventus, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain previously.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror claims Barca are eyeing January moves for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and City defender Eric Garcia. Lyon captain Memphis Depay has also been linked.

Liverpool and Tottenham are set to battle it out for the signing of Leeds United's £50million midfielder Kalvin Phillips, reports the Mirror.

- The Sun says Manchester United are circling for Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde. United believe a swap deal involving Paul Pogba could be possible due to Valverde's £640m (€705m) release clause.

N'Golo Kante has no intention of leaving Chelsea, according to Le10 Sport. The France international has been linked to Inter and Madrid.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted Donny van de Beek will get game time as he tries to balance his starting XI.

Van de Beek came off the bench as struggling United overturned an early deficit to rout Newcastle United 4-1 in Premier League action on Saturday.

The Netherlands international swapped Ajax for United before the transfer window closed amid much fanfare but he is yet to start a league match for the Red Devils.

Solskjaer resisted calls to start Van de Beek following United's 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Tottenham prior to the international break – the Dutch midfielder replacing Daniel James 14 minutes from the end at St James' Park.

Asked about Van de Beek as he attempts to accommodate Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay, Solskjaer told reporters: "He'll get his game time. He's been fantastic in the group.

"I think you see today and in training, he's so neat and tidy, I don't think he lost the ball once.

"It's about finding the balance in the team. We've won 4-1 today and you're asking why I didn't start one of the players.

"He'll have a very good impact on the team."

Under-fire United captain Harry Maguire headed in a 23rd-minute equaliser to cancel out Luke Shaw's second-minute own goal before Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford scored during the closing stages.

The Red Devils had lost two of their opening three Premier League fixtures before enjoying their 10th comeback win against Newcastle in England's top flight – the most by any side against a single opponent in the competition, per Opta.

United are 14th in the Premier League table through four games, seven points adrift of leaders Everton.

Solskjaer's United will open their Champions League campaign at last season's finalists Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

Bruno Fernandes heaped praise on "big player" Harry Maguire after the under-fire defender responded to criticism by scoring in Manchester United's 4-1 Premier League victory at Newcastle United.

Maguire entered Saturday's showdown under the microscope and his position in question following a red card for England during their Nations League loss to Denmark during the week.

But the world's most expensive centre-back bounced back amid his struggles for club and country at St James' Park, where he headed in a 23rd-minute equaliser to cancel out Luke Shaw's second-minute own goal before Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford scored during the closing stages.

Fernandes, who missed a penalty, hailed Maguire in the midst of external and social media noise, which came to a head during the previous transfer window as fans demanded new signings.

"We are happy for Harry. Harry is a big player. He is playing for the one of the biggest teams in the world, he is captain of one of the biggest teams in the world and he plays for a big national team," Fernandes – directly involved in 19 goals in his 18 Premier League appearances, scoring in each of his last three matches – told MUTV.

"I think it's bad to be under fire but he has a great mentality. He needs to keep doing what he did today, not about the goal he scored because it's not what he has to do but defending like he has to do and giving us the chance up front to be secure when we lose the ball. We have a great defence with him and the guys who played today and the others who were on the bench or at home.

"Everyone is talking about we need a defender, midfielder, a striker, a winger, it's easier talking from outside saying we need everything without being on the pitch. I think, us, we need to look for each other, help each other and be positive as a team.

"We can defend ourselves on the pitch, not on social media. It was important for me to talk in that moment after the national team, I have no problem talking openly about nothing. The most important thing was the response we gave on the pitch."

United also responded collectively from their 6-1 humbling at the hands of Jose Mourinho's Tottenham prior to the international break.

The Red Devils had lost two of their opening three Premier League fixtures before enjoying their 10th comeback win against Newcastle in England's top flight – the most by any side against a single opponent in the competition, per Opta.

"I think the team has big characters and big players," Portugal international Fernandes, who missed his first penalty for United in what was his 11th spot-kick taken since joining from Sporting CP in January, added.

"What happened against Tottenham can't happen again. We play for such a big club and such a big team. This club deserves better than that. Everyone needs to be better, starting with me, I need to look at myself first and then at what the group needs to do better.

"Today it was perfect, after that defeat. I think we need to continue improving, don’t concede goals, as I said before, and keep scoring."

United are 14th in the Premier League table through four games, seven points adrift of leaders Everton.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United will open their Champions League campaign at last season's finalists Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed a new dawn in Manchester United's 2020-21 campaign after they accelerated away from Newcastle United in the closing stages at St James' Park on Saturday.

United had been thrashed 6-1 at home by Tottenham in their previous match before the international break and looked set for another testing outing when Luke Shaw's own goal gave Newcastle a second-minute lead.

However, the Red Devils responded impressively to win 4-1, with Harry Maguire's equaliser followed by late goals from Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford, even allowing for the scorer of the second to miss a penalty.

Solskjaer was delighted with his team's character as they now look to build on this result and picked out Maguire - under-fire after poor performances with club and country - for special praise.

"It's a great result and great character to come back, led by a very inspirational captain," Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

"The boys came together really well. They are looking forward to every game. Today I rested a few and they have come on and done the business for us.

"Harry scored and leads by example. He showed good character, I am happy for him. He had a couple of difficult weeks since he last played for us.

"The season started for us today. We have come up to the speed of the game and that showed today."

With Paris Saint-Germain to come on Tuesday, a United team already weakened by the enforced absences of Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani saw some big names start on the bench.

Paul Pogba was chief among them and was joined by Donny van de Beek and Alex Telles - two new signings - while Mason Greenwood did not even make the 18.

Solskjaer revealed Pogba was restricted to a role as a second-half substitute partly due to fitness complaints while away with France.

"Paul had hip and back problems when he was away with France, so it wasn't right to start him," the manager explained after bringing on both the World Cup winner and Van de Beek with the game still level.

"We have got big games coming up. Everyone has to perform when they come on. I am delighted for him."

Harry Maguire insisted there was no "big crisis" at Manchester United despite their poor start to the season as they bounced back to beat Newcastle United 4-1 at St James' Park.

United headed into the international break at a low ebb after suffering a 6-1 home humiliation at the hands of Tottenham - a second defeat in their opening three Premier League games this term.

But after a fortnight away - in which time Maguire's form was again placed under the microscope amid an England red card - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side responded in Saturday's match.

They trailed to Luke Shaw's dismal second-minute own goal, yet Maguire headed in the equaliser and United's patience finally paid in the closing stages.

Dominant for much of the match but still level after Bruno Fernandes saw a penalty saved, Solskjaer's men finally got their breakthrough as the Portugal midfielder made amends and then both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford got in on the act.

Maguire was delighted with the reaction from his team but dismissed the crisis talk, telling Sky Sports: "I wouldn't say we have answered [the critics].

"It's funny, three games into the season and it seems like a big crisis. Won two, lost two. There is a long way to go, we have to improve.

"When you play for this club and get beat at home, we ask questions. We work hard in training - it is a great group - and we knew we had to bounce back.

"I felt it would have been really harsh if we came away with just a point. It is a fully deserved win.

"It was important. Every game in the Premier League, we want to be on top. Some games we will not be at our best but we have to do the basics well. In the games we lost, we didn't do the basics well.

"We knew we needed to get three points and we managed to do so. We've got a tough run coming up.

"We are still a young team, but we won't use that as an excuse. It was disappointing to start like we had, but it was a big performance tonight when we needed it."

Newcastle became the first opponents Maguire has scored twice against in the Premier League, having also netted for Leicester City, but team-mate Fernandes looked set to be frustrated for long periods.

The January signing had not missed any of his prior 10 penalties for United but could not beat Karl Darlow from 12 yards.

Fernandes made sure to get the Red Devils back on track himself, though, scoring in the 86th minute and also creating the fourth goal for Rashford with 96 minutes on the clock.

He told BBC's Match of the Day: "I already change [the penalty technique] sometimes. Today it didn't work.

"I need to do what is better for the game; today was not the right choice but it doesn't matter. I missed the penalty and have to keep improving in the next games."

Bruno Fernandes recovered from a rare penalty miss to set up a late 4-1 Premier League win for Manchester United at Newcastle United on Saturday.

The Portugal international, who had never previously failed from 12 yards for United, looked to have passed up the visitors' best chance of victory at St James' Park when Karl Darlow produced a magnificent stop.

That spot-kick came after Harry Maguire - fit despite a knock on international duty - cancelled out a second-minute Luke Shaw own goal, with United dominant but set to be frustrated heading into the closing stages.

A rapid counter-attack produced the breakthrough moment, though, as Fernandes picked out the top-right corner before Aaron Wan-Bissaka lashed in a third and Marcus Rashford finished the 96th-minute fourth, ensuring United bounced back from the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham with all three points.

Everton star Richarlison has apologised for his challenge on Thiago Alcantara in Saturday's Merseyside derby.

Richarlison was shown a straight red card in the 90th minute of the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, having lunged in on Liverpool playmaker Thiago, who was making his first Premier League start.

His dismissal looked to have cost Everton when Jordan Henderson netted in stoppage time, only for VAR to controversially disallow the goal for offside.

In his post-match comments, Jurgen Klopp suggested the severity of the injury sustained by Thiago in the challenge was unknown, though revealed: "It looks not good."

Richarlison, who hit the post with a header midway through the second half, has subsequently issued an apology to Thiago, though he insisted no harm was intended.

"Everyone who knows my background knows that I was never a violent player," Richarlison wrote in a statement issued on his official website.

"What happened today was an accident from sheer over-dedication. I did not enter that dispute with the intention of hurting Thiago. 

"When I saw that the collision was going to happen, I picked up my foot and hit him with my knee, which was inevitable due to the speed of the play.

"I already sent a message to him apologising and I also do it here publicly. I hope he hasn't been hurt and that everything is fine. 

"I also apologise to my team-mates, my club and my fans for leaving them with one less [player] at the end of the game. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to change what happened, other than to reflect, work and move on."

Richarlison's dismissal was the 22nd in a Premier League clash between Liverpool and Everton, who have been shown 15 red cards.

On top of a possible injury for Thiago, Liverpool also have concerns over Virgil van Dijk, who was forced off after a challenge from Jordan Pickford – who escaped punishment – early on.

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