Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho said he is prepared to break social-distancing rules just so he can hug Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Mourinho's struggling Tottenham will welcome Ancelotti and Everton to London for Monday's Premier League clash.

Spurs boss Mourinho heaped praise on counterpart Ancelotti ahead of the showdown – pitting ninth against 11th in the table – with the Portuguese willing to break coronavirus protocol for his love of the Everton coach.

"I think everyone in football admires Carlo [Ancelotti] as a coach and as a person," Mourinho told reporters.

"If you don't know him as a person at least you know him as a coach. I like him so much as a person that I'm going to say the obvious, which is that he is one of the top managers in the world in the last two decades and of course now.

"I think it's a privilege for the Premier League to have Carlo back. It's a privilege for Everton to have him as their manager or head coach, whatever you want to call him.

"As a person, I've had the privilege of knowing him for a few years, to stay and be with him a few times, at UEFA meetings or other different occasions and I just love Carlo.

"I think he is a fantastic guy so I think I am going to break the rule of one-metre distancing and I'm going to hug him because I like Carlo very much."

Tottenham have only won one of their past nine games across all competitions following Thursday's 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United.

Spurs – Champions League runners-up under former manager Mauricio Pochettino last season – are 12 points adrift of the top four with six matches remaining.

"I believe, but it is also possible that does not happen. And if that does not happen it is not the end of the world. If that does not happen, it is probably the beginning of a new world because things change," Mourinho added.

"Change for you, change for other clubs. The squads they change. The motivations they change, the group dynamic changes. The group that possibly was strong 10 years is ago is not strong anymore. A player that was in the maximum of his motivation is not anymore and vice-versa.

"It is also possible that we don't get into a top-six position. And if that happens of course we have to look at it not smiling, but we have to look at it with optimism and look at it with a professional profile of next season has to be different.

"Because if you analyse Tottenham for example last year, how many matches did Tottenham win away from home? When I arrived I think it was almost a year without an away victory. If it happens [finishing outside of the top six], it happens but we don't want it to happen and we are going to fight for it not to happen."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard wants his players to embrace the pressure of trying to qualify for the Champions League in their Premier League battle with in-form Manchester United.

Lampard's Chelsea moved back into the top four with a 3-0 win over Watford after United had briefly leapfrogged them following a 5-2 thrashing of Bournemouth earlier on Saturday.

Chelsea are fourth in the table, two points clear of United with five matches remaining in the Premier League, as the top-four race goes down to the wire.

And Lampard told his players to ignore United, who have gone 16 matches without defeat across all competitions, after bouncing back from Wednesday's shock 3-2 loss at West Ham.

"I think every game is going to be pressure now," Lampard told reporters. "West Ham was pressure because we knew we could go third. It's a different kind of pressure but it's still the same in how you focus on the game and job at hand.

"You cannot get too caught up in what everyone does at the moment. We did that tonight. There was no nonsense. The mentality was right. We started brightly and we carried on and got the small details of the game right at both ends of the pitch, which I was happy with."

"It is not a comparison to get too caught up in," Lampard said. "They are a very good team; we know that. The individuals that they have, the squad, the coaches that they have. We can only respect that.

"I watched their game early and with the individual quality when you look across their frontline you see two players on 20 goals and Mason Greenwood doing what he is doing scoring regularly.

"[Bruno] Fernandes and [Paul] Pogba in midfield, the signing of Harry Maguire. They are a really strong outfit. We know that and the fact we are two points ahead we have to be happy about.

"We know it is going to be contested right until the end of the season with the form that they are in. With respect to Manchester United and the teams around us, we have to focus on ourselves and try to keep picking up results. That will be the main importance to us."

Olivier Giroud, Willian and Ross Barkley were on target for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

However, midfielder N'Golo Kante suffered a hamstring injury in the win after he was withdrawn with 12 minutes remaining in London.

Lampard, who insisted Jorginho remains part of his plans despite finding himself out of the line-up, added: "N'Golo has got a small hamstring [injury] which we'll have to scan tomorrow [Sunday] and see how bad it is.

"We hope it's small, that's what I've been told so far. After the scan we'll know but I'm guessing it'll be a problem for [Crystal] Palace on Tuesday."

Lampard also heaped praise on goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has been linked with a return to LaLiga, after the former Athletic Bilbao star produced an agile save to thwart Danny Welbeck.

"I am pleased for him and the back four in front of him as well because I thought we defended pretty well when we needed to," Lampard said. "But the moment when we slipped and they got in; he made a really good save.

"That's what you want from your goalkeeper, you want them to make those saves and stay alert. It will be good for his confidence along with the clean sheet as well."

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick said Robert Lewandowski can win the Ballon d'Or after taking his season tally to 51 goals after the German champions won the DFB-Pokal title.

Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern eased past Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 on Saturday to retain their DFB-Pokal crown and wrap up a domestic double for the second successive season.

After David Alaba and Serge Gnabry put Bayern ahead, Lewandowski took centre stage in the second half with goals in the 59th and 89th minutes behind closed doors in Berlin.

It continued Lewandowski's red-hot form in 2019-20 after the Poland international star exceeded half a century of goals across all competitions this term.

Lewandowski topped the Bundesliga charts with 34 goals to lead Bayern to an eighth consecutive title, while he has netted 11 in the Champions League as Europe's premier club competition prepares to return next month.

And Flick backed Lewandowski for Ballon d'Or glory post-match, telling reporters: "Fifty-one goals are already very strong. The first goal Lewy scored, the third goal we scored, was already excellent.

"The way he takes the ball down there and the way he locks up. Of course, he's had a bit of luck with that as well. But that's what distinguishes him, that he has this confidence in his quality.

"If I measure for goals now and I see that he has scored 34 goals in the Bundesliga this year, then you can think about how a player from the Bundesliga can become the Ballon d'Or winner. So why not? He has laid all the groundwork with this achievement this year and I would wish him well."

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or in 2019, edging Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The last Bayern player to receive the individual honour was Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in 1981.

Pep Guardiola has challenged Manchester City to approach the final stages of this season's Champions League with the desire and passion to become kings of Europe. 

City return to action at Southampton on Sunday after a resounding 4-0 victory over the Liverpool side who deposed them as Premier League champions. 

Such is the scale of Liverpool's lead at the top of the table – Thursday's reverse merely trimmed it to 20 points – that the Champions League has long been the competition that looks likely to define City's season, even allowing for the fact they could add the FA Cup to an already retained EFL Cup. 

Having swept the board domestically during his Etihad Stadium tenure, Guardiola is aiming to complete the set by lifting a trophy he has not won since prevailing twice with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011. 

City hold a 2-1 first-leg lead over Real Madrid ahead of their August return, which could be moved from Manchester to Lisbon if UEFA rule a game in the United Kingdom to be unworkable due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Guardiola acknowledged a confidence boost from thrashing Liverpool and believes it will be essential to harness a positive mentality against Madrid - lending greater weight to this than the bright tactical tweaks that bested Jurgen Klopp's side. 

"Every game is different from the other one," he said. "I cannot deny that beating Liverpool the way we beat them gives us… football is feelings, is moments. 

"Sometimes your mood is up, sometimes it's down and you face these games. We beat maybe the best team in the world right now. We can do it. 

"Madrid play in a different way, we have to adjust to their qualities. What I want is to arrive in the best conditions possible for these games. 

"These games are not won with tactics and ideas. It is desire, it's is passion. We want to do it. And when one team wants to do it, okay they can be beaten, but it will not be easy for the opponent." 

Lisbon will also host the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals of this season's competition as a mini-tournament, with a switch to one-off games from the standard two-legged format. 

That would at least spare City from exiting on away goals again, as was the case in their respective 2017 and 2019 knockout ties against Monaco and Tottenham, which finished 6-6 and 4-4 respectively. 

Guardiola does not want those setbacks, uncertainty over where the Madrid game will be staged or City's ongoing case with UEFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to build a perception of his club being doomed in their quest for Champions League glory. 

"This club is fantastic and we learn to accept our defeats. It is part of football, part of life," he said. "Learn from this, maybe one day we will be lucky 

"I know exactly what happened all the time in the last years in the Champions League. It is a competition where the details make the difference. 

"In the second leg against Madrid we would love to be here, in our city to feel close to our people. But we will go where UEFA decides we have to play. If we have to go to Portugal, we will go." 

CAS is soon set to deliver its verdict on whether City's appeal against a two-year ban from UEFA competitions for Financial Fair Play breaches will be upheld. 

"We are waiting. I have a lot of confidence and trust that we will be allowed to play in the Champions League," Guardiola added. 

"On July 13 we'll know the resolution and hopefully for the club, for all the workers, staff and everyone we can continue to grow up as a club in the next years." 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp thinks Bayern Munich and Manchester City are the clear favourites to win this season's Champions League.

Both teams are in strong positions to progress to the quarter-finals, City having beaten Real Madrid 2-1 while Bayern eased to a 3-0 victory away to Chelsea in the last-16 first legs.

This season's competition is set to resume in August in a mini-tournament format in Lisbon, having been put on hold since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Liverpool's defence of the trophy was ended in a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Atletico Madrid, and Klopp expects one of City or Bayern to triumph.

"For me, the two big favourites are Bayern and Man City," he said ahead of Liverpool's Premier League meeting with Aston Villa. "That would be an interesting game.

"Bayern played obviously a very impressive season in Germany. After Hansi Flick took over, it was really impressive what they did. These are the two favourites. I don't know exactly how it could happen - we'll see in the semi-final or whatever.

"The competition will be really interesting because it's completely new. When you see Man City, when you see the squad... everybody needs luck: if you want to win the Champions League, you should have your best line-up ready for the final if that's possible.

"It's not that the other teams have no chance, but I really think these two are the favourites. Massive, massive chance. But, even in the game [Liverpool's 4-0 loss to City on Thursday], which City won deservedly, we should have scored three goals.

"We should have and we would have on a normal day. They have so much quality, but no team in the world is perfect. City are not, Bayern are not, we are not. But you need to be nearly perfect in these moments to win the Champions League, obviously.

"I will watch it, the little tournament, it will be really interesting, but unfortunately, we have nothing really to do with it this year."

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insisted he was not yet thinking about the Champions League.

A brace from Alvaro Morata and a Koke goal saw Atletico beat Real Mallorca 3-0 on Friday to extend their unbeaten run to 14 matches in all competitions.

Part of that run was eliminating Liverpool in the Champions League last 16 to book their spot in the quarter-finals.

But Simeone, whose side consolidated third spot in the LaLiga table, said the Champions League was not yet a concern, even with the quarter-final draw to be held on July 10.

"I'm not thinking at all about the Champions League at the moment," he told a news conference.

"There's still four very important games left, against teams who are also fighting for places in LaLiga. We're just going to keep competing until the end of the season, like we always do.

"Now we have a slightly bigger time to rest, which is every four days if I'm not mistaken.

"And now we're just going to keep trying to have a little bit of continuity because there's slightly more time to recover. Now the players are starting to get ready and accustomed to quickly getting ready physically again for the next game."

Atletico are in action again on Tuesday, when they visit Celta Vigo.

Raheem Sterling is hoping Manchester City can reach two finals to finish the season.

With Liverpool having sealed the Premier League title, City's chances of adding to their Community Shield and EFL Cup successes this season are in the Champions League and FA Cup.

Pep Guardiola's side will face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals, while they will carry a 2-1 lead into their Champions League last-16 second leg against Real Madrid.

Sterling, who scored in City's 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool on Thursday, is eyeing two finals to finish the campaign.

"Hopefully, we can finish with an FA Cup final and a Champions League final," the star attacker said, via the club's website.

"We are a team that missed out on the Premier League and we have got to go on and try to do our best as we can in all competitions and that is the FA Cup and the Champions League.

"It is difficult seeing Liverpool take the title from us, but they have been brilliant all year.

"On Thursday, it was just another game, but it was a chance to finish high. In the Premier League we need to win all our games and finish on a high in the FA Cup and the Champions League."

City are away to Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday.

New Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane has made winning the Champions League his "top priority" in Bavaria.

Sane's long-awaited move from Manchester City to Bayern in his native Germany was confirmed on Friday.

The 24-year-old has signed a five-year contract following a transfer for which, Stats Perform News understands, Bayern have paid an initial €49million (£44.5m), potentially rising to €60m (£54.5m).

Sane was a Bayern target last year before injury ruled him out for much of the 2019-20 campaign, but he is delighted to have finalised the deal, quickly revealing some lofty ambitions.

"FC Bayern is a great club with big goals and these goals suit me as well," Sane said. "I'm looking forward to the new challenge and can't wait to train with the team.

"I know Hansi Flick from the under-21 national team, we had a very good relationship there.

"I want to win as many trophies as possible with FC Bayern, and the Champions League is the top priority."

Sane will not be available for Bayern in this season's Champions League, however, with the Bundesliga champions considered among the favourites ahead of August's eight-team finals.

Meanwhile, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic thanked City for "trusting and constructive negotiations", and the Premier League club wished Sane well.

Manager Pep Guardiola, formerly of Bayern, said: "We wish Leroy all the best in this new chapter of his career.

"Leroy has been part of one of the most special periods in this club's history and he leaves with the best wishes of everyone here at Manchester City."

City director of football Txiki Begiristain added: "From arriving as a fledgling young talent four years ago, we are proud of the contribution Leroy has made since joining Manchester City.

"He leaves with many friends and fond memories of his time at the Etihad."

Sane scored 39 goals in 135 appearances for City in all competitions, helping Guardiola's side to win the Premier League and EFL Cup in 2017-18 followed by a domestic treble the following season.

He addressed the City fans on his Twitter page, writing: "Thanks so much for the great time and all the support over the past four years.

"It has been a really intense and successful time which I surely won't forget."

The unique competition between the Champions League last eight in August is likely to produce a surprise winner, according to Abel Xavier.

Former Portugal international Xavier is thrilled the country's capital city of Lisbon will host one-off matches from the quarter-final stage onwards as the competition ends with a mini-tournament.

Atalanta and RB Leipzig are among the teams already to have secured their place in the last eight, along with Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.

Lyon and Napoli are hoping to upset Juventus and Barcelona respectively when the last-16 stage is concluded, while Bayern Munich and Manchester City – who lead their own ties – are rated as favourites to win the competition.

But Xavier feels the unique format and environment could benefit the sides who are not used to playing in the final stages.

"Yes, I think from my analysis of what I've seen with surprising results that have been happening in the [domestic] leagues, there is an extra buzz with the top teams because of the fans," Xavier said to Stats Perform News.

"There is a moment where fans give a buzz to the top teams. I think there is going to be a surprise in this last stage. 

"There are teams who are in the group and they can surprise because the teams are more exposed. 

"The teams who aren't used to being in this stage, they are more strong mentally because they play more freely, they play more open and the gap [in quality] will reduce, making games more competitive.

"For that reason, I honestly believe that it is going to be difficult and there will be a surprise in the end."

Xavier hopes the Champions League conclusion will be a fitting reward for those who have worked hardest during the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Liverpool defender added: "It's a completely different environment because of the pandemic situation and everybody readjusts. There is sporting reasons and also economic reasons.

"When you're looking at the leagues and what options they have to play and finish the leagues, there are a few countries that have decided to not continue playing, repeating the health issues.

"They for me are the priority - before football comes health. Of course, everyone must be protected and safe. 

"Portugal is one of the countries that has managed the [COVID-19] crisis very well. I think when you look at the impact, now things are becoming better, I think it's a safe place [to play football]. 

"For that reason, I believe that the opportunity to receive the eight best teams and play this kind of format in Lisbon is also a way to appreciate and say thanks for all those who made these events possible. 

"We are talking about people who work in health, hospitals because we are talking about health matters. If you are not safe you cannot have football either. 

"For that reason, I think Portugal, if things keep going the same way [with COVID-19], the teams will come here and it's going to be a great competition in a positive way.

"It's also going to attract a very positive image in Portugal because when you look back, Portugal was able to organise the big events in the best way possible. 

"For that reason, I think the final stages will be possible and I hope we can have a percentage of the public in the stadium, that would also be an upgrade if things [with COVID-19] stay like this with safety."

Jurgen Klopp says he would never compare himself with Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish and Bill Shankly, despite winning the Premier League and Champions League.

Liverpool ended their three-decade wait for top-flight silverware last week, a little over a year on from being crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time.

Klopp is only the third manager in the club's history to win both trophies in their various guises, alongside Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan, with Dalglish and Shankly unable to achieve the feat.

However, ex-Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp - who also won the Club World Cup in December - insists he is not interested in comparisons with two of the club's all-time greats.

"I'm rather surprised to be honest," Klopp told Sky Sports. "The reasons why Kenny [didn't win] I know, but with Bill I don't know exactly why he couldn't win it.

"But it is not important. I would never compare myself with them. Nobody should do that actually. It was different times, building a club and carrying a club.

"It's a big achievement, I know that. I know how we did it, pretty much because of all the hard work people put in at Melwood and the passion that people showed for this club.

"It's never easy, it was not easy this time but it makes it much more valuable, worthy and emotional."

Like Klopp, Jordan Henderson has also written his name in Anfield folklore by joining Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson and Graeme Souness in captaining Liverpool to both major honours.

Henderson succeeded Steven Gerrard as skipper in 2015 and has proved his critics wrong with his performances over the past couple of seasons, much to Klopp's delight.

"I couldn't be more happy for him to be honest," the German said.

"If we speak about people carrying expectation around with them, Hendo could and should probably write a book about it and how he deals with that because it was massive when I came in here.

"I felt it pretty early, that it is really difficult to do his job. How people saw him as a player... thank God we all knew what kind of player he really is and together we could make that obvious.

"Now he is probably in the best place ever, in a good shape of course. Not only at the moment but this is of course the big one.

"I can't wait for him to be sitting in a TV studio two or three years after his career has finished, talking about Trent Alexander-Arnold and the other guys and telling them what is right and wrong!

"That will be good fun for sure."

Premier League champions Liverpool will emerge at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday to a guard of honour from previous title-holders Manchester City.

It will be the latest episode in the captivating rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.

We run the rule over two men whose tactical approaches and high levels of achievement have – and it does not feel too grandiose to suggest this – changed football in the 21st century, as well as one another.

THE BUNDESLIGA YEARS

Guardiola's arrival to take the reins of a treble-winning Bayern for 2013-14 came shortly after their rivalry with Klopp's Dortmund reached its peak.

Arjen Robben's 89th-minute winner saw Bayern down BVB 2-1 in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley – a game played out against a backdrop of Dortmund's star playmaker Mario Gotze agreeing terms to move to Bavaria.

In hindsight, Klopp's gegenpressing machine – winners of back-to-back Bundesliga crowns in 2010-11 and 2011-12 – were coming off the top of their curve, having finished 25 points behind a relentless Bayern domestically that season.

The decline continued over the next two seasons. Dortmund were remarkably in relegation trouble halfway through 2014-15, before a post-Christmas recovery preceded Klopp's emotional farewell.

Nevertheless, there was still time for telling blows to be landed. Guardiola's first competitive game in charge saw Bayern beaten 4-2 in the 2013 DFL-Supercup at a delirious Signal Iduna Park.

Stung by that loss, Guardiola sprung a notable surprise in the first league encounter between the sides that November, where he broke Dortmund's rabid press by playing Javi Martinez as an attacking midfielder and repeatedly targeting the rangy Spain international with long balls.

The high priest of tiki-taka (a label Guardiola famously loathes) had presided over "more long balls than in the last three years combined" from a Bayern team, according to Klopp, who bristled after Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller added to Gotze's inevitable second-half opener in a 3-0 win.

A depleted Munich were similarly reactive when they won the DFB-Pokal final 2-0 in extra-time, even if flooding midfield numbers was a more recognisably Guardiola tactic.

Diverting from his dizzying 4-3-3 of swirling triangles has remained something the Catalan tactician has frequently done across his meetings with Klopp, and not always with the success he enjoyed in Germany.

HOLLOW VICTORIES AND THE PHONEY WAR

Klopp ended his homeland head-to-head against Guardiola with three victories, making it back-to-back Supercup triumphs in 2014, having claimed a 3-0 Bundesliga result at Allianz Arena earlier that year – the authority of which was dimmed by the fact Bayern had already cantered to the title.

Guardiola had four victories to his name, with one draw ultimately falling in Dortmund's favour as Bayern failed with all four of their penalty attempts in a 2015 DFB-Pokal semi-final shoot-out.

However, Klopp was denied a glorious farewell as his team lost in the final to Wolfsburg and the fact Robert Lewandowski had followed Gotze to Munich by this point underlined a deck stacked against him.

Liverpool came calling for Klopp in October 2015 and he helmed helter-skelter runs to the EFL Cup and Europa League finals. Manchester City and Sevilla prevailed respectively.

That was Manuel Pellegrini's final honour as City boss as he made way for Guardiola, who collected a third successive Bundesliga title in 2015-16. Thomas Tuchel's Dortmund finished closer in terms of position and points (second, 10 behind) than Klopp's version had managed when in direct competition.

With the stage presumably set for renewed hostilities between Guardiola and incoming Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, the similarly newly installed Antonio Conte did not read the script as Chelsea romped to 2016-17 Premier League glory.

Klopp got the better of his head-to-heads with City as a Georginio Wijnaldum goal sealed a 1-0 New Year's Eve win at Anfield before Sergio Aguero rescued a point for the hosts in the return game.

Guardiola laid it on thick after that 1-1 draw, declaring it to be "one of the most special days of my life".

"He is Spanish. They are a little bit more emotional than the Germans," Klopp chuckled in response.

TON-UP BUT NOT INVINCIBLE AND THE ROAD TO KIEV

Liverpool beat City three times in 2017-18, when most other teams could barely lay a glove on Guardiola's record-breaking side.

But the game where City prevailed, an unusual 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium where Liverpool subsided meekly after Sadio Mane's red card for clattering Ederson with a high boot, arguably had the biggest influence on the campaign.

When that game was 11 v 11, Guardiola's back three was horribly exposed. Aguero's opener arrived against the run of play, with an unusually wasteful Mohamed Salah having tormented Nicolas Otamendi.

City never used 3-5-2 in the league again that season, reverting to a swashbuckling 4-3-3 that churned out 19 consecutive wins and made the second half of the schedule a virtual procession.

Liverpool halted their designs on invincibility however, claiming a raucous 4-3 Anfield win in January. Klopp hailed "pressing from another planet" by his front three as Roberto Firmino, Mane and Salah were all on target in a euphoric nine-minute spell after half-time.

Guardiola had again seen a swift avalanche of goals bring the roof in during a big match and his tweak to a 4-4-2 diamond, eyeing avenues around those Liverpool pressing lanes, backfired in that season's Champions League quarter-final.

A 3-0 first-leg loss at Anfield, with all the goals arriving during the first half, left City with a mountain to climb and a death-or-glory approach in the return fixture – deploying a formation probably best described as 3-CHARGE!!! – eventually ran out of steam in a 2-1 loss.

But it was Liverpool who came up short in the Kiev final on Loris Karius' nightmare outing against Real Madrid, while City sauntered to a 100-point haul as dominant Premier League champions. Sitting 25 points back in fourth, the Reds had a considerable gap to bridge.

CHASING PERFECTION

Despite that deficit, their efforts in going blow-for-blow with City over 90-minute periods left the impression Liverpool were the best placed of the pretenders to overthrow the champions.

Both teams reconvened on Merseyside undefeated in October 2018 and remained that way as the free-flowing nature of recent meetings gave way to a cagey 0-0 draw.

Reprising the theme of those early Klassiker meetings, Guardiola took his foot off the throttle as City played at a controlled tempo – an approach that would have ended the club's Anfield hoodoo but for Riyad Mahrez's ballooned late penalty.

Fire and brimstone returned the following January, though, with a wobbling City recovering their poise and avoiding a 10-point deficit at the top. Aguero and Leroy Sane were on target either side of Firmino in a bravura display, where Aymeric Laporte took on the unfamiliar role of left-back to stifle Salah.

That was Liverpool's only loss of the season as they finished on 97 points, agonisingly one shy of City. However, their subsequent Champions League final win over Tottenham improbably propelled them further along.

Just as Guardiola has tempered some of his more cavalier tendencies when faced with Klopp, the challenge of an unrelenting City also forced the Liverpool boss into subtle and decisive tweaks.

In bringing in Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, he spent big for what many see as the finest goalkeeper and centre-back on the planet. Their very presence means risk can be reduced.

Heavy metal football has given way to a steady pulsing beat that never wavers. In the city of Merseybeat, Klopp has gone electro.

Amid their steamrollering of the opposition this season, Liverpool have 19 wins by a solitary goal in all competitions. They are frighteningly and ruthlessly clinical. A profligate City trail in their wake, although Guardiola has used this relative freedom from pressure to thumb intriguingly through his tactical playbook in 2020.

Both men have inspired the other to reach beyond their comfort zones and the result is the two best teams in world football. With Klopp contracted to Liverpool until 2024 and Guardiola talking up an extended stay, the thought occurs that they are each other's motivation for sticking around. There is nowhere better to measure their greatness than against one another.

Paris Saint-Germain will face Le Havre in a friendly this month as they prepare for two cup finals and the resumption of the Champions League.

The Ligue 1 champions, who were declared winners of the French top flight on a points-per-game basis after the season was abandoned in April because of the coronavirus pandemic, have not played since their March 11 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16.

They are set to face Saint-Etienne in the final of the Coupe de France on July 24 before meeting Lyon in the last ever Coupe de la Ligue final a week later.

Attention will then turn to the Champions League, with the quarter-finals set to take place from August 12-15 as the final three rounds of the tournament are completed in Lisbon.

PSG are back in training and will face Le Havre at the Ligue 2 side's Stade Oceane home in front of a maximum of 5,000 fans on July 3.

Their hopes of completing a quadruple were hit by the departures of Thomas Meunier and Edinson Cavani, who have departed the club after rejecting short-term extensions.

 

Another week, another Lionel Messi milestone.

The Barcelona forward has scored his 700th career goal just a little over two years since reaching 600 for club and country.

It's another remarkable feat for a footballer who continues to break new ground after turning 33.

Here, we look at the details behind the incredible numbers to see when, where and how he tends to find the net, who likes to set him up, and who is sick of the sight of him...

 

FOR BARCELONA:

- Messi has scored 630 goals in 724 appearances for Barca in all competitions - that's 0.87 per game on average. 

- His first goal came on May 1, 2005 against Albacete in LaLiga. Since then, he has reached 441 goals in 480 matches in Spain's top flight, at least 130 more than any other player in history.

- He has scored 114 goals in the Champions League, 53 in the Copa del Rey, 14 in the Supercopa de Espana, three in the UEFA Super Cup, and five in the Club World Cup.

 

FOR ARGENTINA:

- Messi has scored 70 senior international goals. His first came on March 1, 2006 in a friendly against Croatia, and his most recent was in a friendly last November against Uruguay.

- He has scored 34 goals in international friendlies, 21 in World Cup qualifiers, nine at the Copa America, and six at the World Cup.

 

PER YEAR:

- In each of the past 11 calendar years, Messi has scored at least 40 goals for club and country. In nine of the last 10, he has reached at least 50.

- His best record in a single year came in 2012, when he scored 91, breaking the previous record of 85 held by Germany great Gerd Muller. He already has 12 in 2020, despite the COVID-19 disruption.

 

HIS FAVOURITE OPPONENT:

- Messi has scored 37 goals in 39 games against Sevilla in all competitions. Next up are Atletico Madrid (32 in 41 games).

- He has managed 26 in 43 games against Real Madrid, making him the all-time top goalscorer in Clasico history.

- Messi has faced 40 different LaLiga teams and scored at least once against 37 of them. Last November, he became the first player to score against 34 different Champions League opponents, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul on 33.

 

HIS LEAST FAVOURITE OPPONENT:

- Only three LaLiga teams have ever avoided conceding a goal to Messi: Xerez, Real Murcia and Cadiz.

- Xerez are the only team Messi has faced more than once without scoring. He has played against them twice.

 

WHEN AND HOW HE SCORES:

- Messi has scored 43.32 per cent of his goals in the last 15 minutes of the first half or last 15 minutes of the second.

- He has scored 142 times from set-pieces: 90 penalties and 52 free-kicks.

- Only 24 of his career goals are headers. The most recent was back in March 2017 against Sporting Gijon. 

- Messi has scored 83.1 per cent of his goals (582) with his left foot, and 82.8 per cent (580) from inside the box.

- He has scored 36 LaLiga hat-tricks, which is a record. He has scored three or more times in 54 different matches, the most being five against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012.

- His tally of 50 for the 2011-12 LaLiga season is a record.

 

WHO SETS HIM UP:

- Luis Suarez has assisted more Messi goals than any other player: 47 in six seasons with Barcelona. Messi has returned the favour 36 times. (CHECK WHO SETS UP ATHLETIC GOAL)

- The other players with the most assists for Messi are Dani Alves (42), Andres Iniesta (37), Xavi (31), Pedro (25), Neymar (22) and Jordi Alba (20).

- Messi has 247 assists for Barca. Since his first goal for the club, he has been involved in 879 of their 2,183 goals in all competitions, or 40.2 per cent.

Bruno Fernandes insists Manchester United can secure a top-four finish in the Premier League this season.

The Portuguese was in scintillating form on Tuesday, scoring twice as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran out 3-0 winners over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

The result moves United two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who play their game in hand against West Ham on Wednesday.

Fernandes – who has now scored five goals in his first eight Premier League games for the club since his January move from Sporting CP – is unfazed by a potential five-point gap with just six games to play and remains confident they can secure Champions League football for next season.

"We are fighting for a place in the Champions League and we know we can achieve this," he told Sky Sports.

"The most important thing is the three points but we played well and the result was good. We didn't concede again, which is important.

"We knew that we needed to push forwards and to try and score from minute one. I was lucky with the first goal and the second goal was amazing, an amazing pass from Mason [Greenwood]."

Paul Pogba teed up Fernandes for his first goal but the 25-year-old did not want to single out the French World Cup winner for specific praise.

"I don't want to talk too much about me and Paul Pogba," he added.

"We are happy to play together but I am happy to play with everyone. We can combine together, we have qualities, but we know that we have team-mates who can do well."

Lionel Messi's cheeky, chipped penalty against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday took him to 700 career goals for club and country.

The Barcelona and Argentina star has been the scourge of defenders in Spain and across the globe since making his debut professional debut at 17 and his career has now yielded another incredible landmark.

In the process, the forward has collected 34 club trophies and a record six Ballons d'Or, but international honours have eluded him since he won gold at the 2008 Olympics.

To celebrate Messi's latest century, we take a look at 10 of his very best and most important goals.

 

Albacete (H): May 1, 2005

Even at 17, Messi had the confidence of a veteran. Having already had one goal wrongly ruled out for offside - an audacious chip from the edge of the box - Messi's confidence was far from knocked and just a minute later he latched onto Ronaldinho's pass before lobbing the ball over Albacete stopper Raul Valbuena from 16 yards. Some way to open your account for a club.

 

Getafe (H): April 18, 2007

In the 12 years since he first got on the scoresheet, only one of Messi's strikes was ever going to top this list: his Diego Maradona-esque solo goal against Getafe. Messi picked up the ball in his own half and danced around two players before turning on the pace, beating two more defenders and going around the goalkeeper, capping it with a right-footed finish.

Real Zaragoza (A): March 21, 2010

Described by some as 'a defining goal' in his career, Messi's strike against Real Zaragoza seemed to take him from very good into another class entirely. Messi displayed all he had to offer in this goal, which began when he won the ball from a tackle on halfway. From there, he shrugged off one challenge, raced towards the box and turned a defender inside out before drilling the ball into the far corner - leaving Pep Guardiola speechless.

 

Real Madrid (A): April 27, 2011

This was the height of one of the fiercest Clasico rivalries in decades, as Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid waged war on Guardiola's Barca. They met four times in three competitions in less than a month, including in the Champions League semi-finals, when Messi faced pretty brutal treatment as Madrid tried to shackle him. He scored twice in a 2-0 first-leg win at the Santiago Bernabeu but it is the first goal people remember: the tension of the match, the bitterness of the rivalry, the ducking, weaving slalom through the defence and the composed finish past Casillas, all from the most nonchalant Sergio Busquets assist you will ever see.

 

Iran (N): June 21, 2014

Prior to the 2014 World Cup, Messi had only scored one goal in eight appearances. Seemingly determined to step up for Argentina, he netted in his side's opening match before going on to score one of the goals of the tournament in the second against Iran. With the score at 0-0 heading into stoppage time, Messi took control of the ball and bent a powerful strike past the despairing arms of Alireza Haghighi to break Iranian hearts.

Bayern Munich (H): May 6, 2015

Having already opened the scoring three minutes earlier to give Barca a 1-0 advantage over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, Messi doubled his tally with a sumptuous effort. Ivan Rakitic's pass sent Messi on his way, before the little maestro's trickery put Jerome Boateng on his backside and allowed the Argentine to casually lift the ball over the onrushing Manuel Neuer.

 

Athletic Bilbao (N): May 30, 2015

The second part of a treble-winning season for Barca came in the form of the Copa Del Rey against Athletic Bilbao. With 20 minutes gone and the score deadlocked, Messi set off on a marauding run down the right wing and soon found himself trapped amongst three defenders. Naturally, Messi was able to float past the trio as if they weren't there, before cutting into the box and beating Iago Herrerin at his near post.

Real Madrid (A): April 23, 2017

El Clasico rarely disappoints for football fans around the globe, and this edition was no different. Anything but a win would essentially hand Real Madrid the title, and it looked to be headed for a 2-2 draw until Sergi Roberto's swashbuckling run in the 92nd minute gave Jordi Alba the chance to square it to Messi, who finished with aplomb from the edge of the area for his 500th Barcelona goal.

 

Ecuador (A): October 11, 2017

Romario Ibarra's first-minute goal in the last match of CONMEBOL qualification left football fans across the globe staring at the prospect of the unthinkable – a World Cup without Messi. Enter the man himself, who dragged Argentina out of a bumbling stupor to single-handedly tear Ecuador apart with a sensational hat-trick. The shift of pace and stunning, dipping finish into the top corner to claim the matchball was the best of the bunch and a grateful bench spilled on to the field to mob their hero.

 

Real Betis (A): March 17, 2019

Messi has never won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of the year, although he has twice come second, most recently for this effort against Real Betis in a 4-1 win last season. He sent the ball left to Ivan Rakitic and hurried to the edge of the box for the return ball, then - having shaped for a powerful strike towards the near post - chipped a sublime effort into the far corner beyond the despairing Pau Lopez. The goal completed his hat-trick and earned an ovation from the home fans but was not enough to beat Debrecen's Daniel Zsori to the Puskas prize.

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