Brighton and Hove Albion have signed Netherlands international Joel Veltman from Ajax on a three-year contract.

The defender, who can play at right-back or centre-back, becomes Brighton's latest signing following the arrival of Adam Lallana from Liverpool.

Veltman came through the Ajax academy and played a part in three Eredivisie title triumphs.

The 28-year-old also featured in their run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, although he has been hampered by injuries over the past two seasons.

Brighton head coach Graham Potter said: "We're delighted to welcome Joel to the club.

"He has terrific experience from his time with Ajax - including the Champions League - and, of course, with the Dutch national team.

"He's an excellent defender who can play at right-back and at centre-half, but he's also comfortable in possession. 

"He is really looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Premier League. We're delighted he is now a Brighton player and we're looking forward to working with him."

Adam Lallana has joined Brighton and Hove Albion on a three-year contract after leaving Premier League champions Liverpool.

Former England international Lallana has been a fringe man in recent seasons at Anfield and his Reds deal expired as the season ended on Sunday.

The 32-year-old was widely reported to have agreed a switch to Brighton, and the Seagulls confirmed the signing on Monday.

Brighton head coach Graham Potter said: "There is no doubting Adam's quality, and if you look at his footballing CV, his ability is clear for everyone to see.

"He has played at the very highest level, for both club and country, and achieved great things. He has a wealth of experience alongside his technical quality.

"The honours he won during his time at Liverpool and the high regard in which he is held at Anfield only further underline his ability and character.

"Adam is a really exciting signing for us, someone I am sure the supporters will be really looking forward to seeing play as and when things are able to begin to return to normal."

Lallana, who has earned 34 England caps, joined Liverpool from Southampton in 2014 and was a key figure through the early stages of Jurgen Klopp's tenure.

However, the midfielder suffered a thigh injury ahead of the 2017-18 season and continued to be dogged by fitness issues throughout the remainder of his time on Merseyside.

Liverpool have won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and Premier League in the past 14 months, but Lallana has struggled to enjoy a run in the team.

He started just nine league matches across the past three seasons, although a crucial late goal at Old Trafford earned Klopp's side a point against rivals Manchester United last October.

Lallana now joins a Brighton side who finished the season - their third since promotion - in 15th, seven points clear of the bottom three.

The Premier League's longest season yet concluded on Sunday with Liverpool champions for the first time.

The Reds were comfortable in ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight title, but there was drama until the closing minutes of the final day.

Manchester United and Chelsea can celebrate Champions League qualification as the division's strugglers reflect on their contrasting fortunes.

Meanwhile, with the help of Opta data, we look at some of the quirkiest numbers from the 2019-20 campaign.


5 - David Luiz conceded five penalties in the Premier League this season, the most a player has ever given away in a single season in the competition.

167 - Jack Grealish was fouled 167 times in the 2019-20 Premier League, the most fouls won by a player in a single campaign on record (since 1998-99).

24 - Scott McTominay now has the fastest Premier League yellow card on record. He was booked just 24 seconds into Manchester United's December home win against Newcastle United.

2000 - It was a season of milestones for McTominay, who scored Manchester United's 2000th Premier League goal against Norwich City in October. They became the first club to the landmark.

27 - The Norwich class of 2019-20 became the only side not to record a single point from a losing position in Premier League history. They lost all 27 matches in which they fell behind.

4 - Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard's fourth-placed finish is the highest finish for an English manager in their debut Premier League season since Frank Clark's Nottingham Forest came third in 1994-95.

2 - Lampard's season ended well, but September's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool made him just the second Chelsea boss - after Bobby Campbell in 1988 - to lose his first four home matches in all competitions.

33 - At the age of 33, Jamie Vardy became the oldest player to win the Premier League Golden Boot, scoring 23 goals in 2019-20.

5 - Virgil van Dijk became just the fifth outfield player to play every minute for a Premier League title-winning side, following Gary Pallister (1992-93), John Terry (2014-15), Wes Morgan (2015-16) and Cesar Azpilicueta (2016-17).

2013 - Anthony Martial's June hat-trick against Sheffield United was Manchester United's first in the Premier League since Robin van Persie scored three against Aston Villa in April 2013.

7 - Martial and Marcus Rashford assisted one another a combined seven times in this season's Premier League, the most of any pairing in a single edition of the competition for Manchester United.

49 - All 49 clubs to have played in the Premier League have conceded at least one hat-trick after Raheem Sterling's three-goal haul against Brighton and Hove Albion in July.

14 - Manchester United won 14 penalties in the 2019-20 season, the most a team has ever won in a single Premier League campaign.

29 - Harry Kane is the only player to face more than one club in the Premier League and score against them all, with Sheffield United the 29th he netted against.

15 - Kevin De Bruyne ended the season with a joint-record 20 assists - tied with Thierry Henry - but he became the first player to set up 15 goals in three separate Premier League campaigns.

93 - Tottenham went a record 93 games without a goalless draw before they were held 0-0 by Watford in January.

Manchester United and Chelsea claimed the final two Champions League qualification spots on the Premier League's final day, while Watford and Bournemouth were relegated to the Championship. 

Frank Lampard's side beat Wolves 2-0 while United grabbed the other Champions League berth thanks to a 2-0 victory over Leicester City, who missed out on a top-four finish despite spending most of the campaign in the table's upper reaches.

A 1-1 draw at West Ham saw Aston Villa retain their top-flight status, with Bournemouth's 3-1 victory over Everton not enough to prevent them and Watford - beaten 3-2 by Arsenal - joining Norwich City in being demoted.

 

FOXES MISS OUT ON CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN

Brendan Rodgers' men were 14 points clear of United as recently as January but Bruno Fernandes' 71st-minute penalty and substitute Jesse Lingard's stoppage-time strike meant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side finished above Leicester after 38 games.

A draw would have been enough for Leicester to finish fourth had Chelsea been beaten by Wolves, but first-half goals from Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud ruled out that possibility early on.

Jamie Vardy, who won the golden boot with 23 goals, headed against the crossbar in the second period before Fernandes converted United's record 14th penalty of the campaign and Lingard added another to ensure a return to Europe's premier club competition, with Leicester's misery compounded by Jonny Evans' late dismissal.

 

VILLA SURVIVE DESPITE LATE DRAMA

Villa captain Jack Grealish's 84th-minute strike looked to have been enough to preserve their Premier League status - and, though Andriy Yarmolenko's deflected effort brought West Ham back level moments later - Dean Smith's team held on to avoid going straight back down at the first attempt.

Instead it was Bournemouth - a Premier League club since 2015 - who went down despite their win at Goodison Park.

Watford, who were promoted five years ago too, were also relegated having fallen 3-0 down to Arsenal inside 33 minutes, with goals from Troy Deeney and Danny Welbeck not enough to save them.

 

SPURS SEAL EUROPA LEAGUE SPOT

A 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace ensured Tottenham sealed a top-six finish and the final qualification place for next season's Europa League, as Wolves dropped down to seventh on goal difference.

As well as scoring twice, Kevin De Bruyne also equalled Thierry Henry's Premier League assist record with his 20th of the season as Manchester City thrashed Norwich 5-0 to reach 102 goals for the season.

Champions Liverpool came from behind to beat Newcastle United 3-1, Brighton and Hove Albion won 2-1 at Burnley and Southampton defeated Sheffield United 3-1.

Brighton and Hove Albion are certain to be in the Premier League next season after a draw on Monday, while Everton put a serious dent in Sheffield United’s hopes of playing in Europe. 

A 0-0 stalemate with Newcastle United on the south coast means Graham Potter's Brighton are mathematically safe with a game to spare. 

The teams combined to produce just four shots on target in a tepid clash that certainly had an end-of-season feel about it, meaning the six Premier League meetings between them have now produced just four goals. 

"We are there now, the target is done," Lewis Dunk told Sky Sports. 

"It's disappointing we didn't create much, but they didn't create much either. It was not the best game - I think both sides cancelled each other out."

At Bramall Lane, Richarlison scored the only goal less than a minute after the break as Everton recorded their first victory in five outings. 

The Brazilian headed in Gylfi Sigurdsson's inviting free-kick and United were unable to respond, the narrow loss meaning they remain eighth in the table ahead of Sunday's final round of fixtures. 

Chris Wilder's Blades could have risen above Wolves into seventh with a home win, but now are relying on other results to help them out in their quest to qualify for the Europa League. 

Barcelona players reportedly want Patrick Kluivert to take charge of the LaLiga giants.

Quique Setien is under growing pressure at the helm of Barcelona after giving up the league title to rivals Real Madrid.

Amid uncertainty over Setien, it seems Kluivert would be a popular appointment.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLAYERS WANT KLUIVERT AS COACH

Barcelona's dressing room want Kluivert as head coach, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The club's former striker returned to Barcelona last year, becoming the academy director.

The report says Kluivert is seen by players as Barcelona's answer to Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, who starred at the Santiago Bernabeu during his playing career.

Kluivert, 44, has limited experience as a head coach, having previously been in charge of Jong FC Twente and Curacao.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City could be busy during the next close season. Tuttosport reports City are targeting Juventus forward Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain. The report says City could pay around £36.5million (€40m) to £45.6m (€50m) for Costa.

- While Gianluigi Donnarumma is coming out of contract at Milan next year, the goalkeeper is expected to re-sign. However, CalcioMercato says the shot-stopper is in no rush to get a deal done.

- Victor Osimhen is close to sealing a move to Napoli. L'Equipe claims the Lille forward, who scored 18 goals in 2019-20, will sign a six-year deal with Napoli. The Serie A club will pay €81m for the 21-year-old.

- After two impressive seasons with Atalanta, Duvan Zapata is catching the eye. CalcioMercato says Juventus are interested in the Colombia international forward.

- Mario Gotze has plenty of interest. After leaving Borussia Dortmund, the 28-year-old is a target for Fiorentina, according to Corriere dello Sport. Meanwhile, Sport Bild reports Gotze is also on the wish list of Monaco, where Niko Kovac has been named coach.

- On loan at Sheffield United from Manchester United, Dean Henderson has impressed. The Daily Express reports Chelsea are yet to decide whether they will make a move for the goalkeeper, amid constant speculation over their own shot-stopper, Kepa Arrizabalaga.

- As he departs Liverpool, Adam Lallana looks set to stay in the Premier League. The Sun reports Leicester City, Everton, Burnley and Brighton and Hove Albion are all targeting the midfielder.

Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray gave Leicester City a 2-0 win over Sheffield United which boosted their Champions League ambitions, while Aston Villa's Premier League survival hopes were dented after a 1-1 draw at Everton.

Leicester's victory was only their second since the restart, having seen their grip on a top-four place weaken in recent weeks.

But the win left the Foxes are a point behind third-placed Chelsea, although they have tough matches against Tottenham and fellow Champions League hopefuls Manchester United to come.

Ezri Konsa gave Villa a 1-0 lead against Everton but Theo Walcott's 87th-minute equaliser for the Toffees left Dean Smith's side three points adrift of 17th-placed Watford having played a game more.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers was critical of his players after a 4-1 thrashing by Bournemouth in their last Premier League outing, but his side were much improved against the Blades.

Perez put Leicester ahead shortly before the half-hour mark when he controlled a fine pass from Luke Thomas, who caught the eye on debut, and guided a shot through John Egan's legs and into the bottom corner.

Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy struck the post while Harvey Barnes brought two fine saves out of Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson as the Foxes went for the kill.

They had to wait until 11 minutes from time to wrap up the points, though, when substitute Gray received the ball from Vardy and coolly finished off a counter-attack with an angled finish.

Villa suffered late heartbreak at Goodison Park and remain mired in the Premier League relegation zone with two matches left to play.

Konsa put Villa ahead in the 72nd minute when he showed quick reactions inside the box to get on the end of Conor Hourihane's free-kick.

However, Carlo Ancelotti's side levelled three minutes from time when Walcott headed in despite Konsa's attempted acrobatic clearance.

Pep Guardiola lauded Raheem Sterling's development after the attacker's hat-trick in Manchester City's 5-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Sterling's treble saw him move onto 27 goals this season, the most he has scored in a single campaign.

Guardiola paid tribute to the England international, with Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva also on the scoresheet in the convincing win on Saturday.

"All credit to [Sterling]. Not just for the three goals, it's important for what we have ahead of us," the Manchester City manager told a news conference.

"His development as a player is because he wants to improve and we are so delighted with his performance.

"Raheem himself knows exactly what he has to do. He's a huge competitor and is self-confident, aggressive, he loves to score goals.

"We have wingers with the mentality to score goals which is so important."

City's win saw them mathematically secure a top-four finish in the Premier League with three games remaining.

However, they will have to wait until Monday to learn whether their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a two-year European ban has been successful.

Guardiola said he was "very" confident City would be successful, while adding they had proven they deserved their place in the Champions League.

"It's the [CAS] decision, so it's so important. Of course it is. We have done what we have done, won our qualification on the pitch. No one can doubt this," he said.

"It's been an outstanding season from Liverpool, and congratulations to them again for winning the Premier League.

"In general, the level that we played at today has been quite similar for the whole season and now we're going to wait for Monday for the decision that will be taken."

Raheem Sterling is eager to make his record scoring season count by helping Manchester City secure silverware after his hat-trick in the 5-0 away win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

City made a top-four finish mathematically certain, as well as all but wrapping up second place as a treble from Sterling, plus goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva, saw off sorry Brighton.

It was a welcome away win on Saturday after three consecutive Premier League defeats on their travels, with a home game with Bournemouth up next before a key FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal.

Sterling has six goals in his past five games and moved onto 27 in all competitions, making this his best scoring season.

"The most important thing for me is trying to have goals to add value to the team," Sterling said to Sky Sports.

"At the end of the day [it is most important] to try and win the FA Cup final and try to win the Champions League as well otherwise these goals don't mean anything.

"I need to try and make these goals count.

"I think the problem we have had this season is we have created a lot of chances, but last season and the season before we had finished them and buried games early on.

"This season we haven't had that slight bit of luck but we are growing, doing things right and that is we need to do, continue making chances. We can't complain.

"We were disappointed last weekend with the loss away to Southampton when we created chances but we didn’t finish them. It is great to bounce back with another away win."

Sterling moved onto 17 Premier League goals and was asked if he was eyeing a late push for the golden boot, with Jamie Vardy five ahead of him atop the scoring charts.

Sterling said: "I said to myself earlier that I'm on 14 now and I need to score a hat-trick – and I’m grateful that I scored a hat-trick."

The England international was laughing as he attempted to answer what his intentions were for his hat-trick goal, which came in unusual circumstances nine minutes from time.

He inadvertently scored a header – his second of the match – through the legs of goalkeeper Mat Ryan while he was falling to the ground having forced his way past two Brighton defenders.

Sterling said: "I tried to flick it over his head, and I've seen the keeper come out and I have headed it in! It counts!"

Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Manchester City ran riot in a 5-0 away victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League.

England international Sterling made it six goals in five games, moving on to 27 strikes in all competitions – his best scoring tally in a single season.

His opener and a goal from Gabriel Jesus, who ended Saturday's match with two assists, ensured City were in complete control by half-time after making six changes to their starting XI.

Sterling netted again and Bernardo Silva scored before the hour mark as Brighton, who remain eight points clear of the bottom three, had no answer.

Nine minutes before the end, a determined Sterling grabbed his third.

Jesus and Eric Garcia had already missed early chances by the time Sterling put the visitors in front after 21 minutes.

He cut inside from the left and impressively found the far corner from 20 yards after collecting Jesus' headed lay-off.

Jesus had a shot deflected onto the crossbar by Brighton defender Lewis Dunk and also showed some great footwork to create a chance which Riyad Mahrez narrowly fired wide.

But City were not to be denied, Jesus tapping in from under the crossbar after Rodri had helped on a Kevin De Bruyne corner a minute before the break.

De Bruyne cannoned a free-kick off the post shortly after the restart and City soon got their third after 53 minutes when Sterling headed in Mahrez’s in-swinging free-kick from inside the six-yard box.

It was four in the visitors' next attack when Mat Ryan could not hold Bernardo Silva's deflected effort and Jesus kept the ball alive to allow the Portugal international to convert a simple follow-up.

Sterling’s hat-trick goal came in unusual fashion, as he forced his way past Dunk and Adam Webster before somehow creeping a header between Ryan's legs while he fell to the ground, with a scrambling Dan Burn then helping it over the line.
 

What does it mean? City emphatically end away-day blues

City had lost their last three Premier League away games, while they had scored just three times in their last six top-flight matches on their travels, despite an expected goals figure of 13.

They had no issues bringing those poor runs to a welcome end with a victory that all but secures second place in the Premier League after Chelsea's defeat against Sheffield United.


Jesus impresses with Aguero out

Brazil international Jesus scored his first goal since lockdown against Newcastle United last time out and, apart from the superb Sterling, was excellent as City's other standout in this game.

He scored one and assisted two as well as being a constant threat in a lively 63-minute outing. He now has 20 goals and 10 assists in a season where he has become even more important with Sergio Aguero out injured.


Brighton backline a concern

Convincing home defeats against Manchester United, Liverpool and now City mean Brighton are not yet mathematically safe. Facing Pep Guardiola's side is a formidable task at the best of times, but their defending did themselves no favours here, with City players constantly finding themselves unmarked close to goal.


What's next?

City will likely make changes ahead of their FA Cup semi-final with Arsenal when they host struggling Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday, a day before Brighton could seal safety when they play away to Southampton.

Pep Guardiola has urged his Manchester City players to fight for the Champions League "until the last effort they have in their bodies" after Friday's draw mapped out a devilishly tough route to glory.

The deposed Premier League champions hold a 2-1 last-16 advantage over Real Madrid ahead of the August 7 return at the Etihad Stadium.

The winners of that tie will take on the victors of Lyon versus Juventus – the Ligue 1 outfit 1-0 to the good at the midway point – at UEFA's mini-tournament to decide the coronavirus-impacted Champions League in Lisbon on August 15.

Whichever team progresses from that quarter-final will meet the team remaining from Barcelona or Napoli and Bayern Munich or Chelsea.

"All of us want to try, to be ourselves in the game against Real Madrid, to try to defend really well and suffer the bad moments," Guardiola said ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.

"Try to impose our game and our football, try to score our goals and defend the game against Real Madrid. It is incredible what [Madrid] have done in this competition, nobody has done it."

If City finally claim the prize Madrid have lifted on a record 13 occasions, they will do so in unique circumstances heightened by the reality of a trying season on and off the field.

Guardiola's team could be facing up to their final European game for two years next month, if the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides to uphold a two-season ban for contravening UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules. A verdict in the case is due on Monday.

The Champions League, along with the FA Cup, offers the chance to triumphantly salvage a campaign where they meekly surrendered the Premier League title to Liverpool.

This crescendo of events is something Guardiola believes has got through to his players.

"I feel the motivation," he said. "I have the feeling from my players and the club that we have, in the next four weeks, something that is not coming back again.

"Of course, we have the chance to fight but the situation that we have is not coming back again.

"I think the big clubs don't miss these chances to try until the last effort they have in their bodies."

The situation will certainly not come back for club great David Silva.

City's veteran playmaker is set to leave at the end of his contract and, as a World Cup and two-time European Championship winner with Spain, he is seeking the biggest honour to have eluded him over the course of a decorated career.

"David has won everything," Guardiola said. "The World Cup, European Championships with Spain, the Premier League and all the titles you can achieve except the Champions League.

"All of the players want to try but the younger ones, maybe they think they have more chances.

"Maybe David might go back to Europe with another top club and have another chance. But I'm pretty sure after one decade in this club, he will try."

With a top-four place in the Premier League now guaranteed – whatever that comes to mean – Guardiola's main challenge for the rest of the campaign is getting Silva and the rest to next weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal and the Madrid match in prime condition.

He concedes this is a balancing act but will not shirk from giving Premier League minutes to the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, even if sight of the star midfielder receiving a heavy knock during the closing stages of Wednesday's 5-0 win over Newcastle United caused understandable disquiet among the City faithful.

"That's part of football. The important thing is they are fit," he added.

"We cannot say one or two games, don't play and then come back. Sometimes the players who play regularly are in better condition for the important games.

"Arsenal is an important point but it's important to keep momentum and rhythm to the way we play."

Pep Guardiola still feels Bernardo Silva is one of the most special footballers he has ever coached despite the midfielder's dip in form this season – something for which the Manchester City boss takes his share of responsibility. 

Silva was voted City's player of the season as he and his team-mates swept to a domestic treble in 2018-19, but his performances this time around have been indicative of a general malaise, with Liverpool storming clear of their rivals to claim the Premier League title. 

The Portugal international has featured infrequently in the right-sided attacking midfield position he occupied for a chunk of last term, with Kevin De Bruyne back to full fitness and in prime form. 

Similarly adept on the right-hand side of attack, Silva has found his path blocked by Riyad Mahrez and, more recently, Phil Foden. 

The previous campaign concluded with the former Monaco man being named player of the tournament as Portugal claimed the inaugural Nations League title, and fatigue has not been difficult to spot in his work at times. 

A Football Association ban for tweeting a racially insensitive cartoon to team-mate Benjamin Mendy placed Silva in hot water off the field and, speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Guardiola conceded a downturn from the playmaker has been obvious. 

"That's true maybe he didn't play as much as last season," he said. 

"This season, maybe it was my fault or maybe Phil was more involved and Riyad maintained his level and the other players played good too. 

"They know the competition they have with each other, but my admiration, respect, especially my opinion about him, nothing has changed. 

"He's a special player for me. One of the most special players I had in my career as a manager, the relationship I have with him." 

Guardiola is particularly impressed by Silva's acceptance of his situation – a stark contrast to when his manager said the City team last season was "Bernardo plus 10" – and is confident the 25-year-old knows what he must do to turn things around.

"He's a guy who doesn’t change his mood whether he plays or doesn't play," he said. "There are players that just are happy when they play and they smile at me and smile at the backroom staff when they play. 

"When they don't play, they make you feel they are not happy and they behave like a little, little child. 

"Bernardo is completely opposite. He's a mature man. He's a man who knows exactly what has happened, how this moment is and always he's the same person. 

"That's why he is an incredible person for me to work with and always I will be grateful. 

"In the time we spend together, the only thing I want is to help him to come back at his best level. If there is one player in this team who I would give help and support, it's Bernardo Silva. He's the first on the list." 

Mahrez scored his 10th Premier League goal of the season during Wednesday's 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle United and Friday marked the two-year anniversary of his £60million arrival from Leicester City. 

Guardiola is impressed by the Algeria international's performances but suggested he could sometimes use some of Silva's good grace. 

"He's an incredible player, fantastic self-confidence," he added. "He is a guy who always creates something special, in assists and goals. 

"We are delighted to have him and hopefully he can help us when he plays and when he doesn't play. Hopefully I can help him to improve this detail." 

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will not recover from his knee injury in time to face Real Madrid in the Champions League, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

Aguero sustained meniscus damage during last month's 5-0 Premier League win over Burnley and was operated on by Guardiola's preferred surgeon, Dr Ramon Cugat.

A four-to-six-week recovery period appeared to place Aguero in contention for the August 7 second leg with Madrid, which UEFA this week announced was clear to take place behind closed doors at the Etihad Stadium.

City hold a 2-1 advantage over the 13-time European champions but, after Friday's draw paired the winner of their last-16 tie against Lyon or Juventus, they will have to try and seal a place at the final stages in Lisbon without their all-time record goalscorer.

"I told you many times no. [Defintely] no," Guardiola told a news conference when asked about Aguero's prospects.

Friday's draw mapped out City's potential route to glory, with prospective semi-final opponents coming from a quarter-final between Napoli or Barcelona and Chelsea or Bayern Munich. 

Nevertheless, Guardiola insists City must not look past an in-form Madrid who appear set to wrest LaLiga from his beloved Barca's grasp. 

"We play against Real Madrid," he said. "If we think about the next step the kings of this competition, Real Madrid, will put us out.

"There is not one person who knows Real Madrid better than me, their potential and history, and we have to play this game.

"I saw the draw maybe two or three hours after it was made. I’ve got Brighton [in the Premier League on Saturday] and continue to prepare for Arsenal [in the semi-finals of the FA Cup].

"After that, we have two games and a potential [FA Cup] final to prepare for Real Madrid. That's all I have in my mind." 

City's bid for an elusive Champions League crown might be thrown into sharper focus on Monday if the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) uphold their two-season ban from UEFA competitions for violating Financial Fair Play regulations.

Guardiola reiterated his belief that City will be cleared by CAS and, irrespective of the verdict, he does not feel events in a Swiss court room will fuel his players.

"The intention is every season to play in the Champions League as best as possible, it's not about Monday," he said.

"On Monday, I'm so confident because I know and hear the arguments of the club. Next season we will be there and after I will give my opinion and the club will give a statement."

City head to Brighton and Hove Albion looking to snap a run of three successive away defeats in the Premier League.

Guardiola could once again call upon Benjamin Mendy after revealing the left-back sat out matches against Southampton and Newcastle United over the past week due to "muscular issues". 

Jurgen Klopp was delighted with Naby Keita after the midfielder produced an influential performance in Liverpool's 3-1 Premier League win away at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Keita assisted Mohamed Salah's sixth-minute opener after his pressing led to a turnover in possession, while he also started the move that led to Liverpool's second, scored by captain Jordan Henderson on Wednesday.

The Guinea international has struggled for consistency since joining the Reds from RB Leipzig in 2018, his career on Merseyside hampered by injury issues, but he has impressed since the resumption of the season.

Keita – who set up Sadio Mane's opener in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday – created four chances before being substituted in the 61st minute against Brighton, with Klopp particularly pleased with his contribution to Liverpool's first goal.

"He is getting better and better, step by step and game by game and that's really cool," Liverpool manager Klopp told the media when asked about Keita's display.

"I am really happy about that. Long may it continue, let me say it like this. When him and the boys stay fit then everything is fine with the quality they have, the way we play suits them.

"Tonight, being a player like Naby but winning these balls, as the coach I am I couldn't be happier about these kind of goals. Everybody is involved in that and I am really grateful for seeing things like this."

Victory on the south coast moves Liverpool up to 92 points, eight shy of Manchester City's Premier League record with four games remaining.

However, Klopp is not interested in looking ahead to reaching a century and is instead focusing only on Burnley, who the champions face at Anfield on Saturday.

"What can I say? When I think about the next four opponents and look at them and think we will get 10 or 12 points," the German said in his post-match news conference. 

"I never did that. I can't do that. We play against Burnley, who are a results machine. I couldn't respect more what they are doing. They played away, won against West Ham, they will come to us and will fight with all they have – so that is what we have to do as well.

"After that, we play Arsenal in a really good moment. After that, we play against Chelsea in a really good moment.

"How could I assume we will get all of these points? I think from now on about the Burnley game."

Jurgen Klopp is unsure over the severity of the injury Jordan Henderson sustained in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Reds' captain scored his side's second goal on the south coast on Wednesday, curling a shot beyond goalkeeper Mat Ryan just 127 seconds after Mohamed Salah had put the champions in front early on.

However, Henderson was substituted in the 80th minute having seemingly hurt his knee in a challenge and Liverpool will have to wait to discover the full extent of the problem.

"I don't know [how serious it is], I don't know, honestly," Klopp said in his post-match press conference.

"I didn't see the situation back on the pitch, but I know that it will not be nothing, probably. That's how it is, but we have to wait. I cannot say more."

Asked if the England international was on crutches, the German said: "I have had press since the game is over, so I have no idea how he left the dressing room."

Klopp handed Neco Williams his first league start at left-back but opted to replace him at half-time, bringing on Andy Robertson in his place.

The Liverpool boss explained the decision was due to the teenager being shown a yellow card rather than an issue with his overall performance.

"I know football is like this. When we take a player off after 45 minutes and everyone thinks it's not good," he told Sky Sports.

"I don't care about this. He had a yellow card and the situation was we didn't protect him well enough on that side. 

"I can’t tell him not to make a challenge any more. That's the only reason [why he was taken off]. I liked a lot how he played."

Liverpool's 30th win in the Premier League this season lifts them to 92 points, just eight shy of Manchester City's record for the competition with four games remaining.

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