Lionel Messi may yet remain at Barcelona.

Messi, 33, stunningly requested to leave the LaLiga giants during the close season but ended up staying at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has still been expected to leave at the end of his contract next year.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA'S CHANCES OF KEEPING MESSI BOOSTED

The resignation of president Josep Maria Bartomeu has boosted Barcelona's chances of keeping Messi beyond 2021, according to The Telegraph.

Messi has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

Manchester City and Inter have been most heavily linked with a move for Messi.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United sent a scout to watch RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano against Nurnberg in the DFB-Pokal last month, according to Bild. Upamecano has been linked with United previously and played 90 minutes as the Premier League side thrashed RB Leipzig 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday.

- With Virgil van Dijk injured, could Liverpool be eyeing Bayern Munich defender David Alaba? The Daily Star reports the Premier League champions were handed a boost in their prospects of a January transfer for Alaba after the defender's contract talks with Bayern collapsed. Alaba is out of contract next year.

- Manchester United, Barcelona and Juventus could be set for a transfer battle. The Mirror says United have joined Barcelona and Juventus in becoming interested in Ajax's 18-year-old midfielder Ryan Gravenberch.

- Inter may be in the market for a left wing-back in January. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A giants may look at Chelsea duo Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri, two players they have been linked with previously.

Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho will not return to fitness before the November international break, according to the Brazil national team.

Coutinho suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday's defeat to Real Madrid despite completing the full game at Camp Nou.

Barca said a timescale for the former Liverpool man's return "depends on how the injury evolves", but Brazil's doctors have also now assessed the player.

Doctor Rodrigo Lasmar believes "there is not enough time for the recovery of the player for his participation in the next two rounds of [2022 World Cup] qualifiers", a statement read.

Brazil have therefore called up Lyon's Lucas Paqueta in his place for the fixtures against Venezuela and Uruguay on November 13 and 17.

Should Coutinho be available for Barca again following the break, he would make his return against Atletico Madrid almost a month on from the initial issue.

Coutinho is set to be joined in missing Brazil's qualifiers by Liverpool's Fabinho.

The midfielder, who has been playing in defence for the Reds since Virgil van Dijk's injury, sustained a hamstring problem in Tuesday's Champions League win over Midtjylland.

Liverpool were waiting for a scan on the injury on Wednesday, but Jurgen Klopp suggested Fabinho's absence would not represent a major blow for Brazil, as he has earned just 12 caps for his country and started on five occasions.

"I'm not sure if Tite's too worried because he plays him never, so he will probably now not sit on the bench for the next [two] international games," Klopp said.

Dayot Upamecano is a player in demand following his exploits for RB Leipzig.

Upamecano attracted plenty of interest before re-signing at Bundesliga side Leipzig in July.

Manchester United have been linked previously and are reportedly plotting another move.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT UPAMECANO

Manchester United will pursue a cut-price deal for RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano, according to The Times.

United have been keen to bolster their defence and the Red Devils were previously linked to France centre-back Upamecano, who has also caught the eye of the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Upamecano signed a new deal in July, though the contract reportedly includes a release clause of around £38million (€42m) at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild reports a third round of negotiations regarding a new contract for Bayern star David Alaba failed. Alaba will become a free agent at the end of the season. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Barca are believed to be interested.

Milan are interested in Schalke centre-back Ozan Kabak and Hellas Verona's Matteo Lovato, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. Kabak has also been linked to Premier League champions Liverpool.

- Tuttosport reports Barca and Juventus could be involved in another swap deal. After exchanging Miralem Pjanic and Arthur at the start of the season, Juve's Federico Bernardeschi and Barca forward Ousmane Dembele could also move in opposite directions.

Barca could raid PSV for Donyell Malen as an alternative to Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Mundo Deportivo. Barca tried to sign Depay in the previous transfer window but a move did not material as his contract expires at season's end.

Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold revelled in the club's "great achievement" after celebrating their 10,000th goal in a Champions League victory over Midtjylland.

Diogo Jota's strike not only helped give Liverpool a 2-0 win at home to Midtjylland, but it brought up the Reds' landmark goal across all competitions on Tuesday.

Premier League champions Liverpool hit the milestone figure 128 years after scoring their first goal – Jock Smith's effort in an 8-0 win over Higher Walton at Anfield in the Lancashire League. 

Alexander-Arnold provided the assist for Jota's 55th-minute opener before substitute Mohamed Salah sealed the Group D points from the penalty spot in the third minute of stoppage time.

"It was a nice goal and a great finish from Diogo," Alexander-Arnold said via UEFA.com.

"We have such a proud history and it's a great achievement to reach that landmark."

Jota's goal was the 370th Liverpool have scored in the Europe's premier club competition, with 6,968 having come in the England's top flight.

Next on the list is the second tier (977 goals), followed by the FA Cup (708) and the EFL Cup (481), while Liverpool have scored 371 goals in the Champions League.

Other notable competitions include the UEFA Cup/Europa League (173), Club World Cup (six) and the Community Shield (26). 

Manchester United reached the five-figure mark with Marcus Rashford's strike in the 3-2 win at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League in September. 

After scoring the 10,000th goal, Jota told BT Sport: "Well it's a start. Obviously I'm happy to score and to help the team to achieve the win. 

"Achieving that mark is always a good thing but I'm more happy with the victory today. 

"After a good away win, it's important to keep on adding points and we did our job. We get the three points, that's most important, and now we [need to be] ready for the next game."

Liverpool's defensive problems continue to grow after Jurgen Klopp confirmed Fabinho suffered a hamstring injury in the 2-0 Champions League win over Midtjylland on Tuesday.

Brazil midfielder Fabinho – filling in at centre-back due to the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip – pulled up while tracking back in the Group D fixture and went to ground shortly before being treated by Liverpool's medical staff.

He was replaced by youngster Rhys Williams in the 30th minute as Diogo Jota, whose effort brought up Liverpool's 10,000th goal in all competitions, and Mohamed Salah scored to secure a hard-fought win over the Danish side at Anfield.

Klopp is already without key player Van Dijk after the Netherlands star suffered a serious knee injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton earlier this month, and the Reds' boss is unsure over the severity of Fabinho's problem.

"Exactly the last thing we needed. I don't know, he felt his hamstring so that's not good," Klopp told BT Sport.

"He didn't feel it that much, he said he could've played on but not sprinting so that doesn't help. We will see, we will have to do a scan and see but clearly it's not good."

Klopp also withdrew captain Jordan Henderson at half-time, but revealed the switch was not related to injury.

"We had to make the change at half time with Hendo – he said he was fine but in these moments you have to be responsible and the plan before the game was to give him around 45 minutes so he would be okay for West Ham [on Saturday]."

It had been expected that Matip, who has not featured since the Merseyside derby, would be fit to return against West Ham, but Klopp could not make any assurances. 

"I don't know, we have to see," he said in his post-match news conference.

"Look, if it would be only one game we play, if it was the last game of the season, I think we could make him fit for one game – but we play three days later again and we need players again."

Should youngster Williams be called upon against West Ham, he will at least go into the match on the back of a solid showing alongside Joe Gomez.

Williams made one tackle, one interception and gained possession three times during his 67 minutes on the pitch against Midtjylland, though the Hammers would be likely to provide a much tougher test.

Liverpool scored the 10,000th goal in their history in Tuesday's Champions League clash with Midtjylland. 

Diogo Jota struck with 55 minutes played of the Group D clash to bring up the landmark for Liverpool, 128 years after they scored their maiden goal. 

The Premier League champions reached five figures for goals a month after bitter rivals Manchester United achieved the same feat in their 3-2 win at Brighton and Hove Albion. 

With the help of Opta, tak a look at the numbers behind Liverpool's milestone. 


COMPETITION BREAKDOWN

It is hardly surprising to learn the vast majority of Liverpool's 10,000 goals have been scored in the English top flight. 

The Reds have netted 6,968 times in the old First Division and Premier League combined, the most recent of those being Jota's header in Saturday's 2-1 win over Sheffield United. 

Next on the list is the second tier (977 goals), followed by the FA Cup (708) and the EFL Cup (481)

Jota's effort against Danish champions Midtjylland was Liverpool's 370th in the Europe's premier club competition, putting it fifth on the list.  

Other notable competitions include the UEFA Cup/Europa League (173), Club World Cup (six) and the Community Shield (26)

 

LANDMARK GAMES

Liverpool's maiden goal was scored by Jock Smith in their first match - an 8-0 win over Higher Walton at Anfield in the Lancashire League on September 3, 1892. 

Bobby Robinson was responsible for goal number 1,000 in a 5-2 Division One win over Aston Villa 14 years later and Harry Chambers brought up the 2,000th on Christmas Day in 1925. 

Jack Balmer wrote his name into club folklore with goal 3,000, and the 4,000th in Liverpool's history was registered by Jimmy Melia

Ian St John and Terry McDermott scored numbers 5,000 and 6,000 respectively, the latter netting in a 1-0 win over West Ham in the 1980 Community Shield

Kenny Dalglish's successful period in charge of the Merseyside outfit saw them bring up the 7,000th goal in their history via John Aldridge in a 2-1 victory at Tottenham on March 26, 1989. 

The Dell was the venue for number 8,000, which was one of Michael Owen's 158 goals 297 appearances in a Liverpool shirt. 

Ten years later Sotirios Kyrgiakos made it 9,000 when he powered in a header in a shock 2-1 home loss to Blackpool on October 3, 2010. 

Diogo Jota scored the 10,000th goal in Liverpool's history as they laboured to a 2-0 win over Midtjylland, maintaining their 100 per cent start in Champions League Group D. 

After a woeful first-half display from Jurgen Klopp's side, Portugal forward Jota finished off a fine team move 10 minutes into the second period as he struck home from close range. 

Midtjylland's best chance fell to Brazilian Evander, who saw his shot on the turn flashed wide, while Liverpool missed further opportunities to increase their margin of victory. 

However, a second eventually arrived for the hosts in added time, Mohamed Salah scoring from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Paulinho. 

Liverpool's victory helped them move top of the table after Atalanta and Ajax played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Liverpool reached a landmark 10,000 goals in all competitions with Diogo Jota's strike in Tuesday's Champions League clash with Midtjylland. 

Jota opened the scoring for Liverpool with their first shot on target in the contest.

The Portugal forward finished off a sweeping team move when he tapped in from close range from Trent Alexander-Arnold's low cross in the 55th minute.

The reigning Premier League champions hit the milestone figure 128 years after scoring their first goal - Jock Smith's effort in an 8-0 win over Higher Walton at Anfield in the Lancashire League. 

Jota's goal was the 370th Liverpool have scored in the Europe's premier club competition, with 6,968 having come in the England's top flight.

Manchester United reached the five-figure mark with Marcus Rashford's strike in the 3-2 win at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League in September. 

Fabian Ruiz continues to attract interest from his native Spain.

The former Real Betis midfielder joined Napoli in 2018 and he has starred for the Italian club.

Real Madrid are reportedly keen to bring Fabian back to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – FABIAN TOPS MADRID'S LIST

Real Madrid have renewed their interest in Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to Calciomercato.

Fabian, who is contracted to Serie A outfit Napoli until 2023, has been linked with Madrid, LaLiga rivals Barcelona and Manchester City previously.

The Spain international continues to impress Zinedine Zidane's Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United remain hopeful of signing Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland, claims The Athletic. United tried to sign Haaland before the Norwegian opted to join Dortmund from Salzburg in January. Haaland's €75million (£68m) release clause becomes active in 2022 and United are prepared to wait amid reported interest from the likes of Madrid and Juventus.

- The Athletic also says United are still trying to prise Jadon Sancho from Dortmund after failing to land the England star during the previous transfer window. Sancho has also been linked to Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Madrid and Barcelona.

- AS reports Milan are weighing up a January move for PSG striker Mauro Icardi. The former Inter captain completed a permanent transfer from the Nerazzurri at the start of the season.

- With doubts over Thomas Tuchel's future in Paris, Le10 Sport says the PSG head coach has received approaches from several Premier League clubs. Tuchel is out of contract at the end of the season and sporting director Leonardo is reportedly looking to move on from the German.

Life comes at you fast. So, too, does the Champions League this season, as a rearranged fixture list sees three matchdays in the group stage take place in as many weeks. 

The opening round of fixtures did not disappoint, providing plenty of goals and also the odd surprise. 

Perhaps the most shocking result of all was Real Madrid losing at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, and both clubs are back in action on Tuesday. 

Bayern Munich are also on duty as they head to Moscow, while Midtjylland will be hoping they can pull off the mother of all upsets when they visit Merseyside to play Liverpool. 

 

Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayern: Holders head on their travels

The reigning champions opened their defence in style last week, thrashing Atletico Madrid 4-0 at the Allianz Arena. Now they face Lokomotiv in Europe for the first time since a UEFA Cup tie in the 1995-96 season. 

Bayern will be aiming to extend a club-record run of 13 away games without defeat, their last loss on the road coming against Paris Saint-Germain in September 2017. They have won 10 on their travels since, while have only lost once in 14 Champions League meetings with Russian teams. 

Robert Lewandowski scored nine away goals in the Champions League last term, the joint-most by a player in a single edition of the competition alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-14. 

Shakhtar v Inter: Lukaku the one to watch for hosts

Shakhtar arguably pulled off the result of matchday one with victory in Madrid, though they have never managed to beat Inter in three previous meetings (D1 L2). This, though, will be the first Champions League fixture between the clubs. They have also failed to register a home win in their last six attempts in the competition, stretching back to a 2-1 triumph over Roma in February 2018.

The key to success for the hosts will surely be stopping Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is on the longest run of scoring in consecutive European appearances for Inter (nine games), while he has been directly involved in 15 goals during that period (11 goals and four assists).

Lukaku has scored in each of his last three Champions League games for the Nerazurri; he could become just the fifth player to score in four in a row for the Italian side, a feat previously achieved by Christian Vieri, Hernan Crespo, Samuel Eto'o and Lautaro Martinez.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Real Madrid: Benzema may be key for Zidane

Can Zinedine Zidane's squad bounce back? A Clasico triumph over rivals Barcelona has helped silence the critics - for now at least.

Madrid are unbeaten in their last nine matches against German teams (W6 D3), a run that started after a 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in April 2016. They have won four of their last five away fixtures in the group stages, too.

Karim Benzema, who did not start against Shakhtar, has been directly involved in 19 goals in his last 21 Champions League games when named in the XI, netting 14 goals and providing five assists.

Liverpool v Midtjylland: Salah chases record as Danes visit Anfield

Jurgen Klopp's Reds play their first European home game since a 3-2 reverse to Atletico in March that ended their hopes of reaching a third successive final. That is their only setback in the last 26 European fixtures at Anfield.

There is hope for the Danish side in that Liverpool have failed to keep a clean sheet in their previous four home Champions League fixtures, though the makeshift pairing of Joe Gomez and Fabinho did keep Ajax at bay in Amsterdam in matchday one. Yes, the same Ajax who won 13-0 at the weekend.

As for the hosts, Mohamed Salah is two goals away from equalling Steven Gerrard's club record of 21 in the European Cup/Champions League.

 

Other fixtures:

Marseille v Manchester City:

8 - City games usually provide goals; both teams have scored in each of their last eight Champions League fixtures. They are on their longest wait for a clean sheet in the competition since between February 2015 and 2016 (nine matches).

32 - Dimitri Payet is still looking for his first goal in the competition. He has attempted 32 shots without scoring (21 for Lille and 11 for Marseille).

Atalanta v Ajax:

9 - Ajax are unbeaten in their last nine away games in the Champions League (W6 D3), winning six of their last seven. Only in two of their 15 previous Champions League campaigns have the Dutch side started with two consecutive defeats (2004-05 and 2012-13).

10 - Only Barcelona (11) had more shots on target during the opening round of fixtures this season than Atalanta's tally of 10 in the 4-0 thrashing of Midtjylland.

Porto v Olympiacos:

6 - These clubs have previously faced each other on six occasions in all European competitions, with Porto winning twice. Both of those victories came at home (D1 L3).

12 - Olympiacos have lost 12 of their last 14 away games in the Champions League (W2), losing the last seven in a row and shipping at least two goals in each of those defeats (21 in total).

Atletico Madrid v Salzburg:

1 - Dominik Szoboszlai could become the youngest Hungarian player to score in consecutive Champions League games (aged 20 years and two days), having found the net in Salzburg's 2-2 draw with Lokomotiv.

8 - Atletico are unbeaten in all eight of their previous meetings with Austrian teams in European competition (W7 D1). Having lost their last two European fixtures, they will be looking to avoid suffering three consecutive defeats for the first time in Champions League history.

Alisson has declared himself "100-per-cent fit" after defying his initial prognosis of six weeks on the sidelines and making his Liverpool return last weekend.

The Brazil international damaged his shoulder in training ahead of the October 4 trip to Aston Villa, which the Premier League champions lost 7-2 in his absence.

He also sat out the 2-2 draw with Everton and 1-0 win away at Ajax in the Champions League but was back between the sticks for Saturday's 2-1 win over Sheffield United.

Alisson is expected to start Tuesday's Champions League match with Danish champions Midtjylland at Anfield and has thanked Liverpool's backroom staff for helping him with his swift recovery, having returned a few weeks ahead of schedule.

"It's good to be back, first of all. I'm really happy," he said at a pre-match news conference on Monday.

"I tried to give my best and I have the top physios on my side, helping me as well to accelerate the recovery process.

"As soon as the doctor said it was four to six weeks, I told him: 'No, Doc, we go to two or three weeks maximum.' He agreed with me and then we just go for it.

"I'm really happy to be back. I just want to thank the physios, the fitness staff, the doctors and the goalie coaches who helped me on this process.

"Every injury that you have on the ligament – shoulder, ankle or knee – you still feel something weird. Not pain, not really pain, but it's just weird a little bit.

"You feel it for a while, for a couple of weeks. But nothing that puts limits on my way to play – I'm really 100 per cent fit to play and I'm comfortable with that."

Alisson's absence was felt during his three-match spell on the sidelines, particularly in the loss to Villa, the first time Liverpool had conceded seven goals in a game since 1963.

The Merseyside club have won 57 and lost just four of their 71 top-flight matches since Alisson joined from Roma in July 2018, the 28-year-old's win rate of 80 per cent the best of any Premier League goalkeeper to have played at least 15 games in that period.

"It's bad not being involved in football games. It's the worst thing for a football player," he added. "But, unfortunately, we have to deal with those kinds of things as well.

"It's part of the job. Injuries, we try to avoid them, we try to do prevention work, but sometimes they happen. I'm glad it was only three weeks, but it was a long three weeks, it looked like three months.

"Not being involved in games – in every game – is always hard, not only the Atletico [Madrid] game [last season] or the Aston Villa game – it's always hard because you want to help.

"You want to be involved, do what you love to do and help your team-mates go for our goals."

Jurgen Klopp's side have had a mixed start to the campaign on the results front, not helped by the performances of stand-in keeper Adrian.

He has made more errors directly leading to a goal (three) in his 13 appearances than any other Liverpool player since the start of 2019-20, but Alisson is pleased his side have at least found a way to grind out back-to-back wins.

"Sometimes this is needed," he said. "You will not play the 60 matches in a year in the same way, all the games well.

"Sometimes you need a little bit of luck and luck comes together with hard work, I believe that. We are doing our hard work, so sometimes we win the games without playing the best football.

"But we need to have the full desire, the full passion always in the game. Sometimes you can make it happen.

"But this can't be a routine. We try to play a good game, to play better and better and better, to keep improving. This will be what we will try to do in the next games."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is pleased with how his players have responded to recent setbacks but warned them not to take anything for granted against Midtjylland.

The Premier League champions were sensationally hammered 7-2 by Aston Villa prior to the October international break, then lost Virgil van Dijk to a serious knee injury on their return to action.

Defender Van Dijk was hurt in the early stages of the 2-2 draw with Merseyside rivals Everton, a game the Reds twice led before eventually having to settle for a point.

However, since then Liverpool have recorded a win away at Ajax in the Champions League and also fought back from a goal down to beat Sheffield United.

"It's all about showing a reaction - you cannot influence the things that have happened to you in life. You can influence the response you show - and I like the response, to be honest," Klopp told the media ahead of facing Midtjylland on Tuesday.

"The boys were really ready to work extremely hard again, show real resilience and fighting for results. All those kinds of things are important. I expect them, actually, but after the very, very long good times we had, people react differently.

"They did exactly what I thought they would do - they fought and we won both games."

While Liverpool triumphed 1-0 in Amsterdam in the Champions League, Midtjylland suffered a 4-0 loss at home to Atalanta on their debut in the group stage of the competition.

Yet Klopp - who revealed he is set to be without injured trio Naby Keita, Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara again - does not feel the scoreline reflected the Danish side's overall display.

"The 4-0 against Atalanta was not a 4-0," the German manager said. "It didn't look like that kind of game. They were really in it and possession was pretty level.

"They are a football-playing side with different ideas. They are flexible as well, so it's a challenge, a real challenge. We have to be ready for it."

This will be Liverpool's first home game in Europe since they lost 3-2 in the second leg against Atletico Madrid in March, a game played out with fans present at Anfield amid the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic across the continent.

The extra-time defeat in the second leg of the last-16 tie was the Reds' final outing before the 2019-20 season was put on hold, with Klopp admitting it was a "strange time".

"We played a really good game at Madrid (when they lost 1-0 in the first leg), people forget that," he said. "Played a super game at home and lost, sounds crazy. What can you do more? If you use your chances, you go through. Performance-wise, it was not a problem.

"It was a strange time. We heard a lot of things, the last game before lockdown. This is not an example of how we should do things, football-wise.

"We love the competition, even when we got knocked out too early. It's the Champions League, Anfield but no crowd, but it's still the competition we love.

"We have to show that again tomorrow night. There are no guarantees, but a lot of opportunities."

The loss to Atletico is Liverpool's only blemish in their previous 26 home games in all European competitions. They have not suffered consecutive home defeats in Europe since December 2009.

It remains to be seen whether Pep Guardiola will re-sign with Manchester City.

Guardiola's contract expires at the end of the season in Manchester.

Should the Spaniard decide to move on, there are already two men on the list to replace him.

 

TOP STORY – CITY INTERESTED IN NAGELSMANN

Manchester City are eyeing RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann as a possible replacement for Pep Guardiola, according to the Daily Mail.

Guardiola is out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 campaign and the City manager – who has been previously linked to Juventus – is no closer to re-signing.

Should Guardiola decide to leave after arriving in 2016, Nagelsmann and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino are early candidates.

 

ROUND-UP

Sergio Ramos and LaLiga champions Real Madrid remain deadlocked over contract talks, claims the front page of Monday's Diario AS. The 34-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and he wants a two-year deal, though Madrid are only committed to 12 months.

- Tuttosport reports Juve and Barcelona are both pursuing Ajax sensation Ryan Gravenberch. The 18-year-old midfielder emerged from Ajax's youth system in 2018.

Barcelona will block a January loan offer from Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain for Riqui Puig, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Kylian Mbappe extending his PSG contract has not been ruled out, claims L'Equipe. Tipped to eventually join Madrid, while the likes of Liverpool, Barca and Manchester United have also been linked, Mbappe could stay in Paris should certain conditions be met. The Frenchman is keen to see what unfolds in the next transfer windows.

Jose Mourinho has criticised the use of VAR in the Merseyside derby and Manchester City's Champions League clash with Porto.

Everton's 2-2 draw with Premier League champions Liverpool on October 17 was packed with controversy, including several tight calls going against Jurgen Klopp's side.

Jordan Pickford avoided punishment for a rash tackle on Virgil van Dijk early on at Goodison Park – a challenge that resulted in a potentially season-ending injury for the Liverpool defender, who was flagged offside in the build-up to the incident.

Liverpool thought they had snatched a win in stoppage time, only for Jordan Henderson's strike to be disallowed due to a marginal offside call against Sadio Mane.

There was also a contentious moment in City's Champions League win over Porto, when Ilkay Gundogan appeared to stand on the leg of visiting goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin, a collision that resulted in a penalty for Pep Guardiola's side.

"I think the attention is based on the fact that there is a VAR. Without VAR, the situations on the pitch happen and the human being, the referee, makes mistakes," Mourinho, whose Tottenham side face Burnley on Monday, told reporters.

"And you know me for quite a few years – it was difficult for me to accept the human mistakes but I learned and in this moment, I always accept the referee's mistakes.

"What we don't accept is the VAR mistakes. So, I think if the referee of that match [the Merseyside derby], 100 miles-per-hour, the situation happened, the linesman gives an offside, everybody would say: 'Ok, it was a bad tackle but it happened and it's done'.

"But the problem was there was a VAR. The Porto goalkeeper could be now with a broken leg. And nobody understands how a broken leg [hypothetically] for a Porto goalkeeper is transformed into a penalty against them.

"If the referee makes that mistake, everybody understands because the game is 100mph but with the VAR, how can that VAR make that mistake? And the situation of Pickford for me is the same. It's the VAR, it's not the referee."

Tottenham head to Turf Moor on the back of a 3-0 win over LASK in the Europa League, though they drew their last Premier League outing in dramatic fashion, conceding three goals late on at home to West Ham.

Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Everton will appeal Lucas Digne's red card, questioning whether the extensive coverage of Jordan Pickford's tackle on Virgil van Dijk last week played a part in the decision.

James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams did the damage at St Mary's on Sunday, as Premier League leaders Everton suffered their first defeat in all competitions this season.

Everton's 2-0 reverse means 2020-21 is the first English top-flight campaign since 1967-68 in which no side has gone unbeaten through the first six matches.

A year to the day since Southampton were thrashed 9-0 at home by Leicester City, Everton's hopes of a comeback were further diminished when Digne received a straight red card for a challenge on Kyle Walker-Peters in the 72nd minute.

Sprinting after Walker-Peters, Digne appeared to slow himself but in doing so stepped on the heel of the Southampton full-back, prompting his dismissal.

It is the first time since December 2002 that Everton have received straight red cards in back-to-back Premier League games, after Richarlison was dismissed in last week's Merseyside derby.

Earlier in that match, Pickford was fortunate to escape punishment for a tackle on Van Dijk that resulted in the Liverpool centre-back suffering a potentially season-ending knee injury – an incident that has been at the centre of a media storm since.

Ancelotti believes the reaction to the decisions in the Merseyside derby possibly played a part in Digne's dismissal at Saints, which left him fuming.

"It was a joke, the red card, because it was not intentional," Ancelotti told Sky Sports. "Maybe it can be a yellow but for sure it was not violent conduct. They could check it better.

"Maybe all the rumours, all week against Pickford, against Richarlison, affected the decision. If it is like this, it's not right, it's not fair. We are going to appeal, for sure."

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum was critical of Everton after the derby and claimed Ancelotti's side were "unacceptable".

Everton received three red cards last season, though all were for second bookable offences, with the Toffees collecting 70 yellow cards in total – an average of 1.84 bookings per game.

This season, Ancelotti's team have received seven yellow cards and two straight reds from their six league matches, conceding 70 fouls (11.6 per match), which is a decrease from 12.4 per game in 2019-20.

If his red card is not rescinded, Digne will miss league matches against Newcastle United, Manchester United and Fulham.

Ralph Hasenhuttl took a different view, with Southampton's boss saying: "He tried before to kick him, finally he hit him from behind. It was a clear red card for me."

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