Dele Alli was recalled to the Tottenham starting line-up for the first time in more than a month as they visited Royal Antwerp on Thursday.

Jose Mourinho named the England midfielder alongside Gareth Bale in his XI for the Europa League group-stage clash in Belgium.

Alli was substituted at half-time on the opening day of the Premier League season – a 1-0 defeat to Everton – and has not started a domestic match since, appearing only off the bench in a 6-1 win at Manchester United and otherwise failing to make the matchday squad.

The 24-year-old's only other start in 2020-21 lasted just an hour against Shkendija in Europa League qualifying on September 24, with Alli making way for Harry Kane, who later scored, with Spurs drawing 1-1. He netted against Maccabi Haifa in one of two European substitute appearances to date.

With Alli's Tottenham future seemingly in doubt prior to the Shkendija game, Mourinho said the player would stay at the club but had to own "99 per cent of the responsibility" to improve.

Alli had two shots – one on target, one blocked – and created a single chance in North Macedonia but completed just 71 per cent of his passes, won only 16.7 per cent of his duels and failed to register a tackle, clearance or interception.

In 45 minutes against Everton, Alli had seen his only shot saved and again created one chance. His passing accuracy was 76.5 per cent and he won 50 per cent of his duels, losing his only attempt at a tackle.

Harry Maguire is pleased with the defensive improvements made by Manchester United on the back of their 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham this month.

United suffered their joint-heaviest defeat in the Premier League as they lost by a five-goal margin for the fourth time, and the first since October 2011 against Manchester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are unbeaten in four matches since then, though, keeping back-to-back clean sheets against Chelsea and RB Leipzig after winning away at Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain.

Maguire, who has played every minute in the Premier League this season, admits his side were at "crisis" point after conceding 12 goals in their first three matches.

"After Tottenham, we were all devastated," he told the club's official website. "We were three games into the season but it felt like we were in a big crisis.

"It was quite a strange feeling, but we don't expect to lose games at Old Trafford - and we definitely don't expect to lose games like we did.

"The first three games we were conceding far too many chances, so as a defensive unit, having kept the most clean sheets in Europe last year, we knew we had to improve, we had to be more solid."

United faced 54 shots in their opening three top-flight matches - 18 of those on target - which is more than any other side over the same period, West Brom being the next worst with 52.

However, Solskjaer's men have faced 13 shots in their past two outings - a tally bettered only by Brighton and Hove Albion (10) - which captain Maguire puts down to hard work behind the scenes.

"I think since the international break we have gone back to not conceding chances, as was the case last year," he said. "We were a solid unit then and we played from a solid base.

"It has been really important - as a defender especially - to make sure that we give the front lads every opportunity to go and win the game.

"They score one, two, three goals, it should end up in a win and we're doing that at the moment.

"It's a start. It's still early on this season. It is going to be a long journey but we've got to improve. We know that and we are doing so at the minute, but there's a long way to go."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard insisted he never doubted the "incredible" talent of Christian Pulisic as he responded to claims by Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch.

Marsch last week suggested Lampard did not rate United States international Pulisic when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge due to his nationality.

Speaking to Extratime Radio, the American said: "I could see right away that Lampard's idea of Pulisic was shaped a lot by the fact that he was from America.

"When I spoke to him in pre-season a year ago, I was talking to him about having Pulisic and he was kind of like, 'Yes, he's got a lot to learn so we'll see how he does'."

Pulisic has made a big impact during Lampard's 15 months in charge, playing a direct part in 13 Premier League goals since the start of 2018-19.

Only Tammy Abraham (19) has managed more among Chelsea players still at the club, while his 2.75 dribbles completed per game is bettered only by Mateo Kovacic (3.19). 

And after getting off the mark with his first goal of the campaign in Wednesday's 4-0 win over Krasnodar, Lampard reiterated he has never questioned the winger's ability.

"I did read those comments. I was surprised that Jesse read my mind as well as he did!" Lampard said ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Burnley.

"It was a game against Salzburg when Christian scored twice in pre-season. I said it was exciting to see how he'd develop with us but Jesse put it across a little differently. 

"Maybe Jesse knows the feeling of American managers coming into Europe. I played in America for 18 months and will never underestimate the desire those players have. 

"Christian has that and incredible talent so it was never in doubt for me. I understand the rigours of it. It's the toughest league in the world to play. 

"What Christian did was find his feet quickly and had a great breakthrough season. His performance was massively impressive. 

"He'll get better and better because he is a young player. I never doubted him. It's important for me to put that straight."

On the back of successive goalless draws, Chelsea found the perfect balance between attack and defence in their Champions League Group E win over Russian side Krasnodar.

Hakim Ziyech marked his full debut with a goal while fellow attackers Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic and Timo Werner were also on target, the latter netting from the penalty spot.

Lampard has once again talked up the importance of making full use of his large squad with three more games to play over the next 10 days.

"Hakim was very good last night, so that was a big plus," he said. "The other teams, particularly those in Europe, are also finding the schedule heavy. We need options. 

"We're also searching for relationships as newer players are learning about each other and how we play. There will be rotation at times. We need everybody."

Thiago Silva did not make the trip to Russia but Lampard will bring the experienced defender back into his squad for the meeting with Burnley.

"He is fit. Taking him out of the squad for Krasnodar was a maintenance issue," he said. "It made sense to leave him out. 

"As a player towards the end of my career – and I'm not saying that's the case with him – it's about making sure we get the best out of him towards the end of the season.

"I spoke with him and he could have played if he had to but I had to put it in context of what is ahead of us."

Chelsea have won five of their six Premier League away games against Burnley, scoring at least twice in each victory. 

Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font wants to lure Pep Guardiola back from Manchester City and vowed to keep Lionel Messi at the club.

Josep Maria Bartomeu quit as president at Camp Nou on Tuesday, ahead of a vote of no confidence against his leadership, along with the entire board of directors.

Following Bartomeu's decision to quit it has been reported Barcelona's presidential elections will be held in the second week of January, with Font tipped to be one of the frontrunners.

Font, 48, claimed that if he wins the vote he will seek to bring Guardiola back as head coach, get other big-name ex-players involved, and ensure Argentina international Messi stays.

Guardiola enjoyed a trophy-laden spell in charge of Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, winning LaLiga three times and the Champions League trophy twice.

Messi, meanwhile, had expressed a desire to leave Barca in August only to reverse his decision to avoid a legal dispute, but his contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Font told Sky Sports: "It is our intention to build a very strong and competitive project and we are very lucky at Barca that we inherited a style of play that Johan Cruyff instilled throughout the organisation.

"And most of the best professionals who know about this style are also fans and love the club - like Pep Guardiola, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Carles] Puyol.

"They are all legends that love Barcelona but do not work for Barca today - we need to bring them back to ensure we will have a very competitive project.

"The only thing Messi needs is to know he is part of a competitive project that aspires to win the next Champions League.

"We have no doubt that if we basically have the honour to take the helm of Barcelona, we will be able to achieve that."

Barcelona are currently 12th in LaLiga after a slow start to the season under new boss Ronald Koeman, who was only appointed as Quique Setien's successor in August.

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal can cope with the demands that a push for a top-four finish in the Premier League and a deep Europa League run will place upon them.

The Gunners have lost their past two Premier League games 1-0 and will have contested seven matches in just over three weeks by the time the November international break comes around.

With a three-month suspension of all football during the previous campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020-21 season started late and the fixtures will consequently continue to come thick and fast.

Arteta could only steer Arsenal to eighth in the league last season, with qualification to the Europa League secured via success in the FA Cup.

A top-four finish in the Premier League and winning the Europa League represent Arsenal's two potential paths into next season's Champions League, and despite the fixture congestion Arteta does not see a reason to pick between them.

"Well we're going to try for sure to do that and at the moment we have the squad to try to achieve that," he replied when asked if it was possible to fight on both fronts.

"What is going to happen in six weeks or six months we don't know, and how the players are going to assimilate all the minutes in their legs and how they're going to respond to that is a big question mark for all the managers and all the clubs. But starting this season, for sure this is our aim."

Arsenal have been hindered recently by a struggling attack and have failed to score more than twice in any of their previous eight games.

In the Premier League this season, Arsenal are averaging just 8.8 shots per match – their lowest such figure since at least 1997-98 – and 1.3 goals per game, their worst rate in 25 years.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are finding goals hard to come by, and Arteta believes the Gunners' centre-backs hold one of the keys to the duo returning to their prolific best.

"When you face a low block like Leicester [City] did when they played 5-4-1 and the striker comes with the holding midfielder, if you don't utilise your two central defenders you are playing eight against 10 the whole game. That's a really difficult game to play," said Arteta.

"They have to step in, they need to know which spaces to attack, which players they have to commit, which players and areas they have to provoke. They become crucial there.

"It's something we haven't had time to do, we haven't really faced and we have to start training. But it's a really good sign that a big team like Leicester comes here to sit and says, 'We want to be here'.

"We will work on that, we will improve on that and we will give much more to our strikers so they can finish games off."

Ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash with Dundalk, however, Arteta's options in the heart of defence are significantly depleted with David Luiz having joined Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari on the sidelines.

"It's nice for some commentators to have a little go," said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as another news conference turned into a discussion about a player not in his recent plans.

The "commentator" in question was probably Marco van Basten, the Netherlands and Ajax great who is perhaps the most authoritative voice wondering aloud why Donny van de Beek can't get a game for Manchester United.

Since signing from Ajax for an initial £34.7million in September, Van de Beek has played 61 minutes in England's top flight, all of them as a substitute. Even with Paul Pogba restricted largely to the role of impact-sub, with post-COVID-19 fitness concerns still a problem, Van de Beek appears below Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata, Scott McTominay and Fred in the midfield pecking order, and that's despite scoring a goal on his Old Trafford debut.

Solskjaer made it clear the Netherlands international will get his chance and he handed him a first start in all competitions against RB Leipzig on Wednesday. Perhaps that first league start will come this weekend against Arsenal; maybe Solskjaer will give in to curiosity and start Van de Beek, Pogba and Fernandes together.

Could such a system work?

TRIO TROUBLES

Part of Solskjaer's problem here is obvious: Van de Beek, Fernandes and Pogba are midfielders with similar technical qualities, so fitting them all in the same line-up is a challenge. Their average positions in league football last season, for instance, are all neatly within the centre circle.

The issue is heightened by Solskjaer's preferred formations.

Solskjaer tends to favour a 3-4-1-2, such as he did in the 2-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain, when United face stronger opponents who expect to have more possession. That formation allows Fernandes to play as a number 10 and speeds up the transitions to counter-attacks, but it also depends on ball-winners covering the ground behind him. Against PSG, that pairing was Fred and McTominay, and it worked well – they won six free-kicks and regained possession 14 times between them. Van de Beek came on with 88 minutes gone for a tiring Fernandes.

When Solskjaer switches to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, as is his preference for most Premier League matches, the stability of the midfield relies on at least one of Fred, McTominay or Nemanja Matic as the anchor while Pogba and Fernandes are given more freedom to roam. Should Van de Beek slot into this line-up, United would sacrifice a more defensive-minded player, which could put the back four at risk of runners bearing down on them, as was their undoing in home defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham.

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE

So prevails the conventional wisdom, anyway. But Van de Beek could be better suited to these systems than it appears if Solskjaer decides to be bold.

Van de Beek's attacking strengths are clear. Last season in the Eredivisie, he managed the same number of shots (44) as Fernandes did in the Premier League, at an average of 2.1 per game (down on Fernandes' 3.3, but higher than Pogba's 1.6).

In his 23 appearances, he got eight goals – again, level with Fernandes – and five assists from a hugely impressive 41 chances created. In terms of open play, Van de Beek outperformed Fernandes (1.7) with chances created on average per 90 minutes (1.9). His average passes in the opposition half were at 29.9, well down on Pogba (47.2) and Fernandes (45.6), but Van de Beek had well over double the number of touches in the opposition box per 90 (7.8) than either of his new team-mates.

That paints a picture of Van de Beek in a box-to-box role, one that would suit one side of a 4-3-3 or a forward position in a 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-1-2. Where, then, would the defensive balance come from? Well, from Van de Beek.

His 46 Eredivisie tackles last season gave him an average of 2.2 per game, greater than Fernandes (1.7) or the deeper-lying Pogba (1.6). He also outperformed those two for interceptions (16) and possession won (111), although his average per 90 minutes for each were similar to Fernandes.

Van de Beek also averaged 42.7 passes per 90 minutes in the league in the 2019-20 season but with a higher accuracy than Fernandes (82.3 compared to 75.7). A player capable of winning back the ball and retaining it as he can would offer a sufficient level of defensive stability alongside Pogba and Fernandes, particularly with his positional nous, in games where United expect to control the ball. And Pogba is accomplished in a deeper role, anyway: he played 30 passes in his own half per 90 minutes in the league last season, and 47 in the opponents' half. He can influence proceedings at both ends by holding position while Van de Beek and Fernandes are given free rein, knowing the Dutchman will be willing to track back and cover.

EXCHANGE POLICY

If a Pogba-Donny-Bruno set-up is to work, though, they need to start functioning together as a passing unit.

In the second half of last season, when Pogba was fit again and Fernandes firing after his January arrival, the duo combined effectively in United's league run-in. They exchanged 129 passes in 661 minutes on the pitch together, creating seven chances for each other and each providing an assist. Those are encouraging numbers from the early months of a partnership.

This season, though, they have exchanged 38 passes in 230 minutes, indicating a slight drop in their link play, and neither has yet created a goalscoring chance for the other.

Van de Beek has only made four passes to Fernandes and two to Pogba but, for a player to play just 61 minutes, that's not too surprising. It does, though, indicate the need for each to get used to the others' ways of working if a strong midfield trio is ever likely to be formed.

That said, of the seven passes Fernandes has ever played to Van de Beek in the Premier League, one created a goalscoring chance. If that ratio continues, there are strong odds Van de Beek will turn performances into regular goals and force Solskjaer's hand when it comes to his team sheet.

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.

Manchester United left-back Alex Telles has tested positive for coronavirus, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

Telles, who arrived at United from Porto for a reported £15.4million (€17m) earlier this month, made his debut for the club in last week's Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain.

The 27-year-old has since missed two matches, including Wednesday's 5-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig at Old Trafford.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer subsequently confirmed Telles had contracted COVID-19, but was feeling fine.

"Telles has tested positive for coronavirus so he's been out for a few days," he told a news conference.

"No symptoms though, so he'll be fine. Back soon."

Top of Group H in the Champions League but 15th in the Premier League, United host Arsenal on Sunday.

Mesut Ozil's motivation cannot be questioned despite missing out on Arsenal's Premier League and Europa League squads, says team-mate and friend Shkodran Mustafi. 

Ozil was not selected in Mikel Arteta's groups for either domestic or continental action for the remainder of 2020. 

The former Germany international, who last played against West Ham in March and was on the bench just twice after the Premier League resumed in June, said his loyalty to the Gunners "has not been reciprocated". 

Ozil is continuing to train with Arteta's side, though, and Mustafi - another member of Germany's 2014 World Cup-winning squad - says the midfielder is "doing the best he can". 

"I just know that Mesut, for me, is not a team-mate - he is more than a team-mate, a friend," Mustafi told reporters. 

"I respect him. He always has respected me and everyone else, as far as I have seen, so he is always going to have my respect and I am always going to be there for him if he needs something to motivate him and push him. 

"But at the moment, every time I see him at training, he's doing the best he can. He tries to train well, to be there." 

Asked if he thought Ozil had expected to be left out, Mustafi replied: "I can't look into his head. I can only see what he's doing at the training ground and what he's doing on the pitch.

"I felt that he was always trying his best. At the end of the day, no-one expects or wants to be left out. 

"He's a friend. I'm always going to respect him, I am always going to be there if he needs someone to motivate him, to push him to keep going. 

"But he is so long in this business and has played so many games that he doesn't really need to be motivated. I see him very motivated. 

"Of course, when you're not in the squad, you're going to be disappointed - even him. 

"The last thing you want to see is someone left out and not being disappointed. This would be the wrong thing. Of course he was disappointed. 

"On the other side, he's experienced enough to deal with the situation. For me, the main thing is how I see him on the training pitch and there's nothing I can say negative about him." 

Ozil has the sympathy of former Arsenal colleague Jack Wilshere, who was similarly restricted to a fringe role at West Ham before his contract was terminated. 

"I was in that position," Wilshere told Sky Sports. "As a footballer, you want to be given the opportunity to compete and fight for your place. 

"He's one of the best players I've played with. All I can do is comment on him as a footballer and I know what he can give, so it does make it difficult to understand. 

"But I'm not in the club, I don't know what's happened. I'm sure for a lot of teams in England and Europe, Mesut will be the first name on the team sheet. 

"But that's why Arteta's the manager. He makes the decisions and that's down to him."

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."

Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City must accept criticism following an underwhelming start to the Premier League campaign, but he has no doubt his side will kick on. 

Following a 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday, City have taken just eight points from their opening five league matches of the season – their lowest total at this stage of a campaign since 2014-15. 

City, who face Sheffield United on Saturday, sit five points behind top-two sides Everton and Liverpool, albeit they do have a game in hand.

Matters have been different in the Champions League, however. 

Ferran Torres, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling – who with 18 goals and 10 assists has been directly involved in more Champions League goals than any other player at the club – were on target in a routine 3-0 win over Marseille on Tuesday. 

While Guardiola accepts the criticism which has come his side's way, he believes there are more than enough positive signs for City for the weeks and months ahead. 

"No," Guardiola replied to BT Sport when he was asked if City had been overly criticised. 

"We have to accept it. Today, the world of football is on social media and in the media, so we play every three days and when you win you are good and when you don't they want to destroy everything. 

"But the club, the chairman, the players and managers are calm and know exactly what to do. We accept it, it's part of our job.

"The important thing is we are exactly where we are, over the last month there has been a lack of preparation with people injured, with COVID. 

"Champions League now is in a good position, in the Premier League we are away [from the top] but we have one game in hand. It's time to take our rhythm, people will come back, I am sure we will have a good season." 

In their first competitive meeting with Marseille, City dominated from start to finish, making 821 passes – with a 93 per cent accuracy – mustering eight attempts and controlling almost 65 per cent of possession. 

"We played really well, we didn't concede much, nothing at all," said Guardiola. 

"We were in total control, patient, so aggressive without the ball, we played really well. I am so satisfied for the performance, for the victory. Winning away is difficult and we did it. I’m so satisfied with the way we played." 

After struggling with an injury sustained while on international duty with Belgium, Kevin De Bruyne returned to City's starting XI to provide two assists, taking his career total for the club to 88. 

"Kevin always plays good," said Guardiola. "He is something special. I'm so happy he is back. He played really well again."

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. 

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