Zinedine Zidane thinks Raheem Sterling is a quality player but is not interested in discussing a possible Real Madrid bid for the Manchester City star.

In an interview with Madrid publication AS, Sterling described Los Blancos as "a fantastic club" and suggested he could be interested in playing at the Santiago Bernabeu, although he made it clear he is happy at City.

With Pep Guardiola's side facing a ban from European competition pending the outcome of a planned appeal, the future of Sterling is likely to intensify over the coming weeks, particularly with Madrid and City meeting in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Madrid head coach Zidane is undoubtedly an admirer of Sterling, but he seems disinclined to encourage speculation.

"I can't talk about a player who isn't mine," he told reporters on Friday. "He's a very good player, no doubt about that."

Madrid face Levante in LaLiga on Saturday before their attentions turn to City next week.

One player hoping to impress is Rodrygo, who has not made a league appearance since January 26.

"He hasn't been in the last three squads, but we know he's an important player for us and when everyone is there, you have to select a squad," Zidane said of the Brazilian.

"That's all it is, because we're happy with him. He's shown he's very good."

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is said to be at an impasse in talks over a new contract, with Madrid reportedly unwilling to match their captain's request for a two-year extension.

Zidane, though, expects a new deal to be agreed without too much complication and is even backing the defender in his desire to represent Spain at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"Sergio's renewal looks easy to me. I want Sergio with me. He's our captain, our leader and an example as a player," he said.

"He's very important for all Madridistas, for the players...

"He should go, of course [to the Olympics]. I will support him. It's very beautiful to play for your country."

Raheem Sterling has described Real Madrid as "a fantastic club" amid speculation over his Manchester City future.

The LaLiga giants have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old over the past two seasons, but City's looming ban from Europe has fuelled those rumours further.

Sterling insists he is happy at City, where he has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and the FA Cup since moving from Liverpool in 2015, but he cannot disguise his admiration for Zinedine Zidane's side.

"Right now, I'm at City and I'm really happy," Sterling told Madrid sports publication AS.

"But I say Real Madrid are a fantastic club. When you see the white shirt, you know exactly what the club stands for. It's massive. But at the same time, I have a contract with City now and I have to respect this. But it's a fantastic club.

"No one knows what the future will hold. I am a player and I am always open to challenges but right now my challenge is at Manchester City. In the future, hopefully, who knows..."

City were given a two-season ban from European competition by UEFA after being found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, although the club insist they have done nothing wrong and intend to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Speaking on the issue, Sterling said: "It's something we don't know much about yet because it's something that has not been confirmed. The club has a long way to go and we just have to wait and see what happens, but I have full confidence in the club."

City face Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, with the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu taking place next Wednesday.

Sterling is relishing the challenge of facing the 14-time champions of Europe and does not think there is anything lucky about Zidane having led Madrid to three consecutive Champions League triumphs from 2016 to 2018.

"We had a good reaction when we knew that they will be our rival," said the England star. "If you want to do well I think the best thing you have to do is to play against the best teams straight away and there is no better challenge than Real Madrid.

"It is always going to be a difficult game whether they are in a good or a bad moment, just because of the atmosphere, the historical stadium that we are going to...

"It's going to be a difficult game, especially now that they are doing really well, but at the same time I’ve got full confidence in our team and if we get it right on the day, I believe we can win.

"I think to win the Champions League so many times, especially in a row as well, is very difficult. I don't think that's luck; it's definitely a formula. Some people have that winning mentality and he wins by any means. So I wouldn't say that it's luck, I'd say it's something he has probably developed over his great career as a player and he's developing his career as a manager, so it continues this winning touch."

Raheem Sterling is focused on Manchester City, according to his agent, amid reports linking him with a move to Real Madrid.

Speculation over the futures of several City players has intensified in the wake of the two-season Champions League ban handed to the club by UEFA for "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play regulations, although they deny wrongdoing and intend to appeal.

Sterling, who is contracted at City until 2023, is reportedly a target for LaLiga giants Madrid.

But the 25-year-old forward's agent, Aidy Ward, said Sterling's focus was on the Premier League club.

"Raheem is solely focused on Manchester City and will not be distracted by any talk of transfers to any club at the moment," he told the Mirror and the Daily Mail.

Sterling, who arrived at City from Liverpool in 2015, has scored 20 goals in 35 games in all competitions this season but is sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Raheem Sterling will miss Manchester City's clash with West Ham on Sunday after it was confirmed the England forward has suffered a hamstring injury.

The blow to Sterling came about late in City's defeat to Tottenham last weekend, and the reigning Premier League champions have stated only that he will be absent for this weekend.

It remains to be seen whether Sterling recovers in time for the match against Leicester on February 22, or the Champions League last-16 first-leg tussle with Real Madrid four days later.

A statement on City's official website said: "Raheem Sterling will miss the visit of West Ham after scans revealed he has suffered damage to his left hamstring.

"The forward limped out of our game at Tottenham on Sunday with six minutes remaining and was assessed on Thursday at the CFA [City Football Academy].

"He will continue to be monitored during the winter break. Everyone at City wishes Raheem a full and speedy recovery."

City begin their short mid-season break after the match against lowly West Ham, with Pep Guardiola's side, who sit a distant second to Liverpool in the table, returning to action 13 days later against Leicester.

Sterling has scored 11 goals in 23 Premier League outings for City this season.

Dele Alli is "lucky" to be in contention to face Southampton in the FA Cup after escaping serious injury when caught by Raheem Sterling in Sunday's 2-0 win over Manchester City, according to Jose Mourinho.

Sterling made firm contact with Alli's ankle in the first half and appeared fortunate to avoid a red card for the mistimed tackle, with Mourinho's frustration evident after the match.

It was one of several refereeing decisions to grate on Mourinho during the gripping encounter, with the use of VAR once again at the centre of post-match discussions.

Alli eventually came off 20 minutes from time and there were worries that the effects of Sterling's challenge might rule the attacking midfielder out of action.

But Mourinho confirmed Alli could face Southampton on Wednesday, convinced the England international is fortunate to have not suffered serious damage.

"No, it's not as bad [as we first thought]," Mourinho told reporters. "So, there is a chance of him playing tomorrow [Wednesday], let's wait and see.

"It's just a question of being a little bit lucky, or unlucky. You need a little bit of luck. Dele Alli was very lucky.

"Did Sterling want to injure him? I don't think so, I don't believe that he wanted [to hurt Alli]. So, respect to Sterling, I have no problem at all.

"But the intention does not count. What counts is the action. It is a red card."

Mourinho was particularly animated on the touchline against City, with footage of one action going viral on social media – the clip showing him sprinting to the fourth official to complain about a decision in the aftermath of Hugo Lloris' penalty save.

The Portuguese coach accepts he may have gone too far with his reaction, but explained his frustration stemmed from what he feels is a misuse of VAR.

"[I went viral] in a funny way, but not in a good way, but I say in a funny way," he said.

"I think the fact that now it is allowed to have the screen in front of us... I think it's not good for the emotions, for our emotions, because we watch and we watch exactly the same as the VAR [official] is watching, decisions the referees don't see as well as we do.

"That's because the referees, they are on the pitch and, as I was saying the other day, it is 200 miles per hour and very difficult for them, and sometimes they don't see things the same way we do.

"In 2004-05, I remember I tried to go with a screen to the bench and I was forbidden by the rules, and in this moment now you are allowed.

"So, I don't think it's good for the emotions. My reaction was just based on being able to watch everything on the screen, so I watched the Dele Alli situation, I watched the penalty, the pretend penalty – I watched everything, so that creates emotions, but okay, I went viral for the wrong reasons."

Jose Mourinho felt Raheem Sterling was lucky to avoid a "clear red card" in the opening stages of Tottenham's 2-0 home win over Manchester City.

Second-half strikes from debutant Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min sealed a valuable victory for Mourinho's side on Sunday, with City having seen Oleksandr Zinchenko dismissed for a second booking on the hour mark, shortly before the opening goal.

Ilkay Gundogan had a first-half penalty saved for City, who had 18 shots to their opponents' three, but Mourinho believed it would have been a very different contest had Sterling been shown red for a 12th-minute challenge on Dele Alli that was reviewed by VAR, only for a yellow card to be awarded.

Sterling's foot appeared to brush the top of the ball before making firm contact with Alli's ankle, leaving the Spurs boss unimpressed.

"I'm so pleased for the boys," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "We can look at the perspective that we were a bit lucky in a couple of situations, they [City] hit the post or they missed a good chance.

"But we can see it from the other perspective and say that we were very, very unlucky that the VAR didn't decide for a Sterling red card, which is a clear red card.

"From that moment obviously it is a completely different game if you have to play 75 minutes or something like that against 10 men. So 11 v 11, [it was] really difficult, hard, but my boys were very well organised, great effort, great discipline."

Mourinho also appeared enraged when Sterling took a tumble immediately after Hugo Lloris had kept out Gundogan's spot-kick, only to avoid a second yellow card for simulation even though VAR ruled he had not been fouled by the goalkeeper.

However, he had high praise for midfielders Giovani Lo Celso and Harry Winks, and goalkeeper Lloris.

"Against City, they love the ball, they know better than anyone to know what to do with the ball, so when they have the ball for the majority of the time it's hard, but I think [we had] fantastic performances, great concentration," the Portuguese added.

"The way Lo Celso and Winks, they controlled Kevin De Bruyne, the movements that he does in these areas, and Lo Celso, the way he controls also that position where Sterling comes inside and Gundogan supports them. I think the boys were phenomenal in there, in their effort.

"The goalkeeper saved a penalty – I think it was God's will because it's not a penalty – but our goalkeeper is fantastic and he's there to try and give us points."

Bergwijn's wonderful goal saw the new signing from PSV control the ball on his chest before firing home a superb volley on the turn.

"[It was] so sharp, technically so comfortable, chest, volley," said Mourinho. "[It was] unstoppable, even for a great goalkeeper like Ederson."

Steven Bergwijn scored a superb volley on his debut as Tottenham earned a 2-0 victory over Manchester City, who dominated possession but missed a penalty and had Oleksandr Zinchenko sent off.

Pep Guardiola's men were perhaps guilty of overplaying in front of goal across the course of a game that exploded into life when Hugo Lloris saved an Ilkay Gundogan spot-kick in a frenetic climax a tense first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The champions remained on top until Zinchenko received a second booking and his marching orders, leaving Spurs to capitalise on their man advantage almost immediately with Bergwijn's memorable strike after 63 minutes.

Son Heung-Min's seventh top-flight goal of the season left City with too much to do in the final 20 minutes and they suffered a first defeat in six league outings that all but extinguishes their already faint title hopes with Liverpool 22 points clear at the top of the table.

Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero missed early chances in the Spurs box and Raheem Sterling escaped with just a yellow card after a dangerous challenge that almost buckled Dele Alli's ankle.

Riyad Mahrez turned his back on a shooting chance when he mistakenly thought he had been flagged offside but moments later his threaded pass sent Aguero through for a shot against the foot of the post as Spurs came under fire.

The half ended in chaos, with a belated VAR review overturning referee Mike Dean's decision not to award Aguero a penalty following a clumsy challenge by Serge Aurier.

After Gundogan's spot-kick was saved by Lloris, there was an angry melee as Tottenham's players fumed over Sterling's attempt to win another penalty when he tumbled over the goalkeeper's arms, with Toby Alderweireld and Zinchenko booked for their contributions.

A mix-up between Lloris and Japhet Tanganga allowed Aguero to loop a shot towards goal that was cleared as far as Sterling and he squared to Gundogan, who blazed over the crossbar with the net gaping.

Zinchenko was shown a second yellow card for barging Harry Winks as the Spurs midfielder broke towards the half-way line and shortly after the hosts were ahead.

Lucas Moura chipped the ball to the edge of the box where Bergwijn controlled it with his chest and volleyed into the bottom-right corner of the net with exquisite technique.

Eight minutes later, Tanguy Ndombele carved an opening for Son, whose deflected shot from just inside the box beat Ederson at his near post to double Tottenham's lead and the closest City came to pulling one back was a Davinson Sanchez header against his own crossbar at the death.

 

What does it mean? Liverpool's title party plans come forward

With City trailing so far behind, Liverpool need just 18 more points to clinch the Premier League title and at the rate they are winning games that will not take long.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are up to fifth in the table and will be confident of closing the four-point gap to Chelsea above them after beating the champions.

Winks fares well in De Bruyne battle

Kevin De Bruyne tends to control games from his position in the City engine room but Harry Winks broke up the play and put Spurs on the front foot at key moments to help turn the game.

Rodrigo fades after promising start

Rodrigo showed glimpses of his silky passing abilities early on but by the second half was little more than a bystander as Spurs turned the screw.

What's next?

City are back at Etihad Stadium on Sunday when West Ham are the visitors, while Spurs travel to Aston Villa in the league after their midweek FA Cup replay against Southampton.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola backed Raheem Sterling despite the forward's dip in form to begin 2020.

Sterling is without a goal in seven games this year, having last netted against Wolves on December 27.

The forward has scored 20 goals in all competitions this season and Guardiola said he was unconcerned about Sterling's form heading into Sunday's trip to Tottenham.

"Raheem defended incredibly well against [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka in the last game and he had the clearest chances that no other player can create for himself and unfortunately he could not score a goal," he said.

"But he was there and so I am more than delighted with the performance he made against United.

"A month ago, people were talking about his statistics, the goals, the assists, but I always said that I was not just judging Raheem on those points. It was important, but not the only one."

Sterling has already made 34 appearances for City this season, having played 51 games for the club in 2018-19.

But Guardiola, whose team are 22 points adrift of league leaders Liverpool, played down any suggestions Sterling needed a break.

"Does he need a rest? I don't think so," he said.

"He's a guy who recovers quicker than anyone I have ever seen before – he is incredible and he could play every two days.

"The more he plays the better he feels, but all players feel like that."

Sporting stars from across the globe, including Tom Brady and Neymar, have paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers icon was killed in a helicopter crash.

Bryant, 41, died on Sunday in a crash close to the city of Calabasas in Los Angeles County, California.

Eight others on board, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, also lost their lives.

Following the initial reports of Bryant's passing, athletes and teams from across the world of sport posted their tributes to the Lakers great on social media.

New England Patriots great Brady wrote on his Twitter page: "We miss you already, Kobe."

Patrick Mahomes, another superstar NFL quarterback, said: "Man, not Kobe. Prayers to his family and friends!"

Bryant was an Olympic champion like Usain Bolt, the great sprinter, who posted a picture of the former NBA star on his page.

"Still can't believe ⁦[it] @kobebryant," he said.

World number one golfer Brooks Koepka posted a lengthy message in memory of his "hero".

"Kobe Bryant was my HERO growing up. Even to this day he was an inspiration to the way I approached things," he wrote, adding: "His mentality motivated me not only in hard times but throughout my whole life. RIP, Kobe."

Footballer Raheem Sterling said: "Rest easy, legend."

Meanwhile, Neymar, who scored twice in Paris Saint-Germain's win over Lille on Sunday, dedicated his second goal to the Lakers legend.

Drew Brees spoke to ESPN from the Pro Bowl, saying of Bryant: "I had the chance to meet him one time. He was a guy I hoped to have the chance to be around more.

"I had so much respect for him as a competitor. I know he inspired so many people in so many different ways.

"He was one of the great competitors of any generation - not just with sports but the way he approached a lot of things with what he was doing now after basketball.

"I pray for him, I pray for his family. It's a tragic loss."

Harry Kane may have suffered an untimely injury, but England boss Gareth Southgate could well be blessed with a wealth of attacking options heading into Euro 2020.

Kane's hamstring injury should not see him miss the European Championship, but it has handed plenty of England hopefuls the chance to prove their worth.

And it seems as though this season, the Premier League belongs to homegrown forwards.

Jamie Vardy – who has retired from international duty – leads the way with 17 goals, ahead of three players sharing second place in the scoring charts with 14: Danny Ings, Marcus Rashford and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal striker Aubameyang is one of only four non-English players to take their place in the Premier League's list of leading scorers as things stand, along with Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Raheem Sterling, Tammy Abraham and Kane complete the top 10 and, using Opta data, we assess whether the 2019-20 Premier League campaign is an anomaly or the start of something new.

SIX OF THE BEST

Vardy's incredible form has been key to propelling Leicester City up the league, with Brendan Rodgers' side currently sitting third. 

The 33-year-old has 17 league goals to his name this season, though it is another Englishman who has been making the headlines recently – one who downed the Foxes last time out. 

Southampton's Ings has scored 10 goals in his past 11 top-flight appearances and is already the highest-scoring Southampton player in a single season since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14. 

Level with Ings is Manchester United's Rashford, who seems to have finally taken up the mantle as the Red Devils' talisman and has scored 19 times across all competitions, one less than England team-mate Sterling, who has 11 league goals. 

Chelsea's transfer ban in the off season handed Abraham the chance to shine, and shine he has, scoring 13 times in the top flight, two more than England captain Kane. 

It should also be noted the six leading English scorers all represent different clubs, showing that homegrown talent is shared across the league. 

THE NEXT GENERATION

Of the English players leading the way this season, two – Rashford and Abraham – are 22, while City sensation Sterling is only just 25.  

Indeed, only Vardy, of the English forwards in the top 10, is above the age of 30. 

After overcoming a glut of injury issues, Ings is finally hitting his stride once more, with Southampton the benefactors.  

But, with the 27-year-old averaging a goal every 109.8 minutes in the league – a figure bettered only by Vardy among the other English players – Ings must be in serious contention for a place in Southgate's squad for the upcoming friendlies against Italy and Denmark. 

There is also plenty of potential for the future outside of the players in the top 10. After Sterling and Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the highest-scoring English player and the 22-year-old seems to be coming into his own for Everton. 

He has scored eight league goals and 10 in total across all competitions, while United's Mason Greenwood is the highest-scoring teenager in the competition. 

Away from the Premier League, Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho has been lighting up the Bundesliga since his move from City in 2017.

HISTORY SAYS...

Only twice in the past nine Premier League seasons has an English forward won the Golden Boot, with Tottenham star Kane doing so in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Last season, the award was shared between Mane, Salah and Aubameyang, though each only managed 22 goals – the lowest amount since Carlos Teves finished top of the charts with 20 in 2010-11.

Since the start of the previous decade there has been a steady increase in the number of English players finishing in double figures for the season, with five last term being the most. But with six players inside the top 10 – and Calvert-Lewin not far away – this season, 2019-20 is proving the best season for homegrown strikers in that timeframe.

With Euro 2020 on the horizon, it appears this could well be the season that kick-starts a new wave of English talent starring in the big time.

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling were named among the subs and Ederson left out of the squad entirely due to illness for Manchester City's home Premier League clash with Everton.

City's leading goalscorer Aguero was on target for the 14th time across all competitions this season against Sheffield United last time out, while Sterling lasted 88 minutes of Sunday's 2-0 victory.

Both players were omitted from the starting line-up for the New Year's Day clash with Everton, however, as Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus came in.

Kyle Walker, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Bernardo Silva also made way, replaced by Joao Cancelo, Benjamin Mendy and Ilkay Gundogan, as Pep Guardiola opted for five alterations.

Ederson was eligible for selection after serving a one-match ban for his dismissal against Wolves last week, but Guardiola confirmed he has been laid low by a sickness bug, meaning Claudio Bravo retained his place.

Everton, who boast a perfect record from their first two matches under new boss Carlo Ancelotti, also made five changes for their trip to Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola is adamant Manchester City will not prioritise cup competitions over the Premier League for the rest of the season because he worries about them missing out on European places.

City are 14 points behind league leaders Liverpool thanks to Friday's 3-2 defeat at Wolves, meaning their title defence looks beyond Guardiola's men.

Although Ederson's early red card left City in a precious position at Molineux, they found themselves two to the good just after the interval thanks to a pair of Raheem Sterling goals.

But Adama Traore pulled one back soon after and he then played a vital role in an 82nd-minute equaliser, making the most of Benjamin Mendy's woeful error to set up Raul Jimenez.

The Mexican teed up Matt Doherty late on and he secured the win that leaves City well adrift of Liverpool, who also have a game in hand.

But giving up on the Premier League is a dangerous game Guardiola is unwilling to play.

"We can't give up otherwise we won't be in Europe," Guardiola told reporters.

"I never prioritise competitions. Now we're back at home, playing another game in less than 40 hours [at home to Sheffield United]. We have to prepare, see how they are and how they feel.

"Our response is always good; we are used to being top and now we are fighting."

Friday's result meant Manchester City were unable to move back up to second above Leicester City, who lost 4-0 to Liverpool on Boxing Day.

And Guardiola reiterated that they are now City's target, acknowledging it is not realistic to continue aiming for Liverpool's lofty perch.

"We have to move on," he said. "We played the first season and we were there [near the top] all the time, in some situations we are far away. We have to catch the second one and see where we are.

"It's unrealistic to think about Liverpool, we think about Leicester. We have the chance to recover second, I know the quality of the team, but that's the situation."

Bernardo Silva acknowledged Manchester City's 14-point gap to Premier League leaders Liverpool is a "really bad situation" after Friday's dramatic 3-2 defeat to Wolves.

Liverpool – who have a game in hand on City – thrashed Leicester City 4-0 on Thursday to increase their lead at the top and Pep Guardiola's men were unable to make a dent in that at Molineux.

Despite having Ederson sent off in the 12th minute, City found themselves two up early in the second half thanks to a Raheem Sterling brace.

But Adama Traore inspired Wolves, scoring from 25 yards before setting up Raul Jimenez's equaliser in the 82nd minute – picking the Mexican out after capitalising on a woeful Benjamin Mendy error.

Matt Doherty clinched the win following a clever interchange with Jimenez, and Silva accepts City's position is frustrating.

Speaking on Amazon Prime, he said: "It is a really bad situation for us. A frustrating first half of the season.

"Nobody expected us to be this far away from Liverpool at this halfway point. We have to continue now.

"We know that winning the title is very complicated. I wouldn't say impossible but very difficult."

Guardiola's post-match comments struck a similarly exasperated tone as he practically ruled out a title challenge.

"It's big [the gap behind Liverpool] for a long time now," he said. "It's not realistic to think about it. The same question for a long time, but the same answer."

Manchester City blew a two-goal lead at Wolves as Raul Jimenez and Matt Doherty netted late on at Molineux to secure a thrilling 3-2 home victory, with the 10-man champions' hopes of usurping runaway leaders Liverpool taking another huge blow.

City found themselves with an unlikely 2-0 lead just after half-time thanks to a Raheem Sterling brace, the lead remarkable given the 12th-minute dismissal of Ederson, but Wolves fought back spectacularly in the second half – Adama Traore playing a vital role.

Ederson's early sending off left City in a tricky position, though they initially responded well and went ahead through Sterling – the attacker tapping in a penalty rebound after Rui Patricio had saved two of his spot-kicks, the first ultimately being retaken due to encroachment.

Sterling doubled his tally with a lovely finish early in the second half and it looked as though it would be enough, but the lively Traore pulled one back before then setting up Jimenez in the latter stages following a woeful error from Benjamin Mendy.

There was still time for a stunning winner as Doherty finished off a fine move in style in the 89th minute to clinch the win, leaving City – who hit the crossbar through Sterling in stoppage time – 14 points adrift of Liverpool.

A A gripping first half looked to be going Wolves' way when Ederson was dismissed for catching Diogo Jota after rushing out of his box in the 12th minute, with Sergio Aguero's return from a month-long injury absence ending prematurely as he was hooked for replacement goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

But Riyad Mahrez was tripped by Leander Dendoncker in the opposing penalty area soon after and, following a lengthy VAR review, the spot-kick was given.

Sterling's subsequent effort was stopped by Patricio, only for VAR to penalise Wolves following encroachment from Conor Coady. The retake brought about another save, but this time the England forward converted the rebound.

City managed to reach half-time with their lead intact and Sterling got his second just after the interval, racing on to Kevin De Bruyne's throughball and beating Patricio with a clever chip.

But Sterling gave possession away a few minutes later and Traore capitalised, sending a 25-yard drive crashing in off the left-hand post.

Mendy was the next City player to make a costly error, trying to shepherd the ball out of play only to be out-muscled by Traore, who teed up Jimenez to steer home.

And Doherty completed the turnaround with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box following a clever interchange with Jimenez – Sterling's last-gasp free-kick causing a brief moment of worry as it clipped the bar.

Manchester City blew a two-goal lead at Wolves as Raul Jimenez and Matt Doherty netted late on at Molineux to secure a thrilling 3-2 home victory, with the 10-man champions' hopes of usurping runaway leaders Liverpool taking another huge blow.

City found themselves with an unlikely 2-0 lead just after half-time thanks to a Raheem Sterling brace, the lead remarkable given the 12th-minute dismissal of Ederson, but Wolves fought back spectacularly in the second half – Adama Traore playing a vital role.

Ederson's early sending off left City in a tricky position, though they initially responded well and went ahead through Sterling – the attacker tapping in a penalty rebound after Rui Patricio had saved two of his spot-kicks, the first ultimately being retaken due to encroachment.

Sterling doubled his tally with a lovely finish early in the second half and it looked as though it would be enough, but the lively Traore pulled one back before then setting up Jimenez in the latter stages following a woeful error from Benjamin Mendy.

There was still time for a stunning winner as Doherty finished off a fine move in style in the 89th minute to clinch the win, leaving City – who hit the crossbar through Sterling in stoppage time – 14 points adrift of Liverpool.

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