Cristiano Ronaldo says is focused on returning to full fitness after being left out of the Juventus squad for Saturday's Serie A game away to Atalanta.

Head coach Maurizio Sarri told reporters Ronaldo was unlikely to be available for the trip to Bergamo and he was duly absent when the squad was named later on Friday.

Ronaldo has been substituted in Juve's last two games, prompting rumours of a rift between the forward and Sarri, though both men have denied that is the case.

It is unclear whether the Portugal star will be ready to return for Tuesday's Champions League group game at home to Atletico Madrid.

"Focused on my recovery to come back soon!" Ronaldo posted on Instagram after being left out of the Juve squad.

Serie A leaders Juve are on track to reach the next round of the Champions League after taking 10 points from their first four games in Group D.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Portugal in their 6-0 demolition of Lithuania before netting his 99th international goal in a 2-0 win against Luxembourg.

Sarri previously said the 34-year-old is battling a knee issue and Ronaldo revealed he has been playing through pain.

Celtic have been fined €15,000 (£12,886) by UEFA for obsence chanting and displaying an "illicit banner" in their Europa League win against Lazio at Celtic Park last month.

Home supporters unveiled several banners ahead of the game, including one depicting former Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini hanging upside down.

Another contained a message in Italian that translated to "f*** off".

UEFA's control, ethics and disciplinary body has also fined Lazio €10,000 (£8,593) for "illicit chanting" during the meeting on October 24, which Celtic won 2-1.

Meanwhile, Club Brugge have been fined €14,000 for breaching safety regulations by blocking the stairways during their home Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain a month ago.

Ligue 1 champions PSG have been told to pay €50,000 and threatened with a one-match away ban for supporters if they offend again in the next 12 months after setting off fireworks in the same match.

Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday named Mauricio Pochettino's successor at Tottenham.

It's a remarkable return to English football for one of the game's most successful, and controversial, managers.

A quick look at the fixture list shows the Portuguese will have to hit the ground running if he is to turn Spurs' season around - the north London side are 14th heading into the weekend clash at West Ham, 11 points adrift of a Champions League spot.

After the cross-capital clash on Saturday, Mourinho will have to plot a route through a congested fixture list that also sees clashes with some old friends and foes.

A DERBY DATE FOR STARTERS - WEST HAM (A), SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23

Fittingly, Mourinho opens his Tottenham tenure against a West Ham team managed by someone he has clashed with previously.

Mourinho fired a succession of barbs at Manuel Pellegrini after succeeding him as Real Madrid boss in 2010, repeatedly and deliberately calling him "Pellegrino" before claiming "if they [Real] get rid of me, I will go to a big club in the Premier League or Serie A," when Pellegrini went to Malaga.

Further verbals were traded when the pair were at Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, and there is no doubt Mourinho would relish the opportunity to push his rival closer towards the sack.

West Ham have not won in six Premier League games and suffered a humiliating 4-0 thumping at League One side Oxford United in the EFL Cup in September.

 

AN EARLY GREEK TRAGEDY? - OLYMPIACOS (H), TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26

Spurs may have struggled domestically this season, but it has been a different story in the Champions League and victory over the Greek side will guarantee them a place in the knock-out stages.

Pochettino guided the club to their first Champions League final last season, where they lost to Liverpool, an amazing feat Mourinho will do well to replicate.

He could not ask for better opponents for his first home game, however. Olympiacos prop up Group B having taken just one point from their four games - against Spurs in Piraeus - while conceding 10 goals in the process.

OLD TRAFFORD RETURN - MANCHESTER UNITED (A), WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 4

It will be fascinating to see what kind of reception Mourinho receives when he takes Tottenham to Manchester United.

While the Portuguese regularly flagged his achievements before arriving at Old Trafford, his two-and-a-half-year spell in Manchester was mixed.

He claimed EFL Cup and Europa League titles, but it was a reign characterised by acrimony with key players in his squad.

His successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also struggled and Mourinho will see this as a wonderful opportunity to make a statement.

 

A PRE-CHRISTMAS CRACKER - CHELSEA (H), SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22

Mourinho faces another of his former clubs when Chelsea visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium three days before Christmas.

The 56-year-old enjoyed enormous success across two spells at Stamford Bridge but was roundly jeered on his last visit with Manchester United.

In response, Mourinho held up three figures to signify the number of Premier League titles he won with the club, in addition to an FA Cup success.

If the love affair was on the rocks then, Mourinho's move to Chelsea's London rivals means it is now officially over.

HOLA PEP! - MANCHESTER CITY (H), SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1

Two of the game's most successful managers - and perennial rivals - over the past 10 years, Guardiola and Mourinho continue to slug it out at the highest level.

From undignified rows when at Real Madrid and Barcelona to a more peaceful co-habitation of Manchester, the latest chapter promises to be equally engaging.

By early February, City will likely be in the title race while Spurs' push for a top-four finish could be in full swing.

Either way, this promises to be another intriguing encounter.

Jose Mourinho has been given a shot at Premier League redemption with Tottenham.

Almost a year on from his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, the two-time Champions League winner has an unexpected chance to prove his best work is not confined to the past.

As the Special One aims to rise again, we reflect on the highs and lows of a managerial career full of highlights and high drama.


HIGHS

Upstaging the elite with Porto

Mourinho made his name at Porto, where he orchestrated perhaps the most unlikely Champions League triumph of the 21st century. Deco and Ricardo Carvalho were among the stars of the side that overcame future employers United, Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna en route to a meeting with Monaco in Gelsenkirchen. An emphatic 3-0 win secured Mourinho the continent's most coveted trophy in just his second full season in charge and laid the foundation for a silver-tinged future.


Tripletta treat

Inter snapped up Mourinho in June 2008, less than a year on from his initial split with Chelsea. It proved a perfect marriage of two tempestuous forces. After cantering to the Scudetto at the first attempt, Mourinho set his sights on guiding the Nerazzurri to greater heights in 2009-10. He did that and then some. Inter pipped Roma to the title, won the Coppa Italia and, after stunning Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, Mourinho scaled Europe's highest peak for the second time, a 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich crowning a magnificent treble.


Madrid make history

Mourinho's decision to depart San Siro for the Santiago Bernabeu brought little immediate success as Real Madrid claimed only the Copa del Rey in an underwhelming 2010-11 campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo had grander plans and his 46 goals the following season fired Los Blancos to a LaLiga title, their one and only under Mourinho. Most impressive was the team's final tally of 100 points, at the time a LaLiga record.


The best of the rest

In a January 2019 interview with beIN SPORTS, Mourinho suggested some would call him "crazy" for regarding a second-place finish with United as one of his greatest achievements. On reflection, it seems a reasonable assertion. United might have finished 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City in 2017-18 but now, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling to cobble together a team fit for Europe, finishing above Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal appears an admirable feat.

LOWS

Chelsea return ruined

Parting ways with Chelsea once must have been painful enough for a manager who won worldwide recognition in his first Premier League job. To leave in ignominious circumstances a second time surely rankles among his greatest regrets. The Blues described Mourinho as a "much-loved, respected and significant figure" after relieving him of his duties in December 2015 but it was clear that not all held the same affection for him. Mourinho suggested he felt "betrayed" by his players amid a miserable beginning to their title defence, leaving a stain on his Stamford Bridge legacy.

Problems with Pogba

Mourinho arrived at United at the same time as Paul Pogba and together the pair were supposed to lead a renaissance. Instead, they became caught in a vortex of middling results and worse relations. Mourinho's failure to extract the best from Pogba on the pitch, and their frosty exchanges off it, portrayed a manager unable to elevate top-class talent. His treatment of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial attracted further criticism and echoed the sort of strained relationships that were apparent in Madrid, Mourinho having notably not seen eye to eye with Iker Casillas.

Down and out at United

Never before his exit from Old Trafford had Mourinho departed a club without winning a league title. Several were expected when he took charge of the Red Devils in 2016 and, though the resources of neighbours City reframed the standard measure of success, trophies in the EFL Cup and Europa League fell short of the brief. Mourinho stakes his reputation on winning major honours, not friends, yet he left with few of either when United called time on his reign almost 12 months ago. A playing style deemed unacceptable by supporters only contributed to the sense that the new Tottenham boss squandered an opportunity he keenly coveted. He will hope to avoid a repeat.

Tottenham have sacked Mauricio Pochettino, bringing an end to his five-year tenure in charge after a run of dismal results in the Premier League this season.

Three wins from 12 league matches have left Tottenham in 14th place, albeit only three points off fifth, while they also lost 7-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last month.

Four successive top-four finishes and a Champions League final appearance will be Pochettino's lasting legacy and he also oversaw Tottenham's transition to a new, state-of-the-art stadium.

With the debate sure to continue over whether Spurs have made a harsh call, and plenty of speculation to come over who will replace him, two of our writers argue the case for and against Pochettino's sacking.

Tottenham have got it wrong - Tom Webber

Spurs defied expectations under the Argentinian and he underlined his status as an elite manager by leading them to the Champions League final last term.

While that game ended in defeat to Liverpool and left Pochettino without a trophy, their European run was combined with a fourth straight top-four finish, showing they had a leader capable of taking them to new heights.

However, their transfer business in the close season was a source of frustration for Pochettino, and he made no attempt to hide that.

While Tanguy Ndombele was a club-record signing from Lyon and Giovani Lo Celso provided another creative option in midfield, there were no other additions capable of immediately pushing the team forward.

Spurs let Kieran Trippier go and did not sign a replacement, leaving them exposed at right-back, while Danny Rose was seemingly retained against Pochettino's wishes.

By failing to give the 47-year-old the backing his work deserved, Spurs have now shot themselves in the foot twice and will only have themselves to blame if things go backwards from here.

Tottenham have got it right - Patric Ridge

Given what Pochettino has achieved during his time at Tottenham, the decision to cut ties seems a ruthless one when viewed in isolation, but that would not be taking into account what has been a dismal 2019 for Spurs on the domestic front.

In this calendar year, Tottenham have taken just 40 points from a possible 90 on offer in the Premier League, winning 11 matches, drawing a further seven and suffering 12 defeats.

Their poor form was, of course, masked by an incredible run to the Champions League final, but it is easy to forget Spurs were heading out in Amsterdam until Lucas Moura took matters into his own hands in a match that could easily have gone the other way.

Looking only at their league results this term, three wins from 14 league matches would be enough to get many managers in the top flight sacked. Why not Pochettino? 

While it is fair to say Tottenham did perhaps not back him as they should have done in the transfer market, the club did spend big. It is hard to imagine he did not have the final say on who was brought in.

Was a creative force such as Lo Celso, for example, strictly necessary when it was so obvious Tottenham lacked a quality right-back or alternatives up front – weaknesses that were exposed in humiliating fashion by Bayern last month?

The situation with Christian Eriksen has not helped, but again Pochettino must take his fair share of responsibility; looking back, any players dallying over signing fresh deals – see also Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen – have been ostracised during his time in north London. Is this the wisest approach when Tottenham have not had the squad depth to be able to cope with key players sitting idly by?

With the Premier League seemingly wide open – at least outside the top four – this season, Tottenham could not afford to delay any longer and, on the back of a five-match winless league run, they desperately need a fresh source of inspiration.

Mauricio Pochettino arrived at Tottenham as the club's eighth full-time appointment since March 2001.

Juande Ramos secured silverware during his tenure, winning the League Cup in 2008, while Harry Redknapp qualified for the Champions League two years later.

Still, they were the good times. Club legend Glenn Hoddle came with great expectations that fell flat. Frenchman Jacques Santini did not last too long. Andre Villas-Boas failed to pan out. Tim Sherwood did make the gilet popular, but Spurs still decided to dispense with his services.

Then, in 2014, Pochettino turned up. The former Argentina international had shone at Southampton, quickly dispelling the doubters who felt Nigel Adkins had been harshly sacked.

There were plenty of positive moments during his tenure, but also some difficult times. Following the news of his departure on Tuesday, Omnisport picks out a few of the highs and lows of Pochettino's reign.

 

LOW: THE ONLY WAY IS UP

"There is an abundance of top-class talent at the club and I am looking forward to starting work with the squad," Pochettino said following his appointment.

However, Tottenham's standing compared to the other big clubs was laid bare in the first month of the new boss' debut campaign. Liverpool were the visitors, with Spurs hoping for the chance to make something of a statement, but Brendan Rodgers' Reds blew them away with ease by winning 3-0.

It was Spurs' first loss under Pochettino and they went on to miss out on Champions League qualification by six points. 

 

LOW: THE BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE

There was no denying Tottenham's vast improvement between Pochettino's first few months and 2016, when they looked to challenge for a maiden Premier League title.

Crucially, though, when they needed to kick on with the finishing post in sight, the going became too tough. Spurs squandered a 2-0 lead at Chelsea in an ill-tempered London derby to come away with a 2-2 draw, therefore securing a famous success for Leicester City.

"It was a good lesson for us, we are the youngest squad in the league, we feel very proud and our supporters need to feel proud too, we have massive potential for the future," Pochettino said in the aftermath. Such was their collapse down the stretch, they eventually finished third, 11 points behind the Foxes they had been expected to catch.


HIGH: SAYING FAREWELL TO THE LANE IN STYLE

Having seemingly established themselves as top-four regulars, Spurs looked to further consolidate their new-found status by moving to an extravagant new stadium.

In Tottenham's final outing at the more modest White Hart Lane in May 2017, Spurs downed Manchester United 2-1 in front of a crowd enjoying both their team's success and also the chance to be inside the venue for one final time. A glamourous new era seemed to be on the horizon, with Pochettino steering the Spurs ship expertly.

The result made sure they went unbeaten at home for the first time in a league season since 1964-65 as they finished in second place. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to their famous home.

 


HIGH: UNITED FALL AT OLD TRAFFORD

In August 2018, Pochettino was among the favourites to replace an under-fire Jose Mourinho at United.

Pochettino helped inflict more misery on the Red Devils with an emphatic 3-0 win at Old Trafford, a result that also pushed his claims for the job. Kane and a Lucas Moura double did the damage, making it United's worst start to a league season since 1992-93. 

Yet when Mourinho eventually left United before the turn of the year, Pochettino stayed put. Now a free agent, rumours of a move to the north-west will no doubt grow in the coming weeks and months.


HIGH: EURO VISION SECURES FINAL SPOT

After three games of their campaign in Group B, Tottenham appeared on course to slip out of the Champions League. By June, they were appearing in the final.

Pochettino engineered a remarkable turnaround just to make the knockout stages, where they stunned Manchester City in the quarter-finals thanks to a hotly disputed goal from Fernando Llorente in an eventful second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

There was more drama to come in the last four, with Spurs scoring three times in the second half in Amsterdam to stun Ajax. Lucas Moura was Tottenham's hero, completing his hat-trick in additional time to seal their progression on away goals. A jubilant Pochettino shed tears during wild celebrations with his players.


LOW: MISSED OPPORTUNITY IN MADRID

Admittedly appearing in a Champions League final hardly feels like a disappointment during the Pochettino era.

Still, there was an air of frustration at how they approached what proved to be a tepid contest in Madrid, with fans bemoaning an apparent lack of attacking intent as a half-fit Harry Kane struggled to make an impact.

Mohamed Salah's early penalty gave Spurs an uphill struggle and Divock Origi wrapped things up late on. Liverpool had barely made it out of second gear but kept their opponents quiet to prevail in an all-English final that will not live long in the memory. 


LOW: BAYERN BATTERING AMID HOME STRUGGLES

Pochettino had hinted he could leave his post prior to the Champions League showpiece, his future seemingly based on the club's progress in the off-season transfer window.

While new faces arrived, their form in the early stages of the 2019-20 campaign has been poor - and that is putting it kindly. In the Premier League, Spurs have picked up just 14 points, their lowest tally after 12 games of a campaign since 2008-09. There was also a 7-2 home loss to Bayern Munich in Europe, the embarrassment exacerbated by an Arsenal academy product – Serge Gnabry – scoring four times for the visitors.

A 1-1 draw with Sheffield United turned out to be Pochettino's final game in charge. There is still time for Spurs to turn things around, of course, but it will have to be with a new man at the helm.

Sadio Mane is enjoying the "easy" life with title hopefuls Liverpool because of the quality possessed by Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

The Senegal star is Liverpool's leading Premier League scorer this season with seven goals and he has so far edged out his fellow Reds forwards in overall performance.

Statistics from Opta show Mane has played 21 key passes, compared to 14 from both Salah and Firmino, and his accuracy in finding team-mates across the whole pitch is also superior.

He has also won a greater number of tackles - Mane with 14, Firmino seven and Salah three - and made more interceptions (9-1-1).

But Mane says he is coping with the workload for the title front-runners thanks to considerable effort from Brazilian Firmino and Egyptian Salah.

"I always say it is very easy to work together," Mane told the official Liverpool FC magazine. "Personally, I just think myself very lucky to play alongside these great players.

"Every single player who plays alongside them would enjoy it because they are very good players and they make everything easy, so I just enjoy playing alongside them."

Mane believes the global language of football allows for fluency between Jurgen Klopp's prolific attackers.

"We are all from different countries and speak different first languages but I think football is one language and it is universal so everybody can speak it. It is the same with Mo, Bobby and myself," he added.

Liverpool face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park next Saturday in their next Premier League assignment, before taking on Napoli in the Champions League on the following Wednesday.

The club have announced the death of a player who captained Liverpool in the old Second Division in the 1958-59 season.

Johnny Wheeler died at the age of 91, Liverpool said. The midfielder made 177 appearances for the club and also played for Tranmere and Bolton, winning one England cap.

RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban has been ruled out until 2020 due to a knee injury, the Bundesliga club have confirmed.

The 27-year-old has undergone an arthroscopy to correct a problem and will be sidelined until after the mid-season break.

Orban is set to miss the league matches with Cologne, Paderborn, Hoffenheim, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg.

He will also be unavailable for the Champions League games against Benfica and Lyon, with Leipzig top of Group G on nine points from four matches.

The Hungary defender has made 14 appearances in all competitions for Julian Nagelsmann's side this season, scoring once.

Leipzig, who are four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach in the table, begin the second half of the Bundesliga campaign at home to Union Berlin on January 18.

Manchester United have an option to bring Memphis Depay back to Old Trafford, according to Lyon sporting director Juninho.

Netherlands international Depay joined United from PSV in 2015 but could only manage seven goals in 53 appearances across all competitions.

An unhappy 18 months concluded when he joined Lyon for a fee in the region of £16million in January 2017 - and the 25-year-old has been revitalised in Ligue 1.

Depay has scored seven times in 10 top-flight appearances this season despite his club's troubled start to the campaign, along with four in as many Champions League outings.

Speaking on Tuesday, Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman told reporters it would be better for his country if Depay was playing for a bigger club.

In the event of his performances drawing offers from some of Europe's big hitters, Juninho told his club's official website that United retain first refusal under the terms of Depay's move to France.

"Manchester has a priority if several clubs line up to buy him," he said.

"But we have not received any offers so far. He is really happy right now in Lyon.

"We will discuss a contract extension by the end of the year."

Depay's current deal runs until the end of next season.

Lyon lie 14th in Ligue 1 after a 2-1 defeat to rivals Marseille last Sunday, although recently installed head coach Rudi Garcia had overseen three consecutive wins before that setback.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva is not concerned about coming up against Lionel Messi in Friday's clash with bitter rivals Argentina, rather seeing it as a source of pride to take on the Barcelona superstar.

Messi is back in the Argentina squad for the first time since the Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in July's semi-final.

After that controversial encounter, Messi accused CONMEBOL of corruption, earning a four-match ban and a $50,000 fine.

Messi is expected to make his return during the friendly clash in Saudi Arabia, and Silva prefers not to look at the situation with fear, instead relishing facing one of the best.

"We are not concerned but proud to have a chance to face him," Silva told reporters on Monday.

"They [Argentina] have their star, we won't have ours [Neymar, who is injured], but Brazil is Brazil, and we showed it during our Copa America win.

"They are living a different moment, as are we when you consider the last few matches. Brazil versus Argentina is always a great game, with great football and scoring chances.

"There's a 50:50 winning chance for each side - let's hope we are more inspired then than they are."

Brazil winger Willian added: "He [Messi] is a great player, unmatched, the best in the world. We've faced Argentina when he played before, and this will be just like those times.

"There must be more attention on him, we must restrict his spaces. We'll not man-mark him, but whoever is around him must close down the spaces, not leave him room to think."

Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo Goes is in line to earn his first senior cap at the tender age of 18 after breaking into the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The wide attacker has already scored five goals in just six matches for Madrid, and Silva has been impressed, even suggesting he hopes Zinedine Zidane leaves the teenager out when Paris Saint-Germain take on the LaLiga giants in the Champions League later this month.

"The fact he's with the Selecao is a unique opportunity, he surely has dreamt about this moment," the PSG defender said of Rodrygo. "I hope he can enjoy it the best way possible.

"I have over 100 caps and every time I'm here, I feel the chills. I hope he has the wisdom to make the most of it.

"It's surprising really to most people, an 18-year-old with loads of personality. You see for the way he scores goals how calm and reserved this kid is, he's not doing it to show off.

"Let's hope Zidane keeps him on the bench! He's a player who'll demand more attention from your side. His quality speaks for itself."

Son Heung-min's two-goal performance in Tottenham's 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade confirmed his strong psychological state, according to Mauricio Pochettino.

South Korea star Son led Spurs to a convincing Champions League victory in Serbia three days on from his part in the incident that left Everton midfielder Andre Gomes with a fracture dislocation to his right ankle.

Son's challenge contributed to Gomes colliding with Serge Aurier and earned him a red card, which has since been rescinded.

The 27-year-old forward was visibly distressed after witnessing the extent of the sickening injury but held his starting spot and excelled in what was a crucial European encounter for Tottenham.

"He was affected like everyone, during the game and after the game. It is difficult to see a player suffering a massive injury," Pochettino said.

"He was involved, there was a bit of confusion in the action, with the decision to show the red card. He felt responsible, then when we concede with 10 men.

"But he wasn't guilty for the injury, and he showed that he is in a good state and mental level.

"Of course he is sorry about Andre, like everyone, but it was a big relief with the message from Andre on social media, which was good and positive, and Son is now training and recovering well."

Tottenham appear on course to reach the Champions League knockout stages but continue to struggle for form domestically.

Pochettino's men are winless in four Premier League games and sit 11th in the table, 10 points adrift of the top four.

The Spurs boss hopes the midweek taste of success can be the catalyst for a better run of results, beginning with Saturday's home game against Sheffield United.

"I hope yes, hopefully keep in the same way," he said. "It was a difficult game [in Belgrade]. The result, 4-0, looks easy, but in different periods we suffered and nearly conceded.

"They hit the post and there was an unbelievable save from Paulo [Gazzaniga] that could have changed the game.

"Always you need luck to score first and then have the capacity to control. I was happy after Everton and after Red Star, but we need to finish winning. But we know it will be tough against Sheffield."

Tottenham's date with the Blades takes place just over 24 hours before the much-anticipated Anfield showdown between Liverpool and Manchester City, of which Pochettino will be an excited observer.

"Of course. I love football," he said.

"I love different sports - I love tennis, I love paddle tennis, I love golf, but my priority is football and to have the possibility to watch the game on Sunday - I don't know if I will be home or where I will be - but for sure these two hours I will spend watching the game, because my priority is football."

Fernandinho believes Manchester City showed the battling qualities they will need to end their Anfield hoodoo during the second half of Wednesday's eventful 1-1 Champions League draw against Atalanta.

Pep Guardiola's side led 1-0 at the interval thanks to Raheem Sterling's sublime seventh-minute opener and should have made their superiority weigh more heavily, with Gabriel Jesus dragging a dismal penalty wide.

But Ederson was withdrawn before the restart due to a thigh injury and substitute goalkeeper Claudio Bravo's first task was to pluck Mario Pasalic's emphatic 49th-minute header from his net.

City struggled to regain their earlier rhythm as Gian Piero Gasperino's men found a frenetic and effective tempo, and Bravo's outing got worse when he was sent off for charging out of his area to foul Josip Ilicic.

That meant Kyle Walker being introduced as an emergency keeper – the right-back's tentative save from Ruslan Malinovskiy's free-kick bringing chants of "England's number one" from the travelling supporters at San Siro.

City held out for a 1-1 draw that left them five points clear at the top of Group C, their progress to the last 16 virtually assured as attention turns towards Sunday's mouth-watering Premier League showdown with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's league leaders are six points ahead of the reigning champions, who last won at Anfield in 2003.

"I think the main thing was the mentality of the guys," said Fernandinho, who was again deployed at centre-back. "In difficult situations like this we have to stick together and we did.

"This is important because we are building a team to be champions and sometimes to be champions you have to play games like this.

"Now it is good because everybody is understanding what we are building."

Guardiola reported Ederson's thigh injury was "not big" but he is unsure whether his influential number one will be available to face Liverpool.

Irrespective of whether his fellow Brazil international recovers in time, Fernandinho feels City will try to end 16-and-a-half years of Merseyside frustration with confidence.

"The mentality is always try to win the game," he added.

"There's always a first time in life, no? We are searching for this first time to win at Anfield. I am confident we can go there and try to win the game.

"Of course, we will see with Ederson's situation. We are going to train and the medical staff are going to check him and we are going to see if he will be fit or not for Sunday."

Liverpool will not face any action from UEFA after supporters displayed an inappropriate banner of Divock Origi ahead of last month's Champions League clash at Genk.

Reds fans unfurled the banner during the warm-up before the clash in Belgium and the club later condemned it as "offensive", suggesting it "perpetuated a racist stereotype".

However, the incident was not included in any official reports and so UEFA will not open a case, Omnisport understands.

Jurgen Klopp's side won the game 4-1 and also beat Genk in the return fixture on Tuesday to sit top of Group E in defence of their European crown. 

Inter are set to be without Matteo Politano for around a month after the Serie A club confirmed the winger sustained a sprained ankle.

Politano suffered the injury after coming on as a substitute in Inter's 3-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Inter have now confirmed the extent of the issue, with reports suggesting he will be out of action until December.

"The results showed a sprain to his left ankle. The joint will be immobilised for the first stage of treatment and Politano's condition will be monitored and evaluated over the coming weeks," an Inter statement read.

Politano enjoyed a fruitful first campaign at Inter last season but has started only twice in Serie A under Antonio Conte.

He is now likely to miss Inter's matches against Hellas Verona, Torino and SPAL in Serie A, as well as the Nerazzurri's Champions League meeting with Slavia Prague.

Politano will also be unavailable for selection by Italy for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, though he has not been picked by Roberto Mancini since March.

Kevin De Bruyne is relishing the prospect of a pumped-up Anfield when champions Manchester City travel to face Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday.

City are six points in arrears, having suffered surprise losses to Norwich City and Wolves in their pursuit of a third straight title, while Jurgen Klopp's men remain unbeaten domestically.

Aside from needing to knock Liverpool off their unrelenting stride, City are also faced with overturning a dismal record on the red side of Stanley Park.

Their previous win at Anfield came in May 2003, while Pep Guardiola's vintage suffered the first Premier League defeat of their dominant 2017-18 campaign on Merseyside before being dumped out of the same season's Champions League by Liverpool.

The atmosphere created by the home supporters has been cited as a factor in City's struggles in the fixture, although it is of no concern to midfield maestro De Bruyne.

"I prefer to play in that [rather] than when there is nobody," he said.

"Professionals want to play in front of 50, 60, 70, 80 thousand people and it makes it worthwhile.

"You train all your life to get to the big stages. I want to compete for titles and to be the best, and to do that you have to win against the best.

"Obviously it’s a big gap, but four weeks ago people were saying it was Liverpool’s [title] to lose. I’m not keeping track of what people say – we play so many games.

"The media will make a lot of it, and people have been talking about it for the whole week, even before the Champions League, but we just do our job, keep calm and prepare ourselves."

City's midweek Champions League outing certainly proved eventful, with right-back Kyle Walker helping to see out a 1-1 draw against Atalanta as an emergency goalkeeper after Ederson and Claudio Bravo were injured and sent off respectively.

Walker enjoys putting himself between the posts during penalty contests in training but De Bruyne did not sense much of that bravado as the England defender prepared to enter the fray at San Siro.

"He's buzzing. Sometimes he jokes in training about playing in goal but obviously he will have been shaking a little bit," the Belgium international said.

"He did what he had to do, and we didn’t give them many opportunities. It happens, and you have to improvise, and he did his job."

City led through Raheem Sterling's wonderfully worked seventh-minute goal and should have been in a far more comfortable position before the goalkeeping carnage ensued.

Gabriel Jesus tamely missed a 43rd-minute penalty – an untimely reminder of his side's frailties from the spot given Riyad Mahrez blazed over during last season's goalless draw at Liverpool.

"It doesn't matter," De Bruyne replied when asked whether City should have ended their Anfield hoodoo last term.

"It's a different game, different season, with other players on the pitch. Everyone is at a different stage. We just have to prepare ourselves."

On that barren run stretching back 16-and-a-half years, he added: "It's for you guy to keep track, I don’t care. A lot of circumstances will decide the game. What can a player do with statistics like this?"

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