Manchester City edged closer to the Premier League title, while there was significant change at the bottom of the table on Sunday.

City were eliminated from the Champions League semi-finals in dramatic fashion by Real Madrid in midweek, but saw their domestic hopes boosted when Liverpool dropped points against Tottenham on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's side subsequently breezed past Newcastle United to move three points clear of the Reds with three games remaining, while West Ham hit relegated Norwich City for four.

Elsewhere, Arsenal continued their charge for Champions League qualification with a narrow victory over 10-man Leeds United, who ended the day in the relegation zone after Everton triumphed at Leicester City.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the pick of the Opta data from the day's top-flight fixtures.

Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle United: Sterling provides as title charge continues 

Raheem Sterling was at the double as City strengthened their grasp on top spot with a 5-0 rout of Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling and Aymeric Laporte struck in the first half, with Joao Cancelo teeing up the England international's opener as the full-back became the fourth of Guardiola's players to reach 10 assists in all competitions this season (also Kevin de Bruyne with 13, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus - both 11).

City are the only team in Europe's big five leagues to have four or more different players reach 10 assists in all competitions this campaign, and Guardiola's men furthered their advantage after the interval.

Rodri then scored following a corner, as Laporte did in the first half, as City managed their 19th and 20th goals from set-piece situations this term in the league, excluding penalties. They have conceded just once from set-pieces themselves, with their plus-19 differential the best figure recorded in a single season in the Premier League since such records are available (2006-07 onwards).

Foden added a fourth before Sterling capped a fine victory with his 51st Premier League goal at the Etihad, becoming only the second player to pass 50 strikes for City at home in the competition after Sergio Aguero (106).

City have beaten Newcastle 28 times in the Premier League (D8 L8), more than they have any other side in the competition. In their league history, they have only beaten Everton (72 times) more often than the Magpies (68 times).

Meanwhile, Eddie Howe has lost all 12 of his Premier League meetings with City – 10 of those against Guardiola – the worst 100 per cent losing record a manager has against a single opponent or against another boss in the competition.

Arsenal 2-1 Leeds United: Ill-tempered Whites fall into relegation zone

An Eddie Nketiah double kept Arsenal on course for Champions League qualification as they triumphed 2-1 against 10-man Leeds, who dropped into the bottom three for the first time since October 30.

Nketiah fired the Gunners into a 2-0 lead as he became just the second Arsenal player to score twice in the opening 10 minutes of a Premier League game after Kanu (versus Sunderland in October 2002).

With Alexandre Lacazette out of favour, Nketiah has stepped up as Mikel Arteta's talisman, scoring four goals in his last four league games – just one fewer than he had managed in his first 52 top-flight appearances.

Luke Ayling was then dismissed for a mindless two-footed lunge on Gabriel Martinelli after 27 minutes, Leeds' earliest red card in the competition since April 1998 (when Lucas Radebe saw red after 17 minutes against Everton).

Tempers continued to flare before the interval as Leeds picked up their 95th and 96th yellow cards of the season, setting a new record for the most bookings for a club within a single Premier League campaign.

Diego Llorente offered Jesse Marsch's visitors brief hope as he poked home with Leeds' first shot on target, which marked the first home league goal Arsenal have conceded from a corner since February 2021 (also against Leeds).

However, Arsenal held on for victory to move four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, who they face on Thursday knowing victory will secure Champions League football next campaign.

Leicester City 1-2 Everton: Toffees move out of bottom three

Mason Holgate's second-half header proved the difference as Everton climbed out of the relegation zone with a battling 2-1 victory at Leicester.

Before this game, Leicester had won eight of their last nine top-flight matches against sides starting the day inside the relegation zone (D1), but the Foxes were caught cold by Vitalii Mykolenko's early volley.

That made Mykolenko the first Ukrainian to score a Premier League goal for Everton, the 39th different nationality to find the net in the competition for the Toffees, the sixth most of all clubs.

Patson Daka restored parity five minutes later, with all five of the striker's Premier League goals coming at the King Power Stadium – only Jamie Vardy (6) has netted more often at home for the club in the top-flight in 2021-22.

Holgate delivered the decisive finish in the 30th minute with his second league goal in his last five matches, one more than he had managed across his previous 109 top-flight appearances beforehand (one).

Brendan Rodgers will be left frustrated by the nature of Holgate's goal, given it was the 15th Premier League strike Leicester have conceded from a corner this campaign – the most by a side in a single campaign since Brighton and Hove Albion in 2017-18 (16).

Victory marked the first away league win in 15 games for Everton, ending a seven-game losing streak on the road as Frank Lampard's side moved a point clear of Leeds and Burnley having played one game fewer.

Norwich City 0-4 West Ham: Bowen and Benrahma on song to down Canaries

Said Benrahma scored twice as West Ham responded to Thursday's Europa League semi-final heartbreak by cruising past relegated Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road.

Benrahma struck after 12 minutes before Michail Antonio ended his joint-longest goal drought in the top-flight with his fifth Premier League strike against the Canaries, only against Tottenham (six) has he scored more in the competition. 

Algeria international Benrahma doubled his tally before the interval, taking him to 21 direct goal contributions in the competition (nine goals, 12 assists). Since his debut in 2020, Jarrod Bowen (30) and Antonio (28) are the only other Hammers to register 20+ top-flight goal involvements.

Bowen assisted both of Benrahma's strikes as the former Hull City man became just the second player for West Ham to register at least 10 goals and 10 assists in a Premier League season, and the first since Paolo Di Canio in 1999-00 (16 goals, 13 assists).

Indeed, only Harry Kane (32) has been involved in more goals among English Premier League players in all competitions than Bowen this season (27 – 16 goals, 11 assists).

Manuel Lanzini's second-half penalty rounded off the victory as West Ham won a Premier League away game by at least a four-goal margin for just the third time, while it was the first time the Hammers have put at least four goals past a side in consecutive league visits since doing so against Tottenham in November 1966.

Meanwhile, Norwich have failed to score in 20 different league games this season, becoming the first side to do so in at least 20 matches in three different Premier League campaigns (also in 1994-95 and 2019-20).

Pep Guardiola revealed Manchester City will be without three key defenders for the Premier League title run-in and joked Phil Foden might have to step in at the back.

Kyle Walker, John Stones and Ruben Dias have been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury, with Dias forced off at half-time against Newcastle United on Sunday with a muscle problem.

City won 5-0 and were dominant against a sluggish Newcastle side, but there are testing away games at Wolves and West Ham to come for Guardiola's team, before they round off their campaign at home to Aston Villa.

A three-point lead over second-placed Liverpool could come under threat if the situation becomes any worse.

Aymeric Laporte was partnered in central defence by veteran Fernandinho for the second half of the one-sided Newcastle clash, after which Guardiola told a media conference the news about Walker, Stones and Dias.

"In this situation it is not a problem. If Rodri has to play in that position it is not a problem, or if it's someone from the academy," Guardiola said.

Guardiola had earlier told Sky Sports: "If Phil Foden has to play as a central defender, he will play as a central defender."

Asked if that could really happen, Guardiola replied: "No."

Foden the attacker would be an obvious misfit in the backline, and City will hope they do not have excessive defending to do over the closing fortnight of the campaign. Wolves away is the next test, at Molineux on Wednesday.

Guardiola said City were "outstanding" and delivered a "perfect" display against Newcastle, four days after their agonising Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.

"With what this team have done, did you have any doubts?" Guardiola said.

"We've been five years doing this, every three days. If some people doubt us, it's because they still don't know this team and what it is able to do.

"I'm not talking about winning or losing. It's not about one afternoon or one night. How many years, being there every three days, every time."

City have scored five or more goals in a Premier League game 30 times in the Guardiola era now.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are winless in 32 away games in the competition against teams starting the day inside the top two places in the table (D4 L28) since beating second-placed Arsenal at Highbury in December 2001.

City chief Guardiola was unsure why critics, including former players, might question the character in his ranks.

"It's one of the best groups I've ever trained in my life," Guardiola said.

"We passed through two tough days, but today we spoke for the first time [since Madrid] and I said, 'You have a perfect life, in the perfect club'.

"We are three points up front, nine points to play for, goal difference four goals ahead. Another final on Wednesday."

Jack Grealish hailed a "perfect" response from Manchester City as a 5-0 thumping of Newcastle United banished their Champions League blues. 

City will not be champions of Europe this season after their dramatic semi-final exit to Real Madrid, but they are red-hot favourites for the Premier League title after this weekend's turn of events. 

Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Tottenham, which halted the Reds' 12-game winning run in the league at Anfield, allowed City to pull three points clear on Sunday. 

With only three rounds of games remaining, City would have to throw it away. They have Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa to come, and the onslaught against Newcastle saw City go four ahead of Liverpool in the goal difference stakes too. 

As Grealish acknowledged, the destiny of the title is very much in City's hands. 

Grealish told Sky Sports: "We always knew there was going to be pressure on us today, especially after what happened in midweek, but we bounced back perfectly. 

"We've stuck together as a team and a unit in the past few days, which was needed. We'll just try to end the season strongly, and we've certainly done that today." 

City were 5-3 ahead on aggregate against Madrid heading into the closing moments in the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, but Rodrygo's late double and a Karim Benzema penalty in extra time left Pep Guardiola's visitors shaken. 

"Today was a perfect response and a perfect performance," Grealish said. 

"We're in the driving seat. We can't look at what's going on around us. It's in our hands, and we have to go and win every game as we would anyway." 

It was the 30th time that City have scored five or more goals in a Premier League game since Guardiola took charge at the start of the 2016-17 season. 

Grealish teed up Oleksandr Zinchenko to cross for Phil Foden to score City's fourth, and the former Aston Villa man played in Raheem Sterling for the fifth in stoppage time. 

Rodri had earlier headed the third, and the Spanish midfielder said: "The personality we saw today was unbelievable – 5-0 after what happened [in Madrid] is incredible. 

"The mood wasn't very high as you can see, but on Friday the team woke up and focused on the game." 

Pointing to his head, Rodri added: "I think we do unbelievable work here. Sometimes it's more important than in the legs and that's what the champion teams do." 

Manchester City can sniff silverware after moving three points clear of Liverpool at the Premier League summit with a ruthless 5-0 win over Newcastle United.

Raheem Sterling started and ended this rout, with Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Phil Foden also on the scoresheet as City made no mistake at the Etihad Stadium.

Rocked by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday, City did not play as though they were nursing a hangover from that bitter blow.

Pep Guardiola said the Madrid game was sure to be on his players' minds, but a welcome distraction arrived when title rivals Liverpool were held by Tottenham on Saturday, a major blow to the Reds' hopes. On this evidence, City should be celebrating a successful title defence back at this stadium in two weeks' time.

Newcastle's Chris Wood missed a glorious chance after eight minutes when he put a tame header straight at Ederson from Allan Saint-Maximin's cross, and from a corner moments later at the other end Laporte skied a close-range shot.

Joao Cancelo smashed wastefully wide after Kevin De Bruyne's cross from the left, but City were soon ahead. The opener came in the 19th minute when Ilkay Gundogan's floated pass was headed across goal by Cancelo for Sterling to nod in from close range.

Wood had the ball in the City net, but his close-range finish was disallowed for an offside against Bruno Guimaraes, and the hosts doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Martin Dubravka spilled Gundogan's 20-yard volley from a corner routine and Laporte bundled in.

Rodri made it 3-0 on the hour when De Bruyne's corner from the left found him at the near post, and the midfielder's header pinged low past Dubravka.

Oleksandr Zinchenko had a fierce drive tipped over by Dubravka as City looked to boost their goal difference.

They grabbed a fourth in the 90th minute when Foden converted from close range after Jack Grealish and Zinchenko combined on the left, and Grealish fed Sterling to drive home a fifth to rub it in for both Newcastle and Liverpool.

What does it mean? Who can stop City now?

Guardiola must take his team away to Wolves and West Ham before they host Aston Villa on May 22, the final Sunday of the season. Few would have expected Newcastle to take anything from this game, regardless of their improvement since the turn of the year.

Newcastle have never won a Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium (D2 L15), losing each of their past 13 visits to the stadium now, and when Wood's feeble header let City off the hook early on, it was pretty clear that dire run was not about to end.

Sterling brings up his fifty

City's opener was notable for it being the 50th goal that Sterling has scored in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium. He added number 51 in the final seconds. Only one player has beaten that total, with Sergio Aguero bagging 106, including five in one game against Newcastle in October 2015.

City's set-piece supremacy

The goals from Laporte and Rodri stemmed from corners and were City's 19th and 20th goals from set-piece situations this season in the Premier League, excluding penalties. They have conceded just once from set-pieces themselves, with their plus-19 differential the best figure recorded in a single season in the competition since such records are available (2006-07 onwards).

What's next?

City face a tricky trip to Wolves on Wednesday. Newcastle are not back in action until May 16, when they host Arsenal.

Pep Guardiola accepts his Manchester City players will not be able to forget Wednesday's defeat to Real Madrid, but he does not believe that should hamper their Premier League title bid.

City suffered yet more Champions League pain as Madrid scored two late goals and another in extra time to beat Guardiola's men 3-1 in their semi-final second leg, securing a 6-5 aggregate triumph.

Despite being four games away from another domestic league title, with Liverpool just a point behind, the Madrid match dominated Guardiola's pre-match news conference ahead of playing Newcastle United.

The manager imagines it will be the same inside the minds of his players, yet that does not concern him.

"They don't have to forget it," he said. "How are we going to forget it? We are going to play against Newcastle thinking about that, for sure.

"All the players in the training sessions, the meeting rooms, the warm-up, they are committed, they are going to do it. I don't have any doubt about that."

Guardiola made the assertion despite claiming he has not spoken to his City squad since returning from Madrid, allowing them time to recover before facing Newcastle.

Asked what he had said to the players, the Catalan coach said: "Nothing, we didn't speak. No words can help what all of us feel. It's just a question of time.

"Tomorrow will be the first day we'll be together, and we are going to talk about who we are as a team, what we have done in this semi-final of the Champions League, how good we have been – not just in these two games but all season – and trying to do an excellent last week.

"Probably it's one of the moments since I've been manager [when I have been] the most proud I am to be in this club, this organisation."

Guardiola's explanation for much of what happened in midweek was simple, repeating several times: "It's football."

He bristled at the idea Rodrygo Goes' dramatic last-gasp double exposed a mental fragility in his City side.

"There is no time for 'mental'," Guardiola said. "It was 45 seconds later."

He added: "Now people say it's a lack of character. A lack of character? What happens if Jack Grealish scores the two goals?

"Where is the character in Atletico when Ederson saves from [Angel] Correa. That's character, but if he scores it's not character?

"When [Thibaut] Courtois saves with his feet and it goes one centimetre to the corner, that is not character?"

City will certainly have to show character against Newcastle, surely fatigued from a draining European encounter in which they appeared to again lose Kyle Walker to injury.

However, Guardiola assured Kevin De Bruyne's substitution in Madrid was only "tactical". "He's good," the City boss added.

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City have already achieved their aims by being contenders in every competition, insisting he was not brought to the Etihad Stadium to win the Champions League.

City's wait for European football's top club prize will go on after they lost 6-5 on aggregate to Real Madrid following an incredible semi-final collapse.

But in a lengthy response to a question about his players' chances of ever winning the competition ahead of Sunday's Premier League game against Newcastle United, Guardiola explained how the club view success differently from "the people" on the outside.

"I don't know [if this team can win it]," he said. "It's a question I cannot answer. Before Madrid, I did not know if we were able to win it.

"I don't have an answer to all your questions. Football is incredibly unpredictable – we saw it.

"This is my feeling, maybe I'm wrong: Abu Dhabi didn't buy this club and invest in these incredible facilities, invest in players, like a lot of other clubs in the world, to be what we lived the last years.

"It's not to win just the Champions League. They did it to be there in all competitions, in every season, compete, compete, compete until the end.

"In the Champions League, we want to do it – maybe I'm not good enough, nobody knows what happens with another manager – but we want to be there as much as possible in all competitions. For us, it's an honour.

"There are people who I know didn't appreciate what this club is doing. Maybe it's not enough, but for me it's incredible, remarkable.

"Being in the semi-finals of the Champions League again, after last season, making steps to be there and compete against an outstanding team in this competition, the way we did it, home and away...

"We were close – not close enough, because the team who wins deserves it – but we were there. This is my feeling.

"It always depends on winning the Champions League, winning the Champions League, winning the Premier League, winning the Premier League – nothing about what we have done since the takeover one decade ago, with all the players that went before, the managers that went before – it doesn't make sense.

"We will try again next season; it will be difficult, because the teams are good. I know the people want to be in that way, I accept it from day one, I have to handle it, but it's not a problem for me.

"It's not about that; it's about in the Premier League again being there, in the FA Cup semi-finals again, in the Champions League semi-finals, this season it could not happen but even the Carabao Cup four times in a row.

"This is where the club want to be. That's why they ask me to come here, for that.

"They never ask me to win any one title. They never ask me anything, the club, if anything just to play as good as possible and compete with all the teams in England and all the teams in Europe we have to play. It's completely opposite to what people think about it.

"I'm not saying it's fair or not fair; I'm not saying that.

"People say if they this group of players or this manager doesn't win a title, they're failures. I accept it, but I completely disagree, completely. We know how difficult it is, but I accept it.

"I'm not going to make it a thing where I am right and you're wrong. You can do whatever, say whatever, but as a club, the feeling that we have, it's to try to do it.

"We are sad, of course we are sad – we were close. The players wanted to play the final. But for this club to compete with Real Madrid the way that we did was a joy.

"How close we were, wow, but we could not do it, okay. I say congratulations to Liverpool and Real Madrid; if they are in the final, they deserve to be in the final.

"It's important that next season we are going to try; if it doesn't work, we are going to try again; if it doesn't work, we are going to try again.

"And in the Premier League, the Carabao Cup next season, we want to go further than we were this season.

"This is when we became a club, you know, a club where this club is great, it's good. Look at all the big clubs in Europe, who every year are there, are there, are there; in the last years, we are there.

"Sometimes it's not possible. Sometimes you put in everything and you do not achieve it. What is the problem?

"Okay, we did not achieve it. The next day, you try to do it; in the good moments, take credit; in the bad moments, more sad than usual. The next day, you try to do it. The club is good for this."

Guardiola insisted he "cannot live" for European glory alone – and suggested City would be criticised even if they did win the Champions League.

Asked if the defeat gave him added hunger, he replied: "No, always I am starving.

"I know the people outside here demand Champions League, Champions League, Champions League, we know it, but I cannot live [just for that].

"The moment we win the Champions League, they'll say look at the money we spent. If not, they spent all that money and didn't win the Champions League. We are the only club in the world in the last 10, 15, 20 years who spent money."

Eddie Howe has revealed he will call a team meeting at Newcastle United to clarify comments made by Allan Saint-Maximin, who appeared to criticise his team-mates.

Saint-Maximin's interview with So Foot was published this week, in which the winger compared himself to Sadio Mane and said he would provide assists more regularly "the day when I have a player capable of finishing the actions".

The 25-year-old has only four assists this season despite creating 45 chances from open play – the eighth-most in the league and most outside the top six.

Callum Wilson, who has been out injured since December, remains Newcastle's top scorer with just six goals. Only Wolves (Raul Jimenez, also six) have had their leading marksman tally so few.

But Saint-Maximin did not intend to criticise his team-mates, Howe says, with both the player and coach seeking to ensure there was no "damage" to the team before a big game away at Manchester City.

"I saw the quotes, spoke with Allan," Howe said on Friday. "I think I need to make this clear that Allan's quotes didn't come across in the way he meant them to.

"He was concerned yesterday. We spoke, and in no way did he mean to damage the team and the unity that we've built. Of course, he said things in an interview, but, as I said, it wasn't in the context that he meant, although it happened.

"We'll be speaking with the squad and making sure there's no fallout from that, because unity has been our strength. It's vitally important that we keep that."

Regardless, Saint-Maximin and Newcastle will be boosted by the return of Wilson, who "looks in a good place and there's a good chance he'll be involved on Sunday".

England right-back Kieran Trippier is "slightly behind Callum" in his recovery but could still feature, while Howe is holding out hope for Fabian Schar to play despite missing training this week following an injury against Liverpool on Saturday.

Newcastle lost 1-0 to Liverpool and now face their title rivals City at the Etihad Stadium, where they have never won in the Premier League, losing their past 12 such matches.

Howe has been beaten in all 11 of his league games against City, including nine against Pep Guardiola – two competition records for one coach losing 100 per cent of their matches against any specific opponent or manager.

But City are coming off a painful Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, potentially making them vulnerable on Sunday, although Howe wants his team to improve, too.

"[The Champions League defeat] can work both ways," Howe said. "It can emotionally affect them in the positive or the negative.

"We will 100 per cent prepare for the best Manchester City, so we have to be the best Newcastle we can be. Looking back to last week, that was the disappointment for last week. We just missed the intensity in our work."

With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Kylian Mbappe is reportedly going to sign a two-year extension with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 23, has established himself as one of the world's premier players, with 24 goals and 16 assists in his 32 Ligue 1 fixtures this season, and six goals with six assists in eight Champions League games.

In his four seasons since arriving in Paris in 2018, he has won three Ligue 1 titles with one runners-up finish, but has never won the Champions League. A disappointing exit in the first knockout stage this campaign was supposed to push the young star out the door, but that may not be the case.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE ON THE BRINK OF PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN EXTENSION

Mbappe has been strongly linked with Real Madrid – often referred to as his 'dream club' – but he may snub the Champions League finalists for a deal Le Parisien reports is worth £42.5million per year, with an £85m signing bonus.

If he does opt to stay in France, it will have a significant domino effect as it would likely take PSG out of the discussion for a number of the world's most expensive players in the coming transfer window, and vastly increase Madrid's spending power if they had budgeted for his arrival.

While it appears at this stage that a deal is likely, The Mirror is reporting Mbappe's mum saying "there is no agreement in principle with Paris Saint-Germain or any other club".

 

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Star is reporting Pep Guardiola will sign a contract extension to keep him at Manchester City until at least 2025.

– Everton are prepared to sell goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to fund a rebuild, according to Talksport. Tottenham and Newcastle United are said to be monitoring the England international's situation.

– Jose Mourinho wants to bring Manchester United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Roma, per The Sun.

– The Sun is reporting Man City will compete with United for the signature of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

– According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Napoli striker Victor Osimhen would prefer to join Arsenal instead of Man United or Newcastle.

Allan Saint-Maximin has claimed he is as talented as Liverpool superstar Sadio Mane.

The Newcastle United winger has established himself as one of the most exciting players in the Premier League in the past three seasons.

But Saint-Maximin is more renowned for his dribbling skills and trickery than consistent end product in the final third.

In 2021-22, the 25-year-old has attempted (238) and completed (139) the most dribbles in the league.

However, Saint-Maximin has just five goals and four assists. He has not netted since a 1-1 draw with Watford in January, while his only assist in this calendar year came from a misplaced pass to Sean Longstaff that ran for Joelinton to score at Norwich City.

By contrast, Mane ranks 26th this season for dribble attempts (81, with 44 successful) but has scored 14 times, adding two assists.

Yet Saint-Maximin told So Foot: "Those who have played with me know very well that, in terms of pure quality, I have no reason to envy Sadio Mane."

The former France youth international appears to believe his Newcastle team-mates are the problem.

Callum Wilson remains the Magpies' top scorer with six goals despite being out injured since December, just this week returning to full training. Only Wolves (Raul Jimenez, also six) have had their leading marksman tally so few.

Chris Wood has netted twice since a £25million move in January, with Newcastle widely expected to invest heavily up front in the transfer window, having been linked with Darwin Nunez and Patrik Schick.

Saint-Maximin has created 45 chances from open play this term, the eighth-most in the league and most outside the top six.

"The day when I have a player capable of finishing the actions, I will make seasons with 10 to 15 assists," he said. "I will change dimension in people's heads."

It is perhaps unsurprising Saint-Maximin has such lofty ambitions, given he cites Greek philosophers as his inspirations – along with NBA legend Michael Jordan.

"Doing things that make an impression, changing the rules, that's the goal," he said. "Like what Michael Jordan managed to do.

"Jordan, he changed some people's lives, he gave people work, and that's the beauty of it."

Barcelona's financial volatility has necessitated a cut of overall wage spend, and Philippe Coutinho has long been viewed as dispensable.

Since his big-money signing from Liverpool, the incompatibility the Brazil international has represented has only been reinforced with loan spells at Bayern Munich and Aston Villa.

However, in need of funds, the Blaugrana have reportedly set the Birmingham club a timeframe for confirming his permanent signing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA GIVE ASTON VILLA COUTINHO ULTIMATUM

Barcelona have given Aston Villa until the end of the month to confirm whether they will sign Coutinho on a permanent deal, Sport is reporting.

The cash-strapped Catalan giants loaned Coutinho to Villa in January with a €40million (£33.7m) purchase option, but Villa have now been given until the end of May to finalise the deal.

Barcelona have reportedly insisted that the finances be resolved by the end of June, as it would help balance their accounts for the season. 

The 29-year-old has played erratically despite four goals and three assists in 14 appearances, not directly contributing to a league goal since early March against Leeds.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku has no intention of joining Milan or Newcastle United despite frustration over a lack of opportunities, according to the Evening Standard.

- Chelsea want to sign 20-year-old Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, Goal reports.

- Football Insider reports Inter Milan are looking to sell Stefan de Vrij, with Tottenham and Aston Villa among the clubs interested.

- Lazio are willing to lower their asking price for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to around €80million, per Calciomercato.

The Premier League witnessed drama at both ends of the table on an absorbing Saturday, as Manchester City and Liverpool continued to trade blows in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp's men downed in-form Newcastle United thanks to Naby Keita's first-half strike, before City responded by cruising to a 4-0 thrashing of Leeds United at Elland Road.

At the other end of the table, Norwich City were condemned to a record sixth Premier League relegation at Aston Villa, and Watford look destined to join them after Burnley continued their incredible upturn in form at Vicarage Road.

After another frantic day of action, Stats Perform looks at some of the key Opta facts from Saturday's contests.

Newcastle United 0-1 Liverpool: Keita continues Reds' run

Liverpool's bid for a remarkable quadruple faced a tough test when they travelled to Eddie Howe's in-form Newcastle in the first clash of the day.

However, Naby Keita's 19th-minute goal proved the difference in a competitive encounter, and was Liverpool's earliest winning goal in a 1-0 Premier League victory since December 2016, when Georginio Wijnaldum netted after eight minutes against Manchester City.

Klopp's side had chances to extend their lead, with home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka making nine saves, his highest tally in a single Premier League match. Since 2003-04, when Opta data began, the only Newcastle goalkeepers to make more saves in a Premier League game are Tim Krul (14 against Tottenham in November 2013) and Karl Darlow (11 against Tottenham in September 2020).

However, a 21st clean sheet of Liverpool's league campaign was enough to move them to the top of the table - only in 2005-06 (22) have the Reds kept more shutouts in a single Premier League campaign.

Liverpool have now picked up 40 points from the last 42 on offer in the competition, and the win turned up the pressure on City ahead of their trip to Leeds later on Saturday.

Leeds United 0-4 Manchester City: Visitors draw on set-peice prowess to reclaim top spot

The Reds were not top of the table for long, however, as City claimed a 4-0 win over relegation-threatened Leeds at Elland Road. Goals from Rodri and Nathan Ake both came from set pieces, meaning City have now scored 18 set-piece goals (excluding penalties) this season, their most in a Premier League campaign since 2013-14 (22).

Pep Guardiola's men have also kept five consecutive away league clean sheets, the best such sequence in the club's history.

After Gabriel Jesus had made the points safe, Fernandinho stuck a superb fourth goal late on, becoming the club's oldest ever Premier League goalscorer at 36 years and 361 days old, overtaking Frank Lampard in 2015 (36 years and 338 days old).

Leeds, meanwhile, are looking over their shoulders after another heavy defeat. They have conceded a remarkable 20 league goals against the two Manchester clubs this season (11 against City, nine against Manchester United) – a new top-flight record for goals conceded against the duo in a single season.

Watford 1-2 Burnley: Clarets' revival continues after Cork ends barren run

Elsewhere, Burnley continued their incredible revival by coming from behind to defeat Watford, making Mike Jackson the first Clarets boss to win three of his first four league games in charge since Jimmy Mullen won his first four in 1991.

After James Tarkowski's own-goal put Watford ahead, Jack Cork ended his run of 84 Premier League games without a goal with his first strike since December 2018 (against Liverpool), before Josh Brownhill scored a late winner.

The Clarets are now five points above the bottom three after winning three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2019, having won just three of their previous 21 games.

Roy Hodgson's Watford, meanwhile, look destined for relegation after becoming the first side in English top-flight history to lose 11 consecutive home league matches.

Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City: Canaries suffer another relegation at Villa Park

Burnley's win had other ramifications, contributing to Norwich suffering their sixth relegation from the Premier League – the most of any club in the competition's history – after the Canaries were beaten at Villa Park.

Remarkably, Norwich have been relegated in each of their last four Premier League seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, 2019-20 and 2021-22). They are only the second side in English league history to suffer relegation in four consecutive campaigns in the top-flight, after Crystal Palace (1992-93, 1994-95, 1997-98 and 2004-05).

 

Dean Smith's men saw their fate sealed after becoming the first team to concede 70 Premier League goals this season after just 34 games, representing the earliest point in any league campaign they have reached 70 concessions since 1956-57 (in their 34th game in the old Third Division South).

Ollie Watkins set the tone for Villa's win with his first-half strike, and he has now scored at least 11 more goals than any other Villa player since his September 2020 debut (25 goals in all competitions).

Jurgen Klopp is "very excited" about Liverpool's performances after the Reds earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Newcastle United.

Naby Keita's first-half goal saw Liverpool claim a vital win at St James' Park on Saturday, with the Reds maintaining their charge for the Premier League title having picked up 40 points from the last 42 available to them in the competition.

Having won the EFL Cup, reached the FA Cup final and beaten Villarreal 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals, Liverpool remain in the running for a historic quadruple going into the final weeks of the campaign.

While thrilled by Liverpool's recent displays, Klopp was not willing to discuss his side's hopes of winning four pieces of silverware as he highlighted the difficult nature of their schedule.

"I'm very excited, but not because of the prospect of winning something, because I never understood that," Klopp said at his post-match news conference.

"It's like, say we are five points ahead in the league, for example, and then you have four games to play and nearly all the time people ask you, 'now it's here... [are you] looking forward to...' No, no, no, you are just concerned about winning the next game.

"I am not smart enough to try two things at the same time. When we finished the game, our analyst was in the dressing room and I asked him how Villarreal is playing because they play now as well  they were 2-1 down, made a few changes line-up wise – so that's our life. 

"We are excited. I love this football team and we go into the next [game] and try to be as good as possible, but that's it.

"It’s a good situation, but for us the number of games we still have to play is a lot; with or without the Champions League final it's a lot, so we should better win everything because otherwise it could be tricky."

Liverpool have won 42 matches in all competitions this season – only three English top-flight clubs have ever won more in a single campaign: Everton (43 in 1984-85), Manchester City (44 in 2017-18, 47 in 2020-21, 50 in 2018-19) and Manchester United (44 in 2008-09).

The Reds have also kept 21 clean sheets in this season's Premier League – more than any other side – while only in 2005-06 (22) have they recorded more shutouts in a single Premier League campaign.

Despite Klopp making five changes to his starting line-up, the Reds produced another disciplined defensive display to remain in the hunt for their 20th English top-flight title, and Klopp was keen to praise midfielder James Milner for his contribution to a professional performance.

"He was outstanding. Millie is incredibly important for us," Klopp added. "That's very important, if you talk about the dressing room, he's very helpful there.

"But on the pitch as well, he played a super game. I don't want to take anything away from him, but I liked Naby's performance as well. The boys were on fire, we played football, we kept the ball in the right moments. 

"We struggled around the second-ball fights, but we knew before the game there's no way – that I know at least – to defend them 100 per cent. So, it was tricky, it's not cool to defend. But, apart from that I really loved the game. James was a massive part of it."

Liverpool travel to Villarreal on Tuesday as they look to secure a third Champions League final appearance since Klopp arrived at Anfield in 2015.

Jurgen Klopp hailed an "absolutely outstanding" display from a much-changed Liverpool side as they won 1-0 at Newcastle United to go top of the Premier League.

Naby Keita scored the only goal of the game at St James' Park to put the Reds two points clear of Manchester City, ahead of their trip to Leeds United later on Saturday.

Klopp made five changes to his starting line-up following a 2-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Villarreal as Liverpool continue to challenge for an unprecedented quadruple.

Keita was among the players who came into the team and the midfielder was certainly not the only one who demonstrated the strength in depth Klopp has at his disposal.

That is 15 Premier League games without defeat for Liverpool and they have not conceded a goal in four matches in all competitions.

Klopp, who signed a contract extension this week, was delighted with the way a new-look team got the job done

The Reds boss told BT Sport: "Coming here, they have a team in form obviously and a crowd waiting for ages for proper success, now they have six home wins on the bounce. So coming here with changes and building pretty much a new set-up is massive.

"It's really difficult and so the performance is absolutely outstanding I have to say, I loved it. They controlled the game in so many ways.

"It's difficult, the only plan they had was long ball to our right side and from there they wanted to play on. We had some moments where we struggled, because it's difficult, but the rest we controlled."

The German added: "The impact we have from the bench in games is outstanding, but coming from the bench before a game pretty much before a game, we expect a lot but the boys have to deliver.

"It was outstanding. Joe Gomez, what a game. Naby Keita, what a game. James Milner, what a game. That's just mentioning three.

"Diogo Jota, oh my god what a game. Joel Matip of course and the other five had to go through again and you see Andy Robertson in minute 93 he put a 150 mile per hour sprint, that is just absolutely outstanding."

Jota was making his 50th Premier League appearance for Liverpool and provided the assist for Keita's winner.

Liverpool have won a club-record 42 games in all competitions this season. Everton (43 in 1984-85), City (44 in 2017-18, 47 in 2020-21, 50 in 2018-19) and Manchester United (44 in 2008-09) are the only English top-flight clubs to have bettered that tally.

Naby Keita scored the only goal as a much-changed Liverpool beat in-form Newcastle United 1-0 at St James' Park to climb above Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp, who this week signed a contract extension to keep him at Anfield until 2026, had complained about the timing of this early kick-off and made five changes following Wednesday's 2-0 win over Villarreal in the Champions League.

Mohamed Salah, Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold watched on from the bench as Keita – one of those recalled – drilled in a contentious goal with 19 minutes gone.

Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka kept his side in the game but Liverpool saw out the victory to move two points above City ahead of the reigning champions' trip to Leeds United.

Keita's winner came after he exchanged passes with Diogo Jota and rounded Dubravka, though Newcastle's players felt the goal should have been ruled out for a James Milner foul on Fabian Schar.

However, while Milner did catch his opponent, replays showed the Liverpool midfielder cleanly won the ball first and referee Andre Marriner was not instructed by VAR to review the goal.

Newcastle had a Miguel Almiron goal rightly disallowed for offside and otherwise struggled to create any openings, with Liverpool going close to a second before half-time when Jota's header was palmed over.

Jota was denied by Dubravka three times in the second half and Sadio Mane planted a shot wide from a good position in his final meaningful involvement before being replaced by Salah.

Newcastle had won four games in a row heading into this contest, though they only really tested Alisson through a Bruno Guimaraes drive as Liverpool picked up a 13th league victory in their past 14 outings.

Mohamed Salah, Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold were all named among the substitutes for Liverpool's Premier League clash with Newcastle United on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp heavily rotated his side.

The Reds travelled to St James' Park in the early kick-off aiming to pick up the win that would see them overtake Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, albeit having played a game more.

Klopp has complained about the timing of the match, coming three days on from facing Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, with the return fixture to come on Tuesday.

The German coach made five changes to face Newcastle on the back of the 2-0 win over Villarreal, with Premier League top scorer Salah and fellow first-team regulars Thiago and Alexander-Arnold among those to drop out.

Fabinho and Ibrahima Konate were also named on the bench, with James Milner, Naby Keita, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Diogo Jota all recalled, the latter making his 50th league appearance for the Reds.

Divock Origi, who starred from the bench in last week's 2-0 win over Everton, was ruled out of the squad due to illness not related to COVID-19.

Newcastle, who had won four in a row heading into the Liverpool match, made three changes as Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron all came into the starting line-up.

Newcastle United XI: Dubravka; Krafth, Schar, Burn, Targett; Bruno Guimaraes, Shelvey, Willock; Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.
Subs: Dummett, Lascelles, Ritchie, Manquillo, Wood, Murphy, Darlow, Gayle, Longstaff.

Liverpool XI: Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Keita; Mane, Diaz, Jota.
Subs: Kelleher, Fabinho, Konate, Thiago, Salah, Jones, Tsimikas, Alexander-Arnold, Elliott.

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