Erik ten Hag says any talk of Manchester United being in the hunt for a quadruple this season is "for the fans".

United ended a six-year wait for silverware on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final at Wembley.

The Red Devils have an FA Cup fifth-round tie against West Ham to come on Wednesday and face Real Betis over two legs in the Europa League last 16 after eliminating Barcelona.

Despite being eight points adrift of leaders Arsenal, third-place United are also arguably still in the Premier League title race with the business end of the season still approaching.

On-loan striker Wout Weghorst was bullish after the Newcastle win in declaring United are targeting four trophies this season, but Ten Hag insists it is not something that has crossed his mind at this stage.

"That is for [the] fans," he said ahead of facing West Ham. "We have to focus on the next game and that is the only thing we are doing.

"Us, we are talking for 10 minutes and I didn't hear the words West Ham United. I think it was the press conference for West Ham United so it's only about this we have to talk about.

"We don't have to talk about trophies. We have to talk about West Ham United, that is the game tomorrow."

United have played 19 times since returning from the World Cup break in December and the fixtures continue to come thick and fast on multiple fronts, with games in three different competitions over the next week or so.

Rather than complain about the workload, though, Ten Hag feels playing regularly can only be a good thing for his side.

"In my experience in Ajax, when we dropped out of Europe the levels went down and when you are in it gives energy," he said.

"Until now, we have managed [the schedule] quite well and I think we can do it also until the end of the season. Except Anthony Martial, the availability from all the players is there."

United follow up the visit of West Ham to Old Trafford with a trip to fierce rivals Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, before hosting Real Betis in the first leg of their Europa League knockout tie.

Manchester United and Crystal Palace have both been fined £55,000 for failing to control their players during the Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

A mass confrontation broke out during the second half of the match, which saw Casemiro sent off for putting his hands around Will Hughes' neck.

The incident was triggered by Jeffrey Schlupp's strong challenge on Antony, for which both players subsequently received yellow cards.

An FA spokesperson said: "Manchester United and Crystal Palace respectively accepted and denied that they failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from provocative behaviour.

"An independent Regulatory Commission subsequently found the charge against Crystal Palace proven and imposed both of the clubs' fines."

Fresh from their EFL Cup final triumph, United face West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday, while Palace are back in Premier League action away at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Luis Diaz will not be fit in time for Liverpool's Champions League second leg away at Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.

Diaz has not played for the Reds since suffering a knee injury in the 3-2 Premier League defeat against Arsenal in October.

In an interview with Sky Sports two weeks ago, the Colombia international seemed to hint at the last-16 second leg on March 15 being a possible return date, saying: "Let's wait a little to see when I can come back to the pitch, and if it's the [Santiago] Bernabeu, it will be no problem."

But Klopp revealed the winger is yet to return to training and will miss that crucial match, with Liverpool looking to pull off the unthinkable having been thumped 5-2 by Madrid in the first leg at Anfield last week.

Despite the 26-year-old's long absence, Klopp is confident he can have a big influence on the team when he does return, adding to reporters: "It's estimated that maybe next week he will be warming up with the team and then maybe a week later being in team training.

"I'm positive about him that there's a good chance to have a real impact in 10, 11, 12 games, maybe. We will see how long it exactly takes.

"When he is back, he will be really good and very impactful, of course. That is clear. How quickly, I don't know. We have to see.

"That's the big challenge in these moments. There's no time for being patient, but you have to be patient.

"But you always have to wait. On Tuesday, I saw a very intense session, a lot of change of direction and stuff like this. If there is no reaction from that, then he can make the next step."

Erik ten Hag's message to Manchester United players after winning the EFL Cup was "back to work" as they look to build on that success in the coming months.

United beat Newcastle United 2-0 at Wembley to lift the trophy, ending a silverware drought that stretched back almost six years.

Sunday's victory was also momentous because it made Ten Hag's promising start at the club tangible, and there are more prizes up for grabs before the end of the season.

The Red Devils are arguably still in the Premier League title race despite being eight points behind leaders Arsenal; they eliminated Barcelona to reach the last 16 of the Europa League; they remain alive in the FA Cup as well.

It is the latter that they turn their attention towards next, with West Ham visiting Old Trafford in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday.

Kick-off will be only about 72 hours after the conclusion of the EFL Cup final, and with such a tight turnaround, Ten Hag is eager to impress on the players a need for focus rather than basking in former glories.

Asked if there were any additional celebrations after United got back to Manchester on Sunday, Ten Hag told reporters: "No. Nothing beyond. Get back to work."

He added: "Of course, [on Monday] the players were still enthusiastic and they had to celebrate this moment.

"But after we settled down, we got back to work and did what we had to do, which was recovery. The ones who played less [minutes in the final] did a good training session."

Despite Tuesday's press conference being a preview to Wednesday, there was understandably very little focus on West Ham, rather the defeat of Newcastle.

One element of his management that Ten Hag has received a lot of praise for this season has been his squad rotation, with the Dutchman clearly comfortable dropping underperforming players and seemingly always ready to look to his bench to change matches.

And in that respect he was keen to pay tribute to the whole squad for the EFL Cup success.

"Let's make myself clear: we didn't win with 11 players, we did win with a squad and I think the squad the whole season is so important and every time players come in, if it's for a whole game, minutes, a couple of games – also during games when we can change the dynamics – we do it with many more than 11 players," he said.

"So I count on them and I know they will be ready, because every time they play they take responsibility and it's about that, but you also have to fight for your position.

"There can be great months ahead of us and great games and everyone wants to play games. The players who form the best teams will play, so it's also [the case] for [Harry] Maguire. When he plays well, he can come into the team.

"It was not my perspective from the celebrations [that it was about a few individuals]. I think everyone was involved, everyone was happy, and everyone had the idea we did it collectively, not individual or one, two, three players did this. It was the performance of the whole team, the whole squad."

Jurgen Klopp has told his Liverpool stars to "squeeze everything" they can out of this season as they head into a rematch with the Wolves team who left them at their lowest ebb.

A 3-0 thumping at Molineux on February 4 followed a month that contained two defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and a loss at Brentford, with Liverpool leaving the West Midlands in a state of disarray.

Results have picked up since from that low point, with Liverpool beating Everton and Newcastle United in the Premier League and drawing at Crystal Palace. They have kept three successive clean sheets for the first time in the domestic league, but the elephant in the room is the 5-2 stuffing Liverpool suffered at the hands of Real Madrid amid that improvement.

As it stands, Liverpool are up to seventh in the league, still in the hunt for a Champions League place with 45 points up for grabs before the season ends, and manager Klopp says this is "a super-important week".

With Wolves their visitors on Wednesday, and Manchester United coming to Anfield on Sunday, the chance is there for Liverpool to take big strides towards the top four.

Considering Liverpool came from mid-table to snatch fourth in the 2020-21 season, after winning eight of their last 10 games, Klopp knows it can be done.

"It helps because it was us and I don't have to tell them the story from another team," Klopp said on Tuesday. "History is not allowed to hinder you, but you cannot constantly rely on doing it again, so we have to make sure.

"I really see we have the right mindset, and we are ready to go, but now we have to do it as well because a game is different. You have an opponent who wants the points as well. We have to create, we have to attack, we have to defend, we have to protect. I know the boys can do that, so let's give it a try.

"We have to force it as well, but we have to play and enjoy what we are doing, that's really important. I really think we are ready. If there's a club that can do it, I really think it's us, because all the things we've achieved, we've achieved together.

"We have a future together. The immediate future, but there's a bigger picture as well. We will strike back in general, but now we have to make sure we really squeeze everything out of this season that we can squeeze out of this season.

"I don't know in this moment what it will be, but the obvious spots are not too far away from us, and we will see which one we can pick up, but there's no alternative to results, so we need results and for results we need performances."

Liverpool have won 18 of their last 20 home league games against Wolves, with the exceptions being 1-0 defeats in January 1984 and December 2010.

Klopp's Reds also beat Wolves after a replay in the FA Cup in January, so victory over the men in black and gold is not an alien concept, despite the recent woeful league result. Klopp labelled that 3-0 loss as "not a cool day" and urged Liverpool to take advantage of being at home this time.

Wolves will be looking to complete a league double over Liverpool for the first time since the 1950-51 season, and they need the points too, given they hover just above the relegation zone.

"It's a super-important week," Klopp said. "We can't ignore that and why would I? We have two home games.

"I would love to give the season a little push this week. I know we all understand, so we have to give a proper, proper, proper go against a team we played more often than any other team this season.

"We know a lot about each other. We know it will not be easy, so we have to make sure we are ready. I know Anfield will be, and we have to do our part."

Marcus Rashford's remarkable resurgence on the pitch is completely unrelated to the Manchester United departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, according to club great Andrew Cole.

Rashford scored United's second in Sunday's 2-0 EFL Cup final win over Newcastle United, as the Red Devils ended a trophy drought that stretched back almost six years.

That was his 25th goal of the season across all competitions, already three more than his previous best return for a full campaign, and United still have at least 17 matches to play in 2022-23.

Rashford has looked more confident and threatening all season, but his form has hit new heights since the World Cup – in that time, his 17 goals (all competitions) is five more than any other player from the top five leagues, and he is one of only two (Victor Osimhen, 11) to reach double figures for non-penalty (np) goals (16).

Those come from a np-xG (expected goals) of just 8.0, meaning he is scoring twice as many goals as the average player would expect given the quality of his chances.

Rashford's positive 8.0 np-xG differential since the World Cup considerably exceeds that of every other player from the top five leagues, with James Ward Prowse second on 4.3 (six np goals, 1.7 np-xG).

This is a far cry from Rashford's form last season when his goals frequency of 0.27 per 90 minutes was the worst of his United career – the 0.78 goals every 90 minutes this term is comfortably his best such return.

Given the biggest upturn in Rashford's form has come since the World Cup, some have speculated whether Ronaldo's exit – which was confirmed during Qatar 2022 – has had something to do with it.

But Cole, a treble winner with United in 1999, refuses to accept that, convinced there is a simpler explanation.

He told Stats Perform: "I'm an individual. I'm not going to get involved in the Ronaldo thing because he left. Ronaldo wasn't there 18 months ago when Marcus Rashford was struggling.

"So, because Ronaldo's left now, all of a sudden [there's a perception] it's because he's left. It doesn't make sense for me. When Ronaldo wasn't at the club, Marcus found himself in a bit of form that he couldn't get himself out of, so I'm not having that.

"The [Erik] Ten Hag effect, I think. No doubt, the manager will be believing in him, telling him how good he is. But ultimately, as individuals, he could have taken his eye off the ball a little bit with what he was doing off the field.

"It could have been a little bit of that as well, but to see him in this really fit form now, the way he's playing, I think it's testament to him. For me, personally, it doesn't really matter what anyone else does with you.

"Monday to Friday, once you cross the white line, it's you as an individual, and also Monday to Friday, someone's telling you how great you are.

"If you don't believe how great you are, once you cross the white line, it makes no difference what anyone else tells you because you've got to tell yourself that.

"I'm looking at him now, he seems to be telling himself, 'I'm at that level that I want to be at'. That's why he's playing so well."

But with spells of such form from one individual come questions of dependency, or over reliance.

Since the World Cup, no team across the top five leagues has scored more than United (43), while their average of 2.3 every game sees them rank sixth, which again is commendable given the top five have all played at least six games less than Ten Hag's side.

However, no other United player has scored more than seven goals (all competitions) this season. While Ten Hag has received due praise for inspiring a huge improvement around the club, it is difficult to imagine them being on their current trajectory without Rashford's form.

And Rashford's numbers since the World Cup represent something of an anomaly – relying on him to score double his xG for the rest of the season would be unfair and unlikely.

This concern is not lost on Cole, who during the 1998-99 treble-winning season was one of five United players to score at least 10 goals.

"Do we need that depth? Of course we do, if we look at all the top teams in Europe, they have that depth," he continued.

"And yeah, I would say if [Rashford] did pick up an injury, which naturally I don't want, you're going to turn around say, 'where are the goals going to come from?'

"Because they're not really being spread around the team. Marcus has got a majority of them. Yeah, you might get sporadic [contributions]: Antony might get one in four games or whatever; Casemiro scored [on Sunday]; [Jadon] Sancho is getting himself back and is getting a goal every now and then.

"But if you're going to be challenging for major honours, you've got to have goals coming from all areas, and at this moment time Manchester United are relying on Marcus because he's in that form.

"No doubt they'll look to address that problem [a lack of goals elsewhere] in the summer."

Mikel Arteta claims the death of the traditional post-match glass of wine between rival managers is denying Premier League bosses a chance to bond.

Arteta's Arsenal mentor Arsene Wenger was not a fan of the indulgence and the Frenchman faced criticism at one stage from long-time foe Alex Ferguson for not joining him for a drink after games.

Eventually Wenger relented, and he insisted on joining wine connoisseur Ferguson for a tipple at Old Trafford following his final game against Manchester United in April 2018.

According to Arteta, the routine ended when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and it means rival bosses no longer go over a game in private, or share conversations on other matters, after the final whistle.

"I haven't had the opportunity because after I joined in two or three months we had COVID," said Arteta, who was appointed in December 2019.

"Probably COVID was the catalyst of losing that tradition, which is a shame because I think it was something special and generated a certain bond between managers."

Arteta might instigate its return, if enough fellow bosses want to join him. His table-topping Arsenal team face Sean Dyche's Everton on Wednesday, and Arteta says colleagues might see it as something worth reviving.

He added: "Maybe we can talk about it between us and get it back."

Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva has suffered damage to his knee ligaments, the club have confirmed.

Silva was substituted after just 19 minutes in Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham.

The Blues did not commit to a timeframe of recovery, though reports have suggested the 38-year-old Brazilian could be absent for up to six weeks.

"Having sustained a knee injury during the first half of Sunday's match against Tottenham Hotspur, Thiago underwent further assessment and a scan on his return to the training centre on Monday," a club statement read.

"Scan results from those assessments have confirmed damage to Thiago's knee ligaments and he will now work closely with the club's medical department during his rehabilitation to return to action as soon as possible."

It is the latest blow in a difficult period for Graham Potter's side, who sit 10th in the Premier League having lost their last three games, not won in six and only triumphed in two of their last 15 outings.

Silva – who has made 109 appearances for Chelsea since arriving in 2020 – signed a new deal with the club earlier this month until the end of the 2023-24 season.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta declared William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes have a "happy marriage" as he backed his defenders after their public spat at Leicester City.

A heated coming together between the pair at the end of Arsenal's 1-0 win on Saturday came to light after the game, but Arteta insists it should be viewed as a positive.

With Arsenal hunting down a first Premier League title since the 2003-04 season, Arteta said there is no room for "robots" in his team.

He wants to see personality, even if it means his players jostling each other on the pitch at times.

"They are a happy marriage," Arteta said. "They love playing with each other, but they are very demanding with each other. This is good and everything's fine.

"I don't want robots, I want players with feeling, with passion, that demand from each other. At the end they have that chemistry. Those two certainly have that chemistry on and off the field."

Arsenal had the likes of Kolo Toure, Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell in their last title-winning defence, and Arteta is glad his team have similarly imposing personalties.

The Gunners face Everton on Wednesday, and victory would take them to 60 points from 25 games. They would be matching a club record, having also totted up 60 from 25 in 2003-04 and 2007-08.

Arsenal have won 99 of their 203 league games against Everton (D43 L61), and can become the first team in English league history to achieve 100 victories against an opponent.

They lost 1-0 at Everton at the start of February, however, in what was Sean Dyche's first game as Toffees boss.

This time, Arteta says it can be a different story as his side attempt to pull five points clear of Manchester City.

"It's a case of doing things better than we did when we played them a few weeks ago and earning the right to win the game," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow we'll play better than we did.

"With Sean it's quite clear what he's done and where the success they've had is coming from.

"With every manager it's the same. We have to look at certain matches and try to get the right tactics to beat them but also the same mentality and high expectation that we demand in the game."

While Arsenal flourish, the same cannot be said for London rivals Chelsea, who are withering in mid-table despite a huge spend on new players.

Arteta feels empathy towards beleaguered Chelsea head coach Graham Potter, who revealed last week he has received malicious emails wishing death on him and loved ones as the Blues struggle to find form.

Although he declined to say whether he experienced similar during his own difficult times at Arsenal, Arteta made it clear he understood the pain Potter is experiencing.

"Absolutely, we are colleagues," Arteta said, "and we all know the pressure and the demands and the uncertainty this industry has.

"At the end the ball has to go into the net. There are many factors that sometimes prevent it that you cannot control. Of course, you empathise because you suffered it, and you know how it is when you're going through these moments."

Arteta has managed to switch off when away from work, even when he was facing pressure to deliver results. Consecutive finishes of eighth, eighth and fifth have preceded this season's concerted title tilt.

"You can have difficulties in your job and challenges which we do, when you lose but when you're winning as well, because this job is so demanding," Arteta said.

"But you cannot destroy your life because of that. Your family, your friends, your loved ones don't deserve it to affect their lives in such a negative way because you don't win a football match.

"That balance in my case was critical, but you need some help. Sometimes when you are in that position, it's not easy to see it."

Chelsea have continued to struggle in recent weeks despite their busy transfer activity during the January window.

The Blues have failed to score in their past three games, all defeats, and won only once in their past 11 games in all competitions.

Chelsea have only scored four goals in those 11 games this calendar year, with the situation putting pressure on new manager Graham Potter.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TO TURN TO TAMMY

Chelsea could turn to former striker Tammy Abraham from Roma in the off-season, according to Football Insider.

There is a £70.5million (€80m) clause in Abraham's Roma contract that would allow the Blues to bring him back to Stamford Bridge which they intend to trigger, according to the report.

Chelsea have struggled for goals lately and view Abraham as a cheaper alternative to Napoli's Victor Osimhen.

 

ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe reports Kylian Mbappe will still leave Paris Saint-Germain in the near future even if he extends his contract. Mbappe's deal expires next year, but there is talk that PSG are looking to seal an extension for financial purposes.

Arsenal have submitted a £35m (€40m) bid to sign Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio, claims Calciomercato. Fichajes says the Gunners are also interested in West Ham's Lucas Paqueta as another midfield option.

Real Madrid will rival Barcelona and Chelsea in the pursuit to sign Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic, reports Corriere dello Sport.

Barcelona are interested in signing Julian Alvarez from Manchester City on loan, claims Mundo Deportivo, while the English champions have offered him a one-year contract extension until 2028 on improved terms, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Liverpool's plans to overhaul their midfield next season mean they have Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, Fiorentina's Sofyan Amrabat and Brighton and Hove Albion's Moises Caicedo in their sights, per Fichajes.

– Football Insider reports Liverpool are also monitoring N'Golo Kante's situation at Chelsea with talks ongoing over a contract extension.

If Manchester United are not already back, they will be "sooner or later", according to rival manager Pep Guardiola.

United beat Newcastle United 2-0 in Sunday's EFL Cup final to win their first major honour in six years.

Victory at Wembley brought tangible reward for an impressive first season under Erik ten Hag, who has United third in the Premier League and still in the Europa League and FA Cup.

There have been false dawns for United previously in the post-Alex Ferguson era, but Guardiola, the Manchester City boss, was asked if they were now "back".

"First and foremost, congratulations to United for the Carabao Cup, for the final – Newcastle as well, that the game was entertaining," Guardiola said.

"Yes, sooner or later, it should happen, shouldn't it? Couldn't it? It should happen. Welcome."

United, in the midst of a takeover saga, would be a more serious threat if they "spend a little bit more money" according to the City manager.

Assessing Ten Hag's side, Guardiola added: "It's normal, they are in the position they normally should be.

"But the reality, with those teams, especially Liverpool and Manchester United, in the last years what we have done is incredible, the numbers. Always when I landed here, I thought United always would be there for the history, for everything.

"So, Erik is doing incredible job. The players, you see how committed they are, how all together they try to do it.

"When you have many years, five, six years without winning one title, when you have that challenge... I remember when we won the first Carabao Cup, when we travelled to win the Carabao Cup, and everyone was so excited to do it.

"[For the] staff it was new, for the players it was new. The fourth time we travelled there to win the fourth Carabao Cup in a row, it was okay, it was another one and another day in the office. It's normal, that is normal.

"United has to be there. [City are] always having big opponents that we were better than in previous seasons and now it's close. And I thought that would happen in the Premier League."

Lionel Messi, Lionel Scaloni and Emiliano Martinez made it a clean sweep for Argentina in Monday's glitzy ceremony for the Best FIFA Awards in Paris.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Messi was crowned the Best FIFA Men's Player, Scaloni took the the Best FIFA Men's Coach and Martinez the Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper.

The award period spans between the start of the 2021-22 season through to the end of the 2022 World Cup, which saw Argentina end their 36-year wait to win the competition.

Martinez, who plies his club trade for Aston Villa, finished ahead of Thibaut Courtois and Yassine Bounou of Real Madrid and Sevilla respectively in the voting – although Courtois made the cut for the FIFPro Men's World 11.

Scaloni was next to pick up an award after seeing off competition from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti, who won a LaLiga and Champions League double last season.

La Albiceleste have lost just one of their 23 games since the start of last season, with their solitary loss coming in their opening Qatar 2022 group game against Saudi Arabia.

Messi made it three from three for Argentina by claiming the top prize at the ceremony in the French capital, which started with a poignant tribute to Brazil great Pele.

Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Messi's PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe had also been in the running for the award.

Argentina's fans also claimed the FIFA Fan Award.

Their domination on the men's side was not quite matched by European champions England in the women's prizes.

While Argentina dominated the men's side of the voting, it was a clean sweep for England in the women's side of things.

Mary Earps was named the Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper and Sarina Wiegman took the Best FIFA Women's Coach award for a third time.

But Beth Mead was pipped to the Best FIFA Women's Player accolade by Alexia Putellas, last year's winner.

Other winners included Luka Lochoshvili, then of Austrian side Wolfsberger, in the FIFA Fair Play Award category for potentially saving the life of opponent Georg Teigl during a game after the Austria Vienna player fell unconscious mid-match.

Polish amputee footballer Marcin Oleksy won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal for his perfectly executed bicycle kick for Warta Poznan against Stal Rzeszow.

It was quite the performance on Sunday from Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, who combined for all three goals as Paris Saint-Germain won 3-0 at Marseille in Ligue 1.

In the absence of the injured Neymar and with PSG trying to get back on track after a recent run of three consecutive defeats before a 4-3 win against Lille last week, the star duo took it upon themselves to rip apart Marseille.

As well as both achieving personal landmarks on Sunday – Mbappe scoring his 200th PSG goal and Messi scoring his 700th career goal – they also improved their already impressive record as a pair in the league this season.

The two standout players from December's exciting World Cup final between France and Argentina have proven there is no ill will from Qatar as they continue to lay chances on a plate for the other.

Mbappe and Messi have combined for 10 goals in Ligue 1, three more than any other two players in Europe's top-five leagues this season.

In fact, the second-most productive combination in France's top-flight also involves Messi, who has combined with Neymar for six goals, while Lille pair Jonathan David and Remy Cabella have five.

 

It is perhaps no surprise with Napoli seemingly strolling to the Scudetto in Italy that Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen sit in second place in Europe with seven goals, but it may raise eyebrows to learn that they are joined on the same amount by another Serie A duo of Roma's Paulo Dybala and Tammy Abraham.

Lazio's Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are the third-most efficient in Italy after providing one another with a total of five goals.

In the Premier League, it did not take a fortune-teller to predict that Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland would work well together when Manchester City signed the Norwegian striker from Borussia Dortmund last year, and they lead the way in England with six combinations so far, ahead of Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, as well as Jack Harrison and Rodrigo Moreno at Leeds United (both five).

There are also three pairings in Europe's top 12 from the Bundesliga, though interestingly, none from Bayern Munich or Dortmund.

Borussia Monchengladbach's Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram and Bayer Leverkusen duo Jeremie Frimpong and Moussa Diaby have both combined for six goals, while surprise title contenders Union Berlin have been boosted by Jordan Siebatcheu and Sheraldo Becker producing five goals for one another.

Spain's LaLiga has not been quite as filled with potent partnerships, with three pairings tied on four goals each.

They include Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski of Barcelona, who have shone together at Camp Nou since the latter arrived from Bayern, while Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann have also managed four, as have Brais Mendez and Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad.

None can compare to the efficacy of Mbappe and Messi though, and while two of the world's best players continue to link up at the Parc des Princes, expect more and more magic moments from them.

Pep Guardiola believes "everyone is going to drop points" between now and the end of the season in the Premier League title race.

Manchester City appeared to take the initiative when they beat rivals Arsenal at Emirates Stadium recently, but then drew at Nottingham Forest to allow the Gunners to reclaim top spot, before both won again at the weekend.

With Manchester United also closing in from third place, it promises to be a close race, but Guardiola is not concerned by the various ups and downs.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of his team's FA Cup fifth-round trip to Bristol City, he sarcastically quipped: "After Nottingham we were not consistent, but now we are consistent because we won one game [against Bournemouth on Saturday].

"In our game we are playing it is good, the results could be better in terms of winning at Spurs [1-0 away defeat] and Nottingham, but it is football, sometimes that happens. Of course, it is not exceptional, it is okay, it is good. No complaints for the way we are playing and fighting.

"After the last game I said the mood is exceptional and the guys are doing everything, that is enough for me.

"We are closing right to the last 10 games of the season and that will define [it]. I have the feeling in the Premier League many things are going to happen, everyone is going to drop points, but we cannot drop any, we want to fight until the end."

Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte were all absent from the 4-1 win at Bournemouth, though the Belgium midfielder was an unused substitute, and Guardiola updated to say: "[We] have training this afternoon. Kevin still has a little bit of illness but is much better."

City's trip to Bristol City on Tuesday will see them come up against a side who have not lost in 12 games (W6 D6) and sit 13th in the Championship.

"From my experience in this country when you go away from home in the FA Cup against a Championship side, always, always it is tough," Guardiola said. "At home it would be a little bit different. Away, always it is tough in the FA Cup.

"That is why we are flying there tomorrow to do a good game and go through. It is a nice competition and we will do what we have to do."

Mohamed Salah's agent has dismissed a story suggesting his client will look to leave Liverpool if they fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Liverpool have had a difficult season, sitting seventh in the Premier League and on the verge of Champions League elimination after their 5-2 home defeat to Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 clash.

A report suggested Salah would be open to leaving Anfield at the end of the season if they do not finish in the top four, but his agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, poured cold water on those claims on Monday.

Quote-tweeting a since deleted post from Anfield Watch regarding the story, Abbas Issa wrote: "Nonsense. This was never discussed or thought about. Not qualifying to the Champions League hasn't even crossed our minds."

Salah has scored 19 goals in 35 games this season, but has just eight in 23 Premier League appearances.

He signed a new deal with Liverpool in July that ties him to the club until 2025.

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