Liverpool romped to a convincing 5-0 win over Watford at Vicarage Road with Roberto Firmino netting a hat-trick as the Hornets produced a hapless showing in Claudio Ranieri's first game in charge.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring with his 100th Premier League goal, calmly finishing first-time into the bottom corner from Mohamed Salah's lovely ball in behind.

Firmino profited from poor Watford defending to find the net either side of half-time, tapping in from James Milner's pass after the home defence had been carved open, before pouncing on a loose ball from a badly defended cross.

Salah then scored a sensational solo goal, making a mockery of three defenders' attempts to win the ball from him before curling emphatically into the far corner, while Firmino struck again in stoppage-time to compound the hosts' misery.

Sadio Mane has reached 100 Premier League goals, with the Liverpool star achieving a rare feat by hitting the milestone without any penalties in his tally.

Mane coolly finished from Mohamed Salah's pass early in Saturday's match at Watford to bring up the milestone.

The Senegal forward netted his first back in October 2014 as he scored the winner for Southampton in a 1-0 victory over Stoke City.

He went on to score another nine that season and followed up with 11 in 2015-16, his impressive and swift adaptation to the Premier League persuading Liverpool to spend a reported £34million on him.

While some may have had their doubts initially, Mane again settled quickly and went on to score 13 times from 27 league appearances in his first campaign.

He has reached double figures for goals in each of his previous five full Premier League seasons with the Reds, with 2018-19 undoubtedly his best.

Mane plundered a career-high 22 goals, the clinical nature of his finishing highlighted by the fact he outperformed his expected goals (xG) by 6.9. Only Lionel Messi (12), Paco Alcacer (8.4) and Iago Aspas (8.1) boasted better records than Mane across the top five European leagues that season.

Even last season when he came in for a little more criticism than usual and failed to match his xG figure of 14.2, Mane still added 11 goals.

And he is seemingly well on track to make it eight successive seasons with at least 10 Premier League goals, with his effort against Watford taking him to five from just eight matches in 2021-22.

What makes Mane's goalscoring achievements at Liverpool even more impressive is the fact none of his 100 have come via penalties.

He is the 31st player to score at least 100 goals in the Premier League, but only the third to reach that landmark without any coming from the spot, joining Les Ferdinand (149) and Emile Heskey (110) in an exclusive club.

Mane is also the third African player to that mark, after Didier Drogba and team-mate Salah.

Jurgen Klopp has expressed his frustration at the scheduling of Liverpool's Premier League clash with Watford just 35 hours after Brazil's World Cup qualifier against Uruguay.

Fabinho started for the Selecao as they beat Uruguay 4-1, while goalkeeper Alisson was named on the bench, and the pair will not return to England ahead of the Reds' next league game on Saturday.

Instead, Klopp will have to make do without them as they fly straight to Spain in the hopes of featuring in Liverpool's Champions League encounter with Atletico Madrid on October 19.

The German tactician explained that the decision had been made to avoid forcing the pair to isolate for longer than necessary, but bemoaned the fact that Liverpool's European opponents Atletico do not have a league game this weekend.

"Somebody decided to give Brazil the opportunity to play last night and then somebody made the decision for us to play on Saturday at 12:30," Klopp said. "It's not in our hands.

"Atletico [Madrid] are not playing at the weekend and they are our next opponents in the Champions League. That would not happen here. We have known it for a while so we have decided that the boys would not be here and they would go straight to Madrid.

"We had to sort quarantine issues and the decision we made is the boys will not be here, they will go directly to Madrid, wait there for us, hopefully, be able to play against Atletico, then will come back slightly later than us, so then they can come back in our normal procedure again.

"Obviously they could have flown into England but with all the quarantine stuff that would have meant they would have to isolate from their families and Ali has three kids and being away with the national teams and then 10 days in isolation with the same rubbish again. We need solutions for that and they are still not there.

"They have played in Brazil so they already had four days there not in a red-list country and that's what counts. Then another six days not in a red-list country then they can come back and start immediately so even when they go from bubble to bubble to bubble it is still 10 days and for us that is the solution."

Alisson has played every minute of Premier League football available for Liverpool, while Fabinho has started five of the Reds' seven games, but Klopp will be forced to look for alternatives within his squad against the Hornets.

However, Liverpool are already light on midfield options, with Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott all ruled out through injury.

Real Madrid's pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain's 22-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe has been widely observed.

Los Blancos could not prise the France striker away from PSG during the last transfer window but may be ready to enter the market in a major way next year.

Carlo Ancelotti took over as Madrid head coach in June and is beginning to build his side.

 

TOP STORY –   REAL CONFIDENT OF HUGE DOUBLE SIGNING

The Sun reports that Real Madrid are confident of signing both Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe next year.

The report claims securing Pogba's signature would help Los Blancos clinch a deal for the Paris Saint-Germain star who is a France team-mate.

Pogba is out of contract with Manchester United at the end of this season, while Mbappe has stalled on an extension with PSG and appears set to exit.

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- Madrid are also interested in signing Italy international Federico Chiesa from Juventus, reports Fichajes.

- Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Tottenham are keen on Fiorentina's Serbian forward Dusan Vlahovic, but Mundo Deportivo reports La Viola have set a €70million (£59m) asking price for him.

- Roma are willing to offload Everton target Gonzalo Villar in the January transfer window in order to raise funds to move for Borussia Monchengladbach's Denis Zakaria, claims Tuttomercatoweb.

- Liverpool are leading the race to sign highly sought-after Belgian talent Jeremy Doku who is currently with Rennes, reports RTL.

- Sky Sports reports that Atletico Madrid are eager to complete new deals for Jan Oblak and Thomas Lemar, with talks under way.

- Tottenham's Ryan Sessegnon could be offered a fresh start by Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, according to Takvim.

Fabinho praised the impact made by Raphinha since arriving in the Premier League and says he expected the Leeds United winger to join Liverpool earlier this year.

Raphinha has starred for Leeds since arriving from Rennes for a reported £17million (€20m) in October 2020 and was rewarded with his first cap for Brazil last week.

The 24-year-old further enhanced his reputation with two goals, while also winning a penalty, in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory against Venezuela.

He also featured as a second-half substitute in Brazil's stalemate with Colombia and is in contention to play a part in Thursday's clash with Uruguay.

Fabinho, who played a full the full 90 minutes in those two previous matches, has been particularly impressed by what he has seen from his international team-mate at club level.

"Since he arrived in the Premier League, has been performing and standing out very well at Leeds," Fabinho told reporters.

"Even in the summer transfer market, there was some talk that he could go to Liverpool. I even expected that to happen, but he stayed at Leeds."

Indeed, Raphinha's agent Deco has confirmed Liverpool showed an interest in the winger during the most recent transfer window without making a formal move.

"He's an important player," Deco told Brazilian outlet O Globo. "There are certainly several clubs that like him, and Liverpool do like him.

"There were approaches, but nothing official. Leeds wanted to keep him for another season."

That interest from Liverpool came on the back of a debut campaign in English football that saw Raphinha score six goals and assist nine more in the Premier League.

Only five others assisted more goals in the division last term, and while he has yet to set up a goal this campaign, his expected assists return of 1.81 ranks him among the top five players.

The ex-Sporting CP attacker already has three league goals to his name in 2021-22, coming from 24 shots, while only four others in the league have attempted more dribbles than his 37 – a list topped by Wolves' Adama Traore (61).

With Raphinha poised to feature for Brazil some 36 hours before Leeds' meeting with Southampton, however, Marcelo Bielsa faces being without his most influential attacker this weekend.

"There is no doubt that it's a short turnaround," Bielsa said at his pre-match news conference on Thursday. 

"The options he has to participate in the game on Saturday depends on whether he plays this final game tonight, how many minutes he plays, how he finishes the game after participating in it and how efficient his rest in the next 36 hours is.

"Considering that a third of those hours he will spend on a flight and if there is any risk that fatigue could cause injuries, then we won't risk it. There are so many aspects to consider that I can't offer you any certainty either way."

Fabinho revealed he and Alisson are set to miss Liverpool's Premier League clash with Watford due to international commitments with Brazil.

The Reds duo were part of Tite's squad for October's World Cup qualifying fixtures against Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay, the latter of which will be played in the early hours of Friday morning in United Kingdom time.

Fabinho believes they will not have time to return from South America in time for Saturday when Liverpool face the Hornets in the league for the first time since losing 3-0 in February 2020, a result that ended their 44-game unbeaten run in the top flight.

"I believe that this first match against Watford, it will be very hard for us," he told reporters in Brazil. "I don't think we'll play. Neither Alisson nor myself.

"The match against Uruguay will be Friday overnight there [in the UK] and the match against Watford is at 12:30pm [BST on Saturday].

"With all of what is involved with travel, I don't know how much time we'll have between one game and the other. I believe that we won't be playing."

Fortunately for manager Jurgen Klopp, Tite opted to leave Roberto Firmino out of the Selecao squad, meaning he will be available for the trip to Vicarage Road as Liverpool look to make it 18 league games unbeaten.

Fabinho also revealed the club are considering flying him, along with Alisson, straight to Spain for their Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday to avoid the 10-day quarantine on their return to England.

"We will also need to quarantine, but the club is still studying whether it is better to go straight to Spain to play against Atletico and quarantine there, without staying in a hotel in England," he continued.

Similar issues occurred in the previous international break, with Brazil calling for a domestic ban for their absent players when Premier League clubs agreed not to let them travel for matches amid concerns about the need to quarantine when they returned.

However, FIFA eventually confirmed South American stars could feature following September's internationals.

Demba Ba sprinting clear of Steven Gerrard to score in front of the Kop remains one of the Premier League's defining images – and now Jose Mourinho's pre-match rallying message has been revealed.

The 2013-14 season looked set to give Gerrard the crowning moment of his Liverpool career, but his slip in the 36th game of the Reds' campaign allowed Ba in to score and put Chelsea on the way to a famous 2-0 win at Anfield.

Liverpool had 73 per cent of possession that day and led the shot count 26 to 11, but two errors leading to goals were immensely costly and proved a huge turning point in the title race. Willian scored the second late on.

The result blew open the title race, ending Liverpool's 11-game winning run in the league, and when Brendan Rodgers' side squandered a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace to draw their penultimate game, it was clear it would be Manchester City's title.

Mourinho's Chelsea finished third, and the Portuguese's cheeky message to his players before the Liverpool game will go down as one of his mind-game masterstrokes.

"I remember Jose saying: 'They think we’re a Mickey Mouse team! But we will show them!' And we went out fighting," Ba told The Athletic.

"I was up against Martin Skrtel and Mama [Mamadou Sakho] and I played an unbelievable game."

Ba also played for West Ham and Newcastle United in the Premier League, but the game that will last longest in the memory is that outing for Chelsea on Merseyside.

"I only realised how big a deal that was a couple of years later, when people still talked about it," Ba said. "They still talk about it! It was traumatic for them. But we didn't enjoy the fact that we killed their dream, we simply enjoyed winning."

Gerrard left Liverpool a year later, the club's captain finishing without a Premier League title.

From 2007-08 until the end of his Reds career, Gerrard only made three errors leading to goals in the Premier League, according to Opta. The one that gifted Ba his goal was the midfielder's first such mistake in four years.

He is now manager of Rangers, while Mourinho is head coach of Roma.

Ba, as much as he appreciated Gerrard as a footballer, sees no reason to be sorry about his influence on the former England skipper having the trophy gap on his career record.

"No, not really. Because that's the game," Ba said. "You make errors and others take advantage. What Steven Gerrard has done for the world of football is tremendous. But this is life, unfortunately. Not all stories can end in fairytales."

Newcastle have the wealthiest owners in the world following their £300million takeover last week.

The Magpies have since been linked to a host of top players including Niklas Sule and Philippe Coutinho, with Timo Werner now joining that list.

The Premier League club are 19th in the table, winless this season with only three points from seven games, which suggests they need significant strengthening.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE KEEN ON GERMAN STRIKER

Newcastle are set to splash the cash and could make a bid to sign Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner, says Bild.

The report claims Newcastle have been "in regular contact" with Werner's agent ahead of the January transfer window.

Werner joined Chelsea in a £47.5million deal in June last year from RB Leipzig.

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- Juventus are willing to sell France international midfielder Adrien Rabiot, with Newcastle linked as a suitor, as they raise funds for moves for Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni and Manchester United's Donny van de Beek.

- Marca claims Real Madrid are looking to sign Chelsea's Germany international defender Antonio Rudiger, who is out of contract at the end of this season.

- Liverpool are open to the idea of bringing Philippe Coutinho back to Anfield from Barcelona in January, claims the Express.

- Fichajes claims Liverpool are also considering a £68million (€80m) swoop for Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix, while they also progress contract talks with Mohamed Salah.

- Barcelona and Milan are top of the queue in the pursuit to sign Jesse Lingard if he leaves Old Trafford on a free transfer at the end of this season, according to the Daily Mail.

- Phil Foden has agreed terms on a new six-year contract with Manchester City, reports Goal.com.

Jules Kounde is seemingly bound to eventually move to the Premier League.

But where will the French centre-back land?

Manchester United and Chelsea are both believed to be interested.

 

TOP STORY – ANOTHER DEFENDER SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD?

Manchester United are in the race to sign star Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, according to Fichajes.

Kounde was tipped to join Champions League holders Chelsea but a transfer did not materialise before the end of the previous window, much to the frustration of the player.

Despite the arrival of Raphael Varane, United are reportedly set to make a move for the France international centre-back.

 

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- The front page of Wednesday's Diario AS claims Real Madrid have re-activated their interest in United star Paul Pogba, who will become a free agent at the end of the season. A deal for Pogba would reportedly provide further encouragement for Kylian Mbappe in their pursuit of the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

- Corriere dello Sport claims PSG and Atletico Madrid want Nicolo Barella as his contract talks with Serie A champions Inter stall.

- The Express reports United are considering a move for Monaco and France sensation Aurelien Tchouameni, who is also attracting interest from Madrid, LiverpoolChelsea and Juventus.

Barcelona will sell Sergio Busquets in order to sign Milan's Franck Kessie, says El Nacional. Kessie is out of contract at the end of the season and the star midfielder has been linked with United, PSG, Liverpool, Arsenal and Inter. The front page of Wednesday's Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, reports Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana, Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger and Pogba are among several soon-to-be free agents being eyed by Barca.

- Le10 Sport claims PSG could join the race for Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic, who is seen as a potential replacement for Madrid target Mbappe. Vlahovic has been linked with Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Juve, Inter, Arsenal and Liverpool. PSG are also believed to be interested in Borussia Dortmund's sought-after forward Erling Haaland.

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has been sent home with an injury and will miss Portugal's World Cup qualifying Group A clash against Luxembourg as a result.

Jota scored in his last game for his country, netting the third in a 3-0 victory against Azerbaijan last week, but Portugal head coach Fernando Santos is boosted by the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to the side.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed a fine start to the season with Liverpool, notching three goals in seven Premier League appearances, only behind Mohamed Salah (six) and Sadio Mane (four) in the competition for the Reds.

Jota has taken fewer shots in the Premier League than his fellow Liverpool forwards, registering just 18 compared to Salah's 28 and Mane's 26, but the Portugal international has the second-highest shot conversion rate of the trio with 16.67 per cent, behind only Salah's 21.43 per cent.

It is unclear what the nature of Jota's injury is and how long he will be sidelined, with Liverpool's next game being away against Watford on October 16, while there is a trip to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League three days later.

In Jota's absence, Brazil forward Roberto Firmino could return to the starting line-up. The 30-year-old, who scored in the Reds' first game of the season against Norwich City, has only had one start and two shots in the Premier League this season.

As for Portugal, a win for Ronaldo and Co. would take them two points clear of Serbia at the top of their qualifying group with four games remaining.

Steve Bruce's days at Newcastle appear to be numbered.

Rumours of possible replacements are swirling, with plenty of managers having been mentioned. 

Frank Lampard may well lead the race.

 

TOP STORY – LAMPARD FAVOURED TO REPLACE BRUCE

Frank Lampard is the leading candidate to step in once Steve Bruce is inevitably shown the door at Newcastle, The Sun reports. 

The Telegraph claims Lampard and former Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre top the new owners' wish list.

The 43-year-old Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January 2021, about six weeks after Favre, 63, left Dortmund. 

 

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- Liverpool are keeping a close eye on Ousmane Dembele, who is out of contract at Barcelona at the end of the season, Mundo Deportivo reports.

- Dortmund and RB Leipzig are the top potential landing spots for 19-year-old Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi, reports Sky Sport Germany.

- Feyenoord will make another effort to prise Amad Diallo from Manchester United in January, according to The Sun, after a potential loan move fell through due to injury during the last transfer window. 

- Club Brugge and Belgium midfielder Charles De Ketelaere is drawing interest from Milan and Napoli, says Calciomercato, with Everton and West Ham also monitoring the 20-year-old.

- Former Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero is expected to finalise his deal with Venezia on Tuesday, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

Bayern Munich could be set for a busy transfer window.

With Barcelona struggling financially, clubs are eyeing some of their talent.

Bayern are reportedly interested in a number of players at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – DE JONG, TER STEGEN WANTED IN MUNICH

Bayern Munich are eyeing Barcelona quartet Frenkie de Jong, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Pedri and Sergino Dest, according to Sport.

Barca are a club in crisis amid their financial woes, which led to the departure of superstar captain Lionel Messi on a free transfer at the start of the season.

Now, Bundesliga champions Bayern are looking to capitalise, having previously been linked with midfielders De Jong and Pedri, goalkeeper Ter Stegen and right-back Dest.

 

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Barca's move for Manchester City star Raheem Sterling is dependent on the future of Ousmane Dembele, says Sport. Dembele has been linked with Liverpool and Manchester United previously.

- Calciomercato claims Milan will wait to sign wantaway Torino star Andrea Belotti on a free transfer at the end of the season. Monday's Tuttosport reports Serie A champions and city rivals Inter are also interested in the Italy international.

Bruno Fernandes' contract extension is a priority for United, according to Fabrizio Romano. United are also looking to re-sign Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba, who has been linked with Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

- The Daily Telegraph reports Newcastle United are eyeing a move for Ralf Rangnick as their sporting director following the club's huge takeover. Rangnick currently works for Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow.

Erling Haaland has his pick of Europe's elite.

The Borussia Dortmund and Norway star is wanted by the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid.

But Premier League champions City are one particular club looking to prise Haaland from Germany if the rumours are to be believed.

 

TOP STORY – CITY HOPING TO CAPITALISE ON PUMA PARTNERSHIP

Manchester City are hoping their Puma sponsorship and a looming boot deal can help land Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to the Daily Star.

City's kits are manufactured by Puma, while Haaland is reportedly poised to sign a boot deal with the German giants.

Haaland has been linked with City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus.

 

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- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Juve are planning an approach to bring United midfielder Paul Pogba back to Turin. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and while United are keen for a renewal, the Frenchman has been linked with Madrid and PSG also.

- United captain and England defender Harry Maguire is poised for a new bumper contract at Old Trafford, reports the Mirror.

Liverpool are considering a move for Barca's Ousmane Dembele with Juve unwilling to part with Federico Chiesa, says Team Talk.

- According to Football Insider, Newcastle United have made star Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly a priority signing in January. It comes after Newcastle's blockbuster takeover.

PSG are targeting Napoli's soon-to-be free agent Lorenzo Insigne, per Le10 Sport. Insigne has also been linked with Inter and Milan.

- Manchester United outcast Donny van de Beek is wanted by Serie A powerhouse Juve, claims Corriere dello Sport. Van de Beek was in talks over an Everton switch during the previous window.

- Milan star Franck Kessie is among Barca's midfielder targets for the January window, says Diario Sport. Van de Beek, Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele and Marcelo Brozovic of Inter are also options.

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