Paul Pogba has been the subject of constant speculation over the past 12 months.

Manchester United's French midfielder is into the final year of his contract.

Pogba has been in excellent early season form, with seven assists in the league already.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID MOVE LOOMS FOR POGBA

Real Madrid are Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba's most likely destination at the end of this season, claims El Nacional.

The France international is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of this season and could leave on a free transfer.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola is trying to persuade Pogba to join Madrid, despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

Liverpool target Karim Adeyemi is being chased by German pair Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg, reports Sport Bild. RB Leipzig are also monitoring the 19-year-old Salzburg striker.

Marco Asensio appears destined to leave Madrid given his current role, with Sevilla hoping to sign the midfielder, according to El Gol Digital.

– Fichajes reports that Milan are plotting a January move for out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek.

– The Sun claims that Tottenham have revived their interest in West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone as they seek a successor to Hugo Lloris.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho wants to reunite with Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele by signing him, reports Calciomercato.

– Marca claims that Manchester City are considering tabling an offer to sign Villareal forward Pau Torres .

With another international break almost upon us, fantasy football players will be able to rest easy for a couple of weeks at the start of October.

But first, there are plenty of important points to be had.

With Liverpool hosting Manchester City, Chelsea eager to get back to winning ways and Arsenal preparing for a tricky test at Brighton and Hove Albion, there is plenty of value to be had with some wise selections.

Allow Stats Perform to lend a guiding hand, with the help of Opta data...

 

EDOUARD MENDY (Chelsea v Southampton)

Back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Juventus have somewhat derailed Chelsea's good start to the season, and Thomas Tuchel will expect a response against Southampton.

Saints have failed to score in their past three league matches and, in Edouard Mendy, they will be facing the goalkeeper with the best save percentage in the division this season (90 per cent), out of those to have played more than once in the competition.

Mendy is conceding just once every 225 minutes on average, a stat likely to worry winless Southampton but bring encouragement to fantasy football players.

 

ANDY ROBERTSON (Liverpool v Manchester City)

Since the start of last season, Andy Robertson has provided eight Premier League assists. The only defender with more is, you guessed it, Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (nine).

The England right-back is also the only defender since last September with more passes into the box and chances created than Robertson, who has managed 329 and 52 respectively.

With Alexander-Arnold ruled out by Jurgen Klopp due to injury, Robertson could play an even more pivotal role for the Reds against the reigning champions.

 

JOAO CANCELO (Liverpool v Manchester City)

If you are looking for value in both boxes, Joao Cancelo may well be your best bet.

No Premier League defender has had more touches in the opposition box (16), while only Cancelo and team-mate Ruben Dias can boast five clean sheets in the competition in the 2021-22 season so far.

With 10 shots and one assist to his name, Cancelo will be another full-back to watch with interest at Anfield.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace v Leicester City)

Leicester could be vulnerable after a Thursday Europa League trip to Poland, especially with Palace having gone three home games without defeat while conceding just once.

The Foxes also happen to be among Wilfried Zaha's favourite opponents. The Ivory Coast international has six goals and two assists against them in 12 games, more than he has against any other side.

It is perhaps also worth mentioning that, as a player, Palace boss Patrick Vieira played 11 times against Leicester and never lost.

 

ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN (Wolves v Newcastle United)

Aside from being one of the most fun players in the top flight, Allan Saint-Maximin is also Newcastle's greatest goal threat.

With two scored and three assisted, he has been directly involved in 71 per cent of all the Magpies' league goals this season and has had a hand in at least one in each of his past four appearances.

Newcastle have only won one of their most recent nine league encounters with Wolves, who themselves have not beaten their next opponents at home since April 1993. Perhaps Saint-Maximin is the man to tip the balance.

 

NEAL MAUPAY (Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal)

Speaking of key players, Brighton owe half of their eight league goals this season to Neal Maupay, who is looking to score in three consecutive top-flight matches for the first time in a year.

Arsenal are one of his preferred opponents, too: he has scored the winner in two out of three league meetings with the Gunners.

Mikel Arteta's side should be feeling positive after their derby win, but the Seagulls have won three of their past four home matches in the league, as many as they had managed in their previous 22.

 

ROMELU LUKAKU (Chelsea v Southampton)

After drawing a blank in his previous four outings in all competitions, Romelu Lukaku will be keen to get back among the goals.

Chelsea's record signing will be glad of his next opponents, then: he has nine goals in 12 previous Premier League games against Southampton and has never scored more against a single side in the division.

The Blues have scored six first-half goals in 2021-22 – only Liverpool can match that tally – so an early Lukaku strike may well be on the cards.

Pep Guardiola is "happier than ever" with the way Manchester City are playing and says Liverpool are just one of "many" Premier League title contenders ahead of Sunday's clash at Anfield.

City were beaten 2-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday following an impressive 1-0 win at Chelsea last weekend.

The champions could go top of the table if they beat leaders Liverpool on Merseyside, where they won 4-1 last season to end a run of 17 away games without a league win over the Reds.

Guardiola feels his side, who trail the Reds by only a point after six games, are in great shape despite their setback in the French capital.

Asked about the importance of keeping pace with the leaders, the City boss said: "I never thought about this.

"Ten games is so important to not be far away from the leader. The year we won the second league [title] in a row back-to-back [in 2018-19), we were seven points behind Liverpool in January and we won the league.

"I'm not going to make a step back the way we're thinking, just improve is what we have to do. We can be better in some departments. In general, [with] the team I am more happy than ever the way we behave and play.

"We played in Chelsea as a great team, a real team. This is what I like. We are trying, this is my job."

He added: "I start to see the table after 10-15 fixtures. Now to be one point ahead or down is not important. it's the way we play."

The top six teams in the Premier League are separated by just a point and Guardiola believes City have plenty of competition in their battle to retain the title.

Asked if Liverpool are contenders along with Chelsea, the Spaniard said: "And United, no? Liverpool since I arrived here, the first year maybe not, after the year we won 100 points Liverpool always was there.

"Last season they had many problems in the same position. Otherwise it would have been different, and we were excellent again.

"The last four years all the time we were both there. It's the biggest compliment both clubs were there. In the Premier League there are not just one, two, there are many teams who can fight for the league."

Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko will miss the trip to Anfield, but Guardiola says the duo return from injury after the international break.

City will be looking to secure back-to-back league victories at Liverpool for the first time since January 1953 against a Reds side that are unbeaten in 16 top-flight matches.

Jurgen Klopp hailed Manchester City as the "best team in Europe" as Liverpool prepare to host the reigning Premier League champions on Sunday.

Liverpool are the only side still unbeaten in the Premier League after six matches and have not lost in 16 league games as they sit a point clear at the top.

However, City have conceded the fewest top-flight goals this term (one) and the Reds have won just one of their seven games against Pep Guardiola's side in the competition.

Klopp, who has inflicted the most defeats on Guardiola in all competitions (eight), is aware of the challenge that awaits him as two title contenders face off at Anfield.

"Manchester City are for me the best team in Europe at the moment," Klopp told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"Last weekend they played Chelsea and they are good but City were clearly better that day. That's the team we face.

"We have to score, so that's been helpful but we have to defend on our highest level. We have to be brave, front-footed, cheeky in moments, really your best version and then and only then do you have a chance.

"What we did last week or the other day was okay but we need a complex football challenge.

"It's better that we don't have to boost the confidence of the players right now. Sometimes you do from time to time.

"We have a positive view but we know we haven't played City yet. We'll use the Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain games. This is a special game."

Liverpool may boast the only unbeaten start but they were downed 4-1 the last time the two sides met in February.

However, the Reds have not lost consecutive league games against City since a run of four between 1935 and 1937 as Klopp warned that his team's start is only the beginning if they want to be successful.

"We have to defend as a unit," he continued. "It will be tricky of course and the individual quality will shine on both sides and hopefully it will be good enough for us.

"I just want to play the best season we can play. So far, so good, but it's just a few games in.

"A draw would mean we're still unbeaten. Would I take it now? It's early, let's play the game and ask me after that. So far the start is [fine] but it's not that we think we couldn't have done better.

"If we win, I'd think it was a 'proper' start. But then we play Watford, Atletico Madrid and Manchester United."

Mohamed Salah is already a Liverpool legend and the Reds must tie the forward down to a new contract whatever the cost, according to Jamie Carragher.

Salah recently became the fastest Liverpool player to 100 top-flight goals, achieving the feat in 151 matches – one game fewer than the late, great Roger Hunt took to reach the landmark.

The Egypt forward also became the 30th different Premier League player to hit a century of goals since the competition began in 1992 as he poked in against Leeds United on September 12.

However, the 29-year-old's future remains in doubt, with his current contract due to expire in 2023 and no signs suggesting a new deal is imminently forthcoming.

Former Reds centre-back Carragher, who made more than 700 appearances for Liverpool, explained in the Telegraph how the situation with Salah needs to be resolved quickly.

"The heartfelt tributes to Roger Hunt following his passing are a reminder that the best footballers are often most appreciated long after they stop playing," Carragher wrote.

"Jurgen Klopp said recently you cannot be called a legend until after retirement. There is a tendency to hesitate before recognising true greatness when it is in front of us, and the bittersweet reality is that sometimes only in death is a player's legacy fully acknowledged. 

"Occasionally, we must take more pleasure from those in the modern era who are so freakishly good, they deserve to be spoken about as reverentially as the greats of the past.

"Mohamed Salah is such a footballer.

"There is no sign that [a new contract] is imminent. Worryingly, it is possible Salah will leave on a Bosman free transfer.

"It would be a serious mistake to let the situation drag on that far.

"I understand it is not as straightforward as saying 'just give the player what he wants' without thoroughly considering the financial consequences. The cash has to come from somewhere.

"It is well documented how Liverpool run their business, and they do not want to set precedents that will cause long-term financial damage by agreeing wages in excess of £400,000-a-week.

"My counter-argument is that exceptional players warrant being treated as an exception."

Indeed, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Alisson, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk have all secured new long-term deals at Anfield.

But Salah remains in wait to seal a new contract with Jurgen Klopp's side and Carragher, who believes the former Roma and Chelsea forward has already achieved legendary status, implored Liverpool to complete negotiations.

"Klopp vowed captain Jordan Henderson's deal would 'get sorted' after a brief stalemate and it immediately was, yet says he is 'not involved' with Salah's negotiations," he continued.

"That seems odd. If there is a sound reason for not resolving the Salah contract situation with the same urgency, it is yet to be satisfactorily explained.

"Whenever we talk about Liverpool's renaissance, we often focus on the influence of Van Dijk and Alisson, taking the team to another level.

"That’s fair, but we should not forget that the foundations were in place because of the immediate impact of Salah, who was already on his way to scoring 44 goals in his first season when Van Dijk signed.

"Twenty-five years from now, fans will examine this era and consider how lucky they were to witness Salah’s goal feats. They will rewatch the videos and see his statistics with a sense of awe.

"I hope they will not look back and ask this: Why on earth did he leave before he had a chance to beat Roger Hunt’s record?"

Trepidation has been a common feeling among Manchester City fans when it comes to the adaptation of new signings under Pep Guardiola.

That's not necessarily down to doubts over the players generally, or Guardiola, but rather how those two factors will come together.

After all, it's been noted for a while now just how common it seems to be for Guardiola's signings to perhaps underwhelm in their first season at City, only to then kick on and really make an impact in their second season.

While it's hardly an exact science, numerous players fit into that category; Riyad Mahrez, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva are certainly among them, and there's even a case to be made that Ferran Torres could qualify given he's made a solid start to 2021-22 after an up-and-down 2020-21.

Jack Grealish probably wouldn't have had too many supporters concerned, though you could argue the pressure on him to succeed straight away was far greater and that in itself might've been a burden.

Yet his transition from key man at Aston Villa to a similarly central figure has been impressively seamless.

If it ain't broken…

Much of the focus around Grealish's £100million move to City centred on where he would be deployed by Guardiola.

There were a lot of suggestions that he was actually set to be tried in more of a central position, perhaps with the idea being to make the most of his ball-carrying abilities.

While Grealish's name has seemingly been spotted in various starting positions on line-up graphics and the like, he's still unmistakably been more prominent out on the left flank – 73 per cent of his actions have been localised to the left side of the pitch in the opposition's half, up from 51 per cent at Villa last term.

Of course, at City he is in a team that spends more time on the front foot and in possession than Villa in 2020-21, so such an increase isn't exactly a surprise, but it does suggest Guardiola hasn't tried to make major changes just yet.

Instant influence

Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was probably Grealish's trickiest game yet for City – as one might expect.

That's not to say he played especially poorly, as he did manage to record a couple of key passes, but generally he was frustrated. Achraf Hakimi's athleticism helped the Moroccan do a good job on Grealish, while referee Carlos del Cerro Grande was rarely sympathetic to the England international.

It wasn't a huge surprise when Guardiola opted to withdraw him with 22 minutes remaining, but despite that blip, there has been plenty to be optimistic about Grealish's settling-in period at City.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Grealish's trademark comfort on the ball has been a particular factor, and his start at City speaks to his own self-belief.

He's averaging 25 carries (defined as movements of at least five metres in possession) each game in the Premier League, more than any other player, while his total carry distance of 1,787.5 metres is second only to a man who seems to know no other skill, Adama Traore (1,844.5m).

His forays on the ball are helping to drive City forward as well, with Traore (55) and Allan Saint-Maximin (48) the only players to record more progressive carries of at least 10m. The one other City player with more than 34 is Aymeric Laporte.

Additionally, those carries have led to 11 goalscoring opportunities, with three ending in a shot by Grealish or eight leading to a key pass. Again, only five have been more effective with their end product when running with the ball.

To come into the champions' team and instantly become such an influence is an impressive feat in itself.

More than meets the eye

Of course, some might be tempted to point towards Grealish's rather modest return of two goal involvements (one goal, one assist) in six Premier League appearances this term, but that would be too reductive.

Having a solitary assist, for example, certainly doesn't tell the whole story. After all, his 2.9 chances created per 90 minutes is second only to Bruno Fernandes (3.0) in the league, while Grealish's 0.26 expected assists (xA) each game is bettered by just five players.

It's also worth pointing out his xA per 90 is greater than his assists per 90 (0.17), suggesting he's actually being let down by the finishing of his team-mates.

As for his goalscoring efforts, we all know Grealish is capable of the spectacular but his shot selection at City has seemingly been focused on ensuring maximum threat to the goalkeeper, with all but one coming from inside the box. With his shots averaging 0.12 xG as opposed to 0.09 last season, there's every reason to expect greater long-term results.

Furthermore, there is evidence to support the idea Grealish is slightly more involved in general build-up play as well, his open-play sequence involvement going up from 43.7 per 90 to 47.8 – though City do see more of the ball, so it is probably too soon to make any meaningful conclusions from that.

Nevertheless, it is another example of how Grealish has quickly become a key influencer in the City team. While those early reports of him literally playing a central role may not have quite come to fruition, he has at least in a figurative sense, with Rodri the sole City player involved in more sequences (53.8) each game than him.

It's already been a hectic period for City, given they've faced Chelsea and PSG in less than a week, and it will ramp up again with another big test in their attempts to become early runaway leaders when they face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

The following day will be exactly a year on from Grealish's devastating display in Villa's 7-2 win over the Reds, during which he had a hand in five goals (three assists, two goals), a haul that has only ever been bettered twice in a single Premier League match.

While no one will be expecting quite an astonishing performance this time, it's at least evidence of what Grealish is capable of if Liverpool cannot keep him under wraps.

Paris Saint-Germain continue to plan for Kylian Mbappe's potential departure. 

The Ligue 1 giants have been linked with several possible replacements. 

Robert Lewandowski is the latest rumoured target.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE LEWANDOWSKI AS MBAPPE REPLACEMENT

With seemingly everyone expecting Kylian Mbappe to depart Paris Saint-Germain after the season, the club have been linked with several potential attacking options. 

Robert Lewandowski is the latest, with Le10Sport reporting the Bayern Munich and Poland striker could make a lucrative move to PSG. 

The 33-year-old is under contract with Bayern through 2023, though, and could end up agreeing to a new deal to remain in the Bundesliga. 

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are set to take another run at Manchester United's Edinson Cavani during the January transfer window, says El Nacional. 

Andrea Pirlo and River Plate's Marcelo Gallardo are candidates to replace Ronald Koeman if he is sacked by Barcelona in the coming days, the Express reports. 

PSG are eyeing midfield help, with Inter's Nicolo Barella a possibility, according to Calciomercato, along with N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Franck Kessie.

Liverpool are interested in Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, according to Calciomercato. 

Timo Werner could look to leave Chelsea if he does not receive more playing time the rest of the season, says the Telegraph.

Liverpool will be without Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcantara for Sunday's Premier League clash with Manchester City.

Full-back Alexander-Arnold sat out the 5-1 Champions League win at Porto on Tuesday due to a muscle problem, while Thiago has missed the Reds' previous three games with a calf injury.

Manager Jurgen Klopp does not expect either to be available until after the international break.

Speaking to the club's website on Thursday, he said: "No 'news' means they are doing well but they won't have enough time for being back against City, but I expect them both to be back after the international break. 

"But we have a good team so we still have solutions and we have to use them and yeah, after the international break the boys will be back I think."

City won 4-1 at Anfield last season to end a 17-game run without an away league win over Klopp's men.

Liverpool, who are on a 16-game unbeaten run in league football, will be hoping to avoid suffering back-to-back defeats to City for the first time since 1937.

The Reds go into the latest round of matches at the top of the table, one point ahead of a five-team chasing pack that includes City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Arsenal are set for a shake-up after missing out on European football for the first time in 26 years.

Mikel Arteta's side started the new Premier League campaign slowly.

But three wins in a row have offered hope and rumours are swirling about transfer activity.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL PLOT SWAP FOR EN-NESYRI

Arsenal will offer Alexandre Lacazette as part of a deal to land Youssef En-Nesyri from Sevilla, according to La Razon.

Morocco international forward En-Nesyri has sparked Arsenal's interest after netting 24 goals in all competitions in the 2020-21 season.

Lacazette has only made one league appearance for the Gunners this term and was reportedly shipped around during the off-season.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano reports Lorenzo Pellegrini is set to sign a new long-term contract with Roma, which will remove his €30million release clause. Pellegrini was previously pursued by Liverpool and Tottenham.

– Liverpool scouts kept a close eye on Villarreal's Arnaut Danjuma at Wednesday's Champions League game against Manchester United as they plan for Sadio Mane's successor, claims the Daily Mirror.

– Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio remains in Arsenal's sights, reports the Daily Star.

Inter are not considering signing Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, with Ajax's Andre Onana their preferred acquisition, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Youri Tielemans has not yet committed his long-term future to Leicester City.

Tielemans is only contracted with the Foxes until the end of the 2022-23 season.

And Leicester may consider selling their FA Cup final hero at the end of this season if they cannot strike a new deal.

 

TOP STORY – SPANISH GIANTS KEEN ON TIELEMANS

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are circling for Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, reports The Athletic.

The 24-year-old Belgium international publicly said he is "keeping his options open" as he negotiates a new Leicester deal.

Barcelona and Madrid would be interested in Tielemans, who has also been linked with Liverpool, should he become available next off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider reports Tottenham are still planning to sell Dele Alli, although they will wait until the end of this season. Spurs are hoping Alli's value will rise throughout the season to land a significant transfer fee.

– Everton are considering moves for Real Madrid pair Isco and Luka Jovic in January on six-month loan deals, according to Defensa Central.

– Liverpool are keeping an eye on Porto's Colombian star Luis Diaz, reports The Independent, with the two sides having met in the Champions League on Tuesday.

– Juventus have joined Chelsea in showing interest in Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, claims the Daily Mail.

– Newcastle attacker Allan Saint-Maximin has interest from Chelsea and Liverpool, according to the Express.

Curtis Jones may have not started the 2021-22 season quite as he hoped, but the Liverpool midfielder has been making up for lost time in his recent outings for the Reds.

After a breakout campaign that saw him go from talented prospect to first-team squad member, Jones' desire to hit the ground running this term was held up by a concussion diagnosis, having suffered a blow to the head in a pre-season friendly.

Absent for the opening win over Norwich City, the midfielder saw Harvey Elliott emerge in the opening weeks to provide further competition for a place in the team, only to then suffer a serious leg injury in the away win at Leeds United.

With Naby Keita once more missing time and Thiago Alcantara sidelined, Jones has capitalised on his opportunities. A first start against Norwich in an EFL Cup tie was followed by a goalscoring appearance from the off at Brentford, as he played 67 minutes in the pulsating 3-3 draw.

Jurgen Klopp retained Jones in the starting XI once more on Tuesday, lining him up alongside captain Jordan Henderson and anchor Fabinho, a midfield trio that made sure Liverpool seized control after a somewhat shaky start. His work in combination with full-back Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane on the left-hand side helped lead dominate possession, with the visitors enjoying 66.8 per cent of the ball as they coasted to a 5-1 win. The solitary surprise with the scoreline was that Porto even managed to get one.

Only centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip made more successful passes than Jones in the lopsided contest, though no player wearing red managed more than his total of 49 in the opposing team's half.  

Klopp was pleased with what he saw from a player who had to learn on the job in 2020-21, part of a Liverpool squad that had to come through a defensive injury crisis and produce a fast finish just to secure a place at the top table of European club football once again.

What made Jones' performance in Portugal even more impressive was how he had not been feeling well beforehand, as his boss revealed to the media.

"Curtis played a good game. He had some problems a little bit with the stomach before the game. They told me I need to keep an eye on him, but I told him after the game whatever it is, keep it because it was really a good game," Klopp joked.

"He played a really good game, he was everywhere, he was involved in everything. Set up the first goal with a surprising finish, goalie cannot save it. In a lot of other situations he was really there - maybe not as spectacular as the offensive stuff, but defensively he played a top-class game.  

"He defended really well, pressed from the blind side, a lot of things I liked a lot about his performance tonight. So, let's keep going, Curtis, it was not bad tonight."

"Not bad" is an understatement. It was Jones' effort after cutting inside that led to Mohamed Salah tapping in to make it 1-0, while his determination to work his way out of a tight spot late in the game when under pressure led to a ball in behind that set up Roberto Firmino for the first of his late brace, albeit with plenty of help from wandering goalkeeper Diogo Costa. 

That shot for Salah's opener was one of four attempts as he looked to follow up his rocket of a strike at Brentford. He had shown his willingness to have a go in the previous season too, averaging 1.69 shots per 90 minutes. His eye for goal led to him scoring four times in 34 appearances, including a Champions League winner against Ajax in December 2020. 

While his defensive work may not get the same level of attention, but his manager certainly appreciated his efforts against Porto, which included winning seven of his 10 duels. 

"I know, on paper, he’s so young, but I feel as though he has been around the first team for a few years now, he has settled in really well, he has matured really well," Henderson told BT Sport. 

"Now you're starting to see what a good player he is over the last few weeks. He has had to be a little bit patient at the beginning of the season but he’s come in and he's done fantastically well.  

"You can see he has got all the attributes to be a top player. I feel as though he is maturing all the time and he’s putting in some really good performances to help the team."

Patience has certainly paid off for Jones, who has made a compelling case to remain in the team when Manchester City visit Anfield on Sunday, as well as pushing for inclusion in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the upcoming October internationals. 

Jurgen Klopp was pleased to see Liverpool iron out a few issues on the pitch as they thrashed Porto, but insisted they will need to be better when they take on Manchester City next.

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both scored twice on Tuesday as the Reds cut loose against their Portuguese opponents in the Champions League, easing to a 5-1 triumph on the road.

Liverpool capitalised on Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa's struggles to make it two wins from two in Group B, though Klopp admitted there were early moments of concern as their opponents appeared keen to follow Brentford's lead.

The German coach saw his team twice pegged back by the Bees in the second half as a pulsating Premier League game finished 3-3 on Saturday. However, there were no such issues in European action.

"The game started and we could see that Porto watched our last game against Brentford obviously, as they started off going direct," Klopp told BT Sport.

"We had our struggles again, but that's very important. The boys are human beings, that's one of the reasons I didn't change today. I wanted to get it sorted on the pitch – and that's what we did, step by step, during the game. 

"We maybe didn't score the most wonderful goals in the first half, but really important ones. In the second half we controlled the game, obviously. 

"Porto had massive problems – they had one centre-back out because of the red card in the previous game, then Pepe couldn't play. I don't think their partnership had ever played before together, so that gives you a lot before the game."

Sadio Mane scored for a fifth time in five appearances against Porto, his goal late in the first half sandwiched in between Salah's brace. Klopp took both players off with the City game in mind, as well as James Milner, who seems set to continue at right-back if Trent Alexander-Arnold remains sidelined.

Mehdi Taremi pulled a goal back for Porto to make it 3-1, but Klopp was not overly worried about conceding.

"Defensively we played a super game today. Goals happen, I'm not concerned," he said.

"I'm not that type of guy who points a finger at this situation and forgets all the rest, so there were a lot of good things. We can improve so much, but for today it was for sure good enough." 

While Liverpool were convincing winners, their next opponents slipped to a 2-0 defeat away at Paris Saint-Germain. Klopp expects a response from City, even though his side will have home advantage.

Asked if momentum could be crucial for Liverpool, the former Borussia Dortmund boss replied: "It always helps, but against City it doesn't help a lot.

"Against them, we need many more things than just momentum. We need to play better than we did tonight, but it will be a completely different game.  

"I only just heard the result from the PSG game, so City will want to strike back for sure. We are at home, finally, after a few games without our crowd, so let's give it a go."

Liverpool once again put Porto to the sword as they made it back-to-back wins at the start of a new Champions League campaign, coasting to a 5-1 victory at the Estadio do Dragao.  

The Reds had come out on top in a five-goal thriller in their Group B opener against Milan at Anfield, yet there were no such nerves on Tuesday against opponents they have made a habit of beating through the years.  

Jurgen Klopp was in charge for 5-0 and 4-1 wins on Portuguese soil when steering Liverpool to successive final appearances in the competition in 2018 and 2019, and this year's squad appear on course to make the knockout stages once more.  

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino scored twice, the latter after coming on as a substitute, while Sadio Mane was also on target, making it five goals for him in as many appearances against Porto. 

The result should not come as too much of a surprise, considering Porto had not managed a win in the previous eight meetings. The hosts were dealt a blow when Pepe was ruled out with an injury suffered in the warm-up, while Otavio's outing was cut short after 14 minutes.  

Not long after the enforced change, Liverpool went ahead. Curtis Jones' low shot was parried by Diogo Costa onto team-mate Zaidu Sanusi, leaving Salah with a simple close-range finish.  

The Porto goalkeeper did do better to deny Jordan Henderson a goal to mark his 400th appearance for the club, turning the visiting captain's fierce free-kick away, but his failure to cut out James Milner's low cross allowed Mane to tap home before the interval.  

Salah slotted away his second of the game on the hour before heading to the bench and while Mehdi Taremi headed in to pull a goal back, it only served to anger Liverpool into a response.

Costa rounded out a shocking performance by straying from his area to try to reach Jones' throughball, allowing Firmino to roll the ball into an unguarded net. The Brazilian added another just four minutes later when reacting quickly to a deflection, though only after a VAR check for offside. 

 

What does it mean? Liverpool show ruthless edge to seize control 

After a frantic 3-3 draw away at Brentford on Saturday – a game in which Liverpool trailed early before getting level, then twice let slip leads in the second half – this was far more routine for Klopp and his players.  

Such was his team's dominance, the German was able to substitute Salah, Mane and Milner with a weekend clash with Manchester City in mind, the latter set to deputise again for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold for the visit of the Premier League champions to Merseyside.  

Salah stays hot to surpass Eto'o  

Thanks to his double, Salah moves on to 31 Champions League goals in his career, putting him clear of Samuel Eto’o for second place on the all-time list for African players in the competition. Only Didier Drogba (44) has managed more.  

The Egyptian has also now scored in each of his last six appearances for Liverpool. That is the first time a player has netted in six in a row for the club since April 2018, when Salah himself managed to do so for seven successive games.  

Costa goes cold as Porto roll over 

Porto were largely toothless in attack and porous at the back, not aided by the performance of a keeper who could have done better with at least three of the goals he conceded. 

He saved just 61 per cent of the attempts that came his way and, after Taremi’s finish from Fabio Vieira’s cross made it 3-1, his decision to rush out in the 77th minute allowed Firmino to kill off any slim hopes of a comeback. 

What's next?  

Liverpool take on City at Anfield on Sunday in a huge clash prior to the international break. Porto, meanwhile, are at home again, this time taking on Pacos Ferreira in domestic action. 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed Trent Alexander-Arnold could be set to miss Sunday's game against Manchester City due to injury.

Alexander-Arnold did not travel with the rest of the Liverpool squad for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Porto, James Milner instead taking over at right-back for the Group B fixture.

The England international is also a major doubt for the upcoming clash against the reigning Premier League champions too, with the Reds hosting Pep Guardiola's side at Anfield.

Asked by BT Sport in his pre-match interview if Alexander-Arnold was out due to injury, Klopp replied: "Unfortunately. 

"it was shortly after training. Trent went in a little bit early, but it didn't look serious. 

"Then we did a further assessment and it was serious, so he is out for today, he didn't travel with us, and it doesn't look great for the City game as well. 

"It's a muscle thing. We thought he was a bit tired from the game, but it was more. Now we have to deal with that."

While Klopp refused to divulge any details, the club website confirmed it to be an adductor issue for Alexander-Arnold, who played the entire match as Liverpool drew 3-3 with Brentford at the weekend.

Milner would be the most likely candidate to deputise against City - one of his former clubs - having also filled in on the right side of the defence for the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace earlier this season.

City won 4-1 when they travelled to Anfield last season, emphatically ending a run of 17 away league games without a win at Liverpool.

 

Ian Rush, John Aldridge and Jamie Carragher were among those to pay tribute to Roger Hunt on Tuesday after he died aged 83.

The former Liverpool and England international passed away on Monday following a long-term illness.

Hunt won the World Cup with England in 1966, playing all six matches and scoring three times. He earned 34 caps for the Three Lions.

He joined Liverpool in 1959, firing 41 goals in 42 games to drag them out of the second tier and into the First Division under the stewardship of Bill Shankly.

The forward managed 285 goals in 492 games for the club, which was a record until Ian Rush surpassed the haul in 1992, but no player has ever scored more league goals for the Reds than Hunt's 244.

And Rush led the tributes to an Anfield legend, posting: "Very sad to hear of the passing of Sir Roger Hunt, someone I would always look up to. He was a fantastic goalscorer and a true gentleman on and off the pitch. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace."

John Aldridge, another Liverpool goalscorer, used to play with Rush up top and he echoed his strike partner's sentiments.

"I'm absolutely gutted to hear of the passing away of one, if not the best LFC [Liverpool] strikers Sir Roger Hunt," Aldridge wrote on Twitter.

"What a striker and a true gentleman, I had the great pleasure of being with him on many occasions. RIP my Nu 1 [number one] legend and hero."

Phil Thompson grew up idolising Hunt before making his debut at Anfield, where he would later become assistant manager, and posted his condolences to social media.

"What an awful day, the passing of my true hero who I'm glad to say became a friend," Thompson said. "A humble man and a legend of the game. RIP Sir Roger."

While ex-Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher added: "RIP Sir Roger Hunt, one of the greatest goalscorers our club has ever seen. Sir Roger along with the other legends from the 60s made LFC the club it is today."

Former club Liverpool, who Hunt enjoyed an 11-and-a-half year spell with, joined a host of names paying tribute to the 83-year-old, posting: "The thoughts of everybody at Liverpool FC are with Roger's family and friends at this sad and difficult time."

While Reds head coach Jurgen Klopp hailed a Kop legend, who "comes second to no-one in his importance in the history of Liverpool FC", FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham promised a fitting tribute for Hunt at England's next home game.

"English football has lost another great with the passing of Roger Hunt," said Bullingham.

"On behalf of the FA, our thoughts are with his family and friends today. Twice a league champion with Liverpool, either side of a memorable FA Cup success in 1965, Roger will always be treasured by fans across the country as one of our World Cup winners of 1966.

"He will forever be remembered at Wembley Stadium and we will pay tribute to his memory before our home fixture with Hungary next month."

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