Tammy Abraham is glad he did not take the "easy option" by staying at Chelsea and is grateful for the trust put in him by Jose Mourinho since making the switch to Roma.

The 24-year-old joined Roma in a €40million (£34m) deal two months ago after struggling for playing time upon Thomas Tuchel's arrival at Stamford Bridge in January.

He has two goals and two assists from his first seven games with the Serie A side and has been hailed for embracing life in a new country, instantly making him a fan favourite.

Abraham had been on Chelsea's books since 2004, but he made just 82 appearances between his senior debut in May 2016 and his departure this August.

And after three separate spells out on loan, the England international was persuaded to leave west London on a permanent basis by ex-Chelsea boss Mourinho.

"I had different options," Abraham said. "So many clubs I was speaking to at the time.

"I spoke to Jose. He had a goal. I could see where he wanted Roma to go, and see where he wants to take them and I wanted to be part of the process.

"He really put his trust in me so he was a big impact on the reason why I chose Roma.

"I picked up the phone and he was like, 'Do you want to enjoy some sun or stay in the rain?'

"I have learned so much tactically – as much as I have in my entire lifetime. It is good. You need to learn off different managers. Right now, I am learning a lot."

Abraham was given a run in the Chelsea side in the first half of last season, scoring 11 goals in 25 games up until Tuchel's appointment on January 26.

The former Aston Villa loanee was used only seven times by Tuchel, however, adding one more goal to his tally to finish as joint-top scorer alongside Timo Werner (12 each).

Reflecting on the second half of 2020-21, Abraham said: "At first it's quite tough to deal with. 

"You've gone from playing regularly to not being in the mix and not even making the bench sometimes. I got to a point where I had to sit down and talk to myself.

"I was going out to train and I was doing it for me. I was going to train to better myself because it's easy to throw a strop, to be angry around the place, to be a bad egg. 

"For me, it was the opposite. I learned about myself and that strengthened my mindset. I was with the team whenever they needed me. 

"Players like Mason Mount, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi – the players younger than me – I kind of had to lift them and be their support, help them and encourage them.

"I had an ambition and a goal that I set myself and it was to go out there and be the best I can be, to prove to everyone my true abilities.

"The easy option would've been to stick around and sit down. Chelsea's a massive club, they will compete and try to win trophies, so the easy option would’ve been to do that.

"I realised that I needed to go out and prove myself. I took a decision and it was the right one."

Abraham was a late addition to the England squad this week for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Andorra and Hungary.

Jesse Lingard is another who is back in Gareth Southgate's plans after being overlooked for Euro 2020 squad selection, and the Manchester United attacker is motivated to hold down his place in the side.

"It gives you more hunger and motivation to be playing in the biggest of tournaments and games," he said when asked about missing out on England's run to the European Championship final.

"It's always hard. Considering where I was for a period of time, not playing as much and not in the England squad, to get into the 33-man squad shows what you can do with hard work and belief.

"I was disappointed to miss out but I was still there supporting the boys through thick and thin. “They had a great chance after getting into the final, but we have to move on quickly and prepare for the new season."

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw hailed the impact Cristiano Ronaldo has had on the Red Devils' mentality since returning to Old Trafford.

Ronaldo returned to United in August – via stops at Real Madrid and Juventus – to end a 12-year absence with the club, having first made his Premier League debut in 2003 under Alex Ferguson.

The Portugal captain has hit the ground running since then, scoring five times across the top flight and the Champions League, including a stoppage-time winner against Villarreal.

And Shaw says the character of Ronaldo, who made his 200th Premier League appearance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side against Everton, is positively impacting his team-mates.

"You know the star he is, what he has been doing over a number of years, it is just unbelievable to be in a dressing room with him," Shaw told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"You see the way he conducts himself, how professional he is. It's clear to me why he has been at the top for so many years.

"His mentality is second to none. I think he has really improved that in and around the changing room."

United have been slightly erratic in their performances, however, as they are two points off top-flight leaders Chelsea after being beaten at home by Aston Villa and drawing with Everton in their last two league games.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has remained in scintillating form and currently sits on 87 Premier League goals for Solskjaer's men.

The United head coach himself managed 84 goals in his first 200 top-flight outings, with Wayne Rooney leading the way on 93 – apart from that pair, no other player netted more than 47 (Paul Scholes) in their opening double century for the club..

Paul Pogba's future with Manchester United has been a constant point of speculation for the past few years.

The 2018 World Cup winner is into the last season of a five-year deal with the Red Devils.

Pogba has been on United's books since returning from Juventus in 2016.

TOP STORY – POGBA TO PEN BUMPER NEW DEAL

Paul Pogba has decided he wants to extend his stay with Manchester United, claims L'Equipe.

The French midfielder has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, as well as return to Juventus.

Pogba's renewal is expected to command one of the highest salaries in Premier League history.

ROUND-UP

- AS reports that Borussia Dortmund will double Erling Haaland's salary in a bid to ward off interest from Spanish pair Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as Manchester City and Chelsea. Dortmund will bump the Norwegian's wages up from €8million to €15m in order to keep him, with the release clause in his contract to activate next off-season.

- Former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is to be put up for sale by Juventus, according to the Daily Mail. Juve are ready to listen to offers for the Wales midfielder, who has fallen out of favour in Turin.

- Liverpool have entered the race to sign Fiorentina's Serbian forward Dusan Vlahovic, according to the Mirror. Vlahovic's contract talks with Fiorentina have collapsed.

- Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks is willing to make a January loan move away from Spurs and is open to moving abroad, claims The Times.

- Calciomercato reports that River Plate's 21-year-old Argentina international Julian Alvarez is drawing attention from city rivals Inter and Milan .

- French defender Samuel Umtiti will be made available in January by financially-embattled Barcelona, reports Sport. Umtiti has not played in LaLiga this season.

Manchester City can solely rely on goals from their wingers and midfielders in the absence of a true number nine in the Premier League this season, according to former striker Paul Dickov.

City regained their domestic crown last term, finishing 12 points clear of second-placed Manchester United in the Premier League, while scoring 83 goals along the way, though just 13 of those came from recognised centre-forwards.

Gabriel Jesus scored nine goals, while Sergio Aguero – who has since joined Barcelona – contributed with just four having missed much of the campaign through injury.

Ilkay Gundogan top-scored with 13 goals in midfield, with winger Raheem Sterling notching 10 and Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez each netting on nine occasions as Ferran Torres added seven of his own.

Similarly this term, just two of City's 14 Premier League strikes have come courtesy of Brazil international Jesus – Torres has played in a forward role and scored twice but the Spaniard is not a true centre-forward.

Following Aguero's departure to Camp Nou, Tottenham striker Harry Kane was heavily linked with a move to City but a transfer did not materialise, while the likes of Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland have been linked.

Nevertheless, Scotsman Dickov is confident his former club have the credentials to cope without a main marksman once more.

"The answer at the minute is yes because we've seen that last season," Dickov, who spent two spells with City between 1996-2002 and 2006-2008, told Stats Perform. "I know Sergio Aguero was still at the club, but he missed the majority of it. 

"But Manchester City went on to win [the Premier League title] really quite easily playing without an actual number nine, and they've shown again this season that they can do it. 

"If Manchester City don't win the league this season, everybody's going to be saying it's because they've not got that number nine and the reliance has been on the midfielders and the false number nine to score the goals. But at the minute, you've got to say that they're not missing one.

"I think if Manchester City comes to January and they're still fighting for the top of league and still in the Champions League, people can say that Pep's been right again."

Dickov believes City's decision not to continue their pursuit of Kane demonstrates their own belief in the current quality of the squad.

"Knowing Manchester City as I do – as a club and as a board and how they do their transfers – they will identify players or a player and they will do what they can to get them," the 48-year-old added.

"They will not – especially over recent seasons – be held to ransom and pay over the odds. 

"I think when the new owners first came in, to get Manchester City onto a level they had to pay more money to get the players.

"But over the last few years, they now feel as though they don't have to. I think with the Harry Kane one, he was obviously the player that they wanted.

"If they didn't get him, they weren't going to settle for second best because they believe that the players within the squad – after what happened last season and the addition of Jack Grealish – were good enough to take them to the next level, and for them to retain the title this year."

Jack Grealish has made an impressive start as he adapts to life at Manchester City, according to the club's former striker Paul Dickov.

Ex-Aston Villa star Grealish signed for a British record £100million fee ahead of the 2021-22 season, bolstering an impressive group of playmakers in Pep Guardiola's squad.

Dickov believes the attacking midfielder has been given a run of games so that he learns the differences of playing at City, where he will not be the "main man" as he was with Villa.

And he has been happy with the England international's start at the club, with Grealish scoring twice and adding two assists across 10 appearances in all competitions.

Dickov told Stats Perform: "No disrespect to Aston Villa, but there's a lot more quality in the squad at Manchester City and they play a different way. 

"When Jack was at Aston Villa last season and the season before, he was the main man all the time. 

"When Aston Villa players got the ball and they wanted to attack they gave the ball to Jack Grealish, and he was the main man. 

"At Manchester City the ball goes to Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva. So Jack's had to adapt his game and also without the ball. 

"At Aston Villa he didn't necessarily have to defend, he could afford to be that player that could just win them the game without doing much without the ball.

"Whereas we all know that Pep Guardiola demands the players to work hard without the ball. 

"So I think the fact that he started every game was a process of bedding him in to how Manchester City play and letting him know what it takes to be part of a Pep team. 

"And I think he's done really well and it has been interesting as well that he's started every single game.

"When you have the likes of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus — Pep seems to rotate that front three a lot." 

Dickov added: "The last couple of games and Liverpool especially he looked a little bit tired. 

"He's one of the only one of the front three players that started every game, and especially it was on the back of a massive week against Chelsea, PSG and Liverpool. 

"But I think he's been outstanding and I'm a massive fan of Jack Grealish."

City are two points behind leaders Chelsea after seven Premier League matches, having drawn 2-2 with Liverpool in that Anfield thriller on Sunday.

They conceded more goals in that game than in their previous seven league outings combined beforehand (one).

City also faced four shots on target against Liverpool, only two fewer than they had in their six other Premier League matches combined this season.

Grealish is now with the England squad and, having played 762 minutes of club football this season, only Declan Rice and Conor Coady have had a higher workload than him among outfield players in the squad.

Manchester United's owners have put 9.5million shares up for sale as they look to relinquish eight per cent of their controlling stake.

The club released a statement to the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, confirming the sales will be made in the names of Kevin and Edward Glazer.

It is thought the sale of the shares in question will raise £137.12m, though United's statement made clear that 100 per cent of the money will be kept by the Glazers.

"Manchester United will not receive any proceeds from the sale of any Class A ordinary shares by the selling shareholders," it read.

Joel Glazer, United co-chairman, had promised at a fan forum back in June that the club were planning to offload more shares, potentially allowing supporters to buy them as the ownership group attempted to build bridges in the wake of the European Super League fiasco.

United and 11 other major European teams attempted to form a breakaway competition that would rival the Champions League, but a stunning backlash from fans quickly led to all six English clubs involved backing out.

The Glazers' relationship with fans had been rocky at best ever since the family plunged the club into massive debt when Malcolm Glazer financed his initial takeover in 2003 with loans that were secured against United assets.

Their involvement in the Super League's attempted coup of elite club football further exacerbated ill-feeling among supporters, forcing the Glazers into crisis management – June's fan forum was Joel Glazer's first such appearance in 15 years as part-owner.

Three months earlier, Avram Glazer put 5m shares on the market at a valuation of £72.2m. None of the proceeds went to the club.

Dusan Vlahovic decision not to extend his Fiorentina contract is set to spark a bidding war.

Fiorentina had been hopeful of re-signing their star forward.

Now, Europe's elite are reportedly queuing up to sign the Serbia international.

 

TOP STORY – VLAHOVIC EYEING JUVE MOVE

Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic is dreaming of a move to Juventus, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Vlahovic's future is a hot topic after Fiorentina announced the Serbia international will not re-sign in Florence.

Contracted to Fiorentina until 2023, Vlahovic has been tipped to make the move to Juve like former Viola team-mate Federico Chiesa, while Manchester City, Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, Inter and Arsenal have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport says City forward Raheem Sterling is open to a loan move to Barcelona in January. Sterling has found himself out of favour under Pep Guardiola in Manchester.

Manchester United are prioritising a new right-back in January to provide competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, reports 90min. Rangers' Nathan Patterson and Max Aarons of Norwich City have been linked.

- It is only a matter of weeks before Lautaro Martinez extends his Inter contract, per Fabrizio Romano. Inter are also set to open talks with midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.

- Roma have re-opened talks to sign Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. Zakaria is out of contract at the end of the season, though Roma are set to try to bring in the Gladbach star in January. 

- The Daily Mail claims Tottenham are eyeing Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Juve, Real Madrid and Atletico.

Milan are monitoring Salzburg trio Luka Sucic, Brenden Aaronson and Maurtis Kjaergaard, according to Calciomercato.

Arsenal spent almost £150million on new recruits during the last transfer window.

But the club are reportedly set to let Alexandre Lacazette go, leaving them short in experienced attacking options.

Manager Mikel Arteta is known as a meticulous planner and wants to be ready for Lacazette's departure.


TOP STORY – GUNNERS SET SIGHTS ON DCL AND WATKINS

Arsenal have Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins in their sights as they plan for Lacazette's exit, so say The Sun.

Lacazette is in the final year of his contract and the Gunners are unlikely to offer him a new deal, meaning he will depart either in January or at the end of the season as a free agent.

Arteta wants back-up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and has the England forwards on the club's shortlist.

 

ROUND-UP

– Cash-strapped Barcelona have €16m to spend in the January transfer window according to Mundo Deportivo, with the publication also claiming Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is among their top targets, potentially on loan given their financial challenges.

Robert Lewandowski appears to have had a change of heart and will renew his deal with Bayern Munich, reports Fichajes. The star striker had been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga champions.

– MilanNews.it reports that Milan are in negotiations with head coach Stefano Pioli about extending his contract following a bright start to the season.

– Man City are keeping an eye on Barcelona's 19-year-old midfielder Nico Gonzalez, according to Fichajes.

Liverpool have more chance of winning the Champions League than the Premier League, according to former Red Jose Enrique.

Jurgen Klopp's side found themselves in a tough European group, with Milan, Porto and Atletico Madrid standing between them and the knockout stages.

However, the Reds edged past Milan 3-2 before crushing Porto 5-1 – their fifth win in their last six away group-stage games – and sit top of Group B ahead of their double-header with Diego Simeone's side.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are the only side yet to lose in the Premier League this season and have recorded 15 points from their opening seven games – one fewer than leaders Chelsea.

But Jose Enrique, who was speaking exclusively to Stats Perform, sees a Champions League triumph as more probable than domestic success, given the struggles of some European heavyweights this campaign.

"We couldn't have had a better start in what is probably the hardest group in the Champions League and we are doing really well now," Jose Enrique said.

"We have everything on the right path to go through and it's a competition that maybe we have more of a chance.

"Paris Saint-Germain are underperforming, Barcelona are underperforming, Real Madrid are underperforming. So maybe it's a season that we can really go for the Champions League again.

"The Premier League is longer, we have a lot of games. In the Champions League, it depends on the injuries.

"If you ask me what title that I believe we can win, I will go more for the Champions League over the Premier League."

Liverpool twice squandered the lead in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City on Sunday, meaning they have failed to beat Pep Guardiola's men in six out of the last seven top-flight meetings.

Given City's embarrassment of riches, along with Thomas Tuchel's impressive Chelsea squad, Jose Enrique believes – against his best wishes – that squad depth could cost the Reds in the Premier League title race.

"I really hope it's Liverpool but if I'm honest with you, the problem with us is the lack of strength in the squad," Jose Enrique responded when asked who would win the league.

"I believe we [Liverpool] are missing players up front. Look, I know we have four players that can perform there with [Roberto] Firmino, [Diogo] Jota, [Mohamed] Salah and [Sadio] Mane, but you cannot just rely on them the whole season.

"We obviously have strength there but if one of them gets an injury we may very well be struggling there, you know that's reality.

"These kinds of teams like Chelsea and [Manchester] City, they do have it. The season is very long, we play Champions League, we play the two cups, it is not going to be easy.

"I hope it's Liverpool, but I don't know. I don't want to say another team to be honest! Let's say Chelsea."

Phil Foden is going to be "up there with the best in the world", according to former Manchester City striker Paul Dickov.

Foden has endured a stuttering start to the new term – playing just 195 Premier League minutes – due to a foot injury but impressed as he scored against Liverpool in Sunday's 2-2 draw.

Having scored in the previous two games against Jurgen Klopp's side, Foden's equaliser made him the youngest player (21 years and 128 days) to score in three consecutive top-flight appearances against Liverpool since Romelu Lukaku in November 2013 (20y 194d).

And Dickov, who was speaking exclusively to Stats Perform, used Foden's performance at Anfield as an example of why he could become the best in the world.

"People keep talking about [Foden] being the next big thing and one for the future," Dickov said.

"He is one for now he is already putting himself in the bracket of one of the best players in England, in Europe and is only going to get better.

"He is like a school kid in the playground that just wants to play football all the time. In that little bit, with his ability, with the talent that he's got with, a huge heart and his attitude.

"He is going to be up there with the very, very best in the world because he's, he's got absolutely everything, and he showed that yesterday [on Sunday against Liverpool]."

Foden, who was named as the PFA's Young Player of the Year last term, ranks third among City midfielders for chances created per 90 minutes in the Premier League this term (2.31).

He also sits second among the club's midfield ranks for Opta-defined 'big chances', creating 0.46 per 90 minutes, with only Kevin de Bruyne (0.87) bettering that total.

Indeed, the 21-year-old started ahead of Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez at Anfield but Dickov thinks Foden can continue to learn from Pep Guardiola's wealth of midfield talent.

"He can score goals and, the scary thing is, he's only going to get better than that the more games that he plays," Dickov continued.

"Being surrounded by players like Kevin De Bruyne and the fantastic players that Manchester City have got, that’s going to take his game to the next level.

"Phil wants to be there and he really wants to be the best in training, he wants to be the best player all the time.

"When you’re in an environment like Manchester City have got, where people are striving to win things all the time, it's only going to make him better and better.

"When you think how good he is now I think in three or four years it's going to be really scary about how good he can be. I just think he's got everything you want and that to be a top-class footballer."

Manchester City are the favourites to win the Premier League this year, according to former striker Paul Dickov.

Pep Guardiola's defending champions started off the new term with a 1-0 loss away at Tottenham but have embarked on a six-game unbeaten run to leave them third — two points behind leaders Chelsea.

City beat Thomas Tuchel's side 1-0 at Stamford Bridge last Saturday before battling for a well-deserved point against fellow title contenders Liverpool in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Anfield.

The latter result saw Liverpool extend their unbeaten run to 17 games but Dickov sees his former club's recent run of form as proof that they are the team to beat.

"Yeah, I think they have to be," Dickov responded to Stats Perform when asked if City were favourites to win the league.

"I think if you look at the week that they've just had you know there's probably three of the toughest away games in one week that is against three of the best teams in Europe — Chelsea, PSG and then Liverpool.

"The record has not always been great for Manchester City so for me, I look at the strength and depth in the Manchester City squad and that just edges it for me for them to be the favourites."

City conceded more goals against Jurgen Klopp's side (two) than in their previous seven top-flight games combined beforehand, but the draw means Liverpool have only managed to beat City on one of the last seven occasions in the Premier League.

Guardiola's team may have, perhaps understandably, felt hard done by to leave Anfield without all three points, but Dickov sees City's squad as the reason they will retain their title this campaign.

"I think the quality they've got in the squad, for me over the course of a very long, hard season in England, that's the thing that stands out for me," he continued.

"We look at the team [on Sunday] and they had Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez sitting on the bench.

"[There is] Ferran Torres or Ilkay Gudogan, who was possibly Manchester City's best player last season, coming back from injury.  [They have] Fernandinho, John Stones, I could just go on and on.

"That squad, that for me is the thing that's going to make the big difference over the course of the season because I don't feel the other teams are quite like that."

Romelu Lukaku hates being labelled a "goal poacher" as the Chelsea and Belgium striker believes he is an all-rounder in attack.

The 28-year-old returned to Chelsea from Inter in August and has scored four goals in nine appearances this term.

He has been one of the most prolific frontmen over the past decade, the Belgium international reaching double figures for league goals in each of the last nine seasons.

Since the start of 2019-20 when joining Inter, Lukaku's 50 goals in 78 league appearances is a tally bettered by only five others in Europe's top five divisions.

Of those half-century of goals, just two have come from outside the penalty area – against Brescia in 2019-20 and Genoa in 2020-21, both during his time with Inter.

However, Lukaku feels his reputation can sometimes precede him.

"The way I'm built – I'm quite big – everybody thinks I'm a sort of target man: just holding up the ball and being a goal poacher," he said in an interview with UEFA. 

"But I've never played that way and I hate it. My biggest strength is that I'm dangerous when I'm facing towards the goal, because that's when I rarely make wrong choices.

"After I pass the ball, I know where I have to position myself in the box. 

"I can do a bit of everything and in some games when I know there is a lot of space behind the defence, I play differently. 

"The reason I'm so productive [in front of goal] is because I can do a bit of everything."

Lukaku marked his 100th cap for Belgium with his 67th goal in last month's 3-0 win against the Czech Republic, extending his record as his country's all-time leading scorer.

"To have reached 100 caps is something you really strive to achieve as a young player," he said. "I was lucky that I started out at an early age. 

"I'm 28 now; nearly 12 years have passed with lots of ups and downs, but as a team we have always continued to grow. 

"In the end, the ultimate goal remains to win and that's my motivation. Every time I play for the national team, I want to win. And to win a tournament."

Despite being on course to finish as the world's top-ranked nation for the fourth year running, Belgium have yet to claim any silverware with their golden generation of talent.

That could change this week, though, as Roberto Martinez's men take on France in the Nations League semi-finals on Thursday, with Spain and Italy also vying for a place in Sunday's final.

"In recent years, we have always managed to have a good start at tournaments and the expectations were always high," Lukaku said. 

"At Euro 2016 we didn't deliver. It was very hard. During the 2018 World Cup we did quite well.

"But I think now in the Nations League we must do really well, so that we can peak at the next World Cup."

Watford have appointed Premier League winner Claudio Ranieri as their new head coach.

Ranieri has signed a two-year deal at Vicarage Road following the departure of Xisco Munoz, who became the first Premier League managerial sacking of the season on Sunday.

Under Munoz, the Hornets won their first game on their top-flight return against Aston Villa but only managed to pick up four points from the next six games to leave them in 15th.

However, new appointment Ranieri is no stranger to English football having enjoyed spells with Chelsea and Fulham, while overseeing the most unlikely of title-winning terms with Leicester City.

The Foxes secured the title in 2015-16, led by the likes of Riyad Mahrez, N'Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy as they lost just three times all season under the Italian's stewardship.

Despite the triumph, Leicester and Ranieri parted ways the following season with the defending champions just a point above the relegation zone with 13 games left to play.

He then returned to take charge of Fulham in 2018, via a stop at Nantes, but was sacked after just 106 days in charge, with the Cottagers heading for an imminent relegation from the Premier League.

The former Chelsea manager's most recent job was with Sampdoria, but he departed in the close-season after a two-year spell with the club, having initially taken charge in 2019.

Watford, who have now hired six and fired five different permanent head coaches since Marco Silva's departure in January 2018, become Ranieri's 21st club in his 35-year career.

He will be joined by assistant coaches Paolo Benetti and Carlo Cornacchia, as well as fitness coach Carlo Spignoli, as he prepares for the difficult task of the unbeaten Liverpool in his first game on October 16.

Premier League football takes a back seat again for the best part of a fortnight now as the international break arrives, but the past weekend gave us plenty to chew on in the interim.

Liverpool and Manchester City played out a belter of a match at Anfield on Sunday, as Mohamed Salah shone yet again on English football's biggest stage.

That contest provided further evidence of the gap between those two and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United, though Bruno Fernandes' latest achievement suggests the Norwegian should be doing better given the talent at his disposal.

Below, Stats Perform looks at some of the quirky Opta facts from the weekend…

Salah a double threat

Sunday's 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield was utterly engrossing, and Mohamed Salah played a key role in that.

Not only did he set up Sadio Mane's opener with a brilliant run and pass, he then got Liverpool's second at the end of an incredible run that saw him evade most of the City defence.

That was the 20th time he has both scored and assisted during a single Premier League game, which is six more than anyone else in the top-flight since his Reds debut on 2017-18 — Son Heung-min is next with 14.

There is also no Liverpool player particularly close to him in that regard in the club's entire Premier League history, with Steven Gerrard second to Salah with 16 instances of getting a goal and assist in the same game.

Fernandes setting the pace

Manchester United may be erratic, but Bruno Fernandes certainly isn't when it comes to decisive moments in the Premier League.

He set up Anthony Martial with a lovely turn and throughball for the first goal in United's 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday, that assist taking him to 50 goal involvements in 58 Premier League matches — only Andy Cole (43), Alan Shearer and Eric Cantona (both 54) reached that mark in fewer games.

But putting his achievement into modern-day context, Fernandes (30 goals, 20 assists) sits top of the pile for most involvements since his debut, his 50 being four more than Salah (34 goals, 12 assists).

The only other player on more than 40 in that time is Harry Kane (44 involvements, 30 goals, 14 assists).

The Premier League's deadliest attack… Sort of

So, you think you know which team is the most clinical in the Premier League this season? Well, you're wrong.

It's not Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester City. It's certainly not Tottenham or Arsenal… It's Brentford. In a way.

When it comes to the amount of goals scored from their shots on target, the Premier League new boys have been the most clinical, netting 10 (or 45.5 per cent) of their 22 accurate attempts following the 2-1 win at West Ham.

Liverpool are the league's leading scorers with 17, but those goals have come from 53 shots on target, meaning only 32.1 per cent of their accurate efforts are beating the goalkeeper.

Norwich City prop up the table (11.8 per cent), with Spurs (18.8 per cent) and Arsenal (19.2 per cent) also in the bottom three.

Vardy almost the 'golden oldie'

Jamie Vardy's story is a familiar one these days. His journey to the top wasn't straightforward, but since getting there he's been absolutely devastating.

Of course, his 24-goal haul was essential in Leicester City's incredible title triumph of 2015-16, but he's continued at a great level, only recording under 15 Premier League goals in a single season once since.

He already looks well on track to better his tally of 15 from 2020-21 this season, with the former England man on six in seven league games, and now he's closing in on a record.

Vardy's goal against Crystal Palace at the weekend was his 90th in the top-flight since turning 30 in January 2017, with Arsenal great Ian Wright (93) the only player in the competition's history to score more after his 30th birthday.

Liverpool should give Mohamed Salah "whatever he wants" to sign a new contract, according to Jose Enrique.

Salah has had a magnificent start to the season and moved onto six Premier League goals for the campaign with a sensational solo strike against Manchester City on Sunday.

The 29-year-old's efforts, which also included an assist for Sadio Mane's opener, was not enough to propel Liverpool to victory, however, with champions City twice fighting back in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Liverpool were not particularly active in the recent transfer window, with Ibrahima Konate their only major addition – the centre-back joining from RB Leipzig – while Georginio Wijnaldum joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

However, the Reds did move to secure the futures of some of Jurgen Klopp's key players, with Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson signing new deals.

Salah, though, was not among those players. While he has shown no signs of wanting to leave, the Egypt forward has less than two years to run on his current contract.

It is a situation that Jose Enrique, who played for Liverpool between 2011 and 2016, insists the club must swiftly rectify.

He told Stats Perform: "Him scoring [against City] doesn't surprise me. Obviously when you watch it, you're like 'wow what a goal', but he's made a few of them already at this level, very good goals.

"He doesn't surprise me any more. I don't know what he's asking for from Liverpool to renew his contract, but I say give him whatever he wants, because in my opinion at the moment, take [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo because of the history they have and everything like that, but you tell me one player at the moment in the world of football that I would take if I was manager and I would say Salah.

"Definitely I would say Salah, he's unbelievable. People forget that he's not actually a forward, he's a winger really.

"He plays a little bit as a forward as well but he's a winger actually but making these kind of numbers. Today, another assist and a goal. What am I going to say about him? Liverpool sign a new contract, tie him down and let's get it over with, definitely."

Liverpool may ultimately consider themselves unfortunate to twice throw away their lead, but City dominated the first half and could have been out of sight had they shown more cutting edge in the final third.

"I think the first half wasn't good enough from Liverpool," acknowledged Jose Enrique.

"Then obviously the second half, we perform much better but the game overall, seen as a fan, not a Liverpool supporter or Manchester City supporter, as a fan, I think it was a very, very nice game to watch.

"Obviously I'm a Liverpool fan as well myself now, so it was a fair result, but with the first half that we've done we could have easily lost this game.

"Actually we got in front twice with Mane first and then with Salah as well, and then getting the goals and then [City] getting back into the game was a bit unfair. But then when you think overall, to be honest, a draw I think is a good point.

"We should have won this game, at home, but against City it is always difficult, but definitely I'm happy with the point because of the way we performed in the first half.

"I think in the second half we were great but in the first half we were really, really bad in my opinion."

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