Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City will not feel like underdogs heading into Sunday's Premier League blockbuster against Liverpool.

City amassed 198 points over the course of their title triumphs in each of the past two seasons.

Their bid for three in a row has been compromised by Liverpool's unbeaten start this time around and Guardiola's men head to Anfield six points behind the leaders.

Goalkeeper Ederson joined influential defender Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane, David Silva, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Rodri in the treatment room this week, but their manager insists he is not contemplating defeat on a ground where City last won in 2003.

"What does it meant to be an outsider? For the people in the media and the people outside [the club] saying you are outsider or not outsider; you are underdog or you are not underdog," Guardiola said.

"I never went into one game feeling like an outsider or feeling I am not going to win the game. I never felt it. Never.

"But, of course, the position is six points ahead and they are playing fantastic all season and in previous seasons. We have many problems in some departments of the players.

"I am not going to take a bus on Sunday to Anfield thinking I am going to lose the game. I never have in my career.

"Always I have to think that, if we do some special things we have planned to do, we have the chance to win."

Asked whether City would need their best performance of the season to prevail, Guardiola agreed.

"We know it. To win these kinds of games you have to be at the top level, definitely. We cannot be half-half," he said.

"The way Liverpool play they demand in 90 minutes an incredible attention to all the details.

"I am pretty sure that if there is a chance to win in Anfield it is when you believe you are going to win the game.

"The only chance we have is to play like we are and try to create chances to score goals. That is the only way I believe we can do it – not just in Anfield but in all the stadiums around the world."

City had only 51 per cent possession during the corresponding fixture last season, with Riyad Mahrez's late penalty miss meaning the game finished goalless.

That is an unusually low number for a Guardiola side, with similar statistics returning as the Premier League champions won the Community Shield on penalties in August, when Liverpool had 52.8 per cent of the ball.

"It is not adapting, it is because they are good," Guardiola said, having also flagged up a 3-0 win over Jurgen Klopp during their respective spells at Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, when the former Barcelona boss was forced to adopt a direct, counter-attacking approach.

"Normally in my career at the clubs I was at, all the time we control the possession. We believe when you have the ball you can create more and concede less.

"When that happened [having less possession] it's the same [reason]. Dortmund in that period was a good team and Liverpool is a good team. In the way they play they have the quality to do that."

Unai Emery is remaining calm despite coming under pressure at Arsenal, insisting he can turn things around because he has done so before.

Arsenal were beaten 2-0 at Leicester City on Saturday to leave them eight points adrift of the top four.

The result means it is Arsenal's worst start to a top-flight season since 1982-83, with the Gunners only having 17 points and a goal difference of negative one.

Arsenal barely troubled Kasper Schmeichel at all and were arguably lucky to only lose 2-0, yet Emery remains convinced he can get their campaign back on track.

"I am speaking with the club to stay strong and recover," he told reporters after the match. "We also have young players who are growing up with us.

"I know we are receiving criticism, but I have done before and I have recovered.

"I accept all the criticism. It is normal. Today we did one step forward, being better defensively."

Leicester moved up to second with their victory and Emery is conscious of the gap between the Gunners and those at the top.

But he reminded detractors that Arsenal have time to turn things around.

"We are distant from them now, but we will take time to prepare and improve and take the balance in the team," he said.

"Manchester United and Tottenham are also behind us, so it is an equal competition. But we have time to reduce the gap on Leicester."

Leicester City have produced better performances this season.

Saturday's 2-0 win over Arsenal saw the Foxes show flashes of their best, but in reality they could have humiliated their visitors had they been as good as they can be.

That's a damning indictment of the standard this Arsenal team is playing at.

Brendan Rodgers' men wasted some fine opportunities, lacking perhaps the clinical nature that often typifies them in attack, while defensively Arsenal were afforded few chances of their own.

But Arsenal's incompetence saw them unable to raise their level to Leicester's. In the end, a 2-0 defeat ultimately flattered the Gunners.

Early positivity dissipates

Emery came under fresh criticism after their previous Premier League game, a 1-1 draw with Wolves, for getting his tactics completely wrong, setting the team up narrowly despite Nuno Espirito Santo's penchant for playing with plenty of width.

This week Emery could be spared such criticism, with the line-up seeing him appear to give in to the fans' desires - there was a back three, two wing-backs offering much-needed width and more attacking intent. There was Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi in midfield too, plus Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all started.

But there was precious little to be encouraged about by the performance. After a bright start, they failed to match Leicester in any department.

Gunners have lost their identity

Arsenal had a total of eight shots over the course of the contest, albeit just two in the second half. Only one hit the target and Lacazette was guilty of a woeful miss in the same move that Wilfred Ndidi was fortunate to escape unpunished when handling in the box.

Even suggestions of defensive solidity before the break could only be put down to Leicester's wastefulness. On another day, the Gunners could have been trailing by at least two at the interval.

Emery's inability to project an identity on this Arsenal team has fans still clinging on to the days when they were renowned for their eye-catching style as the Premier League's pass-masters.

Those days are long gone – this Leicester is the team Arsenal think they should be.

Foxes like the Arsenal of old

In Ndidi, Leicester have an impressive midfielder who effectively shields the defence while also proving reliable in possession. The Nigerian won 61.9 per cent of his 21 duels, conceded just one foul and completed 90 per cent of his attempted passes.

Youri Tielemans was excellent once again. Perhaps criticised for his inability to dictate matches, his influence in attack was undeniable. Of his 62 passes, 51 were in the Arsenal half, while he created three chances and set up Jamie Vardy's opener.

And then there is James Maddison. His finish for the second goal was sublime, but again he was a creative force, crafting three opportunities and playing a vital role in Vardy's goal with an outrageous flick.

Even Leicester's defenders were impressive on the ball, a hallmark of previous Arsenal backlines. Caglar Soyuncu completed 86.5 per cent of his passes in the visitors' half while Jonny Evans' success rate was 82.8, comfortably better than all three of the centre-backs in the opposing XI.

But away from statistics, there is an incisiveness and flow to Leicester's play – especially in the second half on Saturday – that is akin to some of Wenger's most entertaining Arsenal teams.

Their first goal was particularly notable in that respect, as Ricardo Pereira played the ball into Maddison, he flicked it to Tielemans, whose first-time pass picked out Vardy to sweep home and round off a fluid move.

Right man in the wrong dugout?

Rodgers has managed to implement his style impressively despite only taking charge in February. Emery has been at Arsenal for considerably longer, yet it is still difficult to work out what he has changed for the better.

Arsenal were linked with Rodgers when they hired Emery, but they ultimately went for the man who had won trophies with Paris Saint-Germain, with reservations over the former's time at Liverpool hanging over him.

But, if the decision-makers at Arsenal had the idea of playing up-tempo football similar to Wenger's peak years after the Frenchman departed, the choice of Emery is a baffling one. Rodgers, for his 'philosophy', would have made a more natural replacement. 

Now it appears Rodgers' Leicester are the real deal, while Emery's Arsenal are a real dud.

There is no doubt Claudio Bravo has the full backing of his manager ahead of Manchester City's clash with Liverpool.

"Why should I doubt any player in my team? Why do you ask these questions?" a spiky Pep Guardiola said on Friday.

"It's a team game and sometimes you make a mistake; sometimes you make a good save and sometimes not. But why should I not have any confidence with one player in my team? He wouldn't be here otherwise."

It was a staunch defence of a player whose errors in his first season in England were highly scrutinised, before he then lost his place to £35million man Ederson.

Bravo came on against Atalanta after Ederson sustained an injury, but his outing only lasted 36 minutes until a rash run from goal ended in a red card.

Still, with Ederson not fit to start at Anfield, Guardiola will be turning to Bravo again on Sunday. He insists he has no doubts about the former Barcelona man, who was the hero in the Community Shield penalty shoot-out win over Liverpool in August. But should he?

EDERSON IS STILL THE SHOT-STOPPING SUPREMO...

Exploring what might be called the basic elements of goalkeeping, there is little to argue against Ederson having the edge over Bravo.

The Brazilian has made 85 Premier League appearances, keeping 41 clean sheets – almost one every two games. Bravo, in 24 games, has managed six shut-outs, or one in four.

Ederson, of course, has been playing behind a stronger defence than Bravo did in 2016-17, when he made all but three of those appearances. Dig deeper, though, and the numbers are still not on Bravo's side.

The Chile international has faced 64 Premier League shots on target, saving 37 of them, giving him a save percentage of 57.8. Ederson, with 145 saves from 202 shots on target faced, is at 71.8 per cent.

 

...AND HE IS DEFYING EXPECTATIONS

Going further, Ederson outperforms Bravo when it comes to Expected Goals on Target Conceded (xGOT) – Opta's measure of the quality of a chance created by a team, and therefore a good indicator of how many goals a keeper can reasonably be expected to have conceded.

Excluding own goals, Ederson has conceded 57 times in the Premier League, with an xGOT rating of 62.9. Bravo, who has conceded 27 times, has an xGOT of 19.9.

In other words, Ederson should realistically have conceded six more goals than he has in England's top flight, given the quality of chances his opponents created. As for Bravo, he has let in seven more goals than he should. 

 

KLOPP'S RIGHT – EDERSON CHANGES HOW CITY PLAY

Speaking to Sky Sports, Klopp said this week: "If he wouldn't play then [City's game plan] would change, because Ederson is an important part of their game, 100 per cent. Bravo can do similar things, but exactly the same? Nobody can do [that]. That's how it is."

Although he didn't specify what makes Ederson so crucial to City, it's reasonable to assume Klopp was referring to his sweeper-keeper tendencies. And he has a point.

Ederson is a critical part of City's possession play. He boasts a passing accuracy of 84.7 per cent, and he has completed 26.2 per cent of all passes ending in the final third – a hugely important ploy when it comes to escaping the Liverpool press.

He also has a massive 'keeper sweeper' accuracy of 95.1 per cent. Opta defines a keeper sweeper as any time that a goalkeeper rushes out at least to the edge of his area, under some pressure from an opposing forward racing to the ball, in which he reacts quickly and reads the play.

As for Bravo, his passing accuracy is down at 74 per cent, with his 'keeper sweeper' accuracy at 79.3 per cent. As for those long passes into the last third, he has completed only one in 10. Klopp does not need telling that those are significant drops.

To give Bravo his due, though, perhaps Guardiola is right not to be worried about the risk of mistakes, at least. Bravo has only twice committed an error leading to a shot or goal in the Premier League. Ederson has done so nine times.

Leicester City moved into second in the Premier League as goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison downed Arsenal 2-0 to cap a dominant display at the King Power Stadium.

Heading into Saturday's encounter in search of a fourth successive league win, Leicester failed to capitalise on some basic errors from Arsenal prior to Vardy's well-worked 68th-minute strike - his 11th of the season.

Wilfred Ndidi had previously gone the closest to breaking the deadlock, hitting the crossbar early in the second half, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a goal rightly ruled out for offside at the other end.

Maddison settled the game with a fantastic second, making sure Brendan Rodgers' side continued their sparkling form and, temporarily at least, slot in behind former employers Liverpool in the table.

Matteo Guendouzi was fortunate to get away with a pull on Caglar Soyuncu early on, while Alexandre Lacazette should have done better with a close-range attempt at the culmination of an Arsenal counter.

Unai Emery's side proved to be their own worst enemy with consistently sloppy play, and Ayoze Perez should have done better after latching onto Hector Bellerin's slack pass.

Ndidi looked sure to open the scoring four minutes after the restart only to lift his effort against the crossbar. While Aubameyang had no problem locating the net, a flag for offside came to Leicester's aid.

There was no hint of doubt when Vardy broke the deadlock, however, with Leicester's striker turning home after wonderful build-up play involving Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans.

Bernd Leno denied Vardy a second, though Arsenal's goalkeeper was left helpless to prevent Maddison picking out the bottom-right corner of his goal with a superb first-time strike, the Foxes wrapping up a deserved win in style.

Moussa Sissoko is at a loss to explain Tottenham's lacklustre Premier League form after Mauricio Pochettino's men laboured to a 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield United.

Son Heung-min's 58th-minute opener looked to have been swiftly cancelled out after David McGoldrick netted for the Blades but a marginal VAR call went against John Lundstrum earlier in the move.

Spurs could not make the most of that reprieve as George Baldock netted a deserved 78th-minute leveller, extending the north London club's winless run in the Premier League to five matches.

"In the league we are struggling since the beginning of the season. Why? I don't know because we are trying our best but it is not working," France midfielder Sissoko said.

"We see today it was a difficult game against a good team. We were winning 1-0 but didn't keep the score. We have a lot of frustration but need to keep going.

"We have to stick together, like we said every time, and try to work hard."

It will be almost two months since their previous Premier League victory when Tottenham return from an international break Sissoko hopes will serve as an opportunity to reset.

"Every team can have some difficult moments," he added. "We are struggling in the league and that's football.

"We must keep working, give our best every day until everything turns around

"We will fight until the end. We know we can do better

"Now we are going away with the international teams and we have to come back stronger."

Sheffield United shrugged off being on the sharp end of more VAR controversy to claim a deserved 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

Son Heung-min, back in action after his three-match ban for the tackle that left Everton midfielder Andre Gomes with a badly broken ankle was overturned, gave Spurs the lead against the run of play following an Enda Stevens error in the 58th minute.

David McGoldrick saw an equaliser ruled out after John Lundstram – who hit the post during the first half – was adjudged to be offside during the build-up.

But Chris Wilder's men impressively retained their composure and George Baldock's 78th-minute cross zipping into the far corner was a touch of fortune they richly deserved.

Tottenham's Paulo Gazzaniga was the busier of the two goalkeepers early on, holding a testing low drive from John Fleck after tipping Oliver Norwood's deflected second-minute strike over.

Harry Kane was unable to turn in Serge Aurier's 15th-minute cross at the near post but it proved a rare moment of encouragement for Spurs during an opening half hour that concluded with Lundstram thumping against the upright left footed.

United resumed on the front foot after half-time, Lys Mousset romping into the box and twisting around Davinson Sanchez before pulling his effort agonisingly wide.

Son was increasingly Spurs' lone outlet and gave visiting keeper Dean Henderson his first significant piece of work, arrowing a shot towards the bottom corner after Dele Alli's raking pass.

A more precise ball into the South Korea star's path led to the opener – only it came inadvertently from United defender Stevens, who gave Son an opportunity he was never likely to pass up.

McGoldrick thought he had an instant response but, after a VAR review lasting almost four minutes, Lundstram was shown to be offside by the barest of margins earlier in the move.

Justice was done as another methodical Blades move got wing-back Baldock in position in the right channel, his sliced delivery evading Eric Dier and Gazzaniga to edge Wilder's men up to fifth in the table.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard commended Reece James' handling of Wilfried Zaha on the right-back's first Premier League start in Saturday's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

James, 19, spent last season on loan at Wigan Athletic and gained rave reviews for his performances, earning himself a place in Chelsea's squad for Lampard's first campaign at the helm.

The full-back suffered ankle ligament damage in August that prevented him from making much of an impact during the early stages of the season.

Lampard took the opportunity to test him and rest Cesar Azpilicueta for the visit of Palace and he put in an accomplished display, coping well with Zaha and showing his ability on the ball.

The Blues boss was impressed but also stressed the importance of first-choice right-back Azpilicueta.

When asked about informing Azpilicueta of his decision to play James, Lampard told reporters: "It's part of my job.

"It would be a tougher call if I was speaking to Azpilicueta when he is having a difficult time and I am bringing a kid in to say this is a decision I am making. It is actually a decision [I've made] when Azpilicueta is playing really well for us.

"He's a leader and a driver, but Reece and the way he is playing, I thought with the opportunity to give him minutes in a game today was one I had to take. It gives me options going forward.

"Azpi is such a great personality and character that he is easy to speak to. He feels for the club and wants the best, that shows how much I value him now and going forward.

"It might give me some selection problems for sure, but I want the best for the team. It is a nice problem.

"I thought Reece was fantastic against one of the best wingers in the league one-v-one, a real threat and on the counter-attack.

"Reece dealt with most of those situations and he also joined in the attack. You can see how comfortable he is with the ball and his delivery and passing, so I was pleased.

"I trust in Reece and, out of all of the younger players who have been getting chances this year – he has had his injury earlier in the season – he has got fit that little bit later.

"But he has been training at a level and coming on at a level where he deserves his minutes today. He did brilliantly."

It was put to Roy Hodgson that Zaha was a disappointment, but the Palace boss hit back at the suggestion.

"You're asking me now to comment on individual performances, in every game of football," Hodgson said. "They have just won the game, Chelsea. So, if you want Frank to give individual assessments of players then he will probably say, 'He was fantastic, another not so good.'

"Wilf is doing what he needs for the team, he is working hard for the team. Against Arsenal he had an incredible game, and against Leicester. Perhaps today he wasn't at his very best, but that is what football is, unfortunately.

"They are human beings. You can't legislate people sometimes having a really good game the way you'd like, but what you can legislate for is the work they are putting in and adhere to the team's play and plan, and in that respect, I thought Wilf was as good as anybody out there."

Frank Lampard has called on Tammy Abraham to look up to England team-mate Harry Kane after the Chelsea striker joined Jamie Vardy at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.

Abraham opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge against Crystal Palace on Saturday, tucking home from close range to take his league tally this season to 10.

The 22-year-old's opener was followed up by a header from the in-form Christian Pulisic, as the Blues - temporarily at least - moved second with a 2-0 win.

Asked if Abraham can offer serious competition to Kane for an England starting spot, Lampard said the youngster still has a long way to go but believes the Tottenham star sets a perfect example.

"Harry Kane's an incredible player," Lampard told BBC Sport. "What he's done in recent years and his career is amazing, so Tammy needs to look up to that and if he can keep reproducing and scoring goals at that kind of level, that's the next stage for Tammy. 

"What he's shown in these first few months is that there are so many parts to his game. 

"[There was] not much space today because of how Palace play but I told him at half-time just to stick with it, it's one of those games that forwards will have where they work a lot for not much, but maybe a goal and he did that."

Lampard named Chelsea's youngest starting XI in a Premier League match for Saturday's encounter, as the Blues went on to secure a sixth successive top-flight win.

Lampard has now tasked his side with replicating their form over the course of the campaign.

"We certainly deserved to win the game. The first half was frustrating because we had all of the game, had some chances but not enough clear-cut ones, let the tempo drop slightly," he said.

"As soon as we picked it up in the second half I thought we got a deserved win with two clinical goals and a clean sheet.

"They are [consistent] because we're on a good run and with the older players the balance is pretty good, the older players help the younger ones. The young ones have to realise very quickly what this level is, and it's tough.

"But they're working very hard, improving. It's still early days in a way, so can we replicate it through a longer period is the next test."

When Mateo Kovacic re-joined Chelsea in a reported £45million deal after spending last season on loan at Stamford Bridge, it's fair to say the news wasn't met with much more than a shrug from most.

A tidy player, undoubtedly, but Kovacic's debut campaign at Chelsea did little to hush those who have expected more from him since moving to Real Madrid after very promising spells with Dinamo Zagreb and Inter earlier in his career.

Fading in and out of matches, struggling to dictate play and seemingly unable to completely convince Maurizio Sarri, Kovacic generally looked like a square peg in a round hole.

Although he made 21 Premier League starts, he completed 90 minutes just twice and failed to dislodge Ross Barkley, whose own tale of somewhat unfulfilled potential is perhaps comparable.

But under Frank Lampard this season, Kovacic looks to be on the right track and showed evidence he is stepping out of Jorginho's shadow in Saturday's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

For all the praise Lampard's young team – which on Saturday was the youngest it, or any previous Chelsea starting XI, has been in the Premier League – has received this season, their first-half showing highlighted deficiencies.

Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal was barely worked despite Chelsea's dominance, with three of their first eight shots coming from free-kicks, while there were also a couple of long-distance efforts.

A lack of impetus in the final third was laid bare without the suspended Jorginho, as Tammy Abraham only had a solitary shot before half-time.

While Kovacic caught the eye with some powerful runs from deep and Christian Pulisic's trickery on the ball left Palace defenders in knots on a couple of occasions, their general build-up play was a little predictable and the final pass unable to cut through the visitors' packed defence.

Chelsea would have been well aware of how Palace planned to set up. They are notoriously effective away from home, with their record of 11 Premier League wins on the road since the start of last season bettered by only Liverpool, Manchester City (both 18) and Chelsea (14).

Jorginho's usual influence was particularly notable by its absence.

Having been a frequent target of Chelsea fans last season, often booed and jeered by Blues supporters, he has gone about his business very effectively this term.

No player had attempted or completed more passes (865/765) than the Italian in the Premier League in 2019-20 before Saturday, while his 125 passes into the final third was also unmatched, proving there is far more to his game than simply nudging possession on to a team-mate five yards away.

Without Jorginho's vision and incisiveness, Chelsea's attackers were already at a disadvantage.

But, while it wouldn't have been fair to expect Kovacic to fill exactly the same role, he did exhibit solid evidence of his own marked improvement and was crucial in breaking Palace down.

His unique spin on the deep-lying playmaker position ultimately proved vital as Chelsea ended Palace's resistance in the 52nd minute – he darted in off the left flank, skipped past two defenders and prodded a pass through to Willian, whose clever flick released Abraham for an easy finish.

For all Jorginho's ability, it was an action one almost certainly wouldn't have seen from the former Napoli schemer.

Kovacic's role in Chelsea's second was rather more Jorginho, however.

Receiving the ball from the back and just inside his own half, Kovacic noticed Pulisic in space on the left and drove an inch-perfect cross-field pass right to him. He cut inside and found Michy Batshuayi, whose deflected shot sat up kindly for the American, who nodded past Guaita.

Although it wasn't Kovacic's name on the scoresheet, he finished the match leaving little doubt of his growing influence.

If he continues on his current trajectory, the only shrugging from Chelsea fans will come after inspirational performances - he has the capability for such effectiveness to be his norm.

Tammy Abraham scored his 10th Premier League goal for Chelsea as they secured a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The 22-year-old striker became the youngest Blues player to reach double figures in the Premier League since Arjen Robben when he swept home following a clever Willian pass.

Chelsea had found clear-cut chances hard to come by against a stubborn Palace side, whose manager Roy Hodgson was taking charge of his 300th game in England's top flight.

Abraham's cool finish broke the deadlock, though, before a simple header from Christian Pulisic made certain of a sixth league win in a row for Frank Lampard's side.

Chelsea, whose starting line-up was their youngest in Premier League history at an average age of 24 years and 88 days, certainly started the more exuberantly of the teams and could have gone ahead when Pulisic was denied by Vicente Guaita after turning past Joel Ward.

Palace were not offering much of an attacking threat, but they did seem to have the Chelsea forward line under increasing control, although only a brilliant block from Gary Cahill stopped former team-mate Willian turning the ball in with seconds of the first half left.

Palace's resistance was broken seven minutes after the restart, though, Abraham slotting confidently past Guaita after being played through by a fine reverse pass from Willian.

Pulisic was then denied by a flying save from Guaita, but the visitors spurned a great chance to level when James Tomkins nodded wide from just seven yards out.

It proved a costly miss as, with 11 minutes to go, Pulisic nodded the ball past Guaita for his first goal at Stamford Bridge after Michy Batshuayi's shot was blocked.

 

What does it mean? Chelsea up to second thanks to best form since Conte

Chelsea's victory moves them above Manchester City into second place in the table, with the champions a point behind ahead of their trip to leaders Liverpool on Sunday.

Lampard's side seem likely to stay near the top, too – they have won six league matches in a row for the first time since May 2017, when Antonio Conte guided them to the title.

Willian still holds the key for Chelsea

Much has rightly been made of youngsters Abraham, Mason Mount and latterly Pulisic, but it is hard to dispute that Willian remains Chelsea's most important attacking player.

The Brazil international, captain for the day, created four goalscoring chances – including his assist - and completed 95 per cent of his passes.

Zaha sums up toothless Palace

Palace are a disciplined side but goalscoring remains a concern. They offered almost nothing in attack against Chelsea, with Wilfried Zaha generally unable to influence matters going forward, creating one chance and having no attempts on goal.

What's next?

Chelsea return from the international break with a daunting trip to Manchester City on November 23. Palace do not have things any easier: they host Liverpool on the same day.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne says he is "not too scared" about first-choice goalkeeper Ederson missing Sunday's huge clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool.

The Brazil international was taken off at half-time of City's 1-1 Champions League draw with Atalanta on Wednesday at San Siro with a muscular problem.

Substitute keeper Claudio Bravo was later sent off, leaving full-back Kyle Walker to take over in goal for the closing minutes.

City boss Pep Guardiola confirmed at Friday's pre-match media conference that Ederson will not be fit to play this weekend but De Bruyne is confident Bravo can step in and fill the void.

"It's obviously a blow because he's our first-choice goalkeeper but I have confidence in Claudio also," the Belgium international told BBC's Football Focus.

"I think he had a wonderful pre-season and played against Liverpool in the Community Shield and did really well. He's an experienced keeper so I have all the confidence that he can do a good job. I'm not too scared about that."

City are six points behind leaders Liverpool, having suffered surprise defeats to Norwich City and Wolves already this campaign, while Jurgen Klopp's men remain unbeaten in the league.

City have failed to win at Anfield since 2003 but De Bruyne says they have every intention of leaving Merseyside with all three points.

"We always go to win; that's how we are built to play," he added. "It's our mentality in the team."

Asked if it was City's biggest game of the season so far, De Bruyne responded: "Probably, but people will obviously make this bigger than it eventually can be. Obviously at this moment in the year, it is a big game, but it is not all telling for me."

A win for Liverpool would give them a nine-point advantage over City at the Premier League summit – a gap some believe would be too big for Guardiola's side to bridge.

De Bruyne, however, says it will be too early to predict the outcome of the title race, regardless of Sunday's result.

"You can only talk about the importance of the game after the season is over," he told Sky Sports. "This game is too early. If it was in April, that would give another incentive to it but even if we win, draw or lose, I would still feel confident because there is still so long.

"If you lose, you know there is going to be a big gap, but we have to take it as it is, compete, and see what happens.

"We could take any reaction after the game, like saying our season is over if we lose, but there are so many circumstances that could go on.

"Maybe they [Liverpool] drop some points and we win lots of games and we end up being on top in March or April, then people will say this game didn't even matter."

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho is not convinced the top-of-the-table clash with Manchester City will define the Premier League title race.

European champions Liverpool can take a commanding nine-point lead at the summit with victory in Sunday's match-anticipated match at Anfield.

The clubs played out a goalless draw in this exact fixture last season before City prevailed 2-1 in January's return encounter, eroding Liverpool's hard-earned advantage back to four points.

Pep Guardiola's men ultimately pipped the Reds to the title by a point but Brazil international Fabinho does not view those missed chances as being decisive.

"I don't think the outcome last season was based on the results against Man City," Fabinho told the Liverpool website.

"But if we beat them then we will have a large points advantage over them, which will be important for us.

"But this game is always a bit more special because we have the chance to pick up points and stop a direct rival from picking up points.

"So we're going to do all we can to win, but I'm not sure if this result will define the outcome of the season."

Barbs have been traded ahead of the latest instalment of this burgeoning rivalry, with Jurgen Klopp highlighting City's propensity for "tactical fouls" after Guardiola accused Reds star Sadio Mane of diving.

Nevertheless, Klopp affirmed his admiration of Guardiola in his pre-match news conference and Fabinho holds an equal level of respect for what the Premier League champions have built under the Catalan.

"We've played against this City team before and they've shown us what they're about," the former Monaco star said.

"They're great with the ball and they are hard-working, they're great in attack and all of this makes them one of the best teams in Europe today.

"But in the Premier League there are so many good teams and we've managed to play well in these situations as well. So playing City will be another challenge, but I think we're ready for it."

Paris Saint-Germain have identified their priorities and an extension for Neymar is seemingly not among them.

Neymar, 27, reportedly almost left the Ligue 1 champions in the close season amid strong links to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

The Brazil international is contracted until 2022 and PSG appear to be in no rush to extend his stay.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STOP NEYMAR TALKS AMID MBAPPE FOCUS

PSG's negotiations with Neymar about a contract extension have stalled, according to L'Equipe.

However, the report says PSG have not ruled out a potential extension for Neymar in the future.

It comes amid talk the club are eager to re-sign Kylian Mbappe, who is also contracted until 2022 and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Like Neymar and Mbappe, the talk around Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will not go away. Sport reports Juventus want to bring the midfielder back to Turin, while Tuttosport says Pogba is also eager to return to the Serie A giants.

- Ivan Rakitic has made just one start for Barcelona this season and the midfielder could be on the move in January. Mundo Deportivo reports Juventus and Inter have the Croatia international – who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021 – in their sights.

- Nicolo Zaniolo's impressive performances for Roma are leading to renewed interest in his services. Juventus are ready to pay more than €40million for the midfielder, according to CalcioMercato, although Roma are eager to keep Zaniolo, who has scored three Serie A goals this season.

- Unai Emery is under fire at Arsenal and the Premier League club are already eyeing his replacement. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is being earmarked for the job at Emirates Stadium, according to The Sun.

- Staying at Arsenal and AC Milan are considering a €40m (£34.5m) move for midfielder Lucas Torreira in January, according to Fichajes.com. Meanwhile, Turkish-Football reports Arsenal have made contact with the representatives of Juventus defender Merih Demiral about a potential move.

- Alessandro Florenzi could make a move from Roma in January, according to CalcioMercato. Fiorentina and Inter are reportedly interested in the right-back.

Alisson said Liverpool wanted to avoid a repeat of last season as he talked up the significance of Sunday's clash against Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions head to Anfield trailing Liverpool by six points through 11 games this campaign.

City claimed the title last season, finishing a point clear of Liverpool despite Jurgen Klopp's men losing just one game.

Alisson said Liverpool had no interest in experiencing that again, eager to go one better in 2019-20.

"We don't want to feel how we felt last season," the goalkeeper told The Guardian.

"Being second by just one point – and we don't know which game made us lose the title because we had a few draws where we could have done better, and we had the loss away to Man City when we could have won or drawn – means we know that we need to give everything in every game if we want to become Premier League champions.

"We want it and we will try to do it."

Liverpool have won 10 of their opening 11 Premier League games, drawing one, to open up an early lead at the top.

Alisson knows how important Sunday's encounter is as the European champions try to surge further clear.

"Last season we had a great experience, an almost perfect season," the Brazil international said. "We lost one game and that one game was against City. We know how big this game is for us.

"We know how big the game is for everyone – for them and for our fans. In the end it is just three more important points but Manchester City have been the best team in the league for the last few years so we need to give everything to win this game."

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