Jurgen Klopp revealed he had consistently reassured Naby Keita before the midfielder starred when given his chance for Liverpool against Bournemouth.

Keita scored and provided an assist on his first start of the Premier League season in Saturday's 3-0 win at the Vitality Stadium.

A £53million signing from RB Leipzig in 2018, Keita has had his difficulties since arriving at Anfield and Klopp said he frequently spoke to the Guinea international regarding his standing at Liverpool.

"Naby is sitting outside and thinks 'why don't I play?’ I get all that," the Liverpool manager told UK newspapers.

"So we stayed in contact, we talked and we spoke a lot about it, but in the end of course the player needs to have this evidence that the coach or the manager still believes in you.

"Naby had injuries and the team was and is in really good shape, so then do you change and, if you want to change, we are not flying – it's not like we won all our games 4-0 or 5-0 – so we [have] had to bring on a player who helps defending set-pieces."

After Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring at Bournemouth, Keita struck before setting up Mohamed Salah for the Premier League leaders.

As Liverpool's rotation continued for the encounter, Klopp said his squad understood the situation.

"It's not difficult for me to leave players out," he said.

"I didn't speak to Sadio [Mane] about it. I didn't speak to Divock Origi. I didn't speak to Bobby [Firmino] or Mo last week. I didn't speak to Hendo [Jordan Henderson].

"I didn't ask. I just have to make decisions and then next time everyone knows someone else will play.

"The boys are a really smart group who look at the schedule. They know how it is."

Liverpool visit Salzburg on Tuesday needing to avoid defeat to reach the Champions League last 16.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged his Manchester United players to raise their game against the Premier League's "lesser teams".

United picked up back-to-back wins over Tottenham and bitter rivals Manchester City in the space of four days to revive their domestic campaign.

The Red Devils also beat Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day of the season and are the only side to have taken a point off leaders Liverpool this term.

However, they have lost to two teams in the bottom six and drawn against two more struggling sides in Southampton and Aston Villa.

With games against bottom-half teams Everton, Watford and Burnley to come in three of their next four league outings, Solskjaer admitted a change of mentality may be required.

"If it's a mental thing, then we can sort it out," he said, according to several British newspapers. "We'll work with the mentality of the boys.

"For me, it's been very much about margins in those games. Some freak results that we can't control.

"But if you look behind the results, I'm not as negative as you are. I'm not so worried, so concerned. If the boys are then telling me they can't get up for these games then we've got a problem.

"Then I've really got to work with them because, when I played, that's how we won the league.

"We never gave points away against the lesser teams, the not-so-good teams. The Premier League is difficult – if you don't have that mentality you won't get results.

"You've got to earn the right to win. Sometimes you've got to earn it by passing quicker, winning the ball back – there are different ways of winning games of football."

A key part of United's success against Tottenham and City has been the improved form of Jesse Lingard, who was reprimanded earlier this year for a video posted on social media.

Lingard started both matches and Solskjaer is delighted with the way the United youth product has bounced back of late.

"He's Man United through and through," Solskjaer said. "He's a red, he's got a great attitude and a great work rate.

"Every one of us have things to deal with on the pitch and off the pitch and what he has had to deal with, that will be between us. It's great to see him back.

"You can criticise anyone about anything but for me as a manager, I have to look after these boys in the good and the bad times.

"It's great to work with him. I had him in the reserves, gave him his debut against Burnley. It's good to see him back to his old self."

Liverpool maintained their charge for a first Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth, keeping just a third top-flight clean sheet of the season in the process.

The Reds remain eight points ahead of Leicester City, who saw off Aston Villa 4-1 to make it eight league victories in a row – their best winning run in their top-flight history.

But defending champions Manchester City are now 14 points adrift of top spot after tasting defeat in their derby showdown with a rejuvenated Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho made it three league wins out of four as Tottenham thrashed Burnley to close to within six points of fourth-placed Chelsea, who lost 3-1 at Everton.

There were also wins for Newcastle United and Sheffield United, against Southampton and Norwich City respectively, while Watford played out a goalless draw with Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion took a point off Wolves.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's games.

DERBY DEFEAT LEAVES GUARDIOLA WITH LOWEST POINTS HAUL

Pep Guardiola admitted City could not cope with the pace of United's attacking trio of Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in Saturday's clash.

City fell two goals behind inside half an hour and, despite Nicolas Otamendi pulling one back late on, they fell to a defeat that surely ends their hopes of retaining the title.

The loss leaves the reigning champions with 32 points - the lowest return of Guardiola's managerial career after 16 matches.

Kyle Walker refused to wave the white flag, but no English top-flight side has ever gone on to win the title after being as many as 14 points behind the top side at the end of a day.

As for United, who beat Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday, they are now unbeaten in five Premier League games and have won back-to-back matches for the first time since March.

CLEAN SHEET BONUS FOR RUNAWAY REDS

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had extra reason to celebrate his side's win at Bournemouth, having kept a first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions.

In fact, toothless Bournemouth - now beaten in five successive games for the first time in their top-flight history - managed zero shots on target at the Vitality Stadium.

Klopp's men have won 24 of their past 25 Premier League matches, including 15 out of 16 this term, and have scored two or more goals in 23 of those past 25 fixtures.

Naby Keita marked his first league start of the season with a goal and an assist, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah were also on target.

Salah's goal took him to 63 in 100 Premier League outings, with Alan Shearer (79), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Sergio Aguero (64) the only players to score more in their first century of games.

SENSATIONAL SON INSPIRES MOURINHO'S FREE-SCORING MEN

Tottenham produced a five-star display in their emphatic triumph against Burnley, who suffered their joint-biggest margin of defeat in the Premier League.

Mourinho saw Tottenham score five goals in his fourth Premier League game in charge, something Manchester United failed to achieve in 93 league matches under the Portuguese.

Harry Kane bagged a brace, Lucas Moura scored a sitter and Moussa Sissoko netted for the second home game running, but it was Son Heung-min who stole the show.

Having earlier set up Kane's opener, Son ran from one box to the other and found the net to make it 15 goal involvements in 15 appearances at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Dele Alli may not have registered in the one-sided contest, though he provided two assists in a Premier League game for the third time and the first since December 2017.

VARDY CLOSING IN ON HIS OWN RECORD

Leicester appear to be the only side standing between Liverpool and a maiden Premier League title success after coming out on top in their Midlands tussle with Aston Villa.

Jamie Vardy helped himself to a couple of goals as the Foxes inflicted a heaviest home league defeat on Villa since they lost 4-0 to Chelsea in April 2016.

The 32-year-old became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League matches since Vardy himself did so in November 2015 when netting 11 in a row.

Only one player other than Vardy has scored in eight successive fixtures, in fact - Van Nistelrooy, who did so in 2002 and again in 2003 during his time at Manchester United.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also registered at Villa Park for Leicester, who have won their past four away Premier League matches by an aggregate score of 17-1.

Everton have confirmed they are investigating alleged homophobic chants reported during Saturday's 3-1 Premier League win over Chelsea.

Everton say they and equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out received reports that chants were heard during the match at Goodison Park.

The Toffees confirmed the alleged chants in question were directed at Chelsea supporters by a small group of home fans.

A statement issued by the club on Sunday read: "Everton is working in conjunction with Kick It Out and has commenced an investigation into homophobic chanting reported during Saturday's Premier League game against Chelsea.

"Both the club and Kick It Out have received reports of a homophobic chant being aimed at Chelsea's fans by a small section of the home crowd.

"Homophobia has no place within our stadium, our club, our community or our game. The club strongly condemns such behaviour and is carrying out a thorough investigation which will include liaison with Merseyside Police."

Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg plans to rely on experienced players during his time in charge and is adamant a top-four finish in the Premier League should not be considered beyond them yet.

The Gunners travel to West Ham on Monday having not won any of their past nine matches in all competitions, with their most recent fixture a 2-1 loss at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

They have taken 19 points from 15 league games this season and are 10 points adrift of the Champions League spots, while Manchester United and Tottenham look considerably more fluent than the Gunners in their respective bids to reach the top four.

But Ljungberg, who replaced Unai Emery at the end of November, does not think Arsenal can be written off as top-four challengers yet.

"No, I don't think we should stop talking about the top four," Ljungberg told reporters.

"But for us it's to focus on what we're doing here now, not looking up, down, here, sideways [in terms of the table], we just need to work on our own game and our own confidence."

One element of Emery's tenure that did attract praise was his willingness to use the team's younger players, though Ljungberg is putting the onus on the squad's more experienced stars to taking a leading role in improving their position.

When asked whether he is building his team around Mesut Ozil, a player who found game time hard to come by under Emery, Ljungberg said: "Mesut is a very good footballer. When he's on the ball, he can do things, things happen, but we have a big squad, so I haven't said I'm going to build the squad [around] certain players.

"I wanted to play the experienced players [against Brighton] when it's such a difficult situation as it is at the moment.

"To put down all the younger players, [and expect them] to change the future of the football club [would not be fair], so I've made a conscious decision to put down the more experienced players to take that responsibility and change the games."

Pep Guardiola has questioned whether his Manchester City side are able to compete with the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The reigning Premier League champions fell 14 points behind leaders Liverpool on Saturday after suffering a 2-1 home defeat to rivals Manchester United.

City's defence was torn to shreds in the opening 30 minutes by United's attack, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial putting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side 2-0 up.

Nicolas Otamendi set up a grandstand finish with a late header, but City were unable to salvage anything from the game.

Despite dominating English football for the past two seasons and boasting an exceptional, expensive squad, Guardiola has suggested his side might be unable to go toe-to-toe with Europe's biggest clubs.

"This is the level we are facing, against Liverpool, [Manchester] United, Barcelona, [Real] Madrid and Juventus," he told reporters. "They are the teams we have to face, and the reality is maybe we're not able to compete with them.

"Okay, so we have to improve and accept it and move forward. I could come here and complain about many things; I have reasons to complain.

"Maybe we need as a club to accept the reality we have right now and improve."

Despite the points advantage Jurgen Klopp's side hold over City, Guardiola says he has no intention of throwing in the towel in his pursuit of a third Premier League title.

"The reality is we're 14 points behind because of the mistakes, the quality of the opponents and especially for the things we cannot control. That's the reality," he added.

"But we have to continue. We are at the beginning of December. We have other competitions to play, other games to fight and improve on that. Maybe it will help us for the future of the club; maybe we need that for the future to be better."

After being selected at left-back for the 4-1 win over Burnley on Tuesday, Angelino once again lined up in defence for the Manchester derby.

Guardiola says the Spaniard feels like a better fit for the position at present, suggesting Benjamin Mendy still needs more time to fully recover from two years of injury problems.

"In this moment Angelino feels better and plays better than the other one in that position," he explained.

Asked what Mendy needs, Guardiola said: "Time. After two years injured, it's not 'tac tac' [clicks fingers], where one week you're fit, and you play. You need time."

Leicester City registered a club-record eighth Premier League win a row with a resounding 4-1 defeat of Aston Villa on Sunday.

The result – aided by a Jamie Vardy brace – means Brendan Rodgers' side go back to within eight points of leaders Liverpool and sees them open a six-point advantage over Manchester City following their defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.

Sheffield United's impressive return to the top flight continued as they came from behind to beat Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road, while Newcastle United left it late to scrape past Southampton by the same scoreline.

In the day's final game, Diogo Jota scored twice as Wolves and Brighton and Hove Albion played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Amex Stadium.

 

Foxes maintain sensational run

Vardy's stunning streak continued as he became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League games since he previously achieved the feat himself in 2015.

The 32-year-old claimed goals in a record-breaking 11 matches in a row during Leicester's remarkable title-winning campaign and is now threatening to match or even improve upon that landmark.

He put Leicester ahead at Villa Park before Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the Foxes' advantage from close range.

Jack Grealish suggested the hosts could stage a comeback when he scored on the stroke of half-time, but Jonny Evans and Vardy's second sealed yet another three points for Rodgers' relentless side.

Blades bounce back to overcome Canaries

Sheffield United remain unbeaten away from home in this season's Premier League after a narrow victory over Norwich City.

Alexander Tettey had given the hosts a first-half lead, but Chris Wilder's side bounced back after the break courtesy of goals from Enda Stevens and George Baldock.

The Canaries thought they had been handed an opportunity to claw their way back into the game when Chris Basham was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Kenny McLean, only for a VAR review to downgrade the dismissal to a yellow card.

The result moves the Blades up to eighth, while Daniel Farke's side remain four points away from safety in 19th.

Jota double seals away point for Wolves

Wolves stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 11 games after a draw with Brighton that saw all four goals scored in the first half.

Jota put the visitors ahead in the 28th minute after playing a one-two with Raul Jimenez before the hosts turned the game on its head with two goals in 96 seconds.

First, Neal Maupay drew Graham Potter's side level and then Davy Propper put them ahead with a fine header from Leandro Trossard's cross.

Jota ensured a share of the spoils a minute before the interval, though, turning inside the penalty area and firing past Mat Ryan.

Magpies' revival continues with hard-fought win

Jonjo Shelvey scored for a third consecutive game as Newcastle made it four wins from their past six in the Premier League with a late victory over Southampton.

The Saints went ahead courtesy of Danny Ings' fifth goal in as many games seven minutes into the second half, but Shelvey restored parity in the 68th minute.

Federico Fernandez had the final say, firing in from close range after Sean Longstaff's shot was parried by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy with three minutes of normal time to go.

Jose Mourinho's appointment at Tottenham has got the approval of Jose Bosingwa, who said "football needs" the old Chelsea boss.

Spurs replaced Mauricio Pochettino with Mourinho last month and the Portuguese has guided the club to four wins out of five since taking the reins.

Mourinho, who had been out of work since being sacked by Manchester United last December, was a surprise appointment by Spurs, having previously said he would "not take the job" with Tottenham due to his Chelsea connections.

However, Bosingwa, who played under Mourinho at Porto, is glad to see his former coach back in work.

Bosingwa, speaking on behalf of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour driven by Nissan, told Omnisport: "I think football needs Mourinho. I'm happy he came back.

"I hope he will do a good job because he's one of the best managers in the world so for sure he will do a great job."

Bosingwa was part of Mourinho's Champions League-winning side in 2003-04 and the full-back won Europe's premier club competition again in 2011-12 with Chelsea.

Success has proved more elusive for Tottenham, though, with the 2007-08 EFL Cup the most recent trophy the north London side won.

Asked whether Mourinho could end that wait for silverware, former Portugal international Bosingwa replied: "Tottenham have a good squad, maybe one of the best squads in the Premier League.

"It's not easy [to win trophies] but I hope he does."

Tottenham's rivals Arsenal are currently looking for a new head coach after sacking Unai Emery last month.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is one of those to have been linked with the vacancy and Bosingwa believes his compatriot has earned a shot at a top club.

"I think he deserves [this], the next two or three years," Bosingwa said.

"He's doing very well with his team now, so he deserves [this]. Let's see what will happen."

Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari fears the issue of racism "is definitely getting worse" in Britain following an incident at Saturday's Manchester derby, which has led to an arrest.

On Sunday, Greater Manchester Police confirmed a 41-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody over an incident at the Etihad Stadium.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed two of his Manchester United players were targeted in their 2-1 win over City, when television footage appeared to show a supporter making a racist gesture in the direction of Brazil international Fred and his team-mate Jesse Lingard.

The incident came almost a year to the day since City striker Raheem Sterling was subjected to "racially abusive language" by a Chelsea supporter, who was later banned for life.

A League Two game between Forest Green Rovers and Scunthorpe United was also temporarily halted on Saturday following a report of alleged racist abuse, and Bhandari is concerned by the growing number of incidents across the game in Britain.

"I think the problem is definitely getting worse here and it has been over the last three years," he told Sky Sports News.

"We're nowhere near where we were 30, 40 years ago but there's definitely been an upward spike over the last two, three years.

"But by the same token it doesn't help us if we create these false oppositions; we're not [like] Bulgaria."

In October, UEFA ordered Bulgaria to play a competitive home game behind closed doors after their Euro 2020 qualifier against England was halted twice due to racist chanting from the stands.

"We should not be complacent, we should focus on what's happening in our own country," Bhandari added.

"There has definitely been a rise over the last two or three years and we need to get a handle on that and collaborate much more effectively across football to really try and stamp this out."

City promised any individual found guilty of making racial gestures would be banned for life.

The Premier League also issued its own statement on Sunday saying it would support any action taken by their 20 clubs.

"The Premier League and our clubs will not tolerate discrimination in any form," the statement read.

"If people are found to have racially abused Premier League players they deserve to be punished and we will support any action taken by the authorities and the clubs.

"We appreciate the millions of supporters who help create a positive Premier League matchday atmosphere and have made it clear that racist conduct or language is unacceptable."

Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari fears the issue of racism "is definitely getting worse" in Britain following an incident at Saturday's Manchester derby, which has led to an arrest.

On Sunday, Greater Manchester Police confirmed a 41-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody over an incident at the Etihad Stadium.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed two of his Manchester United players were targeted in their 2-1 win over City, when television footage appeared to show a supporter making a racist gesture in the direction of Brazil international Fred and his team-mate Jesse Lingard.

The incident came almost a year to the day since City striker Raheem Sterling was subjected to "racially abusive language" by a Chelsea supporter, who was later banned for life.

A League Two game between Forest Green Rovers and Scunthorpe United was also temporarily halted on Saturday following a report of alleged racist abuse, and Bhandari is concerned by the growing number of incidents across the game in Britain.

"I think the problem is definitely getting worse here and it has been over the last three years," he told Sky Sports News.

"We're nowhere near where we were 30, 40 years ago but there's definitely been an upward spike over the last two, three years.

"But by the same token it doesn't help us if we create these false oppositions; we're not [like] Bulgaria."

In October, UEFA ordered Bulgaria to play a competitive home game behind closed doors after their Euro 2020 qualifier against England was halted twice due to racist chanting from the stands.

"We should not be complacent, we should focus on what's happening in our own country," Bhandari added.

"There has definitely been a rise over the last two or three years and we need to get a handle on that and collaborate much more effectively across football to really try and stamp this out."

City promised any individual found guilty of making racial gestures would be banned for life.

The Premier League also issued its own statement on Sunday saying it would support any action taken by their 20 clubs.

"The Premier League and our clubs will not tolerate discrimination in any form," the statement read.

"If people are found to have racially abused Premier League players they deserve to be punished and we will support any action taken by the authorities and the clubs.

"We appreciate the millions of supporters who help create a positive Premier League matchday atmosphere and have made it clear that racist conduct or language is unacceptable."

Jamie Vardy's stunning streak continued on Sunday as he became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League games since he previously achieved the feat himself in 2015.

Vardy claimed goals in a record-breaking 11 consecutive matches during Leicester City's remarkable title-winning campaign and is now threatening to improve on that landmark.

He was on target after 20 minutes at Aston Villa in Leicester's latest game, boosting the Foxes' chances of recording an eighth successive Premier League win and closing back to within eight points of leaders Liverpool.

Vardy has been the English top flight's most prolific forward since Brendan Rodgers' first game in charge of Leicester on March 3, scoring 24 league goals in that time, seven more than any other player. 

 

A man has been arrested on suspicion of a "racially aggravated public order" during Saturday's clash between Manchester City and Manchester United, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed.

During the second half of United's 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium, the visitors' midfielder Fred appeared to be hit by an object thrown from the crowd as he prepared to take a corner.

Lighters and a plastic bottle could be seen by the corner flag, while television footage seemed to show a supporter making racist gestures in the direction of Brazil international Fred and his team-mate Jesse Lingard.

Shortly after full-time, City released a statement saying they were investigating and threatened to issue life bans to any individual found to have committed racial abuse.

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said: "A man has been arrested after a video posted on social media showed a supporter making racist gestures at the Manchester City v Manchester United match at the Etihad Stadium yesterday.

"At around 6.55pm on Saturday 7 December 2019 police were called to a report of a supporter making alleged racist gestures and sounds towards players during the Manchester City and Manchester United derby.

"A 41-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody for questioning."

Superintendent Chris Hill of the City of Manchester Division added: "I would like to thank the public for their ongoing support with this incident.

"Racism of any kind has no place in football or our society and I hope this arrest shows that we are taking this matter extremely seriously.

"We will continue to work with Manchester City and Manchester United football clubs on this incident and will investigate any other lines of enquiries."
 

A man has been arrested on suspicion of a "racially aggravated public order" during Saturday's clash between Manchester City and Manchester United, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed.

Fred hit out at the "backward society" we live in after the Manchester United midfielder was allegedly racially abused and struck by a lighter in his team's 2-1 derby win over Manchester City.

A City supporter appeared to make racial gestures in the direction of Fred and team-mate Jesse Lingard in Saturday's Premier League showdown at the Etihad Stadium.

The incident happened when Fred went to take a corner in the second half, with a series of objects also being hurled towards the Brazil international.

City released a statement to say they are working closely with Greater Manchester Police and have vowed to ban for life any supporter found guilty of racism.

Former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred confirmed he was hit by one missile and is eager for the matter to be dealt with but does not want to give attention to the perpetrators.

"Unfortunately we are still in a backward society," he told ESPN Brazil. "[It's a shame] we still have to live with that in 2019. 

"On the field I didn't see anything; I only saw it in the locker room afterwards.

"The guys showed me. [Someone] even threw a lighter and it hit me. I try not to care about that. I try to look ahead.

"Unfortunately, this is happening in some stadiums. It happened here, it happened in Ukraine with some friends. It's sad, but we have to keep our heads up and forget about that.

"We can't give them any attention because that's all they want. I spoke to the referee after the match, they will do something about it and that's all.

"We are all the same regardless of skin colour, hair and gender. We came from the same place and we all go to the same place when it's all said and done."

Fred was hailed by United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his star performance against City, and the 26-year-old is grateful for the support he has received.

"Thank God I have a lot of friends here in the locker room who hugged me, like Lingard," he added.

"I don't want to think about [what happened]. I just want to move on."

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