Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed he would still score 20 goals a season in Serie A as he talked up his chances of a return to Italy's top flight.

But Ibrahimovic labelled former club AC Milan "a disaster" in a wide-ranging interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, while also poking fun at Inter forward Romelu Lukaku's first touch.

Former Sweden striker Ibrahimovic was discussing his options for a next move as his LA Galaxy contract expires in December following the MLS playoffs.

The 38-year-old has been linked with a return to Manchester United, but he suggested Serie A, where he represented Juventus and both Milan clubs, might be his preferred destination.

"I am 38 years old and have the enthusiasm of a kid, with that same desire to win. That, for me, is everything," Ibrahimovic said.

"Italy is my second home. I will listen to all offers, but I want to fight for the maximum target. If I were to come back, I'd want to challenge for the Scudetto, not just be signed by someone because I am Ibrahimovic.

"I can still make the difference. I'm not a zoo animal to be put on display for people to see. I can still get 20 goals in Serie A."

Milan, who are 13th in Serie A with nine points from seven matches, would not appear to be an option, though, and Ibrahimovic picked out Paolo Maldini for criticism.

"Milan are a disaster. They're all talk and no action," he said.

"This is not the club everyone fell in love with, in Italy and all over the world. Perhaps there are too many wrong people who should be elsewhere.

"Paolo Maldini doesn't have what it takes to be a director, whereas in his playing career he was one of my all-time favourites."

Meanwhile, the striker revealed a mooted bet with former team-mate Lukaku, whose touch was maligned by some supporters during his time at United.

Ibrahimovic explained: "At Manchester United, we made a bet, 'I'll give you £50 for every decent first touch you make'. He replied: 'What do I win if I get them all right?'

"I told him nothing, he would simply become a better player. For the record, he never accepted the bet! Perhaps he was afraid of losing."

Manchester United players are as upset with recent results as supporters and will do everything possible to make amends against Liverpool, according to Andreas Pereira.

United head into Sunday's Premier League match still reeling from the 1-0 loss to Newcastle United that left them languishing in mid-table.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have taken six points from a possible 21 since beating Chelsea on the opening weekend and, with David de Gea likely to join Paul Pogba on the sidelines, are expected to encounter more misery at Old Trafford.

But a battling win over Jurgen Klopp's high-flying European champions could get United's season back on course and buy manager Solskjaer more support from the terraces.

"We know the fans are hurting," Pereira told United's official matchday programme.

"The players and everyone at the club, here at the training ground, hurts. Me even more, because I'm a Manchester United fan and a player and I am here [training] every day. It hurts not getting the results.

"Everybody is doing their best to get it turned around and I am sure it will happen. Everyone is working hard, even harder, and sooner or later, when everyone is working hard, things get back to good ways.

"It's a perfect game against Liverpool, a perfect derby, and we have to build up for it."

Reds defender Virgil van Dijk described the Old Trafford clash as no more important to Liverpool than big Champions League games but midfielder Pereira had no interest in underselling the size of the occasion.

"I think it means a lot to us," he said. "It's one of the most important games of the year. It's the derby and we absolutely want to win this game.

"We will do absolutely everything to win it.

"I know we're not living the best moment right now and we're not getting results but I think it's a derby and it is always a different game.

He added: "We all want to do everything to win the game and it can be a nice bounce back and provide a nice lift for us to start getting results."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has backed Jose Mourinho to prove a success in his next position, but the ex-Barcelona striker remains less enamoured with Pep Guardiola.

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic forged a strong bond during spells together at Inter and Manchester United.

The divisive former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss has not held a managerial job since parting ways with United in December 2018 but appears to be edging closer to a coaching comeback.

Mourinho recently rejected the chance to hold talks with Lyon as he "has already chosen another club," the Ligue 1 side's president, Jean-Michel Aulas, said earlier this month.

Ibrahimovic is adamant the Portuguese's next employers will enjoy the best of his abilities.

"He had an incredible impact on my career," the LA Galaxy striker told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He is still 'the Special One', a winner. I hope he will back on a bench soon and I am sure he will start winning immediately."

Guardiola, however, does not occupy the same place in Ibrahimovic's heart.

The pair shared a famously dysfunctional relationship over the course of the Swede's single season with Barca, which featured 16 LaLiga goals and a title triumph.

"We never had a direct confrontation because of him," Ibrahimovic said of Guardiola, who is now in charge of Manchester City.

"When we faced each other, he hid. He waited for me to leave and then left the dressing room. As a coach he is a phenomenon, but as a man..."

Georginio Wijnaldum believes it is possible for Liverpool to emulate the Invincibles of Arsenal by going unbeaten for an entire Premier League season.

Arsene Wenger's feted team of 2003-04 remains the only side to have not suffered a single loss through all 38 matches of English football's modern top-flight competition.

Liverpool lost once last term but finished second behind Manchester City, whose manager, Pep Guardiola, described an undefeated campaign as a "ridiculous" notion given the demands on clubs competing on multiple fronts.

But with the Reds victorious in each of their eight league games this season, midfielder Wijnaldum thinks a slice of history is there to be earned.

"It is possible," Wijnaldum said, in quotes reported by The Mirror.

"Nobody knows how it's going to be. We have had some luck up to now, but we have also put a lot of hard work in.

"We don't think about the fact that Arsenal did not lose in that season. We just try to give everything in every game."

European champions Liverpool are widely expected to continue their perfect start in Sunday's much-anticipated match against Manchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are in a wretched run of form and will be without injured stars David de Gea and Paul Pogba for the Old Trafford encounter.

But the leaders will not be taking any chances when it comes to defending their eight-point advantage at the top, according to Wijnaldum.

"The way we handle every match is to respect the opponent and give 100 per cent," the Netherlands international said.

"We try to do everything as good as possible, to work as hard as possible.

"Every game in the Premier League is tough. Look at the results we have had. I can't remember a game where it was easy.

"We have won them all so far because we give everything and were totally concentrated. Also, we have had a little bit of luck."

The future of Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still up in the air amid speculation of a mid-season managerial change at Old Trafford.

Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has been previously linked with the Red Devils' job and reports suggest that he could bring two familiar faces with him in Emre Can and Mario Mandzukic if appointed.

A switch to the red side of Manchester could be on the cards for both players, having fallen out of favour at the Serie A champions this season under Maurizio Sarri.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI TO SWOOP FOR JUVENTUS PAIR IF APPOINTED AT MANCHESTER UNITED

Allegri has been linked with a double raid on former club Juventus should he succeed Solskjaer at Manchester United, according to Tuttosport.

Can and Mandzukic have been on the fringe of the Serie A club's squad this season and would be trusted to make an impact in Manchester, given their lack of depth in midfield and up front.

Juventus could collect up to 60 million euros if their former boss is thrust into the hot seat at Old Trafford, and they dispose of the pair in January.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are also interested in Leicester's James Maddison and Lyon's Moussa Dembele, according to ESPN.

- According to Il Giornale, Inter are looking at Zenit St Petersburg striker Artem Dzyuba as they aim to reinforce their front line, following a serious injury to Alexis Sanchez.

- CalcioMercato are reporting AC Milan are considering a move for Atletico Madrid forward Angel Correa in January.

- The Daily Mail say Liverpool and Chelsea are monitoring Bournemouth and England midfielder Lewis Cook.

- Bayern Munich have no intention of selling Javi Martinez in the upcoming transfer window, according to TZ, despite previous links with former club Athletic Bilbao. 

- Turkish news outlet Star claim Fenerbahce and Turkey midfield Ozan Tufan is a January target for Crystal Palace.

Mason Greenwood has signed a new long-term Manchester United contract, the club have confirmed.

The 18-year-old forward has committed to a four-year contract, with the option to extend by a further year.

"Having grown up as a Manchester United fan, playing for the first team is a real dream come true," Greenwood told the club's website.

"I know that, when I play for this club, I represent the whole academy and I want to repay the faith that my coaches have shown in me with my performances on the pitch.

"I am learning all the time from the manager and his coaching staff and I know that this is the perfect club to help me reach my potential."

Greenwood made his Premier League debut under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 2-0 away defeat to Arsenal in March, with his first top-flight start coming two months later.

He has become a regular in the first-team squad in 2019-20, making six substitute appearances in the league and starting three times in cup competitions.

Greenwood scored his first goal for United to seal a 1-0 Europa League win over Astana at Old Trafford on September 19 and struck again in the EFL Cup draw with Rochdale, with the Red Devils ultimately progressing to the next round on penalties.

"Mason has progressed through our outstanding academy and we are delighted with the progress he has made. At such a young age, he already has great pace and intelligence and he is such a natural finisher," Solskjaer said.

"Since he came into the first team, he has really impressed everyone with his drive and attitude. He has all the attributes to become a top player. Mason is learning every day in training and, with his work ethic, there is no doubt that he has an excellent future ahead of him."

Greenwood is the second United academy graduate to sign a new contract with the club this week.

Full-back Brandon Williams, who made his debut in the Rochdale clash and started the Europa League draw with AZ, signed a three-year deal with the option of a fourth on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool are at the centre of a circus surrounding this weekend's blockbuster clash with Manchester United and has told his players to ignore the hype.

Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on the back of a 17-game winning run in the Premier League, including eight in a row at the start of the campaign to sit top.

United are 15 points worse off than their bitter rivals in 12th, their poor form seeing the pressure build on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his first full season in charge.

Given the sides' contrasting fortunes in recent times, certain pundits have claimed this week that no United player would make it into Liverpool's starting line-up, but Klopp has accused the media of setting up his side up to fail.

Asked how he copes with the talk that comes with such a high-profile fixture, Klopp said: "Ignore it! This game is so easy, the game everyone around it plays.

"Sky made a combined line-up and had 11 Liverpool players. That's like a joke, like building a banana skin. The world in the moment is a circus, and we are at the centre - a couple of people want us to win, a couple want us to lose."

He added: "I love [the occasion], but the talk is so loud. It's exciting for the media. All the stats, the things around it ... in the end we have to play football. That's all I am concerned about, this mix between outstanding attitude and really brave football. That's what we have to try.

"But all the things you wrote or said in the last few weeks, they don't have any influence on the game. It just makes them more desperate to change the situation. They will try that, 100 per cent, but we will try to improve our situation. We will see who wants it more."

Sunday's match will be the first time Liverpool have faced United in a Premier League contest while being top of the table since October 1996.

The hosts will be without key man Paul Pogba, while David de Gea and Anthony Martial are doubtful, but Klopp suggested Solskjaer may be playing mind games with his mixed messages over the fitness of the trio.

"Four days ago, I think Ole said 'no chance' for De Gea and Pogba. Today it's a 'maybe', tomorrow it's a '100 per cent', Martial will back, all that stuff," he said at his pre-match news conference.

"That's how all these games are played - I've got no problem with that. But in the end, I'm old enough, we are experienced enough to judge all the things in the right way."

Jurgen Klopp laughed off a question about advice he would have for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, insisting the embattled Manchester United manger does not need any despite their historically bad start to the new campaign.

Klopp's league-leading Liverpool visit Old Trafford on Sunday with United off to their worst ever Premier League start, having taken just nine points from eight games.

United are 15 points behind Liverpool in 12th, with their woeful form leading to great scrutiny on club icon Solskjaer in his first full season in charge.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of this weekend's clash, Klopp was asked by a Norwegian journalist if he had any advice for his counterpart, eliciting a loud laugh from the former Borussia Dortmund boss.

"He doesn't need it. He is in that club altogether now for 10-15 years. He was there as a player, he knows everything there," Klopp said.

"He made his experience as a manager in football. I know people think sometimes that a manager has to manage Real Madrid before you can take over Barcelona. That's not the truth. He knows, it just has to work out.

"That's how it is for all of us. That's why so many managers get the sack, if some people internally lose patience, then we have to go.

"From my point of view, it looks like he's settled there, they all knew it would be a difficult job to do. Nobody loses against you because you are Liverpool or because you are Manchester United, it's about the things you do on the pitch.

"On the other side they are all on their toes, really motivated when you come there and have a big name and that's part of the challenge we all face.

"I don't think you have to worry about Ole, he is in a good position and has the chance to win a game. We want to make sure that will not happen."

Solskjaer's record through 29 Premier League games in charge of United is actually superior to Klopp's was after the same number of matches at the helm at Anfield.

Asked to compare Solskjaer's situation to the one he faced at that point in his Liverpool career, Klopp said: "I have no clue about his situation really, because it's not important what you are writing, it's more important what the board is telling him, Ed Woodward is telling him, what the Glazer family is telling him. I have no clue.

"I want every manager in the world to have as much time as he can get too bring through his ideas but you never can compare situations, our situation when I came in, their situation now.

"Man United is a massive club, it's a massive club and nobody is really ready to wait for success, it was in my case no different.

"If you would have asked after these first 29 games, all the people here in the room, I don't think there was 100 per cent agreement that I'm the perfect manager for Liverpool. If there was any doubt internally that would be bad, as long as it's only externally, that's not a problem really."

Zinedine Zidane insists his meeting with Paul Pogba in Dubai was "pure chance" – but the Real Madrid boss will not disclose what they discussed.

Manchester United star Pogba, who has been in Dubai as part of his recovery from an ankle problem, was photographed meeting Zidane during his trip to the region for the Dubai Artificial Intelligence in Sport (DAIS) Conference and Exhibition.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted he had "no problem at all" with one of his most important players being pictured speaking with the head coach of a club who are among the favourites to try to sign him.

Pogba was heavily linked with a move to Madrid in the previous transfer window after indicating he wanted a new challenge and it is likely the France international will be the subject of rumours once more in January.

Zidane is not prepared to look ahead to the next transfer window just yet, but he would not go into detail about his chat with his compatriot.

"It was pure chance," he told a news conference on Friday when asked about the meeting. "He was there and I was doing the talk and, as we know each other, we spoke. But it's personal – I'm not going to tell you what we talked about.

"We've known each other for a long time, we crossed paths, we stopped, and we talked.

"There are a lot of options, for every club [in January]. When we come to this date, the clubs will decide. We're going to play with 11 players tomorrow [Saturday, against Real Mallorca] and there will be players on the bench. We'll find a solution.

"We'll be able to sign players until the end of January, but what matters to me is the game [against Mallorca]. I'm not thinking about reinforcements. That's a long way off."

Zidane's immediate concern is Saturday's trip to Mallorca, which Madrid will make without the injured Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez.

Zidane hinted he may choose to call on Federico Valverde in midfield, given his limited options.

"Modric won't be there, Bale won't be there. Kroos won't be with us, either, nor will Lucas...," he said. "We're always playing, travelling and we never stop, so this can happen.

"[Valverde] is very good, like everyone, but we have 25 players and I have to choose the 11 and the 18 for every game. He can play box-to-box and that's important. He has personality, he wants to do well all the time, he's very demanding of himself and that's good for improvement."

Given Karim Benzema's form this season, it looks unlikely striker Luka Jovic will make only a third LaLiga start since his reported €60million transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt.

Zidane, though, insists the 21-year-old will get his chance to impress.

"He's not discouraged. He knows the situation," he added of Jovic, who has played just 218 minutes this season for his club.

"He's a player who just arrived and he's much better, he's speaking Spanish bit by bit, training well and I will be using him. He's not played much so far, but I'll use him."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has never felt the managerial job at Manchester United is too big for him, despite a dreadful start to his first full season in charge.

After replacing Jose Mourinho in December and initially overseeing a significant upturn in fortunes for United, Solskjaer has seen his side struggle mightily through the first eight games of the new league campaign.

United head in to Sunday's clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford 15 points behind the Premier League leaders with just nine to their name.

Twelfth in the table, United have endured their worst start to a Premier League season, increasing the scrutiny on Solskjaer whose only previous managerial experience came with the Red Devils' reserves, Molde and Cardiff City, with whom he suffered relegation from the top flight.

However, speaking at a news conference ahead of this weekend's encounter, Solskjaer said: "No, I've never felt it's too big for me. I'm confident in what we're trying to do and confident in my staff.

"The coaching and what's happening here every single day, I've been so impressed. The improvement is there to see for us. Of course, it's about results – start winning games, start scoring goals, that's the main thing. We need to create more chances.

"At the back, I think we've looked solid, but we haven't been adventurous enough, taking enough risks. If you watch the best teams around, they risk the ball more often than we do, they make runs in behind, and that's part of the process for the boys.

"When they're losing confidence, they maybe want to play it a bit more safe, but it's my duty to say, 'Come on, then – it's not safety that does it here. At this club, you take risks'."

Asked what is different from when he took over in the wake of United's 3-1 loss to Liverpool that ended Mourinho's tenure, Solskjaer replied: "The culture I'm seeing every day, the attitude in training, the desire of the players that are here, they want to give absolutely everything for us.

"At times [last season], I didn't feel they had the robustness, the mentality at times. We've been working really hard on the physical robustness, the conditioning. We've had injuries, but that's maybe part of the process.

"I remember when Jurgen [Klopp] came in [at Liverpool], if we compare, he also seemed to get a few injuries early on because of maybe the work load and intensity he wanted his team to play in… you don't see that any more. He can play with the same 11 every week. We'll get there."

Goalkeeper David de Gea is unlikely to face Liverpool after sustaining a groin injury on international duty for Spain, but Solskjaer provided a positive update on his condition.

"I don't expect him to play but it wasn't as bad as feared," he added. "When I saw the game, I thought, 'That's him out until the next international break', as we've had some long-term muscle injuries, but it's not as bad as first feared.

"Hopefully we'll see on Sunday who's come through the last two sessions. There are players here who have just started training and are on the verge of coming back. I can't really say."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he has no concerns over Paul Pogba's commitment after the Manchester United midfielder was pictured with Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane.

Pogba, who has been in Dubai as part of his recovery from an ankle problem, was photographed meeting Zidane during his trip to the region for the Dubai Artificial Intelligence in Sport (DAIS) Conference and Exhibition.

The picture has further fuelled rumours about Zidane's possible interest in signing the player in January, with Pogba having been unable to secure an exit from Old Trafford in the previous transfer window.

However, United manager Solskjaer has no problem with meeting and has full confidence that Pogba wants to stay at the club.

"I've never heard Paul say he doesn't want to be here," he told a news conference.

"Paul is part of our plan going forward and Paul knows that. I've spoken to Paul many times. He's been playing through pain barriers. He's been criticised right, left and centre, but he came back, [against] Rochdale, Arsenal, he could easily have opted not to play them, but he wanted to play them.

"He wanted to try to get back, it was too painful, so we had that scan and now he's on the way back, he's mending, he's recovering, he's been on a few days off working and there's a picture. That's the way it is with Man United. I don't have any problem with that at all."

Solskjaer, who allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to leave for Inter without replacements being brought in, has previously said he would not keep a player at United against his will while he attempts to create a more desirable mentality within the squad.

United have struggled for goals this season, though, with injuries to Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford further depleting their forward line, and they head into Sunday's match against Liverpool with just two wins and nine goals scored from eight Premier League games.

Solskjaer, though, is not concerned that the short-term drawbacks of his rebuilding work could mean he is not given enough time to reap the possible rewards of his long-term vision.

"The time is always right to make the right decision," he said. "It was the right time to make those decisions and go on with the squad that we have. The injuries didn't help, we're getting players back now and I'm sure between now and Christmas if you see a full-strength squad then we'll get the results.

"The last few weeks have been difficult, they have been, but it's not like two or three weeks will tell me they were the wrong decisions. They were the right decisions. Listen, [for] the culture that we want to build, I had to make those decisions. That's it.

"When you lose the majority of your front creativity that we started with, you're going to struggle to create as many chances as you'd like. The Newcastle [United] game, we had 75 per cent possession but you can't create that opening…

"The pressing up high has been very good, the attitude, desire has been very good, but as you say, not enough chances created, chances haven't been taken. Sometimes that's confidence, that's human nature, you see players missing chances that they normally would not miss. But it's up to us to keep working and get the ball in between the posts. That goal never moves. It's the easiest bit because you know where it is."

Virgil van Dijk insists matches against Manchester United are no longer the most important of Liverpool's season.

The Premier League leaders will be looking to protect and potentially improve their eight-point advantage when they travel to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Eight straight league victories have given Jurgen Klopp's men control of the title race and firm favouritism against a United side languishing in 12th.

Previous meetings between the bitter rivals might have been viewed as season showpieces but, with European champions Liverpool now challenging for trophies on multiple fronts, defender Van Dijk said other occasions deserve greater billing.

"It's massive, but it's more massive for the fans," the Netherlands international told Sky Sports.

"I think all of the Champions League games are as big as this.

"The whole atmosphere and leading to the actual game is bigger than some other games but I don't think it's the biggest of the season.

"The big ones are [in] the Champions League and the ones that are hopefully going to win us the Premier League title."

United are set to be without first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea and star midfielder Paul Pogba through injury, compounding a poor run of form that involved a 1-0 loss to Newcastle United last time out.

"They're not in the best way, they're not fully confident and they're not in the situation they want to be in," Van Dijk said.

"But the good thing about football is you can bounce back in any game. They might think this is the best occasion to bounce back from it, but we know that.

"We want to go out and fight for every metre on the pitch and try to take the three points back to Liverpool."

Injuries also plagued United when the teams drew 0-0 at Old Trafford in February, a result that proved costly for Liverpool as a solitary point ultimately separated them and champions Manchester City.

While shock losses to Norwich City and Wolves have left the holders with plenty of catching up to do, Van Dijk denied the title pressure has now shifted to Anfield.

"I don't think we have anything to lose," he said.

"Man City are the champions, they're defending their title and we want to get it. In my point of view, we just have to go for it."

When Manchester United forked out a reported £80million to sign Harry Maguire, the comparisons to Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk started almost immediately.

Van Dijk has been credited as one of the best signings of Jurgen Klopp's tenure, with the Reds becoming Champions League winners and genuine Premier League title contenders with the towering centre-back at the heart of their defence.

The arrival of Maguire, whose breakout performances for Leicester City in the 2017-18 campaign coincided with Van Dijk's switch to Anfield, was supposed to have a similar effect on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils.

United have struggled badly for form this season, though, and the pressure is on the team and Solskjaer to deliver a performance against the table-topping Reds, who have won eight from eight in the Premier League this term.

Ahead of Sunday's clash at Old Trafford, Omnisport has crunched the Opta numbers behind Van Dijk and Maguire's statistics dating back to the former's move to Liverpool in January 2018.


VIRGIL'S A WINNING MACHINE

Prior to Van Dijk's arrival, pundits and fans alike were calling for Klopp to sign a commanding centre-back. Many baulked at the reported £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for his signature, but that fee looks a snip when you look at the impact Van Dijk's arrival has had. He has played in 60 Premier League games since signing, winning 45 of those and losing just four – giving him an astounding win percentage of 75. In the same time period, Maguire has played fewer matches – 56 – winning 19 and losing 25, with a win percentage of 34.


NONE SHALL PASS!

Earlier in the season, much was made of Van Dijk's astonishing run of Premier League games without being dribbled past. Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe eventually ended a stretch of 50 dating back to March 2018 and incredibly it has happened just three times to Van Dijk since January of the same year. Maguire has been caught on his heels nine times in the same period, but both players are remarkably consistent when it comes to errors leading to goals – each committing just one gaffe that resulted in the ball rattling the back of the net.


CLEAN SHEETS AND A CLEANER DISCLIPINARY RECORD FOR VAN DIJK

One statistic that really does leap out is Van Dijk's exemplary record when it comes to receiving yellow cards. Incredibly for a centre-back, he has been cautioned just twice since January 2018 and is yet to see red in the Premier League for Liverpool. Conversely, Maguire has 10 yellows and one red in the same period. Van Dijk is just shy of clean sheets in half of his games, keeping shut outs in 29 of 60 matches – with Maguire having 13 in 56. Teams Maguire has played in have also conceded double the amount those including Van Dijk have, 76 to 38. At the other end, each player has contributed but Van Dijk also holds the advantage in that regard with five goals and two assists to Maguire's respective three and zero.


HOW'S THIS SEASON SHAPING UP?

As you would expect, Van Dijk's numbers in the early stages of the Premier League campaign are pretty impressive. He has a flawless win percentage through eight games, although he has conceded in six of those. Encouragingly for Maguire and United, while the team are struggling his statistics compare pretty well to Van Dijk's with as many clean sheets and just two more goals conceded. Maguire has also only been dribbled past once compared to Van Dijk's two, while neither player has yet committed an error leading to a goal or even a shot.

The Premier League returns this weekend after the international break, with leaders Liverpool travelling to Manchester United in the pick of the fixtures.

Manchester City trail Liverpool by eight points and cannot afford another setback when they make the trip to Crystal Palace, while Chelsea host Newcastle United and Tottenham take on Watford.

The last of the 10 games takes place in Yorkshire on Monday as Sheffield United welcome third-place Arsenal, who have played more Premier League games at Bramall Lane without victory than they have any other ground in the competition.

Ahead of this weekend's action, test your top-flight knowledge with our Opta-powered big Friday Premier League quiz!

Answers are at the bottom of the page.

 

1. Newcastle United are seeking just a second win in 26 away league meetings with Chelsea when they head to Stamford Bridge. Who was in charge of United when they picked up that previous victory in May 2012?

2. Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has failed to find the net in six previous Premier League visits to Selhurst Park. At which other ground has he failed to score at more often?

3. Watford travel to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, meaning their last three meetings with Spurs in all competitions will have taken place in different stadiums. Name the other two...

4. Liverpool have won five previous Premier League away meetings with Manchester United. Can you name the only two sides to have won at Old Trafford more often?

5. Everton will be looking to return winning ways when they host West Ham on Saturday. Which Toffees player has scored (once) or provided an assist (twice) in each of his three Premier League appearances against West Ham?

 

Answers:

1. Alan Pardew
2. Anfield (seven times)
3. Stadium MK (September 2018) and Wembley (January 2019)
4. Chelsea (six) and Manchester City (seven)
5. Gylfi Sigurdsson

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