Mohamed Salah made his 100th appearance in the Premier League against Bournemouth and marked the occasion with his 63rd goal.

The Liverpool forward netted his team's third in the 54th minute as the leaders recorded a 3-0 away victory on Saturday.

Salah, 27, has the fourth most goals of anyone in their first 100 Premier League games.

The competition's record goalscorer Alan Shearer is unsurprisingly at the top of the list with 79 strikes in his first century of matches.

Manchester United icon Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero (64) are the other players just ahead of Salah, whose strike was his seventh top-flight goal of 2019-20.

It was also the first Premier League goal he has scored away from Anfield this season.

Naby Keita set Salah up, returning the favour after the Egypt international had earlier created his goal, which was Liverpool's second. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring as Jurgen Klopp's side stretched their unbeaten start to 16 matches.

Naby Keita scored on his first Premier League start of the season as Liverpool consolidated their position at the top of table with a comfortable 3-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had given Jurgen Klopp's side the lead with his league goal since January 2018 before Keita added a second just before half-time.

Mohamed Salah made it three shortly after the break, and the Reds kept a rare clean sheet, ending a run of 13 matches in all competitions without one.

Liverpool moved 11 points ahead of second-placed Leicester City, who play on Sunday, and 14 clear of champions Manchester City ahead of their derby clash with Manchester United later in the day.

After a low-key start, Bournemouth lost defender Nathan Ake to an apparent hamstring injury following a challenge on Salah just after the half-hour mark.

And Liverpool took full advantage moments later when captain Jordan Henderson lifted a high ball over the top of the reshuffled Bournemouth defence and Oxlade-Chamberlain cushioned a first-time finish past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

Liverpool suffered an injury setback of their own when Dejan Lovren departed clutching the back of his leg, but the Reds added a second goal on the stroke of half-time.

A superbly crafted team move culminated in Salah's backheel for Keita, who poked inside the right-hand post.

Liverpool then ended the game as a contest nine minutes into the second period when Jack Simpson lost possession to Keita, who returned the first-half favour and fed Salah to apply a cool finish.

Bournemouth's day got worse when leading marksman Callum Wilson limped limped off - also seemingly suffering with a hamstring problem - and Liverpool cruised through to full-time.

Ramy Bensebaini scored an injury-time penalty as Borussia Monchengladbach beat Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich 2-1 in a thrilling top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.

Bayern, who lost at home to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend, dominated the first half but could not open the scoring until shortly after the restart, Ivan Perisic on target with a fine finish.

Their lead was short-lived at Borussia-Park, however, as Bensebaini's header drew Gladbach level within 11 minutes to set up a gripping finale.

Javi Martinez conceded a late penalty for fouling Marcus Thuram - and was sent off - with Bensebaini staying cool to beat Manuel Neuer and leave Bayern seven points behind leaders Gladbach.

Zinedine Zidane admitted Real Madrid lacked fluency in their 2-0 win over Espanyol and said the team "can do much better", yet he still had saw positives at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Goals from Zidane's French compatriots Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema saw off the lowly visitors from Barcelona.

There were promising performances from the likes of striker Vinicius Junior and midfielder Federico Valverde, two youngsters of whom much is expected in the coming years.

But it was largely an underwhelming display by a team that ultimately ground down their opponents, Madrid's pedigree telling in the end despite Ferland Mendy's late red card.

"Today, we have to be happy because we continue on a good run," Zidane said afterwards.

"Of course, we can do much better, but we played a very serious game, respecting the opposition, and that is the most important thing."

Zidane said that 19th-placed Espanyol "do not deserve to be where they are in the table", and he acknowledged: "I think we controlled our own game, even though we were missing a bit of fluidity.

"Despite this, I'm happy because we scored two goals and didn't concede."

He added that he continues to feel pride at coaching Madrid in his second spell in the post, saying: "I am fortunate to be here with them.

"It is they who are fighting on the pitch and we have a very good squad. There is still a lot of work and let's not forget where we came from."

After winning three Champions League titles in his first spell as head coach, Zidane is jostling for more silverware this season, and his side are battling Barcelona for LaLiga supremacy, inching ahead of their great rivals at least for a few hours with their latest victory.

Asked about Valverde's lively display, Zidane said of the 21-year-old Uruguayan: "Fede has a place for many years here because he is demonstrating what he has, he is an important player, like everyone else.

"He is very young; when he plays, he doesn't have any trouble with the ball and without the ball. And when he plays, he does well."

Zidane also highlighted his other options in midfield, including Luka Modric, who came off the bench late on, and Isco, who was not used.

Modric, who was celebrating his new status as a Ballon d'Or winner this time last year, still has a major role to play for Madrid, as Zidane stressed: "He knows that occasionally he'll miss a game. But physically he can hold up very well."

In attack, Madrid continue to rely on the goals of Benzema, but they have a major talent in 19-year-old Brazilian Vinicius Junior.

His pace and dribbling caused Espanyol problems at times, and Zidane is sure the goals, in short supply for now, will come.

"The important thing is his work. What he has done, he has done well, both in attack and in defence," Zidane said. "I don't ask anyone for goals. That is a consequence of what the team does."

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane praised the patience of his team-mates after Saturday's 2-0 win over Espanyol.

Madrid nudged clear of LaLiga title rivals Barcelona with a comfortable home victory thanks to goals from Varane and fellow Frenchman Karim Benzema.

Zinedine Zidane's side secured the points despite being reduced to 10 men in the 82nd minute after Ferland Mendy was sent off.

"It was a closely contested match against a rival that ran a lot and pressed us," Varane told Real Madrid TV.

"We had to be strong and solid at the back in order not to concede and be patient in front of goal. It was a good game from the team.

"After the second yellow card for Mendy we handled the remaining time well. We have kept a clean sheet and that is very good.

"We are playing with more confidence, at a good physical level and with a good team dynamic.

"We must continue because we have some tough games to end the year and we will give it our all."

Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde believes Madrid have been ruthless at taking their chances in recent matches.

"We are seizing the moment and enjoying playing together," he added. "Feeling the support of the fans helps us to move forward.

“The coach asks us to go for goal and get players into the area. I try to do that and as a team we did it well." 

Saturday lunchtime, and the Gran Via and Plaza Mayor are teeming with Christmas shoppers in Madrid.

Cyclists, too, are out in force, gathering for a peaceful protest ride to make the case for leaving the car at home.

This is day one of a UN climate change convention being hosted by Spain's capital, and it is hard not to be conflicted by the collision of consumerism and conservationism.

We are living through times where we want to give, give, give to afford loved ones brief relief from cataclysmic reality, but at the same time we are warned the shop-around-the-clock culture is killing the planet.

At the nearby Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Real Madrid are wearing their mint-green third kit for a home league fixture against Espanyol.

The gesture is one of solidarity with the environmental campaigners - eco warriors, one and all, particularly when a global audience can snag a rare glimpse of a shirt that retails around the £90 mark.

At the same time, Real Madrid are wondering what their hipster manager, Zinedine Zidane, might deserve in his stocking this year.

Has he been a good boy? Does he deserve Paul Pogba? Kylian Mbappe? Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?

Another pair of his beloved skinny jeans simply will not cut it this year.

Zidane, in middle age, still has the chutzpah and the physique to pull off a fashion statement, even if his band of footballers rarely catch the eye in such a manner.

A year ago he was enjoying a break from football, having grown tired of Real Madrid life. He and wife Veronique paid a trip to the Great Wall of China, and days later Zidane enjoyed dinner out with his fellow France 98 World Cup winners.

Retirement - for that is how it seemed - looked to be suiting the artisan footballer of his generation. A commercial deal here or there kept the money rolling in, and yet nine months after waving goodbye to the Bernabeu, Zidane was drawn back.

Saturday's 2-0 victory over lowly opposition was more pallid than it sounds, yet for several hours at least it lifted Madrid to the LaLiga summit. They and Barcelona are again duking it out for domestic silverware, and Madrid's saving grace is that their great rivals have also been shadows of their old selves at times this term.

The Clasico on Wednesday week - December 18 - might struggle to live up to that billing.

In this post-Cristiano Ronaldo era, Madrid all too often look bereft of the identity their great rivals still possess thanks to the ever-imperious Lionel Messi.

Neither Gareth Bale nor Eden Hazard, both temporarily absent through injury, has risen to the challenge of becoming Madrid's totemic personality, despite both being sufficiently gifted to step into the role. Newcomer Hazard deserves time to make his presence felt, but Bale's continuing presence - and the golf narrative - is helping nobody.

Bale is said by his agent to be "not ecstatic" to be at Madrid, and you wonder whether Zidane might soon feel similarly about his own second reign. The reliance on Karim Benzema, scorer of the second goal against Espanyol, is now all too obvious. This team look ripe to be picked off by stronger opposition, as Paris Saint-Germain have shown in the Champions League.

Marca reported on Saturday that Madrid must find 200 million euros to satisfy financial fair play bean-counters; presumably, in the absence of any more training grounds to sell, that means players will have to move on before others come in during January.

So recycling, fittingly enough, could be the salvation of this most functional of Real Madrid teams. The time is approaching for Zidane, the king of the first Galacticos era, to bring style and verve back to the Bernabeu.

That, or get on his bike.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp left in-form duo Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench for Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

Mane made way as one of seven changes from the side that beat Everton 5-2 in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday.

Alexander-Arnold was left out of the starting line-up in a league game for the first time this season and replaced at right-back by Joe Gomez.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were both selected in attack as midfielder Naby Keita made his first Premier League start since April.

Goalkeeper Alisson returned to the team after serving a one-match suspension, while captain Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were also both restored to the side.

Mane and Alexander-Arnold were joined on the bench by midweek goal heroes Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Neither Georginio Wijnaldum nor Adam Lallana made the matchday squad, though, reportedly due to minor knocks.

Paris Saint-Germain have hit out at "immature" criticism of Marquinhos after they allowed him to miss Saturday's match at Montpellier for the birth of his second child.

A discussion on programme L'Equipe du Soir involving host Olivier Menard and former Auxerre boss Guy Roux questioned why the Brazil international should miss the Ligue 1 game.

In one exchange, Roux, 81, said: "Are the men giving birth now? Is there is no doctor in Paris for this lady to give birth?"

Marquinhos, meanwhile, posted on social media to confirm Enrico had been born on Friday, describing his birth as a "blessing" while calling his wife Carol Cabrino "a warrior".

L'Equipe du Soir issued an apology on Saturday on behalf of Menard and his panellists, some of whom had laughed and joined in with the discussion, adding their congratulations to the player.

But that did not stop PSG from making clear their displeasure with the situation.

"His wife was in the hospital for two days waiting to give birth, the club decided that Marqui stays with her," PSG's statement on Saturday read.

"The club also conveys all its congratulations and wishes of happiness to Marqui and his wife, who gave birth yesterday afternoon to their second child.

"It is with dismay that we heard the immature and hurtful remarks made yesterday in L'Equipe du Soir. 

"Coming from people who give us year-round lessons on the values of sport and life, we are surprised by the mediocrity of these remarks."

PSG added: "Very happy for you Marquinhos, as well as for the mother. Enjoy this new moment of happiness with your family."

Marquinhos, 25, also has a two-year-old daughter named Maria.

He has played in 13 of PSG's 15 league games this season, including Wednesday's 2-0 home win over Nantes.

Out-of-sorts striker Krzysztof Piatek is not the root of Milan's problems, according to head coach Stefano Pioli.

Piatek joined Milan 11 months ago from Genoa and made an instant impression, scoring seven times in his first six games.

The Polish star finished the 2018-19 campaign with 22 Serie A goals, but he has struggled to hit those heights this season, finding the net just three times and failing to score in six successive matches.

Milan, down in 11th in the table, have struggled as a result, but Pioli feels their issues are collective, rather than individual.

"There is no Piatek problem," he said at a news conference to preview Sunday's game against Bologna.

"There is a Milan that is playing well, that is working hard to climb out of this slump, a team that knows we need to do more."

Pioli feels he has no like-for-like replacements for Piatek in his squad as he considers talented 20-year-old Rafael Leao a different type of forward.

"If Piatek plays tomorrow that is because I've decided he is important for our team," Pioli added.

"If he plays like he did against Parma [in last week's 1-0 away win], it means he will have had a good game, like the rest of the team.

"Each player brings their own characteristics; Piatek is a striker, a poacher, Leao is a movement striker. There are many ways to play but the important thing is the characteristics on the field match up.

"The individual isn't important; we don't have anyone like [Lionel] Messi or [Cristiano] Ronaldo - that means we have to work as a team."

With Piatek unable to replicate last season's form, Milan have been linked with a reunion with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is available on a free as he leaves MLS side LA Galaxy.

Asked if he wanted Ibrahimovic to sign as an early Christmas present, Pioli replied: "Christmas comes on December 25 but you've been talking about these things from November.

"If I was to think about a present for now, I'd want the three points for tomorrow."

Real Madrid extended their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions with a straightforward 2-0 win over struggling Espanyol on Saturday.

Raphael Varane opened his season account and sent Los Blancos on their way to a fourth consecutive LaLiga victory with a left-footed finish in the 37th minute.

Karim Benzema made the points safe when he swept home Federico Valverde's pass 11 minutes from full-time, making Ferland Mendy's late sending off for a needless second booking the only blight on an otherwise unfussy showing.

Madrid's win momentarily edges them three points ahead of title rivals Barcelona, who host Mallorca later on Saturday.

Vinicius Junior started for the first time since October and registered two attempts on target inside the opening 30 minutes.

Thibaut Courtois clawed away Esteban Granero's header between those chances before Varane made the breakthrough.

The defender stayed forward following a corner and finished with impressive poise after Benzema created space through neat footwork.

Vinicius escaped a potential second yellow for an ungainly collision with David Lopez, then forced goalkeeper Diego Lopez into a near-post save.

Espanyol's number one prevented Benzema from doubling the margin when the French striker broke through on goal after the interval.

Benzema squandered another good chance to put the result beyond doubt 20 minutes from full-time, turning wide from Rodrygo's cut-back.

But the 31-year-old was not to be denied, his unerring low finish after Valverde's fine build-play ensuring the late loss of Mendy for a silly foul on Victor Gomez counted for little.
 

What does it mean? Madrid building towards El Clasico

The rescheduled first Clasico of the season is fast approaching and Madrid look set to take a good deal of confidence to Camp Nou on December 18.

Zinedine Zidane's men have two games to negotiate before that big test but the head coach will be pleased with how his side has moved on from a middling start to the season.


Vinicius excites in Madrid sunshine

Vinicius has struggled for minutes this season but here it was simple to see why Zidane has ruled out a loan move.

The winger was vibrant and incisive on the left flank, with a sense of over-eagerness perhaps the only area for improvement.


Marching orders for Mendy

The absence of Marcelo due to a calf strain offered an opportunity to France defender Mendy and he had been perfectly serviceable for over 80 minutes.

That will have made it all the more frustrating for Zidane when his second-choice left-back left a foot in on Victor Gomez for the second time in the space of 20 second-half minutes, earning him a red card and forcing him out of the next match against Valencia.


What's next?

Madrid conclude their Champions League group stage commitments with a midweek trip to Club Brugge, then visit Valencia on Sunday.

Espanyol have a Europa League game at home to CSKA Moscow before next weekend's date with Real Betis.

Liverpool's two Club World Cup matches have been moved from Al Rayyan to Doha after FIFA was forced to switch the venue for the final.

The new Education City Stadium was scheduled to host the European champions in a semi-final on December 18, in addition to the final and third-place play-off on December 21.

But the official opening of the 40,000-seat venue has been delayed until 2020 after FIFA failed to complete the relevant test events on time.

The matches have been moved to the Khalifa International Stadium, which will now host five games in total.

"Construction at Education City Stadium is complete and the venue is now operational," read a FIFA statement.

"However, the necessary certification process took longer than expected and therefore the stadium was unable to host the required test events prior to the semi-final and final of the FIFA Club World Cup at full capacity.

"The priority is to ensure an enjoyable experience for all fans so it was decided to open the stadium at a later date."

Liverpool said club officials would visit Qatar in the coming days to inspect Khalifa International Stadium, "as per our protocols".

The tournament is due to begin on December 11, when Xavi's Al Sadd take on OFC Champions League winners Hienghene Sport at Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.

Italy international Fabio Quagliarella has signed a new contract with Sampdoria, the Serie A club have announced.

The veteran's deal runs until June 2021, by which point Quagliarella will be 38.

He joined Samp for a second spell in 2016 and has made a combined 184 appearances for the club across the two stints, scoring 78 times.

Former Torino, Napoli and Juventus striker Quagliarella was top scorer in Serie A last year for the first time in his career, beating Duvan Zapata, Krzysztof Piatek and Cristiano Ronaldo with his 26 goals.

That form led to him winning a recall to the Italy team in March, when he won his first cap in nine years.

He became Italy's oldest scorer later that month when he netted against Liechtenstein at the age of 36 years and 54 days.

Lionel Messi's inevitable retirement is a worrying thought but the record-breaker deserves to determine his own fate, according to Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Messi, 32, suggested the end of his career was "approaching" after winning an unprecedented sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday.

Ernesto Valverde insisted it was a natural line of thinking and nothing to be concerned about but Bartomeu told Catalunya Radio: "I worry about the day Messi goes."

He does not expect that day to come soon and outlined plans to agree a contract extension with Messi before his own term as president ends in 2021, which coincides with the expiry of the Argentine's deal.

"I would like to sign one more contract with Messi," Bartomeu said.

"He has a lot left. We have talked many times and he has no problem continuing at Barca. I have no doubt that he will play here until he retires, it is a commitment from him.

"It will end when he wants because Leo, for being the best, for giving what he has given, it will be up to him to say when he stops.

"He will set the terms. He has the right to decide how and when he wants to finish. He will never leave, this is his club, the club of his life."

Head coach Valverde is also due to become a free agent in 2021 but, unlike Messi, there looks to be a realistic chance of him leaving then or earlier.

The former Athletic Bilbao boss will hope to secure a third successive LaLiga title before decisions are made over his future.

Bartomeu said: "Valverde has a contract until the end of my term. He or Barcelona will decide. To continue with a coach depends on many variables.

"In Barcelona we have seen very short periods of coaches lately. Three [seasons] may be enough, but it is a decision that he must make.

"It depends on exhaustion, fatigue, although I see Valverde is excited, wants to do well, wants success and wants to combine these players who have won everything with the new generation."

Sydney FC surged five points clear atop the A-League as Adam Le Fondre spearheaded a 5-1 thumping of Brisbane Roar on Saturday.

Le Fondre notched twice inside the opening 45 minutes and completed his hat-trick near the end to help the champions increase the gap to second-placed Melbourne City.

Milos Ninkovic scored in between the striker's first-half double and substitute Trent Buhagiar made it four a minute after his 85th-minute introduction.

The fleet-footed forward set up Le Fondre's third moments later and only a stoppage-time Roy O'Donovan penalty prevented Brisbane from suffering complete humiliation.

Robbie Fowler's men have lost four of eight games this term to sit second from bottom.

Wellington Phoenix earlier snatched a late 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers to pile the pressure on Fowler's former Liverpool team-mate Markus Babbel.

Babbel had been under pressure ahead of the trip to Westpac Stadium and his job appears to be in danger following a fourth successive defeat.

Ulises Davila converted Wellington's winner from the spot in the 89th minute after his shot struck Pirmin Schwegler in the arm, which led to a penalty following a VAR review.

Jaushua Sotirio had opened the scoring against his former club shortly after the interval, before Nicolai Muller dragged the Wanderers level in the 64th minute.

But the visitors were unable to hang on for a point and find themselves behind fourth-placed Wellington on goal difference.

Arsenal appear to be spiralling into a deeper mess as the days pass.

Just over a week on from sacking Unai Emery, the Gunners now reportedly have doubts over how long Freddie Ljungberg should be left in charge.

Misjudging the situation could have serious ramifications for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future.

 

TOP STORY – DOUBTS EMERGE OVER LJUNGBERG

Arsenal fear interim boss Ljungberg's lack of managerial experience will force them to make a full-time appointment before the end of the season, reports The Mirror.

Gunners chiefs seemed set to back the Swede when Emery was moved aside but a draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road and the 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion in midweek have cast doubt over his capabilities.

Action could be taken sooner rather than later as the club mull over a list of potential targets, particularly as there are "growing concerns" about star striker Aubameyang .

The 30-year-old has reportedly stalled on contract talks and the lack of clarity over the head coaching position could end with Arsenal being forced to sell one of their strongest assets.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in their sights after their transfer ban was reduced on Friday, reports The Athletic.

- Juventus are considering a move for either Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic or Leandro Paredes of Paris Saint-Germain, claims Corriere Torino.

- Inter's interest in Arturo Vidal could aid Barca's bid to sign Lautaro Martinez from the Serie A side, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Steven Gerrard is on the verge of agreeing a new deal with Rangers that will see him remain as manager until 2024, says The Sun.

- Two Eredivisie stars could be headed for Portugal, reports A Bola. Belgian forward Cyriel Dessers of Heracles Almelo and exciting AZ prospect Myron Boadu are said to be in the sights of Primeira Liga heavyweights Sporting CP .

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