Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson admitted it would be "pretty strange" to lift the Premier League trophy without fans in attendance.

Jurgen Klopp's men are on track to win a first league title since 1990, holding a 25-point lead at the top with the season suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Premier League reportedly aiming to restart behind closed doors as soon as next month, Henderson could be lifting a trophy with no fans watching on.

The midfielder said it would be unusual if that was the case, although warned his team still had work to do.

"Of course it would feel different because if you win any trophy and receive it without any fans there, it would be pretty strange," Henderson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It is still not over. We still have work to do and we still need to perform at a high level right the way until the season finishes because we want to finish as strongly as we can to make sure it is a full season.

"After that, whether we win it or whatever, then [receiving] the trophy and the fans not being there ... you just have to deal with it when it comes. Hopefully it does happen. We are still in a very good position.

"It will mean we have won the Premier League and we will all be very happy but then we can look to the future – and whenever fans are allowed back into the stadium, I am sure we will have some sort of celebration together."

Premier League clubs have returned to training amid the COVID-19 crisis, which has led to more than 351,000 deaths worldwide.

Henderson said he had felt safe on his return as he looks ahead to a potential restart.

"My opinion is that as soon as everyone is comfortable and as soon as it is safe to do so, we are guided by the experts and doctors on what they deem safe to do," he said.

"For us at Liverpool, it has been really good. It has been great to get back and everyone has felt comfortable and safe, otherwise we would not have gone in.

"Hopefully that is the case throughout the Premier League."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told his Manchester United players he wants them to match the desire and verve of the 1999 treble winners.

The United manager was a Champions League final hero at Camp Nou on May 26, 1999, when his last-gasp strike secured a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.

It sealed a spectacular season for Alex Ferguson's United, who also won the Premier League and FA Cup.

"It's a day that you'll never, ever, ever forget - the celebration at the end and all the build-up to the game and its history and we're proud of it. It was an amazing day for the club," Solskjaer told MUTV when speaking on the 21st anniversary of the match.

"It has been [life-changing] of course. It didn't make me a better player, for sure, but of course I'll always be remembered for scoring that winning goal. And it's just down to luck, but still I'll never get tired of talking about that night.

"The harder you work, the more lucky you get, and as a striker I've never, ever practised that type of finish. That was just instinct, it just happened."

He recalled the moment Teddy Sheringham equalised for United in the first minute of stoppage time, which barely left any time for a winner, yet United found one to break Bayern hearts.

"I thought, 'Fantastic, I’m going to play 30 minutes of extra-time in a Champions League final, I'm going to get a fantastic experience'," Solskjaer, who had come off the bench late in the game, added.

"But then Denis [Irwin] plays a ball in behind, I make a run, and we get a corner, and anything can happen with this bunch of players. They were unbelievable.

"That group and camaraderie and their winning mentality - never give up - that's for me Man United, and that's what we're trying to get back in."

United last won the Premier League in 2013 and they sat fifth in the table when the 2019-20 season was suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.

Anniversaries can feel more poignant when a team might be struggling to match previous levels of success.

The winning goal in 1999 still resonates with Solskjaer, but the Norwegian was fearing a linesman's flag when he prodded home after Sheringham flicked on David Beckham's corner from the left.

“I remember the touch, but more so not being sure if I was offside or onside," he said. "So before I really wanted to celebrate, I needed to check if the flag was up.

"It was an amazing feeling and I clearly remember all the subs coming in and celebrating. Where did they come from? They were quicker than lightning to get there."

Recalling the celebrations when United went on a bus tour of Manchester to mark their success, Solskjaer said: "There was no social distancing, that's for sure."

Manchester United duo Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford will be available for selection if the green light is given for the Premier League season to resume next month.

The pair had been long-term absentees prior to the campaign being brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic in March, but both players returned to small group training last week.

Competitive action could restart in England's top flight in mid-to-late June and United boss Solskjaer revealed Pogba and Rashford came through their first few non-contact training sessions unscathed.

"They're looking good. They've joined training now and they've done everything the other boys have been doing. There's been no reaction so far, touch wood," Solskjaer told MUTV.

"When we get started, it looks like we can have a full squad to choose from."

United's players had spent the previous two months training alone, but Solskjaer has no complaints about their fitness and is hopeful he can take the next step to full-contact training.

"The players have been looking after themselves," he said. "They've done well. Charlie [Owen] the fitness coach, Kieran [McKenna], Michael [Carrick] and Martyn [Pert] have been on to them all the time. They've not had many days off!

"There have been video calls and of course the last couple of weeks they’ve been stepping it up.

"The boys have been fantastic, the weather's been good and they've enjoyed it.

"Hopefully now we've proved we can do this safely and we can move to the next step. It's been really enjoyable being on the training ground again.

"Everyone's looking sharp, everyone's been in with a good mood and we've been splitting up in groups so [working in] fours and fives together and they've really done well. 

"Hopefully, they can as I said, step up and go to bigger training groups but so far it's been good."

Steffen Freund believes Jadon Sancho is good enough to play for Liverpool or Manchester United but warned the winger he risks becoming the next Luka Jovic if he leaves Borussia Dortmund too soon.

Manchester City academy product Sancho, 20, has been linked with a move back to the Premier League after scoring and assisting a combined 30 goals for Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season.

However, former BVB midfielder Freund cited the example of Real Madrid flop Jovic as to how a big-money move to a new club at such a young age can hamper a player's development.

Jovic starred in the German top flight with Eintracht Frankfurt last season with 17 goals, but the 22-year-old has scored only twice in an underwhelming debut campaign in Madrid and has been linked with a move away.

Freund, who spent five years with Dortmund from 1993, is worried Sancho's career could go the same way if he makes the wrong choice when the transfer window opens for business.

"Jadon is ready to play for Liverpool or Man United, no question, because his stats are unbelievable. That shows that he can take the next step," he told talkSPORT.

"In the Borussia Dortmund side with [Erling] Haaland, [Julian] Brandt improving, with Emre Can signing, with changing to a back three – that suits Sancho.

"It would be good for him to play for Borussia Dortmund now and next year so that he will have more match time.

"He's only 20, so why not play for Borussia Dortmund? We're not talking about Freiburg or Paderborn; we're talking about Borussia Dortmund, one of the top 20 clubs in Europe.

"Remember Jovic, who moved to Real Madrid from Eintracht Frankfurt – he's not playing. If you have an offer from Real Madrid you think, 'I have to go'.

"No, you don't have to go because the salaries in the Bundesliga are on a good level, too – not as much as Real Madrid or the Premier League, though.

"But you can earn good money and improve and not make too much of a big step at once.

"So, for Jadon to move to Man United with that pressure, they are struggling to qualify for the Champions League, so maybe it's better to stay another year in Dortmund."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc revealed last month he does not believe any teams will risk spending big for Sancho amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to clubs across the world facing a significant loss of earnings.

Freund has suggested it may be best for any interested parties to hold off from tabling an offer for the English youngster, who is reportedly valued well in excess of €100million, until BVB feel forced to cash in.

"If the offer comes in and the people from Borussia Dortmund think it's right then they will sell him," he said.

"With the coronavirus, if something goes wrong in the Bundesliga and we can't see football until the end of the year, then it's not the right moment to talk about players, they cost so much money.

"I think the price will drop anyway. All the clubs in Germany are losing a lot of money.

"It's not the same without money from tickets and sponsors and so it'll be difficult to keep your best players."

Manchester United should sell Paul Pogba and bring in a player with "the right mentality and desire", according to former striker Teddy Sheringham.

France star Pogba has been restricted to just seven Premier League appearances this season due to injuries to his foot and ankle.

The 2018 World Cup winner has been training at Carrington again and is expected to be fit to play a part if the 2019-20 campaign resumes as planned following its suspension amid the coronavirus crisis.

Pogba's future beyond this term is far from certain, though, with Real Madrid and Juventus persistently linked with a move for the 27-year-old.

Sheringham, a key part of United's treble-winning side of 1998-99, thinks the Red Devils should cash in on their record signing and bring in a player more like former captain Roy Keane.

"People mention top players and captains," Sheringham told Sky Sports. "When things weren't going right in our time, Roy Keane put things right. He would drive our team on, he would dig deep and make sure we had a say in every game we played in because of his desire.

"When you look at Pogba, yes, he may be a talented boy, but does he have the same mentality? Does he really dig deep and get Manchester United out of the mire when the going gets tough? For me the answer is no.

"He gives off the wrong vibe as a Manchester United player. Yes, it's good to be cocky and arrogant at the right times, Dwight Yorke had that as well, a big smile on his face when he played. But Yorke had a desire to do the right things at the right times. You've got to have that, and I don't think Paul Pogba gives you that.

"He would be one that would need to go so that you can get someone in with the right mentality and desire to drive Manchester United out of the position they are in."

The lockdown may have prevented Liverpool's players from training as usual, but Joe Gomez thinks the experience has actually brought Jurgen Klopp's squad even closer together.

Liverpool players returned to their Melwood training base for the first time in two months last week to take part in small group sessions at staggered times. 

Prior to that, the Premier League leaders had to keep fit at home due to the lockdown measures implemented by the United Kingdom government, which were designed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Videos on social media showed the Reds would often conduct group sessions via video links and Gomez feels it has been a bonding experience for the group.

"Yeah, I think so, because we've had to have communication in a different way; it's not been the standard come in and see each other by force every day," he explained to Liverpool's website.

"We've had to reach out as individuals and really stay connected by choice. That's when you grow fonder of each other and closer because it's been a tough time that we've come through together.

"It has been beneficial in that sense, that as a team we've been so connected and kept communication through the whole thing.

"I think having that time apart, to then come together again last week made it feel that much more special."

Klopp's side have not played a game since losing 3-2 to Atletico Madrid after extra time at Anfield on March 11 to exit the Champions League at the last-16 stage.

Despite that, Gomez has been impressed with how his team-mates have been able to maintain their sharpness in lockdown.

"As a team, just seeing the lads already, everyone has kept that foundation of fitness," he claimed.

"We obviously had a rigorous programme that the fitness guys set out for us and everyone stuck to.

"So it doesn't feel like we're starting from scratch, but I suppose because of the break we are. But everyone is raring to go and just enjoying the process."

Though the Premier League has been suspended since March, the competition is still hoping to resume next month.

Arjen Robben has described former Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola as the "master of offensive football" and says the Catalan is the best coach in the world.

Former Netherlands international Robben, who announced his retirement from football last July, spent three seasons playing under Guardiola during his decade with Bayern.

The 36-year-old was brought to Bavaria by Louis van Gaal and also worked with Carlo Ancelotti, Jupp Heynckes and Niko Kovac at the Allianz Arena, as well as Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

But Robben feels that Guardiola is the coach who helped him to improve the most, with the pair sharing the same ideology of how the game should be played.

"I love football and, above all, the offensive football – and Pep is a master at it," he told Socrates magazine.

"He focused on attack and total ball control. Of course, I particularly liked that. We were on the same wavelength.

"He made sure that I became more complete. For me, Pep is the best coach in the world. The three years with him in Munich were extremely instructive."

Robben joined Bayern from Real Madrid in 2009 and won 20 major honours, including a memorable Champions League triumph in 2013 when scoring a late winner against Borussia Dortmund in the final to secure the treble.

However, he was not sure at the time whether swapping Madrid for Bayern would be a good choice for him.

"Back then, my only wish was to win the Champions League and Bayern was not one of the top clubs in Europe," he said. "But I took the risk and it was worth it.

"It was really not an easy decision for me at the time. But going to Bayern was the best of my career in retrospect."

Former Manchester City full-back Glyn Pardoe has died at the age of 73.

Pardoe was part of the one of the club's most successful eras during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

A winger who was eventually converted to a defender, he scored the winning goal in the 1970 EFL Cup final against West Brom at Wembley.

Pardoe was also part of the title-winning squad of 1968 and lifted the 1969 FA Cup and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup a year later.

"Everyone at City is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Glyn Pardoe," Premier League champions City said in a social media post.

"Our thoughts and condolences go out to his friends and family at this difficult time."

Pardoe remains City's youngest debutant, having been 15 years and 341 days old when he made his first appearance for the club in April 1962.

He went on to feature 380 times for City, although a serious leg injury in 1970 limited his playing time in the final years of his career and he retired in 1976.

He took up a role in the coaching staff after hanging up his boots, remaining with the club until 1992.

Manchester City look set to have to fill a void in their squad.

Germany international Leroy Sane is tipped to swap City for Bayern Munich.

And Leon Bailey has reportedly emerged as a target for City.

 

TOP STORY – SANE OUT, BAILEY IN AT CITY?

Manchester City are targeting Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey as a replacement for Leroy Sane, according to the Daily Mail.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are hoping to sign City star Sane in the off-season.

Should Sane complete his return to Germany, Bailey has been identified by Pep Guardiola's City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport claims Juventus have warned Paul Pogba he will have to accept a drastic cut to his salary if the Manchester United star is to return to the Serie A champions. Pogba has been linked with former club Juve and LaLiga giants Real Madrid. The Red Devils have reportedly re-opened the door to Juve over a possible deal.

Luka Jovic wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu and turn things around with Madrid, reports Marca. The Serbia forward, who has struggled since arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt, has emerged as a target for Milan.

- Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik is pushing for a move to Juve, says Calciomercato. The Poland international is a free agent in 2021 and is valued at €40million by Napoli, though he is hoping to lower the club's demands.

Juve are desperately trying to convince Arthur to leave Barcelona for Turin, according to Mundo Deportivo. Juve want Arthur to replace Miralem Pjanic, who is reportedly close to swapping clubs.

- Onda Cero says Barca could recall Philippe Coutinho from his loan spell at Bayern. With Bayern opting not to exercise their option to purchase Coutinho, the Brazilian could find himself back at Camp Nou ahead of LaLiga's proposed resumption.

Inter have been in contact with Edinson Cavani's entourage over a move to San Siro, says Calciomercato. Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani is coming out of contract and could replace Inter star Lautaro Martinez, who is wanted by Barca.

- The Daily Mail claims Barca will listen to loan offers for Ousmane Dembele. The injury-prone Frenchman has previously been linked to PSG, Juve, Arsenal, United and Liverpool.

Martin O'Neill has praised Leicester City's progress under Brendan Rodgers and feels the club's famous Premier League title win is still helping them.

Leicester are on course to reach the Champions League, with the Foxes sitting third in the Premier League table prior to the coronavirus halting top-flight action.

A remarkable season has seen them equal the Premier League's record for the biggest ever win with the 9-0 triumph at Southampton, as they sit above the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal in the standings.

The impressive campaign in Rodgers' first full season since joining from Celtic comes after Leicester finished ninth last season, with O'Neill - who managed them between 1995 and 2000, winning two EFL Cups - impressed by what he has seen.

He thinks Leicester's unbelievable 2016 league success catapulted the club to a new level of stardom, helping to set foundations that make the current team more likely to remain a leading force.

"Do I think that Leicester can make the Champions League? Oh, very much so," O'Neill said to Stats Perform News.

"They are in a terrific position. They have played very, very well, they have played a nice brand of football as well. So, good credit to the manager, Brendan, he's done very well there.

"Their season when they won the league was absolutely and utterly incredible. I suppose it takes the shine away from our particular years there, finishing in the top 10 for about four consecutive seasons and winning a couple of EFL Cups.

"But overall, Leicester City are a very fine footballing team. They are competing.

"They are competing financially in the market as well. They are pretty astute, they got a lot of money from Manchester United for the centre-back [Harry Maguire] and then used it accordingly.

"Of course, winning the league a couple of seasons ago has escalated into some sort of stardom anyway, if not super-stardom.

"They are a team to be reckoned with, no question about that."

Joe Hart understands he is unlikely to earn a move to a top club at the end of the season but is eager to go abroad if that means he can become a key player for a team once more.

Now 33, Hart has not played a Premier League game for Burnley since being dropped after a 5-1 home loss to Everton on Boxing Day in 2018, a match of which he "remembers every second".

Since leaving Manchester City, where he won two Premier League titles, he has represented Torino and West Ham on loan, while the goalkeeper with 75 caps to his name has lost his place in the England squad.

Hart acknowledges he may not be joining a side contending for titles when his Burnley contract expires but is more determined than ever to prove he has much to offer.

"It [my desire] has got stronger," Hart said to the Guardian. "This lockdown has made me realise how much I want to play football.

"I understand I'm not going to be part of Real Madrid. I don't think I've lost the ability, but I know how football works.

"All I want to do is be a big part of something. I just want to be a big part of a club and give my all to them. That hope burns through me."

Referring to his time at Torino, Hart added: "I enjoyed being part of that club. In terms of being in a different country, experiencing a different culture, playing a different league, I absolutely loved it.

"It's definitely something I'd love to do again. I believe there will be [clubs who want to sign me]. But they all need to work out exactly what the hell is going on [with the coronavirus pandemic].

"I like to think I'm a good catch. I'm on a free contract, I've got experience and real hunger. The Premier League has been great for me but I'm more than willing to spread my wings, I'm totally open [to playing abroad].

"I just want to play at the highest level I can. In England, I don't feel I am going to be able to do that."

Hart is to appear on a BBC programme on mental health to support a campaign led by Prince William.

"It is certainly my lowest point – I'm sad I'm not playing, [but it is] a challenge rather than a dark cloud," he said of his own situation.

"Mentally, because of what I've put in place when I was flying higher and winning leagues, I feel really comfortable talking about my head space. But I also need to speak because football is difficult.

"It is hard but I'm going to be on a programme with guys who have real problems.

"I want people who haven't experienced any adversity in football to learn from this. It's all very well riding the wave, but it won't last forever.

"Inevitably, it's hard to maintain. How we react is something I'm keen on trying to help people with – giving them the tools to deal with those situations. One of the greatest things for me is to help people."

Gary Neville is optimistic the Premier League will vote to restart the season in the near future, but he expects more players to drop out.

The United Kingdom government has given Premier League teams the green light for "close-contact" and "competitive" training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Following that advice, top-flight teams, who are already training in small groups while following social distancing measures, will vote on Wednesday over whether they will proceed to contact training, representing phase two of Project Restart.

Former Manchester United captain Neville is glad a return to action is on the horizon, but he feels more stars will follow the lead of Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante and Watford forward Troy Deeney, who have opted not to train for personal reasons.

"I think the clubs will unanimously vote to restart the season in the next few weeks," Neville said to Sky Sports.

"I think there will be a few more players who drop out. I don't think it helps that the Premier League are relying on government advice and we are all watching what's going on with the government at this moment in time.

"The Watford situation seems to have the most focus at this moment but Kante missing for Chelsea is an absolutely huge blow for them from a football point of view, but you completely understand it from a personal point of view.

"That situation seems to have been accepted more than the Watford situation because there is this doubt, this lingering doubt, that the clubs at the bottom are trying to exploit the situation."

Neville added: "Everyone's saying it, the bottom six will be thinking, what's the upside for us? They really will. They'd much prefer null and void but that doesn't seem the scenario right now.

"Every single scenario has to get played out. They have to manage everything because you don't know [what might happen].

"If a load of players go down with coronavirus from a couple of teams, you have to then play out that situation - what if they can't fulfil the fixtures?

"At least they're doing it and fingers crossed, we can get football back on the menu very soon.

"I think relegation will happen and points-per-game will come into play if clubs for any reason can't compete the season."

Joe Hart says he understands Pep Guardiola had to "make his stamp" after taking over at Manchester City and changing the goalkeeper, a development that impacted his career.

The 33-year-old is now back-up at Burnley, having had loan spells at Torino and West Ham since leaving the club with whom he won five major trophies.

Hart was firmly established at City since signing from Shrewsbury Town in 2006 and was the England number one.

But he immediately felt uneasy when former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola was appointed to much fanfare in 2016.

Initially replaced by Claudio Bravo, it is now Ederson in place for City between the sticks and Hart, who has struggled to recapture the same success he had in Manchester, conceded it is difficult to question Guardiola's record.

Asked if he and Guardiola had an open discussion before he moved to Torino, Hart told the Guardian: "Yeah, I made sure we had dialogue.

"I certainly backed myself to the hilt when we spoke. I listened to what he had to say. There's more to it than me not being as good with my feet as he wants from a goalkeeper.

"I realised he needed to make his stamp at City. He had a direction he wanted to go, and he's not exactly struggled since, has he?

"I was fairly concerned [when he was appointed]. Lots of important people tried to reassure me. But you just have a feeling, don't you?

"I came back late from the Euros [in 2016] and he made it clear when I got there that I needed to be out by that window.

"That's Pep's brilliance. He makes decisions and stands by them. I don't dislike him. We get on as men and we both love football."

Phil Coles lauded Liverpool's "unbelievable" physicality as Jurgen Klopp's high-octane European champions dominate English football.

Klopp's 'heavy metal' football has transformed Anfield, the charismatic German helping to restore the glory days after last season's Champions League triumph.

Liverpool were also on track to win their first league title since 1990 prior to the coronavirus pandemic – the Reds were 25 points clear atop the Premier League table through 29 matches.

Klopp has overhauled Liverpool's style of football since replacing Brendan Rodgers in 2015 – his Gegenpressing philosophy restoring the club's position among the world's elite clubs.

Coles is no stranger to Liverpool's inner sanctum, having previously worked as the team's head of physical therapy under former bosses Rodgers, Kenny Dalglish and Roy Hodgson between 2010 and 2012.

So what does the Australian – who now works as executive director of performance at NBA franchise the Boston Celtics – think about Klopp's high-flying Reds?

"Looking from the outside, and I don't have any special data or information on anything they've done, but they do look incredibly good physically," Coles told Stats Perform News.

"The style Klopp plays with the press and counter-attack – it expends a lot of energy. The way the full-backs play is incredible, with the engines they have. Both full-backs getting up and down.

"So, they are clearly a physically gifted side and you would have to credit the approach of the club as a whole to giving that to them.

"Partly that can be in the recruitment of players who will fit in the style that Klopp wants. Partly it's gonna have to do with the coaching and the way he structures his sessions that are going to allow them to achieve what they need.

"And partly it's no doubt due to the performance staff there, who are clearly doing a fantastic job to get those guys at the level they're playing. Not only are they playing unbelievably good football and I think personally, if the season was to stop now, they should be crowned champions because they are clearly the dominant side and certainly deserve it.

"It's not just how good they are playing but the physicality of how they play is unbelievable. The performance staff have clearly done a fantastic job but I think it's a club-wide approach, to achieve the success they've had, everyone has to be contributing – from the players they recruit, to how the coach sets up and runs practice sessions, to how the performance staff contribute.

"All of those things have to be in sync to be at the level that they're at, both physically and functionally for how well they're playing."

Former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper and current Australia international Mitch Langerak recently provided an insight into Klopp's relentless methods during his time at Signal Iduna Park.

Langerak told Stats Perform News: "He's full power… For example, when I first arrived [in 2010], I didn't know what a training camp was because I hadn't been on one with Melbourne Victory. We turned up and my agents were saying 'oh wait for the training camp, wait for the training camp'. I'm like what's with the training camp? I thought we'd just go and do a bit of training. We were doing three sessions a day, then the next day we'd have a double, then the next day we'd have training in the morning, a 'friendly' game at 4pm that afternoon but a friendly game with Dortmund is in front of 30,000 people.

"The next day you'd have a double, a triple. So you're up at 7 in the morning. You'd do lactate testing, so they would know if you're in the fast group of five players or next group. You'd do 5km or 6km in 1km time-trials and you just have to keep your pace. The boys would be blowing, they'd be wrecked. That was at 7am in the morning before breakfast. You'd go back to the hotel, have a quick bite to eat, you'd get showered and changed and then you'd go training. You'd do a proper, proper training session. Go back, have lunch, maybe sleep for an hour and you're back at 4pm for the third session of the day. This is day one of training camp, Day two could be a double, day three is training and then at 4pm a friendly game in a stadium live on TV in front of 30-40,000 people.

"It's actually so nuts but it wasn't like 'oh he needs to have a rest today, he's 32, he's coming back from injury so he needs to have a light one today'. It was none of that, if you train, you train. That was the biggest thing for me. It was just like, obviously after seven days of training you're a bit sore, bit tight maybe we should have an easy session. Nah, you learn to just get on with things and grind it out.

"Some of the training sessions were intense but then when he could see the players getting tired, he was like 'that's it we're finished for today, come back tomorrow and we'll smash it again'. I think that with a lot of young, hungry players it worked really well. He was obviously the alpha, the boss. You can see that within the whole club – he was the one in charge and everyone had so much respect for him."

Neymar's return to Barcelona could be getting a little closer.

The Paris Saint-Germain star continues to be linked with a return to Camp Nou, where he left in 2017 for a world-record €222million.

While there is uncertainty over whether Barcelona can get a deal done, it seems it may be getting closer.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR CLOSER TO BARCELONA RETURN AS PSG EYE DEMBELE

Paris Saint-Germain remain very interested in signing Ousmane Dembele and it could help Neymar return to Barcelona, according to Sport.

France international Dembele has struggled with injuries since joining Barca from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, but the former Rennes attacker could be set for a return to his homeland.

However, Marca reports Neymar is not a priority for Barcelona with their focus on Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

Staying at Barcelona and Sport says the club are following Hertha Berlin's 18-year-old midfielder Lazar Samardzic.

 

ROUND-UP

- Timo Werner starred again for RB Leipzig on Sunday with a hat-trick against Mainz in the Bundesliga. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp held a virtual meeting with the forward in recent weeks, according to journalist Raphael Honigstein.

- With Bayern Munich deciding not to buy Philippe Coutinho, the Barcelona attacker's future remains unclear. Le 10 Sport reports Arsenal want to start talks with the playmaker's agent, with head coach Mikel Arteta dreaming of signing the Brazil international.

- Toni Kroos looks set to finish his career at Real Madrid. AS reports the 30-year-old midfielder has no interest in leaving Madrid, where he is contracted until 2023, amid links to MLS and the Chinese Super League.

- Odion Ighalo's Manchester United career may be over already. According to the Daily Mail, Shanghai Shenhua have rejected the Premier League club's requests to keep the forward – who has scored four goals in eight games for United – on loan for another three months.

- Could Raul Jimenez leave Wolves for Juventus? Todofichajes reports Juve offered Adrien Rabiot plus €30m (£26.7m) for the star forward.

- Less than a year after leaving Newcastle United, Rafael Benitez is being linked with a return. Benitez, now coach of Dalian Professional in China, wants to return to the club if their proposed takeover is resolved, and sign Manchester City defender John Stones and Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley.

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