Gabriel Jesus concedes he is frustrated by still having Sergio Aguero in his way at Manchester City.

Brazil striker Jesus joined the Premier League champions from Palmeiras in January 2017 and, during his first year at the club, threatened to unseat Aguero as City's first-choice striker.

However, untimely foot and knee injuries hindered his progress as the club's all-time record goalscorer Aguero attuned himself to Guardiola's demands.

A goalless World Cup with Brazil in 2018 preceded a tough campaign last time around – even if Jesus did manage 21 goals in all competitions – but impressive showings with his country on the way to Copa America glory have seen the 22-year-old emerge in more confident mood for 2019-20.

As in the 5-0 opening weekend win over West Ham and 3-0 Champions League triumph at Shakhtar Donetsk, Jesus marked a starting chance with a goal during the midweek EFL Cup victory at Preston North End.

Aguero has scored in every Premier League game so far this season and is expected to return for Saturday's trip to Everton – a predicament Jesus understands despite some growing impatience.

"I'm over the 'I have to wait' phase. I've been here for almost three years, it's my fourth season, and that makes me want to play more," he told Esporte Interativo.

"Obviously it's very hard to compete for a place with Aguero, the biggest legend of this club, although it's good for the team - he plays well when in the team and I do the same.

"I do understand Pep's decisions and respect Sergio, his history here and what he's doing now.

"People say that I'm a sub in a negative way but they forget I'm not on the bench due to bad performances.

"It's because Aguero has been superb. I've learnt not how to wait but how to understand this situation."

Jesus acknowledged last season took a toll.

He added: "Personally, last season was very hard. I didn't get the chance to play in many games and many important games.

"I remember the Tottenham match at home in the Champions League [quarter-finals]. I was very frustrated about not playing and, of course, City being knocked out.

"It does hurt when you don't get chances in important games, so I was disappointed at the end of last season. I think that's normal and I've never been unprofessional about it. I was very upset but I did understand.

"I kept my mind in the right place and finished the season playing a final [City's treble-clinching 6-0 FA Cup final win over Watford] and scoring twice.

"During my holidays I could see ahead and project this season differently. I've played six games so far, playing well and scoring goals.

"That's my focus, I don't want to steal anyone's spot in the first team. Things happen naturally."

First reports of interest from Real Madrid. Now Manchester United…

Mauricio Pochettino's future is dominating headlines amid Tottenham's struggles this season.

A switch to Old Trafford could be on the cards for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED READY TO SPLASH CASH FOR POCH

According to The Sun, Manchester United are willing to make a move for Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham have struggled since reaching the Champions League final last season, and Pochettino is reportedly unhappy in London.

Speculation has linked to Pochettino to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and United, who are prepared to meet his £32million buyout clause, having reportedly considered the Argentinian before appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United star Paul Pogba will make another attempt to leave Old Trafford in January, claims The Sun. Pogba was tipped to depart United during the previous transfer window, however, a proposed move to either Real Madrid or Juventus did not materialise.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo already has an idea for who could replace head coach Thomas Tuchel. After a shock loss to Reims in Ligue 1, Calciomercato says Leonardo only wants former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri if Tuchel leaves the French champions.

- Tuttosport says Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is waiting for Manchester United in January after turning down a move to Qatar. It comes as the Daily Mail reports United have sent scouts to watch Lyon's Moussa Dembele.

Barcelona are continuing to heavily monitor Napoli star and Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Premier League champions Manchester City and Southampton are scouting Hearts left-back Aaron Hickey, reports the Daily Record.

Real Madrid could complete a deal for Christian Eriksen in the new year, while Barcelona have big plans of their own.

Eriksen was heavily linked with a move away from Tottenham in the close season, only for no switch to materialise as he entered the final year of his contract.

But that could change at the start of 2020, while Barca are also looking to the Premier League for a big signing.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WANT ERIKSEN SIGNED IN JANUARY

Real Madrid are hoping Eriksen will sign a pre-contract in January, according to the Mirror.

The LaLiga giants want the Denmark international signed before joining for free when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The report says Madrid are also targeting Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino with Zinedine Zidane under some pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Tottenham are worried Eriksen will reject attempts to sell him in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Ernesto Valverde under pressure, Barcelona great Xavi – the Al Sadd boss – sees Manchester City star Raheem Sterling as a perfect signing if he takes over as coach, according to the Daily Mail. Real Madrid are also reportedly interested in the England attacker.

- If Pochettino leaves Tottenham, it appears there are several managers interested in moving to Spurs. The Sun reports former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is waiting in the wings if Pochettino leaves, while the Daily Mail says former Spurs forward Jurgen Klinsmann also wants the job.

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Camp Nou, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has ruled out moving to Qatar, according to Fox Sports. The Croatia international has previously been linked to Paris Saint-Germain.

- Barcelona are pressing for Spain not to take 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati to the upcoming Under-17 World Cup, according to AS. Fati has been a revelation for Barca this season, scoring two goals in six games.

- Linked with a move to MLS side Chicago Fire, Andres Guardado is set to stay at Real Betis. The Mexico international will sign a two-year contract with the LaLiga outfit, according to Estadio Deportivo, with his current deal ending at season's end.

- Claudio Ranieri is set for a return to coaching. The 67-year-old, who left Roma at the end of last season, could take over at struggling Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne, according to Calciomercato.

Chelsea will host Manchester United and Liverpool will face Arsenal as four of the EFL Cup favourites were drawn against each in round four.

Chelsea - who were beaten 4-0 by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils last month - thrashed Grimsby Town 7-1 on Wednesday, while United only scraped past League One club Rochdale 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Liverpool found life easier against MK Dons, with Jurgen Klopp's much-changed side winning 2-0, and in the last 16 they will welcome Arsenal, who crushed Nottingham Forest 5-0 on Tuesday.

Holders Manchester City - who saw off Preston North End on Tuesday - will face Southampton, while Everton and Watford were drawn to meet at Goodison Park.

Aston Villa will take on Wolves in another all-Premier League encounter, with Colchester United, surprise winners over Tottenham, travelling to Crawley Town.

Wednesday was a rough night for Premier League sides, with West Ham thrashed 4-0 away at League One club Oxford United, who will play Sunderland in the last 16 after the Black Cats' win over Sheffield United.

Manuel Pellegrini made nine changes from the West Ham side which started in the 2-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday, but the Hammers collapsed in the second half as Oxford claimed a famous win.

Bournemouth also dropped out of the competition, going down 2-0 to 2018-19 semi-finalists Burton Albion in a game which at one point was put on hold due to a power outage causing the floodlights to go out.

Play was eventually restarted, with 30 minutes of added time played, but from 1-0 behind there was no way back for the Cherries as Nathan Broadhead made sure of the hosts' progression, with Leicester City travelling to the Pirelli Stadium in round four, which will be played in the week commencing October 28.

EFL Cup fourth-round draw in full:

Everton v Watford

Aston Villa v Wolves

Manchester City v Southampton

Burton Albion v Leicester City

Crawley Town v Colchester United

Chelsea v Manchester United

Oxford United v Sunderland

Liverpool v Arsenal

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is the standout player for the first FIFA 20 Ultimate Team Team of the Week since the new game's full release.

While Bernardo Silva got a hat-trick in City's 8-0 demolition of Watford on Saturday, De Bruyne was still the best player on the pitch.

The Belgian got the eighth goal, a pair of assists and generally ran the show, as City swept their visitors aside with remarkable ease.

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison and Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold are the other Premier League representatives in the starting XI, while the latter's former Reds team-mate Philippe Coutinho is also included after getting a goal and an assist in Bayern Munich's 4-0 win over Cologne.

Find out the full squad of 23 below.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Benjamin Lecomte (Monaco) – 84

RB: Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool) – 85

CB: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain) – 88

CB: Willi Orban (RB Leipzig) – 84

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma) – 84

CDM: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter) – 84

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 92

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 82

CAM: Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich) – 87

ST: Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) – 84

LW: Youcef Atal (Nice) – 81

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Ruben Blanco (Celta Vigo) – 81

LB: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) – 81

CM: Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) – 81

LM: Carlos Eduardo (Al Hilal) – 81

LM: Amine Harit (Schalke) – 81

ST: Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

LW: Francesco Caputo (Sassuolo) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Chey Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) – 78

LM: Tarique Fosu (Burton Albion) – 76

LW: Casimir Ninga (Angers) – 79

ST: Ismael Sosa (Leon) – 79

ST: Erik Exposito (Slask Wroclaw) – 75

Raheem Sterling is a role model for Phil Foden, who says his ever-improving Manchester City team-mate has the "wow" factor. 

England star Sterling produced the latest in a string of impressive displays during Tuesday's EFL Cup win over Preston, providing a goal and an assist. 

Teenager Foden believes the best is yet to come from Sterling and he is delighted to be able to learn from a player who is proving himself to be among the world's best.

"Every time I watch him, I think 'wow'," he said.

"He's a better player every time I see him. He has got a lot more to come and that is what is good about him. He is still young and improving – and wanting to improve.

"He is a role model – he helps me out a lot and I am just really happy for him.

"He helps in the game and in training and overall, helping me with my game, giving me tips and that is what a young lad needs coming through.

"His performance at Preston … I think he was one of our main players. When he gets the ball, I don't even know what it is, he just glides past players and gets in the right places to score goals. He is always assisting."

Foden's game time under Pep Guardiola has been carefully managed and his outing at Deepdale was his first start of the season.

City boss Guardiola has frequently lauded the 19-year-old's ability and potential, but Foden knows he has to take his chances when they come.

"Any time I get game time is important. I just try and enjoy it," he said.

"It is my boyhood club and it's a dream to play for this club so any time I put the shirt on I just enjoy it to the max.

"I played [on Tuesday] so that is the main thing. I am just looking forward. I am just trying to take my minutes any time they come and do my best."

Pep Guardiola defended Bernardo Silva after a tweet about Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy included what was described as a "racist stereotype" by Kick It Out.

The organisation criticised Silva after he posted a photo of Mendy as a child alongside a dated image from Spanish confectionary 'Conguitos' that has been criticised for its racist connotations, with the caption: "Guess who?".

France international Mendy appeared to take the post in good humour, replying with laughing emojis and a message saying: "1-0 for you will see".

Silva, who had scored a hat-trick in an 8-0 Premier League defeat of Watford last week, deleted the message then posted: "Can't even joke with a friend these days…You guys…".

However, social media users noted the racist implications of the image and the Football Association (FA) has contacted City to ask the club for their observations over the tweet.

Guardiola feels there was no malice intended from Silva, noting the Portugal international's close relationship with left-back Mendy.

"Honestly, I don't know what will happen," Guardiola told reporters after Tuesday's 3-0 EFL Cup win at Preston North End. "They [the FA] should put their focus on another issue because they don't know which guy you are talking about.

"Bernardo is one of most lovely people I ever met in my life. He speaks four or five languages and that is the best way to understand how open-minded he is and one of his best friends is Mendy. He’s like a brother for him. 

"The image is not about the colour of the skin. He took a picture of Benjamin when he was young and he related it to this cartoon, which was quite similar for the image.

"If they want to do that [investigate] and ask for Bernardo, I think he will be open to talk. But first you have to know exactly which person you are talking about.

"There are many situations with people, with white people, and you look at a cartoon and the face is quite similar as your face and you put it in there, it is quite similar.

"I think the response from Mendy was clear after that. They are joking all the time. Maybe what I say as advice is to hide social media… if something happened it would be a mistake.

"Bernardo is an exceptional person. A guy who can speak five languages, it's because he's open-minded – nothing about the colour of the skin, nationalities or whatever."

Pep Guardiola described Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis as exceptional human beings after they helped Manchester City reach the EFL Cup fourth round.

Teenagers Garcia and Harwood-Bellis contributed to City's clean sheet in a 3-0 win at Championship club Preston North End on Tuesday, with Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and a Ryan Ledson own goal sealing a comfortable victory.

City's defensive injury crisis, with Aymeric Laporte and John Stones sidelined, has left Nicolas Otamendi as their only senior centre-back after the departure of club captain Vincent Kompany.

Yet Garcia and senior debutant Harwood-Bellis impressed enough against Alex Neil's side to suggest they can be options for City as they seek to defend all three of their domestic trophies.

"We made a good solid performance against a team third in the Championship, we played really good," Guardiola said to Sky Sports.

"I am pleased a lot with Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis at the back, they helped us a lot.

"They combined, they suit each other perfectly and they have played in the academy every weekend.

"They are exceptional human beings with a good mentality. I am very pleased."

Preston held firm for 19 minutes, with City having put five past Watford in the Premier League by the same stage at the weekend.

"We didn't disappoint," said North End boss Neil. "For the first 20 minutes we started brightly on the front foot. We went chasing the ball for the first goal. They are good-quality goals for them.

"The goals they scored were stuff we talked about. But when you play against that quality with their speed, it’s one thing to talk about stopping them. It’s another thing to do it. We can't get too hard on ourselves.

"Man City were the better team. Their forward line is scary for any Premier League team. We need to take the positives of what we did well and take them onto Saturday."

Manchester City cruised into the EFL Cup fourth round with a 3-0 win at Preston North End.

The holders, who have a defensive injury crisis, named a back line including teenagers Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Eric Garcia but were untroubled at Deepdale on Tuesday.

Raheem Sterling excelled, scoring the opening goal in the 19th minute and recording two assists in the first half, with Gabriel Jesus also on target for Pep Guardiola's men.

City led 5-0 inside 18 minutes against Watford last time out in the Premier League, but Preston held firm a little longer. 

Sterling created space for himself with a darting run and his shot deflected off defender Ben Davies to beat Connor Ripley in the Preston goal.

The England forward then created two more before half-time, feeding Jesus to get on the scoresheet and then setting up David Silva for another deflected finish which was credited as a Ryan Ledson own goal.

Jesus headed Angelino's cross over the top following the restart, then Preston went close to getting on the scoresheet as Josh Harrop's shot came back off the post.

Phil Foden's long-range effort rattled the crossbar, Sterling wasted a free-kick in a good position and Ripley brilliantly saved from Ilkay Gundogan in added time, with Alex Neil's side preventing City from adding to their tally.


What does it mean? City still have enough depth for multiple trophies again

Defeat at Norwich City, when Guardiola rested Kevin De Bruyne, showed the Premier League champions can be vulnerable when they do not name their strongest team. But although Preston are third in the Championship, the gulf in class was large despite De Bruyne's absence again.

Rookie centre-backs Garcia and Harwood-Bellis were largely untested at the back; the pair will likely see more action in the weeks to come as City aim to repeat their dominance from last term by defending all three of their domestic titles.


Sterling thrives under top billing

With Sergio Aguero and De Bruyne among those given a break, it was down to Sterling to shine in the spotlight. Rested for the demolition of Watford, he looked sharp in a match-winning first-half performance, although he needlessly went down too easily in the box early on.

Foden unable to take his chance

There is rightly huge excitement around Foden, a player believed to be so talented he will be crucial for both City and England in the future. But, on his first start of the season, the 19-year-old could not take the game by the scruff of the neck. He recorded an unimpressive passing accuracy rate of 82.5 per cent.

What's next?

City are away to Everton on Saturday, when Preston host Bristol City in the Championship.

Raheem Sterling's comments on racism will be seen as a milestone and have already affected media reporting, according to Fare executive director Piara Power.

Manchester City attacker Sterling's decision to speak out after he was racially abused in a Premier League game at Chelsea in December 2018 was praised by the chief of Fare, an organisation dedicated to combating inequality in football.

The England international argued the way the media reports about young black players contributes to racism in society, with Powar believing the point has been taken on board.

"I think what Raheem did there was very important," Powar told Omnisport. "He was racially abused at Chelsea and rather than go after the perpetrators, or focus on that incident, he knew the world had seen it and put out something, an analysis, which I think was quite stunning.

"And one of the wider reasons as to why, perhaps, he's being racially abused. And he linked it to the media and the differential treatment of two players because of their race. And, I think, what's happened there is that I've noticed that actually that's had an impact on the media.

"Many of the media now are also taking on the point that they're not diverse enough. You see now some new appointments being made in newspapers, sports rooms, the newsrooms of sports sections. You see now many of the broadcasters are also keen to make sure that they have diversity.

"And it is interesting. I think Raheem's comments will be seen as a milestone in the future - that doesn't meant that things have been resolved overnight, or that they are perfect, but I think that is fundamentally a big point."

Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was a victim of alleged racist abuse this season, with the Belgium international subjected to monkey noises as he prepared to take a penalty in a Serie A game at Cagliari.

The Sardinian club has a record of similar such incidents but avoided punishment from the league.

"I would say 10 years ago, maybe 15, 20 years ago the Romelu Lukaku incident would have been just another one that takes place every week," Powar added.

"But that's quite correct, we should have a sense of crisis around these incidents, just because of the nature of them, what people are saying, what it means, what the message means.

"We've never been clearer in our understanding of what to racially abuse someone in that way means to them individually and to their community.

"In Italy they've always had a problem because there's never been a systemic way of addressing it, there's never been a systemic programme to address the problems they have. They have a heavy-handed policing approach, which puts fans on the defensive.

"They have crumbling stadiums, so people are going to stadiums which are not very welcoming, where they don't feel like they're being treated as human beings. And then you have a lack of understanding generally, which has been exacerbated by the government they have for the last two or three years.

"In Italy there's a very big public debate about African migrants in particular, because of the Mediterranean crossings from North Africa. And much of that debate has been very negative, led by the government.

"Again, that's going to end up being felt inside stadiums and the response to it until now has been characterised by the administrators – [the] FA, Serie A – really not understanding what they should do and then being frightened of upsetting the government, being seen to take a counter-position to the government. So very complicated things in Italy that go back a long way.

"I've got friends who play high-level football in Italy and they say 10, 15, 20 years ago it was exactly the same. It just doesn't seem to have caught up with other countries in the top five leagues in western Europe, and it's causing us quite a lot of problems at the moment."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is not concerned about Manchester City in the wake of the Premier League champions' annihilation of Watford.

Beaten 3-2 by an injury-ravaged Norwich City in their previous league match, City responded with an 8-0 destruction of Quique Sanchez Flores' Watford at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

By contrast, Liverpool were made to work far harder for a 2-1 win away to Chelsea thanks to first-half goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino.

Henderson, though, says his only concern is on sustaining Liverpool's winning run, rather than giving too much thought to City's threat.

"We'll not worry about any other team," said Henderson in The Mirror. "I'm sure the neutrals will look at other results and obviously it was a good performance by City.

"But, for us, it's about performing well and picking up points, as many as we can, and see where we are at the end of the season."

Liverpool's victory at Stamford Bridge was hard-fought but extended their winning run in the top flight to 15 matches, with their 100 per cent record this season giving them a five-point lead at the top of the table.

Jurgen Klopp's side have become the first to win their opening six games of consecutive top-flight seasons in England, while the division record of 18 victories in a row - set by City between August and December 2017 - is within their sights.

Henderson, however, believes it is pointless to concentrate on chasing records rather than results.

"You can't go and chase records because they will come with performances and if we keep winning," he said. "For us, the motivation is three points every time we play.

"Chelsea was a really tough place to come. [They are a] good team, we had to grind it out, had to give everything and that shows what we're about as a team.

"It's important. You need character and we've got plenty of characters in this team to fight and see games out."

Henderson also praised the performance of Alexander-Arnold, who opened the scoring against Chelsea with a fierce strike following a free-kick.

"Defensively he's still very good," Henderson said. "He'll want to learn, want to improve still, but he's got so much going forward also.

"But he's still so young, still learning the game and there's a lot more to come from him. His potential is massive."

Real Madrid have set their sights on Mauricio Pochettino to be their next coach and they are also interested in a Premier League star, according to reports.

Pochettino has regularly been linked with a move away from Tottenham, where he has impressed since taking charge in 2014.

And the LaLiga giants are said to be eyeing the Argentinian amid pressure on Zinedine Zidane.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYEING POCHETTINO, STERLING

Real Madrid are ready to make an approach for Pochettino, according to The Mirror.

The Tottenham manager will be Madrid's top target if they decide to replace Zidane, the report says.

Madrid eased the pressure on Zidane with a 1-0 win at Sevilla on Sunday, moving them level on points with LaLiga leaders Athletic Bilbao.

Meanwhile, The Athletic reports Madrid met with Manchester City star Raheem Sterling's representatives during the off-season and the attacker is keen to play for the LaLiga giants one day, while the Premier League champions are confident the England international will stay.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have made a poor start to the season, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to get backing in January. The Daily Mail reports United will back Solskjaer if he wants to strengthen his team, who are eighth in the table.

- Needing to bolster their defence, Juventus could make a move for Paris Saint-Germain full-back Thomas Meunier in January, according to Tuttosport. A deal could include midfielder Emre Can heading to Paris.

- Previously linked with Manchester United, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is set to renew his contract at Lazio, according to Il Messaggero. The deal, to be worth €3m per season, will reportedly be done by December.

- Mario Mandzukic is still unsure about his future. Tuttosport reports clubs in Qatar are still trying to sign the Juventus striker, but the Croatian may instead wait for a move to the Premier League in January.

- Italy youth international Sandro Tonali is catching the eye at Brescia. AC Milan and Manchester United are monitoring the 19-year-old midfielder, according to Calciomercato.

- Staying at Milan, Calciomercato says the Serie A giants are still looking at PSV forward Donyell Malen. The 20-year-old Netherlands international has scored seven goals in six Eredivisie games this season.

The Football Association (FA) has written to Manchester City to ask the club for their observations following a social media post by Bernardo Silva.

Silva tweeted a photo of City team-mate Benjamin Mendy as a child alongside a dated image from Spanish confectionary 'Conguitos' that has been criticised for its racist connotations, with the caption: "Guess who?".

Mendy did not appear to take offence, replying with laughing emojis and a message saying: "1-0 for you will see".

However, other Twitter users were quick to point out the racist implications of the post, which was shared less than 24 hours after Silva scored a hat-trick in an 8-0 home win over Watford in Premier League action. 

The Portugal international deleted the entry, tweeting: "Can't even joke with a friend these days…You guys…".

Having already announced on Sunday they would be investigating the post, the FA has confirmed to Omnisport they have contacted the Premier League club for a response on the matter.

Meanwhile, Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion organisation, called for retrospective action to be taken against the 25-year-old.

"We are extremely disappointed to see the tweet posted by Bernardo Silva, which has since been deleted," Kick It Out said in a statement.

"Racist stereotypes are never acceptable as 'banter', and we're shocked that someone who is a role model to millions has failed to understand the discriminatory nature of his post.

"The FA have been notified and we believe that retrospective action should be taken, including mandatory education – which is vital to challenge offensive behaviour such as this."

Kick It Out has condemned a tweet sent by Bernardo Silva to Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy, calling for retrospective action to be taken against the Portugal international.

Bernardo Silva tweeted a photo of Mendy as a child alongside a dated image from Spanish confectionary 'Conguitos' that has been criticised for its racist connotations, with the caption: "Guess who?".

Mendy did not appear to take offence, replying with laughing emojis and a message saying: "1-0 for you will see", but other Twitter users were quick to point out the racist implications of Bernardo Silva's post.

The attacking midfielder deleted the entry before commenting: "Can't even joke with a friend these days…You guys…"

The Football Association (FA) has confirmed it will investigate the matter and Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion organisation, wants to see punishment meted out. 

"We are extremely disappointed to see the tweet posted by Bernardo Silva, which has since been deleted. Racist stereotypes are never acceptable as 'banter', and we're shocked that someone who is a role model to millions has failed to understand the discriminatory nature of his post.

"The FA have been notified and we believe that retrospective action should be taken, including mandatory education – which is vital to challenge offensive behaviour such as this."

The tweet from Bernardo Silva came less than 24 hours after he scored a hat-trick in City's 8-0 victory over Watford, which saw Mendy make his first Premier League start since April.

Emile Heskey believes shallow depth in attack could prove Liverpool's undoing in their bid to beat Manchester City to the Premier League title.

The Reds have won each of their first six matches of the new season to race into a five-point lead at the top of the table.

City, though, fired a warning over the weekend with an extraordinary 8-0 demolition of Watford, the club's biggest ever top-flight victory attained even as Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus watched from the bench.

Liverpool edged Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but Heskey, their former striker, fears the run of results could come to a halt if one of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane is forced out of the starting XI.

The trio have already combined for 11 league goals in the club's quest to make amends for last season's domestic heartbreak.

"It's a tall order because at this moment in time City have the best squad in terms of depth," Heskey told Omnisport.

"If you take certain players out of City they've always got someone who can step in and do a specific job, the way the manager wants him to do it.

"Liverpool, if you take Salah, Mane or Firmino out, it's not quite the same, whereas City have a better blend."

Divock Origi, the only other established striker in Jurgen Klopp's squad, remains unavailable due to an ankle injury, while Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are yet to provide any Premier League goals from deeper positions.

Heskey added: "I think City have a better midfield. I'm not saying Liverpool's midfield is bad, by the way, I'm just saying they have a better blend and they probably give you more goals from midfield.

"But if [Liverpool] keep the pressure on like they are doing, you never know."

Ex-England international Heskey spent four and a half seasons at Anfield, winning the FA Cup, UEFA Cup and EFL Cup under Gerard Houllier.

The pair later reunited at Aston Villa and while success proved far more elusive, the Leicester City product regards the Frenchman as one of his most astute bosses.

"I had nothing but good experiences with him. One of the best," Heskey said, rejecting former Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland's description of Houllier as a "really horrendous" manager.

"He helped me understand and really learn football. Really meticulous in the finer details of things and living for football. I've got nothing bad to say about Gerard.

"When people ask me about the best manager I had, I always say two - Martin O'Neill and Gerard Houllier."

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