Pep Guardiola is uncertain if he will have goalkeeper Ederson available for selection when Manchester City face Liverpool in Sunday's crunch Premier League encounter.

Ederson was taken off at half-time with a "muscular problem" in City's chaotic 1-1 draw with Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Having not had to make a save in the first half, Ederson was replaced by Claudio Bravo, whose first act was to pick the ball out of his net after Mario Pasalic's brilliant header cancelled out Raheem Sterling's early opener.

Matters were made worse for City late on as Bravo saw red for a reckless lunge on Josip Ilicic, meaning right-back Kyle Walker was called upon from the bench to play the closing stages in goal.

City's focus now turns to Anfield, where Premier League leaders Liverpool would extend the gap at the top to nine points with a victory, and Guardiola acknowledged Ederson may be unable to feature.

"I don't know right now. It is a muscular problem. It was not big but [we replaced him] to avoid more risk," Guardiola told reporters when asked for an update on Ederson during a news conference.

"He did not feel comfortable in the last minutes of the first half. That's why we decided to make a substitution. But for now we don't know."

Pointing at his thigh, Guardiola added: "It was muscular, in front of here. He is strong. We want to try with him, but we are not going to take a risk."

Bravo never looked settled after coming on for the second period and failed to make a save before he became the first substitute goalkeeper in Champions League history to receive a red card.

However, Guardiola has no concerns over starting Bravo, who protested his red card before the decision was eventually upheld by VAR, at Anfield if Ederson is not fit.

"It's a red card – it was given so it's a red card," Guardiola said. "He's ready. He's an incredible, experienced professional. He's ready.

"It is what it is. If Ederson is ready, he is gong to play. If not we will play Claudio. We trust him. Why should I doubt any players I have in my squad?"

Guardiola also hailed the mentality of Walker, who was immediately called into action to keep out Ruslan Malinovskiy's free-kick.

"Xavi Mancisidor, our goalkeeper coach, suggested him for his courage, because he is quick," Guardiola said of the England defender. 

"We are lucky we only conceded one shot on target when he was in goal but congratulations for the courage and desire to help the team in this position."

Andre Gomes has thanked people for their "positive energy" in the wake of a fracture dislocation to his right ankle against Tottenham on Sunday.

Gomes was taken off on a stretcher in the second half at Goodison Park following a challenge from Son Heung-min, which led to the Everton player colliding with Serge Aurier. 

Spurs forward Son, who was sent off by referee Martin Atkinson, was visibly distraught before being led down the tunnel, while several other players from both teams were clearly distressed by the seriousness of the incident.

Everton announced their midfielder is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery on Monday, and Gomes has taken to social media to thank people from across football for their support.

In a video shared on Twitter, he said: "As you already know, everything went well [with my operation]. I'm already at home with my family and I would like to thank you all for the support, the messages and the positive energy. Thank you."

Marco Silva, meanwhile, has called on Toffees forward Richarlison to stop going down easily.

While the Everton boss believes the Brazil international does not receive fair treatment from officials, he does think Richarlison needs to stand firm in the face of robust defending more often than he does.

"Of course, we are working with him because the Premier League is really tough and the message and feedback to him is to always to stand as much as he can," Silva told EvertonTV.

"Don’t fall down, even if it looks in many, many moments that the decisions are not fair with him. What I am saying to Richarlison, and our staff as well, is for him to keep standing as much as he can and in the right moments the referee will be fair with him because we feel that it is not so fair.

"But it's what we are working on with him, to keep standing and be strong because the contact in the Premier League is really strong as well. And, for sure, after [you remain strong], football and the decisions will be fair with you. But he has the quality and never gives up."

Unai Emery had little interest in considering the possibility of Jose Mourinho replacing him as Arsenal manager following a disappointing draw at Vitoria SC.

Pressure has been building on Gunners boss Emery following a string of underwhelming results, with Arsenal winless in three in all competitions coming into Wednesday's Europa League clash.

That unwanted streak was extended to a fourth match as Bruno Duarte's stoppage-time strike cancelled out Shkodran Mustafi's 80th-minute opener.

In the lead-up to the contest in Portugal, the name of former rival Mourinho was linked with Emirates Stadium.

Mourinho, an Arsenal nemesis in his time at Chelsea, has been out of work since his sacking at Manchester United late last year and speculation is building about his next job, prompting talk of the Gunners swooping as Emery toils.

Asked if he was concerned by mention of Mourinho on Wednesday, Emery simply replied: "I am the coach."

The defiant Arsenal boss offered no further comment on his future as he prepared to turn his focus towards Saturday's trip to high-flying Leicester City.

Arsenal suffered a late-season slump in 2018-19 - Emery's first campaign - to finish fifth in the Premier League, the same position they now occupy, six points behind Chelsea in fourth.

This season, in addition to difficulties on the pitch, Emery has regularly had to field questions on Mesut Ozil, who has struggled to get a run in the team despite an infamously huge contract.

Emery also removed Granit Xhaka as club captain ahead of the Vitoria game, following a high-profile clash between the midfielder and Arsenal fans when he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month.

Romelu Lukaku's two-goal showing for Inter at Bologna has earned him a place in the FUT Team of the Week, though Timo Werner's inclusion is arguably the most deserved of this week's selection.

Werner lit up the Bundesliga at the weekend with a hat-trick and a treble of assists in RB Leipzig's 8-0 demolition of Mainz, having a hand in all but two of Leipzig's goals in a remarkable win.

The Germany international became only the second player to be involved in six goals in a single Bundesliga match since detailed Opta data collection began in 2004-05 – the first being Claudio Pizarro with four goals and two assists in May 2013.

He is partnered in attack by Lukaku after his goals secured 2-1 comeback win on the road, while a forward-thinking back three includes Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt and Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.

Below, we examine the entire squad that is set to be up for grabs online.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 86

RB: Kyle Walker (Manchester City) – 86

CB: Matthijs de Ligt (Piemonte Calcio/Juventus) – 86

LB: Alex Grimaldo (Benfica) – 85

LM: Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 84

CAM: Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao) – 84

CM: Luis Alberto (Lazio) – 86

LM: Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund) – 84

CAM: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) – 86

ST: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) – 85

ST: Romelu Lukaku (Inter) – 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Walter Benitez (Nice) – 83

CB: Chris Smalling (Roma) – 83

LB: Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors/Buenos Aires) – 82

RM: Fabian Orellana (Eibar) – 82

CAM: Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders) – 82

ST: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – 84

ST: Joao Pedro (Cagliari) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Harry Ashcroft (Finn Harps) – 69

ST: Camillo Ciano (Frosinone) – 80

CM: John Lundstram (Sheffield United) – 76

ST: Mohamed Buya Turay (Djurgardens) – 77

ST: Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Tranmere Rovers) – 71

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed "it won't be too long" before Paul Pogba is available again as the France international nears a return from his ankle injury.

World Cup winner Pogba has missed United's past seven games with an injury he suffered back in September.

The France midfielder said last week that he would need another "two weeks of rehabilitation" after the plaster comes off his leg.

However, the timeframe given by Solskjaer would still see Pogba miss the Premier League trip to Sheffield United and the Europa League visit to Astana at the end of November.

"I think he said it himself, didn't he?" Solskjaer told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

"He won't be too long before he's out of his cast, he's going to work through the international break and hopefully we'll have him back in early December."

Pogba will definitely be absent for Thursday's Europa League game against Partizan Belgrade, a fixture that defender Victor Lindelof will also miss.

The centre-back suffered a back injury against Chelsea in the EFL Cup last week and although he completed 90 minutes against Bournemouth on Saturday, Solskjaer has ruled Lindelof out of Thursday's fixture at Old Trafford.

"He won't be fit for tomorrow, no," the Norwegian added.

"He got a knock against Chelsea and he didn't come through the game against Bournemouth without the reaction, so he'll be out tomorrow."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded Manchester United might not make any signings in the January transfer window, despite their poor start to the season.

Saturday's defeat to Bournemouth left United with 13 points from 11 Premier League games - their worst total at that stage of a top-flight campaign since 1986-87.

Solskjaer's side are 10th in the table, 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, and have scored fewer goals than Brighton and Hove Albion, Burnley and Bournemouth having not directly replaced Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

However, it appears unlikely that Solskjaer will look to bring in attacking reinforcements in January.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's Europa League tie with Partizan Belgrade, Solskjaer told reporters: "The priority now is to get players fit and get through to the next round.

"Transfers, we always look at the long term.

"It might be none, might be one, might be two in January, but it's always the summer window that's the big one.

"You can't really do too many good deals in January."

United have taken seven points from their three Europa League games so far in a competition that could provide them with their most realistic route back into the Champions League.

Three seasons ago Jose Mourinho led United to glory in the Europa League which meant they still qualified for the Champions League despite a sixth-place finish domestically.

However, Solskjaer has not given up hope of reaching the Champions League via the top-four in the Premier League.

"It's one route - it's one of the two," Solskjaer said of returning to Europe's premier club competition via a Europa League triumph.

"It's just turned November, you're not going to talk about the end league table in November. I don't think anyone can predict that already.

"We haven't got as many points as we would like, but we'll challenge to get to the top four."

In-demand Salzburg striker Erling Haaland has ambitions to play in the Premier League, according to his father.

Former Leeds United and Manchester City defender Alf-Inge Haaland confirmed his teenage son, one of Europe's most sought-after young players, would like to play in England at some point in his career.

Serie A champions Juventus have been linked to the 19-year-old, as have LaLiga rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The younger Haaland has scored seven goals in four Champions League appearances in what is his first full season with Salzburg.

While expecting his Leeds-born son to follow in his Premier League footsteps, Alf-Inge suggested the path he took would have no sway over Erling's potential destination.

"He was a Leeds fan and a [Manchester] City fan and a Nottingham Forest fan. He followed me but that's what you do in your youth," Haaland senior told talkSPORT.

"There's a difference between being a supporter and having it as a job.

"I think at one stage he would like to play in the Premier League. When that's going to happen, I don't know. It's a very tough league.

"Up to now he's ahead of the stage we thought he would be at. He's built for the Premier League at one stage, I think. Whether that happens now or at a later stage, we don't know."

Recent reports have suggested Salzburg could ask for up to €100million for the impressive centre-forward, already a two-cap Norway international

Alf-Inge doubts the club would demand such an exorbitant fee, however.

"There are always stories," he said.

"He's at Salzburg and he's at a fantastic club and playing in the Champions League, so in a way there's no hurry.

"But Salzburg have shown in the past they're sort of a middle-step club and if they're going to recruit players in the future they can't put a stupid price tag on the players, otherwise nobody would like to go there."

Manchester United great Gary Neville admits modern footballers are "perceived differently" to their predecessors but says Granit Xhaka must be willing to accept fan criticism.

Arsenal stripped Xhaka of the captaincy following his angry response to being jeered by his own supporters in the recent Premier League match against Crystal Palace.

The much-maligned Switzerland midfielder cupped his hear, removed his shirt and appeared to swear at a section of spectators as he was substituted in the second half of the 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium.

Xhaka said he had "reached boiling point" after receiving abusive comments at matches and over social media, part of the growing "anything goes" culture Neville condemned. 

But the ex-England international insisted players must also have a thick skin.

"All's fair in love and war," Neville, who was speaking at the launch of the eToro Fan Financial Statement, told Omnisport.

"[In games] against Liverpool they were singing about my mum. I wasn't happy but it didn't bother me. I was booed for 12 months for England as a Manchester United player, but you just accept it as part of the game.

"Look at what's happened with the targeting of black players, people think that anything goes. We have to stop that. The fines for Bulgaria were unacceptable.

"There is change happening. Football should be a pioneer for change, but overall football is a safer place to watch, there are more families.

"The games are fantastic football matches. We have the best football in Europe at the moment. There are so many positives."

Xhaka's situation has prompted debate about whether fans paying steep fees for tickets are entitled to direct vitriol at their own club's players.

The eToro Fan Financial Statement, a study into the monetary commitment of British football supporters, found match-going Premier League fans are, in total, spending an estimated £1.3billion a season following their club, an increase of 31 per cent since 2014/15.

Arsenal were revealed to be charging the highest prices for adult season tickets among the 20 top-flight clubs.

Neville, co-owner of League Two side Salford City, thinks the eye-watering figures have contributed to fans feeling disenfranchised.

"Football players are perceived differently now," he said.

"[The treatment of] Xhaka was not down to cost or rising prices, that's always happened, but it doesn't get away from the fact that fans are being left behind."

We may be only 11 matches into the Premier League season, but many people are already of the opinion that the current top four are there to stay.

With runaway leaders Liverpool and champions Manchester City joined by Leicester City and Chelsea, there is little doubt those four clubs have been the most consistent so far in 2019-20.

A six-point gap has opened up between fourth-placed Chelsea and Arsenal in fifth. While Unai Emery's side possess plenty of talent, their erratic form and questionable mentality suggest they might now struggle to play catch-up.

The four clubs trailing the Gunners are Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace, surely none of whom can realistically be considered contenders for the top four.

At this point, it looks like only significant slip-ups from Leicester and Chelsea themselves could see them miss out on a Champions League spot, though there are reasons for trepidation despite the overriding positivity.

 

LEICESTER STRIKING IT LUCKY?

Brendan Rodgers' vibrant brand of football has attracted praise this season, with Leicester hitting three or more goals on three occasions in the league, most notably in 5-0 and 9-0 demolitions of Newcastle United and Southampton respectively.

But the sustainability of their form is something to be considered.

While Leicester have scored 27 times in 2019-20, their expected goals (xG) figure is significantly lower at 14.78.

That massive discrepancy suggests the Foxes are scoring almost twice as often as they would be expected to considering the quality of their chances.

As such, it is not hugely surprising to learn Leicester's shot conversion rate of 17.88 per cent is the best in the division, with City's 14.17 per cent the second highest.

By comparison, Chelsea have scored 25 and their xG is 20.2, indicating their form in front of goal might be more sustainable given the number of clear opportunities they are creating.

CHELSEA COMING UNSTUCK IN THE BIG GAMES

So much has been made of Frank Lampard's faith in youth that one would think he was applying the strategy of a visionary, but, in reality, he has had little choice given their transfer embargo.

Of course, it has helped that the young players have generally done well, with Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori playing important roles. Christian Pulisic has, too, on occasion, though some feel he cannot be judged in the same manner given his huge transfer fee.

The need to play inexperienced youngsters could go some way to explaining Chelsea's struggles in the bigger games this term.

In five matches across all competitions against Manchester United, Liverpool and Leicester, Chelsea have failed to win.

Leicester's record is little better, having only once triumphed in four matches against United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham. That victory came in controversial circumstances against troubled Spurs.

TOP-FOUR MATERIAL?

The area Chelsea need to improve on most is undoubtedly at the back, even if their xG against (13.24) suggests they have been unlucky. They have conceded 17 goals, the most of all the traditional 'top six' teams.

They could certainly learn from Leicester, whose record of just eight goals conceded is the joint-best in the league alongside Sheffield United. The Foxes' xG against (11.13) is lower than all but Liverpool (10.09) and Man United (10.99).

Both Leicester and Chelsea have generally controlled possession in their respective matches this term. Lampard's side average 58.36 per cent of the ball, while Leicester's record is slightly better at 58.39 per cent. Only City (65.63 per cent) and Liverpool (62.71 per cent) have had the ball for a greater portion of matches.

In terms of shot frequency, City (240) are way out in front, but Chelsea (181) can claim to be almost as prolific as Liverpool (187) when it comes to trying their luck. And their 13.81 per cent conversion rate is only bettered by the champions and Leicester.

On the whole, statistically, Chelsea appear more capable of sustaining their current form, given their xG and xG against figures, but Leicester are no strangers to defying the odds and will surely back themselves to build on a strong start.

Marcus Rashford believes misfiring Manchester United are capable of securing a spot inside the Premier League's top four this season.

United finished sixth last term and have so far shown few signs of improving on that position in their first full campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Last weekend's 1-0 loss to Bournemouth, their fourth defeat in 11 league games, left them 10 points adrift of the Champions League places.

Leicester City and Chelsea, both teams United have beaten, occupy the spots behind leaders Liverpool and champions Manchester City.

"It's going to be tough but it's nowhere near impossible," Rashford told Sky Sports.

"We don't need to focus on any other teams, we play our best football when we focus on ourselves and us improving.

"That's the only way Man United play good football and we need to get back to doing that. It can be very simple for us and at the same time, you don't want to make it complicated for yourself. The main thing is bouncing back."

Solskjaer's men have a good chance to do exactly that leading into the international break.

United entertain Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday, before Brighton and Hove Albion arrive at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Goals will be crucial for confidence after the blank at Bournemouth, which stalled the scoring momentum gained in victories over Norwich City and Chelsea.

And Rashford, deployed on the left of a front three at the Vitality Stadium, is relishing the chance to work alongside the fit-again Anthony Martial.

"He has been a big miss," the England international said of the Frenchman.

"As a number nine, it's always easier if you have someone you can work off and get close to and right now we're having a good period.

"We've been playing good football but we can definitely score more goals and assist more and that's what we'll be looking at more as a pair."

Paul Pogba is injured, Juan Mata is on the fringes and Manchester United are in desperate need of creativity.

Kai Havertz, the talented Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, might hold the answer.

According to a new report, the Germany international could soon be the subject of a massive transfer bid from Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – HAVERTZ HEADED TO MANCHESTER?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made 20-year-old Kai Havertz his top transfer target, says the Daily Star.

But the report suggests Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is willing to wait until the end of the season before making an £80million offer.

Havertz, who has been linked with Bayern Munich, is one of the most admired young midfielders in Europe.

He scored 17 Bundesliga goals last season and has notched twice in nine appearances this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claim Barcelona have joined the race for sought-after Salzburg striker Erling Haaland. The teenage sensation scored his seventh Champions League goal in Tuesday's draw at Napoli and has reportedly attracted interest from Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid, among others.

- Barcelona do have at least one exciting prospect dreaming of joining them. Highly rated Ajax defender Sergino Dest told Bleacher Report his "biggest goal" is to play for the Blaugrana, while the United States international also has his eye on a stint in the Premier League.

- Trouble is brewing in Naples. Gazzetta dello Sport suggest Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players are in rebellion against president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who ordered the team to enter a training retreat amid a poor run of results. Ancelotti did not appear for the customary post-match news conference following the 1-1 draw with Salzburg at Stadio San Paolo.

- Another successful Italian coach, Massimiliano Allegri, should reject any approach from managerless Bayern Munich and instead focus on becoming the next Manchester United boss. That is the view of Fabio Capello, who told Radio Anch'io Sport his compatriot would be the "best choice" for the Red Devils.

- Back to the Premier League and England, where Granit Xhaka is dealing with the fallout from being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy. The Daily Mirror report the Gunners could now look to offload the midfielder in January, given his fractured relationship with the club's fans.

Jurgen Klopp jokingly suggested Liverpool will ask Aston Villa to play their upcoming EFL Cup quarter-final in Qatar after it was confirmed the tie will take place the day before a Club World Cup contest.

The EFL announced on Tuesday that Liverpool will face Villa on December 17 as initially planned, despite the club attempting to rearrange it because of their commitments in Qatar, with a semi-final scheduled for December 18.

Although a change was not possible, Liverpool did reach a compromise with organisers that will allow them to select a squad for the EFL Cup that will be entirely different to the group of players heading to Qatar.

Klopp is remaining positive about the situation, however, and joked that Villa might fancy heading abroad with them to play their match.

"We asked Aston Villa if they would come to Qatar and we can play the game there," Klopp quipped after Liverpool's 2-1 Champions League win over Genk on Tuesday.

"We don't know about logistics, we have a decision to make, but we have a bit of time to think about [how the club will approach the two games].

"In these next couple of weeks we will make a decision on how it will look exactly.

"We respect the competitions. We want to play the EFL Cup, the only thing I don't like is the two-legged semi-finals. I don't understand.

"The Club World Cup you can only play if you win the Champions League – this doesn't happen five million times.

"You hope the team goes out and everything is fine. We ignored that, our boys just want to play football and we qualified [for the EFL Cup quarter-finals].

"I don't want to cancel competitions. I've talked about the problems, they are obvious. They can't carry on like this and we need a solution."

Victory in the Champions League on Tuesday allowed Liverpool to go top of Group E, as they capitalised on Napoli only managing a 1-1 draw at home to Salzburg.

And while Klopp was grateful to avoid a scare – particularly given Genk went into the break at 1-1 – he focused on the importance of avoiding injuries, with a potentially vital Premier League clash with Manchester City looming large on the horizon.

"The most important thing; we won and nobody is injured," Klopp said. "The result is the result because we didn't finish our situations off like we should and could have done, which keeps the game pretty exciting and kept Genk alive.

"We top the group, but we want to top it at the end. We have two tough games.

"The longer the game goes the more the momentum goes to the other team. Ali [Alisson] had to make a good save. Job done is the headline for the game, but the group is not decided."

Pep Guardiola insisted he did not mean to suggest Sadio Mane is "this type of player" in relation to the diving row he triggered ahead of Manchester City's crunch trip to Liverpool this weekend.

Guardiola stoked pre-match tensions before Sunday's top-of-the-table clash at Anfield by accusing Liverpool forward Mane of simulation.

Mane was booked for diving during the Reds' dramatic 2-1 win at Aston Villa last Saturday, where he brilliantly headed home a stoppage-time winner.

The Senegal international also won decisive penalties during recent wins over Leicester City and Tottenham that helped to preserve Liverpool's six-point lead over champions City at the summit.

Speaking after his side's own 2-1 comeback win over Southampton on Saturday, Guardiola told BBC Match of the Day: "Sometimes he's diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute."

Klopp bridled at that suggestion on Monday when he spoke before Liverpool's Champions League match against Genk, going to allude to inferences made previously by Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Guardiola's City commit "tactical fouls".

The former Barcelona boss faced a news conference on the eve of City's Champions League match against Atalanta at San Siro – where a win coupled with a draw between Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk would see them seal top spot in Group C – and Mane, Klopp and Liverpool were predictably on the agenda.

"My son and my daughter, all the times, when Liverpool win in the last minutes, they ask me, 'How lucky, how lucky they are'. I said at the time, 'It's not lucky'," Guardiola explained.

"What Liverpool has done this season and last season many, many times is because they have this incredible quality and incredible talent to fight to the end. That's why I say to my players – not just my son and daughter – that is not lucky.

"If it happens once or twice, yes, but it happened maybe 10 or 12 or 14 times.

"Then in the 94th minute in the game Leicester, it was a penalty – wow, like this, like that [questionable]. That was the intention of my comment but far away from the intention to say Sadio Mane is this type of player because I admire him a lot.

"For Jurgen it is a penalty, for the referee it is a penalty, for the VAR it is a penalty. I was wrong as the guy to maybe think it was [not] a penalty.

"Like Jurgen said, he knows Sadio Mane better than me. Of course, I have an incredible respect. When he says he's not like this, he's not like that."

Guardiola also suggested the edited footage of his post-match interview made his comments appear more inflammatory than they were.

"My comments, the speech is not long on the BBC. It is longer than [what appeared] on all the highlights [saying that] that I am accusing. I know how interesting it is for all of you guys," he said.

"It was praise for Liverpool, to say it was not just one action and they are lucky again. Hopefully I can clarify everything with Jurgen too."

When Klopp's observation that the City manager was overly fixated with Liverpool was mentioned, Guardiola claimed he "didn't listen" to what his opposite number had said – although his next answer to a question about the allegations of tactical fouling bellied this.

"No comment. I don't put oil on the fire," he grinned in a direct quote of one of Klopp's Monday comments.

Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy following his angry confrontation with fans.

Switzerland midfielder Xhaka reacted to ironic cheers and then jeers when he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month, appearing to shout expletives in the direction of the supporters before sarcastically applauding. He then removed his shirt while leaving the field and headed straight down the tunnel.

The 27-year-old, who has not played for Arsenal since and is not in the Gunners' squad for Wednesday's Europa League clash with Vitoria SC, had been named his club's captain in September following a player vote.

However, head coach Unai Emery has confirmed Xhaka will no longer captain Arsenal and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will take the armband instead.

"I have spoken to Granit and he is no longer one of the captains in the group," Emery said at a news conference to preview Wednesday's game.

Granit Xhaka's absence from the Arsenal squad will continue after he was not included in the travelling party for Wednesday's Europa League trip to Vitoria Guimaraes.

Arsenal captain Xhaka last played on October 27 against Crystal Palace, a game that was overshadowed by supporters jeering the Switzerland midfielder.

He subsequently reacted by appearing to shout expletives in the fans' direction and sarcastically encouraging their jeers, earning widespread criticism from supporters and former Gunners players.

Xhaka has since been left out of the squad for games against Liverpool and Wolves, and he will remain absent on Wednesday, with the match moved from Thursday to ease pressure on Portuguese authorities due to Sporting Braga also being in Europa League action at home.

Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are also among those missing, presumably being held back for Saturday's clash with high-flying Leicester City, though Arsenal have not explained their absences.

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