Sokratis Papastathopoulos insists it does not matter who wears the captain's armband at Arsenal in the wake of Granit Xhaka being replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as skipper.

Head coach Unai Emery announced on Tuesday that Xhaka had been stripped of the captaincy following his angry reaction to being jeered by his own supporters in the recent Premier League draw with Crystal Palace.

Aubameyang will instead take on leadership duties, starting with Saturday's trip to Leicester City, but Sokratis feels the issue is secondary as long as everyone pulls in the same direction on the field.

"I think it is the first time he is a captain," Sokratis said, according to several British newspapers.

"For me it's important that Aubameyang first has to score, he has to do his work. The captaincy or who has this [armband] on the pitch, I don't think it is very important.

"He is a very good guy, but who has the captaincy is not very important. It is important that all the team is good in the dressing room. We are like a family. In the end who brings to the pitch the captaincy is the last thing."

Arsenal's disappointing run continued with a 1-1 draw with Vitoria SC in the Europa League on Wednesday, Bruno Duarte cancelling out Shkodran Mustafi's late goal in Portugal.

Emery's side are winless in four matches in all competitions and Sokratis acknowledges the importance of responding with victory at in-form Leicester this weekend.

"It's a very big game, a game we have to win," he said.

"Of course we have a lot of games in front and if we see last year we were there but in the last seven games, we didn't win one.

"The other teams were six, seven points behind us but in the end they were in front. We need to be consistent all year, not only one month.

"Leicester is in a very good moment, they're a very hungry team. You can see this. We have to be ready to beat them."

Fernandinho believes Manchester City showed the battling qualities they will need to end their Anfield hoodoo during the second half of Wednesday's eventful 1-1 Champions League draw against Atalanta.

Pep Guardiola's side led 1-0 at the interval thanks to Raheem Sterling's sublime seventh-minute opener and should have made their superiority weigh more heavily, with Gabriel Jesus dragging a dismal penalty wide.

But Ederson was withdrawn before the restart due to a thigh injury and substitute goalkeeper Claudio Bravo's first task was to pluck Mario Pasalic's emphatic 49th-minute header from his net.

City struggled to regain their earlier rhythm as Gian Piero Gasperino's men found a frenetic and effective tempo, and Bravo's outing got worse when he was sent off for charging out of his area to foul Josip Ilicic.

That meant Kyle Walker being introduced as an emergency keeper – the right-back's tentative save from Ruslan Malinovskiy's free-kick bringing chants of "England's number one" from the travelling supporters at San Siro.

City held out for a 1-1 draw that left them five points clear at the top of Group C, their progress to the last 16 virtually assured as attention turns towards Sunday's mouth-watering Premier League showdown with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's league leaders are six points ahead of the reigning champions, who last won at Anfield in 2003.

"I think the main thing was the mentality of the guys," said Fernandinho, who was again deployed at centre-back. "In difficult situations like this we have to stick together and we did.

"This is important because we are building a team to be champions and sometimes to be champions you have to play games like this.

"Now it is good because everybody is understanding what we are building."

Guardiola reported Ederson's thigh injury was "not big" but he is unsure whether his influential number one will be available to face Liverpool.

Irrespective of whether his fellow Brazil international recovers in time, Fernandinho feels City will try to end 16-and-a-half years of Merseyside frustration with confidence.

"The mentality is always try to win the game," he added.

"There's always a first time in life, no? We are searching for this first time to win at Anfield. I am confident we can go there and try to win the game.

"Of course, we will see with Ederson's situation. We are going to train and the medical staff are going to check him and we are going to see if he will be fit or not for Sunday."

Some players thrive under the spotlight more than others – Liverpool will hope Sadio Mane proves his mettle against Manchester City, when the focus will be on him for more than one reason.

Mane has established himself as one of the Premier League's great entertainers and arguably Liverpool's biggest attacking threat, yet he has also earned himself a reputation as a purveyor of the dark arts – or "diving", as Pep Guardiola put it on Saturday.

Earlier that day, Mane had gone down very easily in the penalty area during Liverpool's 2-1 win at Aston Villa. Under pressure from Frederic Guilbert, the forward theatrically went to ground and was swiftly shown a yellow card for simulation by referee Jon Moss.

Jurgen Klopp and Mane have had their say since and come to the conclusion that the Senegal forward is not a "diver" – and even Guardiola appeared to backtrack – yet this weekend he will come under intense scrutiny over his conduct, performance and attitude, particularly given that this was by no means the first time the former Southampton star courted flak for diving.

Considering Mane's importance to Liverpool, Klopp will be desperate for him to harness that attention to the Reds' benefit on the big stage, something Sergio Aguero has become remarkably adept at. 

Aguero the benchmark

Since joining City from Atletico Madrid in 2011, Aguero's productivity in games against the so-called "big six" has been truly remarkable.

In 67 matches, Aguero has scored 44 goals from 241 shots with a conversion rate of 18.3 per cent. Against any standard of opposition that would be considered outstanding – to boast such a record against the Premier League's best is astonishing.

But he is yet to score in seven trips to Anfield, making it his least favourite away ground. 

Jamie Vardy is the closest to Aguero in terms of goals, with 31 in 59 matches. While that may not be as impressive, the fact that haul comes from 109 shots – giving him a startling 28.4 per cent conversion rate – suggests he relishes such occasions like few others.

Mane's record of 18 goals in 53 matches against the top sides may pale in comparison, but it remains impressive and is bettered by only six players.

Sadio the main Mane at Anfield

There is little doubt Mane has become the most influential attacker at Liverpool this season, with 12 goal involvements (nine goals, three assists). Mohamed Salah has 10 split equally between goals and assists, while Roberto Firmino is on nine (five goals, four assists).

Mane's nine goals across all competitions may not be groundbreaking, but it is only one shy of Raheem Sterling and two fewer than Aguero.

He has proven to be a vital creator for the Reds as well, laying on 29 chances for team-mates, six more than Firmino and eight better than Salah.

It is also worth pointing out Mane's 20.9 per cent conversion rate, as that too is significantly better than those posted by Salah (7.9 per cent) and Firmino (13.2 per cent).

Mane out to make a splash

Mane's reply to Guardiola after Liverpool's Champions League win over Genk suggested he is handling the situation rather comfortably.

Not only did he admit he would do what he did against Villa – what he considered to not be a dive – again, he insisted Guardiola's comments won't change him.

Given he has established himself as Liverpool's chief attacking threat, that'll be music to the ears of Klopp as he prepares his side to potentially go nine points clear at the Premier League summit.

Klopp will hope Mane can make a splash of the right kind against the champions at Anfield.

Ashley Barnes has signed a new Burnley contract that will run until the end of the 2021-22 season, with the option of a further year.

The 30-year-old is into his seventh season at Turf Moor and has made a club-record 146 Premier League appearances for the Clarets.

Former Brighton and Hove Albion striker Barnes had just over 18 months to run on his existing deal but has now agreed fresh terms.

Burnley confirmed the news on their official website and Barnes said: "I'd like to see out my playing days here. 

"At this moment in time I don't see anything else for me and I just want to continue playing at the highest level possible, and hopefully that is with Burnley."

Barnes scored 12 goals in the Premier League last season and has four in 10 appearances this campaign.

Everton's medical staff are hopeful stricken midfielder Andre Gomes will play again before the end of this season.

Gomes suffered a fracture dislocation to his right ankle during Sunday's Premier League draw with Tottenham following a challenge from Son Heung-min and was carried off on a stretcher.

The Portugal international underwent successful surgery on Tuesday and, despite the severity of the injury, club officials are optimistic he will return in 2019-20.

Speaking ahead of the weekend game with Southampton, manager Marco Silva told a news conference: "It's not easy to give a sure date about when he will return but the feedback from the medical staff is that it is possible we will see him playing again this season.

"It looked like a really serious injury, but everything went really well and we hope we can see him playing again this season. Of course we are not sure."

The incident at Goodison Park left several players visibly shaken, particularly Son, who has been in touch with Gomes.

Silva added: "I think he received a text message from Son.

"Of course it was the toughest moment for Andre and the other players on the pitch. For the two players involved it was really tough. Most important is to give Andre all the support he needs in this moment."

Son received a red card from referee Martin Atkinson although it was later overturned on appeal by the Football Association.

Silva refused to comment on the decision, saying: "I am not the right person, I am here to respect all the decisions and all the clubs taking these types of decisions [to appeal]. I'm not going to make a comment about the red card.

"I was the first one to say after the match that Son did not have bad intentions. After that it is for the referee to decide."

Kevin De Bruyne is relishing the prospect of a pumped-up Anfield when champions Manchester City travel to face Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday.

City are six points in arrears, having suffered surprise losses to Norwich City and Wolves in their pursuit of a third straight title, while Jurgen Klopp's men remain unbeaten domestically.

Aside from needing to knock Liverpool off their unrelenting stride, City are also faced with overturning a dismal record on the red side of Stanley Park.

Their previous win at Anfield came in May 2003, while Pep Guardiola's vintage suffered the first Premier League defeat of their dominant 2017-18 campaign on Merseyside before being dumped out of the same season's Champions League by Liverpool.

The atmosphere created by the home supporters has been cited as a factor in City's struggles in the fixture, although it is of no concern to midfield maestro De Bruyne.

"I prefer to play in that [rather] than when there is nobody," he said.

"Professionals want to play in front of 50, 60, 70, 80 thousand people and it makes it worthwhile.

"You train all your life to get to the big stages. I want to compete for titles and to be the best, and to do that you have to win against the best.

"Obviously it’s a big gap, but four weeks ago people were saying it was Liverpool’s [title] to lose. I’m not keeping track of what people say – we play so many games.

"The media will make a lot of it, and people have been talking about it for the whole week, even before the Champions League, but we just do our job, keep calm and prepare ourselves."

City's midweek Champions League outing certainly proved eventful, with right-back Kyle Walker helping to see out a 1-1 draw against Atalanta as an emergency goalkeeper after Ederson and Claudio Bravo were injured and sent off respectively.

Walker enjoys putting himself between the posts during penalty contests in training but De Bruyne did not sense much of that bravado as the England defender prepared to enter the fray at San Siro.

"He's buzzing. Sometimes he jokes in training about playing in goal but obviously he will have been shaking a little bit," the Belgium international said.

"He did what he had to do, and we didn’t give them many opportunities. It happens, and you have to improvise, and he did his job."

City led through Raheem Sterling's wonderfully worked seventh-minute goal and should have been in a far more comfortable position before the goalkeeping carnage ensued.

Gabriel Jesus tamely missed a 43rd-minute penalty – an untimely reminder of his side's frailties from the spot given Riyad Mahrez blazed over during last season's goalless draw at Liverpool.

"It doesn't matter," De Bruyne replied when asked whether City should have ended their Anfield hoodoo last term.

"It's a different game, different season, with other players on the pitch. Everyone is at a different stage. We just have to prepare ourselves."

On that barren run stretching back 16-and-a-half years, he added: "It's for you guy to keep track, I don’t care. A lot of circumstances will decide the game. What can a player do with statistics like this?"

Jurgen Klopp insists he could not hold Pep Guardiola in higher esteem despite the Manchester City manager's recent comments about Liverpool "diving".

Mane scored a late winner for Liverpool in Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win at Aston Villa but was earlier shown a yellow card for simulation, having previously been criticised after winning a contentious late spot-kick against Leicester City.

Guardiola seemed to take a swipe at the Senegal forward by telling BBC Sport "sometimes he is diving", prompting Klopp to defend his player and hit back at City by accusing them of the "tactical fouls" the Catalan has often insisted he does not encourage.

The issue has dominated much of the build-up to Sunday's huge showdown between the top two at Anfield, but Klopp has sought to move on by underlining his respect for his opposite number, after Guardiola backtracked by saying he did not mean to accuse Mane of cheating.

"I am in the same situation as him: we constantly get asked questions and sometimes we say at that second what is in our minds without thinking about anything else," Klopp told Sky Sports.

"He explained it well, he said when he speaks to his kids it's like this, was it a penalty or not – that's a discussion they had at home.

"I am completely fine with that. I couldn't have more respect for Pep Guardiola, I've known him for so long. It's still a big thing to be his contender. To me, he's the best manager in the world and we have the chance to win against his team, which is very difficult but it's possible. We've had a few good results against them so from my side there is nothing but respect."

Klopp also admitted he would prefer to take back his comment on tactical fouls, saying: "I then said what I said but come on, I can't let it go completely without a comment! But I am really not interested. I think there's enough to write about, it's not necessary that we make it bigger.

"If I could do it again, I wouldn't say it [the line about the tactical fouls] because it's just not necessary. I know from the other side as well, there is a lot of respect there. Everything else will be decided on the pitch."

Liverpool, whose last Premier League defeat was away to City in January, are six points clear of the champions at the top of the table heading into the encounter on Merseyside.

Klopp certainly plans to go for the win rather than focus on avoiding defeat, but he does not think the match will prove decisive in the title race.

"We know about the situation last year and we only lost one game, against City, and that was decisive at the end, and that's how people maybe see it, but you have to play all the games. If we win against City and don't win another game after that, there's no use," said the Reds manager.

"There is so much still to come. November, December and January are coming.

"Maybe other people [who] are smarter than me can see it like this. For me it's a 100 per cent win game. This must-win thing I've never understood.

"For us to prepare for a game like this, you have to do the right things again and again.

"I can imagine people are saying we must not lose and they must win. I don't really care – we want to win. And then we will see what the situation is. It's a big one, we know that. The whole world will be watching and I'm looking forward to it.

"In the last couple of years, we've gained a lot of respect for each other, not that I didn't have respect for City and Pep Guardiola teams already. City's performance at Anfield last year was the biggest show of respect I ever got because they played differently to what they usually do.

"I like to think about what we can do. We play at home but the game there we lost by 11 millimetres because the ball was not in. Without that it would be another draw and it would be deserved. I expect a tight game."

City goalkeeper Ederson is a doubt after going off at half-time of the 1-1 Champions League draw at Atalanta on Wednesday, but Klopp expects the Brazil international to play.

"If he couldn't play it would change [things] because he's an important part of their game," he said. "[Claudio] Bravo can do certain things he can do but I expect him to play 100 per cent. Last night was precautionary."

Tottenham still expect Hugo Lloris to return to training early next year despite the goalkeeper having to undergo surgery on his left elbow.

Lloris, 32, suffered a dislocated elbow and damaged ligaments following an awkward fall in Spurs' 3-0 Premier League defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion on October 5.

The club initially said an operation was not required, as a period of "rest and rehabilitation under the supervision of our medical staff" beckoned for the France international.

But in a statement released on Thursday, Spurs revealed surgery was "advised after further reviews by specialists found the elbow remained unstable".

Nevertheless, Lloris is still predicted to be back in training in early 2020.

Talk of diving and tactical fouls has only added fuel to the fire as Liverpool and Manchester City face off in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table Premier League clash at Anfield.

The unbeaten league-leading Reds needed an 87th-minute header from Andy Robertson and an injury-time winner from Sadio Mane to defeat Aston Villa 2-1 last time out and preserve a six-point cushion over City.

Champions City needed to rally themselves to overcome Southampton, after which manager Pep Guardiola stoked the fires by saying of Liverpool's star forward Mane: "Sometimes he [Mane] is diving. Sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute. He's a talent."

It was a suggestion Klopp bridled at and, although Guardiola later sought to clarify the meaning of his comments, Liverpool's German boss could not resist a cheeky jibe at past accusations his rival's side commit "tactical fouls".

It has undoubtedly added an intriguing sub-plot ahead of one of the most eagerly awaited Premier League matches in recent memory as Liverpool seek to significantly boost their bid to end a near 30-year wait for top-flight glory.

Last season, Liverpool lost just once in the league but still missed out by a solitary point to City, who it is fair to say have failed to excel when playing at Anfield.

 

PEP'S KLOPP HOODOO ENDING?

Guardiola's record would stand up against any coach he has faced, but in Klopp he undoubtedly has a genuine rival.

Since becoming Barcelona boss in 2008, Guardiola has lost more matches across all competitions against the former Borussia Dortmund coach than any other manager, with the German triumphing on seven occasions.

City's Catalan boss is unbeaten in his past three encounters with Klopp; however, never before has he gone four games without losing against him.

In the Premier League, there is no splitting the duo with Guardiola and Klopp holding two wins apiece and a couple of draws from the six times they have faced one another in the competition.

Klopp should take solace from some home comforts. Five of the seven wins he holds over Guardiola have come when his team have been at their own stadium, including three with Liverpool at Anfield.

Under Guardiola, City have failed to score in just six of 62 Premier League away games and three of those have come on Merseyside – two against Liverpool and once against Everton.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: ALISSON V EDERSON

Alisson and Ederson are not just rivals for the gloves at international level with Brazil, they are also crucial to the way Liverpool and City play.

The Reds forked out a reported £66.8million to sign Alisson from Roma in July 2018 and that outlay was repaid during a fine Golden Glove-winning debut season that yielded 21 clean sheets and saw just 22 goals conceded.

Injury has restricted Liverpool's first-choice keeper to just four league outings this term, including the opener against Norwich when he was subbed off with a calf problem, and he has an impressive minutes-to-goals-conceded ratio of 103.

Crucial to modern-day goalkeeping is the ability to play out from the back and Alisson brings that to the Reds, boasting a passing accuracy of 83.9 per cent.

Ederson has been equally crucial to City's domestic dominance under Guardiola, winning the Premier League title in his first two campaigns at the Etihad Stadium, including a league, FA Cup and EFL Cup treble in 2018-19.

This term, he has kept five clean sheets in 11 league appearances, conceding 10 goals and possessing a save percentage of 74.4.

As expected, Ederson's passing accuracy is high – 90.1 per cent – and he will have to be typically quick with his feet against the brilliance of Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

FORM GUIDE: ANFIELD A FORTRESS FOR LIVERPOOL

Liverpool are unbeaten in 28 consecutive Premier League games, which represents the eighth best streak in the competition's history.

At Anfield, Klopp's side are on an even more impressive run having not tasted defeat on home soil in 45 league games – only Chelsea's 86-game run that ended in October 2008 can beat that.

City will have to go some to prevent Liverpool from finding the back of the net, with the Merseysiders scoring in 20 straight league matches – the last time they failed to register was a goalless draw with Everton in March.

Guardiola's side have lost two of their last seven league games, having been beaten just once in 23 prior to that, but they have won 13 of their past 15 away matches.

Liverpool only have one win from their most recent five league encounters with City – a 4-3 triumph at Anfield in January 2018 – but have not lost at home against the Citizens since May 2003.

Impressively, Liverpool have taken a league-high 10 points from losing positions already this season, winning their last two Premier League games despite conceding first – they have never achieved the feat in three straight matches in the competition.

HISTORY SAYS...

Liverpool have a formidable home record against City, losing just one of their last 28 games at Anfield against this Sunday's visitors – the lone defeat being a 2-1 setback in May 2003.

Indeed, their most recent 16 encounters with City at Anfield have returned 11 wins and five draws.

However, Liverpool's only defeat in their past 50 Premier League games against all opposition came against Guardiola's side in January.

City should be wary of the fact Liverpool have won more Premier League games against reigning champions (21) than any other team in the competition's history, last losing a home match in such a circumstance against Manchester United in December 2007.

Sadio Mane has no plan to change his style of play after Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola accused the Liverpool forward of diving ahead of their crunch clash this weekend.

Mane was shown a yellow card during Liverpool's 2-1 win at Aston Villa last weekend after referee Jon Moss adjudged him to have simulated contact under pressure from Frederic Guilbert.

Guardiola pointed the finger at Mane later that day, saying "sometimes he is diving" after being asked about the Reds' star man ahead of City's trip to Anfield this Sunday.

Although Guardiola clarified his comments on Tuesday, claiming it was not his intention to call Mane a diver, Jurgen Klopp defended his player by insisting there was contact in the incident against Villa.

Mane is not letting Guardiola's comments get to him.

"There was contact, for sure," Mane told reporters. "Maybe it was not a penalty and he [the referee] didn't give it, and he gave me a yellow card. To be honest I don't have any problem about it.

"For sure, it can happen in football and we have seen many people, some diving and get penalties, some got a penalty and the referee didn't give it. That's football. You have to deal with it.

"I think it's a bit clever from him to get the attention of the referee, but I will just play my football like I'm always doing.

"I don't pay attention to what he's saying because it's part of football. Even though I saw him commenting about it, what he said, for me, I think it's positive.

"[I will keep playing] like I'm always doing. It's what I want to keep doing. If I get a penalty, yeah it's a penalty. If no penalty, no penalty, but [I will never] change the way I'm playing or the way I'm doing my things."

Liverpool head into Sunday's match six points clear of the defending champions after only failing to win one of their first 11 matches this term and it was put to Mane that Guardiola's comments came from a position of fear.

"Maybe, I don't know, you guys [reporters] know more than me," he said. "The only thing I can say I will be for sure ready for the team, to give everything possible, and to help my team.

"If it could be a penalty for sure I will 'dive' again. If the dive will give me a penalty, then I will do it to get it back. Why not? But what Jurgen said is correct; I do not dive."

Kylian Mbappe continues to be linked with a move away from Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool are seemingly well in the race.

Mbappe, 20, has starred for PSG since arriving in 2017, but is reportedly a target for LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

However, Champions League winners Liverpool could also make a move for the France international forward.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL INTERESTED IN MBAPPE

Liverpool are set to battle Real Madrid for Mbappe, according to El Desmarque.

The report says the Premier League leaders have the funds to sign Mbappe after a quiet transfer window ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Mbappe remains the main target for Madrid despite being contracted at PSG until 2022.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich are looking for a coach to replace Niko Kovac and Arsene Wenger may, or may not, be a target. Bild reports the Bundesliga giants have spoken to the former Arsenal manager, while The Athletic says Bayern do not want Wenger.

- There could also be a coaching change coming at Barcelona. LaLiga's champions look set to part ways with Ernesto Valverde at the end of the season, with Marca reporting Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is the top target to take over at Camp Nou.

- Back at Anfield and Liverpool could be lining up a move for Genk midfielder Sander Berge. Norwegian newspaper VG claims Jurgen Klopp told Berge he was a "very interesting player" after Liverpool's 2-1 Champions League win over Genk on Tuesday.

- Napoli are well off the pace in Serie A and it could see Carlo Ancelotti make a January exit. FOX Sports reports Boca Juniors are interested in the Italian tactician.

- Chelsea look set to make changes to their squad in January. The Premier League side are open to listening to offers for Olivier Giroud and Pedro in early 2020, according to The Telegraph.

- Amid a lack of playing time, Nemanja Matic is considering a Manchester United exit in January, according to the Manchester Evening News. Matic has made just two Premier League starts for United this season.

Pep Guardiola has been known to readily remind journalists in his news conferences that he understands how to cope with an injury crisis.

The Manchester City manager likes to recall his first Champions League final, when Barcelona faced a rampant Manchester United in Rome with Yaya Toure at centre-back, Carles Puyol shunted out to right-back and veteran Sylvinho in the other wide defensive position.

Barca dazzled during a 2-0 win that sent one of the greatest club teams in history on their way into the stratosphere.

So, when all Guardiola's senior City centre-backs were injured this season, no problem. Defensive midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri could play there - and they did exactly that during back-to-back wins over Crystal Palace and Atalanta.

It was the same when Benjamin Mendy missed the bulk of the past two seasons, as career midfielders Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko simply became very passable left-backs. Zinchenko still is one.

David Silva's addition to a weighty Etihad Stadium injury list last weekend meant namesake Bernardo starting in a central attacking midfield position alongside Kevin De Bruyne for Wednesday's 1-1 draw against Atalanta at San Siro.

What glorious riches, and they were cashed in as the Portugal playmaker arrowed a pass for a first-time backheel by Gabriel Jesus that fell into Raheem Sterling's stride for a first-time finish. Sterling, one of the outstanding attackers in world football, was darting in off a left flank that Leroy Sane will be unable to occupy until he recovers from cruciate ligament damage.

There are answers to most conundrums Guardiola has to address and the impression is he often revels in doing so. But the scene that unfolded from half-time onwards at San Siro will have done nothing to whet his appetite ahead of City's crunch trip to Liverpool in the Premier League this weekend.

Claudio Bravo was warming up. Fairly extensively. He was coming on.

Ederson made way as a precaution, with a thigh injury to shake off before Sunday. Guardiola will hope the injury is as minor as a miner driving a Morris Minor. And maybe a little more minor than that.

For all the exquisite talents in his outfield array, no Guardiola signing has been more pivotal to his back-to-back Premier League titles in England than his Brazil international between the posts.

It should be added that the first trophy the Spaniard won with his current employers, the 2018 EFL Cup, arrived with Bravo in goal having been a penalty shoot-out hero against Wolves and Leicester City in the earlier rounds. But what came before in his debut campaign marks the former Barcelona man's standing with the City faithful.

If Wednesday at one of European football's most famous arenas represented a fresh page for Bravo, he promptly poured some of that oil Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have been talking about this week and set it on fire.

He could do little about Mario Pasalic powering home a 49th-minute equaliser, but his first act was still to pick the ball out of the net. It recalled that mid-season spell during his nightmare 2016-17 when every shot on target seemed to herald an opposition goal. Willy Caballero was eventually called up to spare him.

There were plenty of other things Bravo might have done in the 81st minute instead of belying the experience of his 36 years and a career that has yielded two Copas America and LaLiga titles, among multiple honours.

His rash challenge on Josip Ilicic was a clear red card. Bravo became the first substitute goalkeeper in Champions League history to be sent off.

When emergency keeper Kyle Walker - apparently an enthusiast in the role during training ground penalty contests - nervously kept out the resulting free-kick from Ruslan Malinovskiy to earn harrumphing chants of "England's number one" from the City faithful, he had made more saves in the game than Bravo. It was not a statistically strong few minutes for the veteran.

The stats that loom largest over this pivotal week are Liverpool's six-point lead over the champions at the Premier League summit and the 16-and-a-half years that have passed since City last won at Anfield.

Guardiola can take heart from the resilience his depleted team showed before a baying crowd as opponents in Atalanta had the bit between their teeth.

However, if he is to be without Ederson, the inimitable thread who brought his whole tapestry together, the chances of overturning those numbers on Merseyside have shifted uncomfortably close to improbable.

Tottenham forward Son Heung-min has apologised for his involvement in Andre Gomes' horrific injury and says the last few days have been "really tough".

Son was left visibly distraught after his tackle on Gomes in Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw at Everton contributed to the midfielder colliding horribly with Serge Aurier and suffering a fracture dislocation to his right ankle.

The South Korea international, who received a red card that was later rescinded, was named in Tottenham's line-up for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade and scored twice in a 4-0 win.

After making it five goals in four European outings this term, Son thanked his Tottenham team-mates and supporters for helping him through a difficult week.

"Of course it has been a really tough few days but I have realised how lucky I am with all the support I have had from the fans and my team-mates," he told BT Sport.

"I can say I'm really sorry for the accident and the situation but I had to focus for the team and I had to keep going and it was the right response to all the people who have supported me."

Son scored either side of goals from full debutant Giovani Lo Celso and second-half substitute Christian Eriksen as Tottenham made it back-to-back wins in Group B.

Victory for Tottenham was their first away from home since May 8 and moves them to within one win of a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"It was so important to win this game, especially against a team that are unbeaten at home," Son said. "We had a good attitude and we scored the goals in the first half. 

"It is massive for our confidence. It is a really difficult place to come and we know we can play well in the away games, so we can take these positives forward."

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."

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