Manchester United have an option to bring Memphis Depay back to Old Trafford, according to Lyon sporting director Juninho.

Netherlands international Depay joined United from PSV in 2015 but could only manage seven goals in 53 appearances across all competitions.

An unhappy 18 months concluded when he joined Lyon for a fee in the region of £16million in January 2017 - and the 25-year-old has been revitalised in Ligue 1.

Depay has scored seven times in 10 top-flight appearances this season despite his club's troubled start to the campaign, along with four in as many Champions League outings.

Speaking on Tuesday, Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman told reporters it would be better for his country if Depay was playing for a bigger club.

In the event of his performances drawing offers from some of Europe's big hitters, Juninho told his club's official website that United retain first refusal under the terms of Depay's move to France.

"Manchester has a priority if several clubs line up to buy him," he said.

"But we have not received any offers so far. He is really happy right now in Lyon.

"We will discuss a contract extension by the end of the year."

Depay's current deal runs until the end of next season.

Lyon lie 14th in Ligue 1 after a 2-1 defeat to rivals Marseille last Sunday, although recently installed head coach Rudi Garcia had overseen three consecutive wins before that setback.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva is not concerned about coming up against Lionel Messi in Friday's clash with bitter rivals Argentina, rather seeing it as a source of pride to take on the Barcelona superstar.

Messi is back in the Argentina squad for the first time since the Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in July's semi-final.

After that controversial encounter, Messi accused CONMEBOL of corruption, earning a four-match ban and a $50,000 fine.

Messi is expected to make his return during the friendly clash in Saudi Arabia, and Silva prefers not to look at the situation with fear, instead relishing facing one of the best.

"We are not concerned but proud to have a chance to face him," Silva told reporters on Monday.

"They [Argentina] have their star, we won't have ours [Neymar, who is injured], but Brazil is Brazil, and we showed it during our Copa America win.

"They are living a different moment, as are we when you consider the last few matches. Brazil versus Argentina is always a great game, with great football and scoring chances.

"There's a 50:50 winning chance for each side - let's hope we are more inspired then than they are."

Brazil winger Willian added: "He [Messi] is a great player, unmatched, the best in the world. We've faced Argentina when he played before, and this will be just like those times.

"There must be more attention on him, we must restrict his spaces. We'll not man-mark him, but whoever is around him must close down the spaces, not leave him room to think."

Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo Goes is in line to earn his first senior cap at the tender age of 18 after breaking into the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The wide attacker has already scored five goals in just six matches for Madrid, and Silva has been impressed, even suggesting he hopes Zinedine Zidane leaves the teenager out when Paris Saint-Germain take on the LaLiga giants in the Champions League later this month.

"The fact he's with the Selecao is a unique opportunity, he surely has dreamt about this moment," the PSG defender said of Rodrygo. "I hope he can enjoy it the best way possible.

"I have over 100 caps and every time I'm here, I feel the chills. I hope he has the wisdom to make the most of it.

"It's surprising really to most people, an 18-year-old with loads of personality. You see for the way he scores goals how calm and reserved this kid is, he's not doing it to show off.

"Let's hope Zidane keeps him on the bench! He's a player who'll demand more attention from your side. His quality speaks for itself."

Son Heung-min's two-goal performance in Tottenham's 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade confirmed his strong psychological state, according to Mauricio Pochettino.

South Korea star Son led Spurs to a convincing Champions League victory in Serbia three days on from his part in the incident that left Everton midfielder Andre Gomes with a fracture dislocation to his right ankle.

Son's challenge contributed to Gomes colliding with Serge Aurier and earned him a red card, which has since been rescinded.

The 27-year-old forward was visibly distressed after witnessing the extent of the sickening injury but held his starting spot and excelled in what was a crucial European encounter for Tottenham.

"He was affected like everyone, during the game and after the game. It is difficult to see a player suffering a massive injury," Pochettino said.

"He was involved, there was a bit of confusion in the action, with the decision to show the red card. He felt responsible, then when we concede with 10 men.

"But he wasn't guilty for the injury, and he showed that he is in a good state and mental level.

"Of course he is sorry about Andre, like everyone, but it was a big relief with the message from Andre on social media, which was good and positive, and Son is now training and recovering well."

Tottenham appear on course to reach the Champions League knockout stages but continue to struggle for form domestically.

Pochettino's men are winless in four Premier League games and sit 11th in the table, 10 points adrift of the top four.

The Spurs boss hopes the midweek taste of success can be the catalyst for a better run of results, beginning with Saturday's home game against Sheffield United.

"I hope yes, hopefully keep in the same way," he said. "It was a difficult game [in Belgrade]. The result, 4-0, looks easy, but in different periods we suffered and nearly conceded.

"They hit the post and there was an unbelievable save from Paulo [Gazzaniga] that could have changed the game.

"Always you need luck to score first and then have the capacity to control. I was happy after Everton and after Red Star, but we need to finish winning. But we know it will be tough against Sheffield."

Tottenham's date with the Blades takes place just over 24 hours before the much-anticipated Anfield showdown between Liverpool and Manchester City, of which Pochettino will be an excited observer.

"Of course. I love football," he said.

"I love different sports - I love tennis, I love paddle tennis, I love golf, but my priority is football and to have the possibility to watch the game on Sunday - I don't know if I will be home or where I will be - but for sure these two hours I will spend watching the game, because my priority is football."

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."

Liverpool will not face any action from UEFA after supporters displayed an inappropriate banner of Divock Origi ahead of last month's Champions League clash at Genk.

Reds fans unfurled the banner during the warm-up before the clash in Belgium and the club later condemned it as "offensive", suggesting it "perpetuated a racist stereotype".

However, the incident was not included in any official reports and so UEFA will not open a case, Omnisport understands.

Jurgen Klopp's side won the game 4-1 and also beat Genk in the return fixture on Tuesday to sit top of Group E in defence of their European crown. 

Inter are set to be without Matteo Politano for around a month after the Serie A club confirmed the winger sustained a sprained ankle.

Politano suffered the injury after coming on as a substitute in Inter's 3-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Inter have now confirmed the extent of the issue, with reports suggesting he will be out of action until December.

"The results showed a sprain to his left ankle. The joint will be immobilised for the first stage of treatment and Politano's condition will be monitored and evaluated over the coming weeks," an Inter statement read.

Politano enjoyed a fruitful first campaign at Inter last season but has started only twice in Serie A under Antonio Conte.

He is now likely to miss Inter's matches against Hellas Verona, Torino and SPAL in Serie A, as well as the Nerazzurri's Champions League meeting with Slavia Prague.

Politano will also be unavailable for selection by Italy for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, though he has not been picked by Roberto Mancini since March.

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?"

Dani Carvajal applauded Rodrygo Goes for his natural confidence after the 18-year-old scored a hat-trick in Real Madrid's 6-0 demolition of Galatasaray on Wednesday.

Rodrygo only made his first start for the club on October 22 in Madrid's previous meeting with the Turkish champions, but he has quickly shown he is not out of place in Los Blancos' team.

His treble at the Santiago Bernabeu took him to five goals in six appearances for the club, while he also set up the first of Karim Benzema's brace.

Coach Zinedine Zidane claimed he has not been surprised by Rodrygo's impact and Carvajal was overjoyed for the winger.

"You all saw how the boy always wants the ball, tries to dribble and passes, arrives in the box," Carvajal told reporters.

"He has an innate self-confidence, so he is fantastic. His match was really good, so we have to congratulate him."

Toni Kroos was rather more cautious about lavishing praise on the teenager, though he did commend his approach in possession.

"I do not like speaking about a player just because he has scored three goals. He did well in the past few games," Kroos said.

"He is 18 years old but is already helpful for us. Given his age, he plays very well, making it easy, not losing the ball, which is important for our game. It is good to have another scorer, as we need goals."

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo hit out at Zinedine Zidane, admitting he was annoyed by the Real Madrid coach talking about Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe, 20, is consistently linked with a move away from PSG, where he has starred since arriving in 2017.

The France international is reportedly a target for Madrid and Zidane said on Tuesday it was Mbappe's dream to play for the LaLiga giants.

Leonardo hit out at Zidane after PSG's 1-0 Champions League win over Club Brugge on Wednesday, saying the star forward should be left alone.

"It annoys a little and it bothers. This is not the time to talk about this. He still has two and a half years of contract with us. It's time to stop all this," he told RMC Sport.

"He is very important for us. It is the best young player that France has. He is world champion and even the best player in the world.

"This is not the time to destabilise or touch him."

Mbappe has scored nine goals in 11 games so far this season and is contracted in Paris until 2022.

Leonardo accused PSG's rivals of being jealous as he called for an end to speculation around Mbappe's future.

"Honestly, I did not see this interview where he said it was a dream for him to play at Madrid. Neither read nor heard, and I never talked to him about it," he told reporters.

"Maybe he said it one day and it became a Mexican telenovela and we continue like that. I think he is very intelligent.

"He has a contract with us, and has already done a lot of things. And there are still other things to do.

"That's why I do not understand and I ask even you to stop, because we cannot answer each time the same thing. There are concrete things – his contract, I think he is happy. He is a fabulous player. And I think there is a little jealousy.

"Today, we have Mbappe and Neymar, and if we look around the world where are better players than those? And in addition, we have four, five good strikers. We must be happy. We have great players."

PSG's win over Club Brugge was their fourth in as many Group A games as they booked their spot in the last 16.

Karim Benzema insisted he was "no legend" after reaching 50 Champions League goals for Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Benzema struck a brace in a 6-0 thrashing of Galatasaray as Rodrygo Goes stole the show with a hat-trick at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Often criticised, Benzema is behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (105) and Raul (66) for most Champions League goals for Madrid.

The Frenchman overtook Alfredo Di Stefano (49) but played down any talk he was a Madrid legend.

"We scored goals, played well and did not concede. It was a real party with the fans," Benzema said, via the club's website.

"I am no legend. When I signed for the club I never thought I'd get to this point and I am so happy.

"I try to help the team and be at my best, I want to continue to help. I feel very confident, if I can help my team-mates by talking to them out there, then I will, that is down to my experience in this club."

Rodrygo was the star with his hat-trick, while Sergio Ramos also netted a penalty in Madrid's resounding victory.

Benzema talked up Rodrygo and Eden Hazard, backing the latter to improve after his move from Chelsea in the close season.

"Rodrygo looked very good to me, he's not afraid. He plays the ball and I love it when I see a young man playing like that," he said.

"As for Hazard, he's a great player and our connection is very good. Little by little you'll see what a great player he is."

Zinedine Zidane insisted he was unsurprised by Rodrygo Goes' impressive start at Real Madrid after the teenager's hat-trick against Galatasaray.

Rodrygo, 18, scored three times and set up another in Madrid's 6-0 Champions League win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

The Brazilian has netted five goals in six games for the club since his move from Santos, leading to plenty of praise.

Zidane was happy with Rodrygo and while he is trying not to put pressure on the forward, the Madrid coach is unsurprised by his displays.

"He is only 18 years old. We are so pleased with him," Zidane told a news conference.

"When he gets a chance to play he always does well, he did that in every sense. He works hard and does a lot of things. We need to have patience and not pressure him.

"I am not surprised whatsoever, he is very talented. Perhaps we can be surprised by the three goals. He is happy, his game is a real joy to watch."

Rodrygo scored twice in the opening seven minutes against Galatasaray, while Karim Benzema netted a brace and Sergio Ramos a penalty.

Zidane praised Madrid's ruthlessness in the victory, which marked their third in four games in all competitions.

"Logically we can be happy with the six goals, but we also kept a clean sheet, defending and respecting our rivals until the end because sometimes when you are four goals up at half-time you can relax, but we didn't," he said.

"Whenever we lost the ball we pressed hard and that led to us having a well-rounded game."

Shakhtar Donetsk head coach Luis Castro says the remarkable ending of his side's 3-3 Champions League draw with Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday is why people love football.

Castro's men looked like they would suffer a damaging defeat when Luka Ivanusec and Arijan Ademi scored inside the final seven minutes of regulation time to put the hosts 3-1 up, with Bruno Petkovic earlier cancelling out Alan Patrick's opener for the visitors.

A header from Junior Moraes three minutes into stoppage time and then Tete's penalty with almost the last kick of the game ensured the spoils were shared.

Nikola Moro and Marlos were also both dismissed in a remarkable final 20 minutes, and both sides will go into the final two Group C games level on five points.

Castro says he is disappointed not to have won but admits he can take comfort from the dramatic way his side claimed a point.

"Our players had desire and energy until the very end," he told reporters. "We missed the chance to take the game under control, but football is like this. That's why millions of people love it.

"Anyway, nothing is lost or won for us so far. We were third in the group when we came here; now we are second.

"It was a very difficult game and now we have mixed feelings. I feel some disappointment because we could have won. We controlled the game and played with big heart.

"We believed in our substitutions. We made them with hope and in the end, we got a positive result."

Dinamo coach Nenad Bjelica, meanwhile, praised his players despite giving up a two-goal advantage in stoppage time.

"We didn't react well when we were 3-1 up," he said. "We conceded two goals and missed a chance to win, but we have to move on and battle for points in the last two matches.

"At the end I am satisfied with my players and with their efforts."

Mauricio Pochettino warned his Tottenham players "it is only a small step" after they ended their barren away run with a 4-0 Champions League win at Red Star Belgrade.

Tottenham eased to all three points in Wednesday's clash thanks to a couple of goals from Son Heung-min and one apiece for Giovani Lo Celso and Christian Eriksen.

Victory for Tottenham was their first away from home since May 8, a run spanning nine matches in all competitions, and Pochettino wants his side to build on the three points.

"I think it was a great result away from home," he said at his post-match news conference. "We needed to have a game like this to recover our best feelings and give us confidence.

"The performance was very good in a very difficult place. I am so happy but we need to keep going. It is only a small step."

Tottenham became the first English side to win a Champions League match at Rajko Mitic Stadium, a year to the day since Liverpool suffered defeat there, making the victory all the more impressive in the eyes of Pochettino.

"We were preparing, very conscious of how Liverpool suffered here last year," he said. "We expected a very tough game and it was important to be aggressive and try to dominate and I thought our game in the opposition half was excellent. 

"There was also luck involved as we managed to score in the first half and they didn't."

Lo Celso opened the scoring for Tottenham in Belgrade on his full debut, while Tanguy Ndombele put in a good midfield shift and fellow newcomer Ryan Sessegnon continued his comeback from injury as a late substitute.

Pochettino was particularly pleased with the performance of Lo Celso, who had previously been restricted to six substitute appearances due to a hip injury.

"I think it was a very good display," he said. "Always it's difficult for a new player when he arrives, and after the team was very successful last season.

"He arrived at the end of the pre-season. The circumstances were that he was behind everyone, got injured with the national team and then it was about building his fitness and his confidence, and then waiting for the opportunity to be in the starting XI and feel the opportunity.

"I am happy because he is a very good player and his personality and character is great. Now he only needs time like Tanguy and Ryan. They are so young. 

"They arrive now to the team in difficult circumstances, not the best circumstances. That is why like I tell you always I don't expect too much, I am happy with that they provide to the team. They need time. I am happy with the players."

Second-placed Tottenham are four points better off than Red Star in Group B and can guarantee a place in the last 16 with victory at home to bottom side Olympiacos later this month.

Rodrygo Goes says he is progressing faster than he expected at Real Madrid after scoring a perfect hat-trick on a "dream" night against Galatasaray.

Madrid thumped their Turkish opponents 6-0 at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, with Rodrygo scoring a treble as well as providing an assist to Karim Benzema.

The 18-year-old opened his Champions League account in style – two of his goals coming inside the first seven minutes – while Benzema's double meant he reached 50 Madrid goals in the competition and Sergio Ramos added a penalty on a brilliant night for the hosts.

It was only Rodrygo's fourth start after his reported €45million move from Santos but he already has five goals to his name and feels increasingly comfortable alongside his star-studded team-mates.

"It is true that everything is going much quicker than what I expected when I arrived at Real Madrid," Rodrygo said to Movistar.

"It is a very happy night. It is a dream come true to hear the Bernabeu sing my name.

"But I have to stay calm, be relaxed and continue to work day by day."

Rodrygo appreciated a gesture from his team-mates, who signed his match ball after a memorable performance, while hailing the quality of fellow attacker Benzema, who set up his stoppage-time third goal to return the favour for the Brazilian's earlier assist.

The forward added: "Playing with Karim makes everything easier. He's an amazing player and I'm very happy to play alongside him.

"I'm sure that what they've put on the ball is very nice because my team-mates are good people and they give me lots of confidence."

Zinedine Zidane's men are now on the brink of sealing a place in the last 16 from Group A. They are comfortable in second place, five points clear of Club Brugge in third with two games to play.

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.

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