Wayne Rooney has predicted Liverpool will win the Premier League title, preventing Manchester City from becoming champions for the third straight season.

Rooney, a former Manchester United captain and the club's all-time record goalscorer, faces seeing his old team's two rivals fight for the title for the second campaign in a row.

Liverpool moved eight points clear at the top after Saturday's dramatic defeat of Leicester City, James Milner's 95th-minute penalty securing a 17th successive league win, with City in action at home to Wolves on Sunday.

Ex-England striker Rooney, who will join Championship side Derby County as a player-coach in January, feels it will be Jurgen Klopp's Reds who come out on top this term.

"In my opinion, Liverpool look the strongest," DC United star Rooney told boxing outlet iFL TV after Gennady Golovkin beat Sergiy Derevyanchenko at Madison Square Garden. 

"City are a fantastic team. I think Liverpool have improved on last year. City have stayed at that level of great consistency. I think Liverpool."

Another of Rooney's former sides have had a tough start to 2019-20 with Burnley inflicting a fourth successive Premier League loss on Liverpool's city rivals Everton.

Pressure is growing on Marco Silva with the Toffees 17th in the table, a point above the relegation zone, but Rooney expects his boyhood club to improve.

"I think the players are too good to be where they are in the league," he added.

"Once results start coming, they'll definitely get out of it."

Tom Lawrence has offered his "sincere apologies" and vowed to make amends for his part in a drink-driving incident last month. 

The Wales international and Derby team-mate Mason Bennett were arrested and charged with the offence after a car crash that followed a team-building dinner on September 24. 

Both players are set to appear in court on October 15 and have been fined six weeks wages by the club, while captain Richard Keogh has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injuries sustained on the night in question. 

Bennett described his shame at the incident in a statement released on Friday and Lawrence has now also apologised for his actions. 

"Following the events of the evening of September 24 I wish to offer my sincere apologies to the football club - our chairman, the manager, my team-mates and all our supporters for my indiscretions that night," read the statement, published on Derby's official website on Saturday. 

"It was a total error of judgement on my part, out of character for me and I am deeply disappointed in my behaviour and upset for my team-mate and our captain Richard Keogh. 

"Going forward, I will make every effort to make amends by working diligently to give something back to our local community and I will strive to repay all the faith and support I have received from everybody during my time at the club in the best way I know how, on the field of play." 

Lawrence featured in Derby's 2-2 draw with Barnsley on Wednesday and has been named in Ryan Giggs' Wales squad for this month's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Croatia. 

Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have been fined six weeks' wages by Derby County for actions that left the latter "ashamed".

Lawrence and Bennett were arrested and charged with drink-driving after they were involved in a crash following a team-building dinner on September 24.

The duo are set to appear at court on October 15, while club captain Richard Keogh has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to an injury sustained on the night in question.

Derby announced via a club statement on Friday they had completed their own disciplinary hearing and fined Lawrence and Bennett the equivalent of six weeks' wages, the maximum amount within their contractual limit.

The two players will also be required to serve an additional 80 hours of community and rehabilitation, which will include a drink aware course.

Bennett released his own statement along with Derby's announcement, describing his shame at the incident.

"On the night of Tuesday 24th September, I made huge mistakes after consuming alcohol," it read. "What I did was wrong.

“Being a footballer and someone who young fans look up to, I know the example I set is key. I am ashamed. At 23, I am old enough, and I was brought up, to know better.

"I understand that such actions have serious consequences. I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the punishment that the club has issued.

"I have to and will learn from these events and will strive to be a better person.

"There's no excuse for what I've done. I'm sorry to my family, my friends, the club, all Derby supporters and to the wider football community, I let you all down."

Tom Lawrence has been named in the Wales squad for this month's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Croatia.

The call-up comes a week after local police charged Lawrence and Derby County team-mate Mason Bennett with drink-driving following a crash on the night of a scheduled team-building dinner.

Both players featured in Derby's 2-2 draw at Barnsley on Wednesday.

Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey returns to the squad after missing September's qualifying win over Azerbaijan and the friendly against Belarus.

Ryan Giggs has also recalled veteran centre-back Ashley Williams, now of Bristol City.

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale captained the team in their last qualifier against Azerbaijan and will have an important part to play as Wales, fourth in Group E, attempt to improve their automatic qualifying prospects.

Swansea City returned to the top of the table with a 2-1 comeback win at Charlton Athletic as Derby County were denied victory against Barnsley by a 94th-minute goal in Wednesday's Championship action.

A winless September saw Swansea slip from the summit, but they hit back after Jonathan Leko's early opener at The Valley through goals from Yan Dhanda and Andre Ayew.

Derby were on the brink of making it back-to-back victories following a turbulent start to the campaign in their meeting with Barnsley, only for Conor Chaplin to snatch a 2-2 draw for the struggling hosts deep into additional time.

A Chris Martin strike and Tom Huddlestone's penalty had given Derby the lead after Aapo Halme opened the scoring at Oakwell, though Phillip Cocu's side could not hold on and sit in 16th place.

IN-FORM CARDIFF MAINTAIN MOMENTUM

Cardiff City made it seven league matches without defeat as they saw off Queens Park Rangers in south Wales.

Sean Morrison gave Cardiff the lead 11 minutes in and further goals followed either side of half-time from Marlon Pack and Callum Paterson.

The win lifts Neil Warnock's men into 10th, just a point behind seventh-placed Bristol City following the Robins' 1-1 draw at Brentford.

A point was a positive result for the visitors in the end, however, as Andreas Weimann headed home three minutes from time at Griffin Park to cancel out Josh Dasilva's 64h-minute opener.

LUTON AND MILLWALL TAKE A POINT APIECE

Millwall's wait for a Championship win now stands at seven matches after they played out a 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.

Tom Bradshaw looked to have given Millwall the win with his sliding finish on the hour, but Callum McManaman scored his first goal for Luton late on after being brought on as a substitute.

Derby County ended a troubled week with a 3-2 victory over Birmingham City in the Championship.

Rams players Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence were charged with drink-driving after they were involved in a crash late on Tuesday night, and captain Richard Keogh suffered a season-ending knee injury on the same team evening out.

The club have been scathing about the conduct of those involved and warned they will "pay a heavy price for their actions", making Saturday's home match a welcome chance to focus again on on-field matters.

Neither Bennett nor Lawrence were involved as Phillip Cocu's side took the spoils at Pride Park thanks to goals from Chris Martin, Martyn Waghorn and Jamie Paterson, who netted the 74th-minute winner.

Birmingham replied through Gary Gardner and Ivan Sunjic, and would have gone ahead at 2-2 but Lukas Jutkiewicz failed to convert a penalty.

Derby's second win in nine league games this season - and first success at home - lifted them up to 14th place, one behind Birmingham.

BAGGIES BOUNCE UP TO TOP SPOT

Unbeaten West Brom took over at the top after a 2-0 win at QPR, with second-half goals from Nathan Ferguson and Matheus Pereira settling the outcome in favour of Slaven Bilic's men. QPR had Yoann Barbet sent off in the 82nd minute, moments before Pereira sealed the points.

Swansea had been on course to climb above West Brom but had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home against Reading, for whom Andy Yiadom snatched a last-gasp equaliser. Swansea led from the third minute, when Borja Baston headed in, until Yiadom's late intervention.

The point nudged Swansea above Nottingham Forest and into second place, though. Forest beat Stoke 3-2 on Friday evening.

Leeds were another side to spurn an opportunity to jump to the top of the standings, losing 1-0 at Charlton as Marcelo Bielsa's side suffered a second league defeat of the campaign. Macauley Bonne scored the only goal in the 32nd minute at The Valley, giving Charlton boss Lee Bowyer victory over his former club.

MONK RETURNS TO HAUNT BORO

Sheffield Wednesday were 4-1 up on Middlesbrough at half-time at the Riverside, and the scoreline stayed that way as the Owls continued their bright start under new boss Garry Monk.

Adam Clayton's own goal was followed by efforts from Dominic Iorfa, Adam Reach and Steven Fletcher, with Paddy McNair grabbing the lone reply for Boro, with whom Monk had a short-lived spell as manager two years ago.

Hull and Cardiff were level-pegging at 1-1 heading into the 89th minute at the KCOM Stadium, but the game finished 2-2 after Hull's Jordy de Wijs netted what looked likely to be a winner, only for Danny Ward to snatch a leveller.

FERGUSON SEES RED

Preston and Bristol City shared six goals, drawing 3-3 at Deepdale, while struggling Huddersfield and Millwall finished 1-1 in West Yorkshire, with Shane Ferguson sent off for the Lions late on.

James Collins and Matty Pearson netted as Luton won 2-1 at Blackburn.

Derby County captain Richard Keogh will miss the rest of the Championship season after sustaining a serious knee injury in what the club described as "an alcohol-related incident".

In an extraordinary statement released on Thursday, Derby confirmed Keogh was hurt after a scheduled team-building dinner with staff on Tuesday.

The club said Keogh and other players "continued drinking into the night" after the meal, having turned down free transportation home. 

Reports suggest Keogh suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a car accident, although Derby did not confirm those details.

Local police confirmed on Wednesday that Rams players Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence were charged with drink-driving after they were involved a crash late on Tuesday night.

"The players involved in the incident on Tuesday evening will be subject to a rigorous internal investigation under the club's code of conduct and disciplinary procedures, but over and above any punishment they receive we will be expecting them to become involved with the excellent work the Community Trust does helping the communities we serve," read a statement from Derby. 

"We have been very clear about our attitude towards alcohol and the players know that at certain and specific times of the season they are permitted a drink together as a group in a controlled environment.

"Those involved in Tuesday's incident know they will pay a heavy price for their actions, but also that we will support them with their rehabilitation back into the squad and team."

Phillip Cocu's side have not won in the league since the opening weekend and the Dutchman is already coming under pressure, having taken over a side that reached the play-off final under Frank Lampard's guidance last season. 

Former England captain Wayne Rooney is set to join Derby from MLS side DC United in January, taking up a player-coach role.

Derby's next game is at home to Birmingham City on Saturday.

None of the top four sides in the Championship won on Saturday, meaning Leeds United remained top of the table despite a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Derby County.

Bristol City and Swansea City, who started the day third and second respectively, played out a 0-0 draw, while Charlton Athletic suffered a second straight defeat, going down 2-0 at Wigan Athletic.

Preston North End, QPR and Nottingham Forest all gained ground towards the top of the standings with victories, while Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City and Hull City were also among the winners.

Sheffield Wednesday drew 1-1 with Fulham and Stoke City moved off the bottom of the table after a goalless encounter at Brentford.
 

FRUSTRATION FOR LEEDS

Other results meant Leeds stayed top even though they suffered frustration against Derby, the team with whom they were embroiled in last season's 'spygate' controversy.

Marcelo Bielsa's men led through Max Lowe's own goal, but Mateusz Klich fired wide with a penalty that would have sealed victory 20 minutes from time, while Patrick Bamford, who had won the spot-kick, squandered multiple opportunities.

Chris Martin then punished the hosts with a stoppage-time equaliser, finishing off a slick move completely against the run of play to score his first Derby goal since November 2017 and give his side their fifth draw in eight games.


CHARLTON FALLING AWAY

Charlton lost a second straight game without scoring, as defender Chey Dunkley scored a double for Wigan to send Lee Bowyer's men down to seventh.

Dunkley netted in each half to follow up his goal at Hull last week, having failed to net in 39 Wigan appearances last season. The result ended a six-match winless league run for the hosts.

Swansea are still level on points with Leeds at the top after their draw at Ashton Gate. The Welsh side had Jake Bidwell sent off in the last-minute for a lunge on Niclas Eliasson.


CHASING PACK GAIN GROUND

Sean Maguire scored for a second straight week to give Preston a 1-0 win at Birmingham City, Alex Neil's men moving up to third - just a point behind the leaders - as a result. 

Nahki Wells' double – his second coming courtesy of a huge goalkeeping blunder from Bartosz Bialkowski – gave QPR a 2-1 win away to Millwall, ensuring Mark Warburton's men sit level with Preston.

Forest are one point further back after Ben Watson's first goal for the club ensured Barnsley were beaten 1-0 at The City Ground. It was the home side's only shot on target.
 

NUHU DENIES FULHAM

Fulham remain in mid-table after Atdhe Nuhiu headed in a Sheffield Wednesday equaliser three minutes into stoppage time, cancelling out Tom Cairney's first-half opener.

Elsewhere, Ashley Fletcher's second-minute own goal gave Cardiff a narrow 1-0 win over Middlesbrough, Hull scored three times in the final 27 minutes to thump Luton Town 3-0 at Kenilworth Road and Blackburn Rovers won 2-1 away to Reading.

Sergi Canos had an effort cleared off the line as Brentford were frustrated by struggling Stoke.

Derby County's frustrating start under Phillip Cocu continued as Robert Glatzel's first Cardiff City goal earned the Bluebirds a 1-1 draw in the Championship.

The Rams suffered successive 3-0 defeats away to Nottingham Forest and Brentford prior to the international break but, despite a bright start at Pride Park, Derby could not end their winless run in the league, which has now been extended to six games.

Derby took the lead in the sixth minute – left-back Scott Malone on hand to tuck in from close range after Martyn Waghorn kept the play alive following Alex Smithies' save from Tom Huddlestone's strike.

With Derby on top, Waghorn's seemingly valid penalty appeals fell on deaf ears in the 16th minute, and the home side's frustrations were compounded moments later when Richard Keogh hauled down Glatzel, who opened his Cardiff account from the resulting spot-kick.

Jack Marriott rattled the crossbar three minutes after the restart as Derby swiftly came out of the blocks, while Waghorn flashed a strike wide.

Kelle Roos' error gifted Glatzel an opportunity to double his tally late on but Matthew Clarke made a goal-saving clearance to secure a point as Cocu's wait for a first home win rumbles on.

Swansea City replaced Leeds United at the top of the Championship in dramatic fashion as a 90th-minute strike from Wayne Routledge earned Steve Cooper's men a 1-0 win at Elland Road.

Leeds dominated for much of the game on Saturday, but they were made to pay for a lack of cutting edge when Routledge swept home late on.

As a result, Swansea are two points clear at the top of the table heading into the international break, having won five and drawn one of their opening six games.

Charlton Athletic, promoted from League One last season, are also unbeaten and sit second after a 2-0 win at Reading.

At the other end of the table, the misery goes on for Stoke City and Huddersfield Town, who both remain winless after giving up leads in respective 2-1 defeats at Birmingham City and Luton Town.

Derby County also endured a horrible day as they were trounced 3-0 at Brentford.

 

SUPER SWANS DEFYING EXPECTATIONS UNDER COOPER

Cooper was something of a surprise appointment by the Swans after Graham Potter left for Brighton and Hove Albion, but the former England Under-17 coach could hardly have asked for a better start to his tenure at the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans certainly rode their luck at Leeds, who created numerous chances to move ahead before being beaten by Routledge's last-gasp strike.

However, Swansea's resilience typified their early-season form under Cooper, which has seen them concede just four league goals thus far.

This win at Elland Road was their first in 70 years.

BAGGIES PREVAIL AFTER GOAL-FILLED FIRST HALF

Like Swansea, West Brom are yet to taste a Championship defeat after a change of boss in the close season. Slaven Bilic's men drew three of their first five games but are now up to fourth, a point behind Leeds, courtesy of a 3-2 win over a Blackburn Rovers side managed by former Albion chief Tony Mowbray.

All of the goals at the Hawthorns came in the first half, with Matt Phillips, Jake Livermore and Grady Diangana on target for West Brom after Bradley Dack's opener inside 25 seconds. Bradley Johnson pulled one back just before the break, but Blackburn could not rescue a point.

 

POTTERS STAY ROCK BOTTOM

Nathan Jones' future as Stoke's manager looks increasingly uncertain after they followed up a morale-boosting EFL Cup win at Leeds with a fifth league loss in six matches. Liam Lindsay put the Potters ahead after 58 minutes at Birmingham, but they were nevertheless beaten again, Jude Bellingham's deflected strike earning the hosts victory.

Huddersfield also have just one point, Andrew Shinnie claiming Luton's winner at Kenilworth Road, while Derby's struggles worsened as Ollie Watkins struck twice in an emphatic win for Brentford.

Bristol City and Middlesbrough played out a 2-2 draw in Saturday's early kick-off, while QPR came from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 thanks to Jordan Hugill's brace.

Elsewhere, Millwall and Hull City drew 1-1, as did Nottingham Forest and Preston North End. There were no goals in the game between Wigan Athletic and Barnsley.

 

Wayne Rooney will miss a second DC United match after having his suspension for violent conduct extended by MLS.

The 33-year-old was sent off during United's 2-1 defeat to New York Red Bulls when a VAR review focused on an off-the-ball incident involving Rooney and Cristian Casseres Junior.

Rooney was adjudged to have made contact with Casseres' face and he served the first game of his ban while United lost 3-1 to Philadelphia Union on Sunday.

With MLS opting to increase the ban, Rooney, who has scored 11 goals in 25 league appearances for United this season, will now miss Saturday's trip to Montreal Impact as well.

There are just five games left in the regular MLS season schedule, and United are fifth in the Eastern Conference standings.

The former England striker will leave United at the end of the year as he heads to Derby County, where he will assume a player-coach role.

England great Ashley Cole announced he has retired from the game at the age of 38.

Left-back Cole is one of only nine men to have played over 100 times for the Three Lions, who he represented at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

The former Chelsea and Arsenal defender won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, as well as helping the Blues to win the 2011-12 Champions League.

He moved to MLS side LA Galaxy in 2016 after a brief spell with Roma before returning to England earlier this year to play under former Chelsea and England team-mate Frank Lampard at Derby County.

The Rams did not give Cole a new deal after missing out on promotion to the Premier League and he will now pursue a coaching career having played his final match at Wembley in May's play-off final loss to Aston Villa.

"After hard thinking and consideration, it's time to hang my boots up and think towards my next chapter, which will hopefully be coaching," Cole told Sky Sports. "I'm doing the course at the moment. Now I want to be great at being a coach.

"As a young kid, I never expected to play one game or to be a professional. So, to be looking back now and to be able to say I played in World Cups and Champions League finals, being lucky enough to lift Premier League titles... it's a young kid's dream. I've fulfilled my dream."

Cole was part of the so-called 'Golden Generation' of England talents in the 2000s but that team, featuring stars including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, John Terry and Lampard, failed to win a major international tournament.

Asked about what made him most proud, Cole said: "The England caps. I probably didn't grasp it as much as I should. I look back now and I've played for my country not just once but over 100 times.

"I'm proud of that and it's just a little bit disappointing I didn't get to a final or even a semi-final with England. It's a little bit disappointing."

Leeds United capitalised on favourable results elsewhere to go top of the Championship on goal difference on Saturday.

Patrick Bamford scored both goals for Marcelo Bielsa's men in a 2-0 victory away to Wigan Athletic, who had Joe Williams sent off in the 21st minute.

Sheffield Wednesday enjoyed a numerical advantage for over 45 minutes in their match at Millwall but failed to muster a response to Matt Smith's first-half effort.

That result, coupled with Charlton Athletic's draw against Barnsley, opened the door to the Whites and means no team can boast a perfect record after three matches.

 

BAMFORD BRACE ERASES WIGAN WOE

Two tap-ins from former Chelsea forward Bamford helped Leeds exact a measure of revenge on Wigan at the DW Stadium.

The Latics derailed the Yorkshire club's promotion push last season when, with 10 men, they came from behind to claim a shock 2-1 win at Elland Road.

There was no repeat this time as the dismissal of midfielder Williams for two bookable offences only left the home side's defence prone to a pair of close-range Bamford finishes.

The goals arrived either side of half-time and improved the 25-year-old's season tally to three in as many matches.

 

MILLWALL MUSCLE PAST WEDNESDAY AS CHARLTON SNATCH POINT

Wednesday's winning start under interim boss Lee Bullen came to a disappointing end in a 1-0 defeat to a resilient Millwall.

Connor Mahoney crossed for towering striker Smith to nod home in the 37th minute and that was all Neil Harris' side needed despite losing Jed Wallace six minutes later.

The midfielder was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Kieran Lee but MIllwall held on to bank a second win, which moves them a spot above sixth-placed Wednesday.

Charlton would have taken over in first had they beaten Barnsley.

Instead, the Addicks had to make do with a point courtesy of Lyle Taylor's late leveller from the penalty spot in a 2-2 draw at Oakwell.

Cauley Woodrow and Conor Chaplin twice gave Barnsley the lead, but Taylor held his nerve over the 89th-minute spot-kick to add to Conor Gallagher's earlier equaliser.

 

WAGHORN DENIES STOKE IN FOUR-GOAL DRAW

Stoke City and Derby County played out an entertaining 2-2 draw as Phillip Cocu avoided what would have been his first defeat in English football.

Cocu had Martyn Waghorn to thank, the striker converting a 70th-minute penalty to go with his early opener.

Liam Lindsay and Scott Hogan got on the scoresheet in between but Stoke were restricted to a point, their first of the campaign.

Derby are now eighth, two points adrift of third-placed West Brom, who rallied from a goal down to win 2-1 at Luton Town after Grady Diangana netted a second-half double.

The largest winning margin of the day saw Nottingham Forest cruise to a 3-0 triumph over Birmingham City.

John Harkes says his son is among the players to have benefited from Wayne Rooney's natural "coaching instinct" long before the England legend gets to work on the training ground at Derby County.

England's leading all-time goalscorer this week agreed to cut short his spell with DC United and join ambitious Championship side Derby as a player-coach in January.

Rooney has been a big hit in MLS and Harkes revealed that it is not only the former Manchester United striker's class on the field that has made a lasting impression.

The former United States captain recalled how his son, Ian, experienced at first hand Rooney's desire to pass on his skills and experience when they were team-mates at the Washington franchise.

The versatile ex-Derby man told Omnisport: "Wayne Rooney has made a big impact at DC. It's always good to see Wayne from a distance and you can admire his work, but you could tell he already had that coaching trait within him.

"It was present all the time, so players gravitated to him and he was like an extension of the coaching staff already at DC United when he came because of all of his experience and what he sees in the game.

"He was coaching on and off the field. I remember Ian [who now plays for Dundee United] telling me there was one training session where they did a lot of fitness and Ian was a little bit shy in terms of asking him, 'would you mind helping me with my finishing outside the box' as a midfielder breaking through the lines.

"Wayne said 'no, of course I wouldn't'. He picked up some water and a bag of balls, they went over and he was working with my son. It was fantastic to see that attitude and work ethic that he has.

"It passed on not just to the players on the pitch, but in the dressing room and everything else. He's already got that coaching instinct in him and hopefully Derby brings the best out of him as he transitions in January.

"The conversations I had with Wayne when he came to DC United early on, it was clear he was still hungry to win but also to make that transition to becoming a coach. 

"I think he is a fantastic signing for Derby and it looks to be a win-win for both an ambitious club and Wayne.

"Hopefully he focuses on being the best he can as a player, but also realises it's a learning experience for him and it'll be great for him. He's a great player and Derby are getting a guy that still wants to win trophies, so it's great for the club."

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