Chelsea are seemingly eager to sign Jadon Sancho, but they may have to wait until the end of the season.

The Borussia Dortmund star, 19, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Bundesliga club, with numerous Premier League sides reportedly interested.

And Chelsea could be ready to spend big to land the England international.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA READY TO BREAK TRANSFER RECORD FOR SANCHO

Chelsea are prepared to break their transfer record to land Sancho, according to Goal.com.

Sancho has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City after impressing at Dortmund.

Chelsea broke their own transfer record last year, when they paid Athletic Bilbao a reported £71.6million (€80m) for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Premier League club are appealing their transfer ban, at this stage unable to buy players in January.

That may not be such a problem when it comes to Sancho, though, with Sport Bild reporting the attacker may not want a January move.

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is struggling for game time at Paris Saint-Germain and the 32-year-old forward could be set for a move. AS reports the Uruguay international likes the idea of a switch to Atletico Madrid.

- Staying at the Wanda Metropolitano and Athletico Paranaense midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, 22, will join Atletico in a €30m transfer next year, according to Marca.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears safe for now at Manchester United, but The Sun reports the Premier League club could turn to England manager Gareth Southgate if they decide to make a change at the end of the season.

- Carlo Ancelotti remains under pressure at Napoli. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis will wait until the Champions League clash against Genk on December 10 before considering a change. Napoli are winless in eight matches and sit seventh in Serie A.

- Metz and France youth international defender Lenny Lacroix, 16, is attracting interest from Barcelona and Juventus, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- With Everton in the Premier League relegation zone after their Merseyside derby loss to Liverpool, Marco Silva could be sacked. The Sun reports Silva said goodbye to his Everton players after the loss at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp hailed Divock Origi for an "outstanding" performance in Liverpool's 5-2 Merseyside derby win over Everton on Wednesday.

Origi made his first Premier League start since October and took his chance at Anfield, scoring a brilliant brace in the derby win as Liverpool extended their unbeaten run in the top-flight to a club-record 32 games.

The Belgium international's second goal saw him superbly bring down a long pass from Dejan Lovren and his performance earned praise from his manager.

"Outstanding. What a game he played. It was not only the goals but the goals were exceptional," Klopp told a news conference.

"The first one was a great attack in general – winning the ball, Adam [Lallana] passes to Sadio [Mane], Sadio sees the run, sees his movement and passes that ball in exactly the right moment, one touch and an open goal, great.

"In Germany when I was young one highlight of my week was always goal of the week and goal of the month. When they selected these, that [Origi's second] would have been 100 per cent in contention. It was just a great first touch and then finishing it off like this.

"Apart from that, incredibly important runs for us, movements, used his speed, looked so natural. That was the most important thing. The understanding with Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] and Sadio was obviously really good. So it was a pretty impressive performance of Div."

Klopp made five changes to his starting XI for the derby, with Origi, Adrian, Lallana, Shaqiri and James Milner picked to face Everton.

It was Shaqiri's first start of the season and Klopp apologised to the attacker, while praising Liverpool's depth.

"Sorry Shaq! He was injured a couple of times," Klopp said.

"If he could have scored two goals like Divock instead of one, I could say exactly the same [as I said about Origi]. He looked completely fresh, he looked strong, physically strong, so it is important players train after they get injured.

"He had twice this calf thing this season, so there was not a lot to change but I think he has been back in training for two or three weeks now completely normal.

"He understood the situation, that's how it is in a squad when you win a lot of games, you don't make 20 changes. It was always clear this period now of the year is where we need all of the boys and I hope they will then be in the shape like Shaq and Div, or Adam.

"It's really important and gives us the feeling that we can do it more often – and we will do it more often. It was an incredible performance, the set-pieces were outstanding. It was all really good. More to follow!"

Jurgen Klopp had no doubts over the quality of his Liverpool squad, but was delighted the Reds' lesser lights shined bright in the Merseyside derby.

Liverpool stormed to 5-2 victory over lowly Everton at Anfield on Wednesday, with Klopp bringing up his 100th Premier League win in the process.

It also marked a new club record, as Liverpool extended their unbeaten run in the top flight to 32 matches, since they were defeated by Manchester City in January.

Divock Origi scored twice to take his tally of derby goals to five, while Xherdan Shaqiri capped his first start of the season with a goal - regulars Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum completing the rout.

"I speak a lot about the quality of the squad so I have to show it from time to time, but then the boys have to show they can perform," Klopp, who made five changes, told Prime-Video.

"It was incredible – Divock's goals, Sadio's passes, Shaq's linking play, everything, Adam Lallana was everywhere and we had so many really good moments.

"But of course a bit rusty in defending, they were really direct. [Everton] couldn't defend us but offensively they caused us problems at times. All good at 4-1, the goal for 4-2 I didn't like too much because the injury time is three minutes and we start playing an offensive pass. But we have to learn, have to improve and we will do.

"The squad didn't become bigger tonight, we knew these boys were here, we knew they were fantastic footballers.

"This was the first game of the tough fixture list, we have to make changes and will make changes. I'm really pleased, really happy but I was not in doubt about it. Of course not for me really, but for the public, for the crowd, they feel much better about the squad."

Silva's chances of keeping hold of his job at Everton, meanwhile, seem increasingly slim, with the Toffees sitting 18th after 15 games.

Everton find themselves in the relegation zone following 15 rounds for the first time since 1999, though the former Watford boss insisted he is still focused on attempting to turn things around.

"I am not the right person to talk to you about the situation. I cannot answer you," Silva told reporters. "Since I joined the club and until the last day I am here I will always be 100 per cent professional, giving my best every single day.

"I understand why the questions are coming. If we are winning all the games, you are not asking them. It is not for me to take those situations. I don't like to talk after every single match about my future."

Several quizzical eyebrows are likely to have been lifted in Anfield and its surrounding areas when it was revealed Jurgen Klopp had left both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino out of the starting XI for Wednesday's Merseyside derby.

The fixture congestion Liverpool, runaway leaders in the Premier League title race, are about to face has already been well-documented, but the decision to omit two members of their star-studded forward line for a derby game in which defeat would give hope to the chasing pack appeared a bizarre one on the surface.

Any Liverpool fan concerned by the five changes made to Klopp's XI need not have worried, as the third member of an attacking triumvirate that has tormented the Premier League produced a dazzling display, while the man who settled the last Merseyside derby at Anfield in remarkable circumstances added to his incredible scoring tally in this famous fixture.

Six goals were scored from six shots on target in the first half, with a frantic and thrilling affair offering plenty for the neutral, but precious little for Marco Silva to enjoy, with a 5-2 defeat to Everton's city rivals only likely to further talk he will soon be searching for alternative employment.


BALLON D'OR NOMINEES PRODUCE GOLDEN TOUCH

Virgil van Dijk missed out on winning the Ballon d'Or on Monday, as Lionel Messi took home the award for the sixth time. He was not he only Liverpool player some felt was snubbed, however, with Sadio Mane seen as unfortunate to finish fourth in the voting.

While Van Dijk enjoyed a relatively quiet evening, Mane - who came into the fixture with eight league goals - produced the kind of performance that will keep him firmly in the running for world football's top individual prizes.

His throughball for Divock Origi to open the scoring was unbelievably well-weighted, while his reverse pass to tee up Xherdan Shaqiri for Liverpool's second was simply sublime. After failing to register a single assist in his last 40 appearances at Anfield, Mane delivered two in the first half.

The move that led to Shaqiri's goal was started by an exquisite cross-field pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold - 19th in the Ballon d'Or voting - and it was the right-back who teed up Mane to make it 4-2 after popping up on the left wing in a glorious encapsulation of the freedom with which Klopp's side play.

Mane missed two gilt-edged chances to double his tally late on but, of Liverpool's seven Ballon d'Or nominees, it was he and Alexander-Arnold who shone brightest as the Reds set a club-record by going 32 league games unbeaten.


FIVE-STAR ORIGI

Origi was something of an outcast when he capitalised on Jordan Pickford's howler in the corresponding fixture last season.

Since then he has scored crucial goals in the semi-final and the final of the Champions League and he took his tally in the derby to five in fine fashion.

While there was obvious fortune about his winner last term, there was nothing lucky about either of his efforts time around, with the control he displayed to collect Dejan Lovren's long pass and lob Jordan Pickford to make it 3-1 particularly worthy of praise.

Only Steven Gerrard (9) and Robbie Fowler (6) have scored more Premier League goals in the Merseyside derby. Exalted company few would have expected him to keep 12 months ago.


LIVERPOOL'S CLEAN SHEET CONCERN

One of the most bemusing statistics of this season is that Everton have kept more clean sheets (3) than Liverpool (2).

Klopp will not have been satisfied with Liverpool's defensive showing, with their problems defending set-pieces laid bare once again.

Everton should have scored more and, when the effects of a packed schedule and the Club World Cup take hold, it is fair to wonder whether better sides such as second-placed Leicester City - who they face in their first game back from Qatar on December 26 - may capitalise more ruthlessly on any defensive lapses.

SO LONG SILVA?

In their 1-0 defeat in the previous campaign, Everton were well-organised and determined, and only a freak slice of misfortune denied them a point.

Silva's men displayed no such qualities on Wednesday. Liverpool were imperious going forward, but the ease with which Everton were cut open time and again was alarming.

Everton have not been relegated since 1951 but another chastening loss to their neighbours saw them drop into the bottom three.

Their Portuguese boss cut a forlorn figure on the sideline as he watched his side humiliated in arguably the headline game of a set of fixtures broadcast via an on-demand streaming platform. After their latest derby demolition, Everton fans are likely to be demanding change.

Liverpool blew Everton away in the Merseyside derby and Jose Mourinho suffered his first loss as Tottenham head coach on his return to Manchester United.

Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders have an eight-point cushion at the top after a 5-2 win at Anfield on Wednesday that increases the pressure on the Toffees' beleaguered boss Marco Silva.

Leicester remain the Reds' nearest challengers after Brendan Rodgers' side saw off his old club Watford 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.

Chelsea, Southampton and Wolves completed a clean sweep of home wins with victories over Aston Villa, Norwich City and West Ham respectively.

 

Divock the derby hero again

Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were the stars for Liverpool as their 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby left stricken Silva surely on the verge of losing his job.

A remarkable first half saw six goals – Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri helping the Reds race ahead, though Michael Keane pulled Everton back into contention.

Another for Origi – his fifth Merseyside derby strike – restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage with Mane slotting home their fourth before Richarlison reduced the deficit again.

That effort failed to lift Everton and Georginio Wijnaldum delivered a likely final blow to Silva as counterpart Klopp claimed his 100th Premier League win.

Unhappy return for Mourinho

Spurs had won three games out of three under Mourinho but fell to a 2-1 loss away to Manchester United with Marcus Rashford scoring both goals for the Red Devils.

Rashford scored either side of a superb individual effort from Dele Alli to take his Premier League tally to nine for the season, with Spurs well off the pace.

United move into the top six, leapfrogging Mourinho's men, thanks to a much-needed victory that ends their run of three matches without a win in all competitions.

Abraham nets again for Blues

Tammy Abraham returned from injury to help sink former club Aston Villa as Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory on John Terry's return to Stamford Bridge.

Back from a hip problem, Abraham opened the scoring with a first-half header and provided a chested assist that allowed Mason Mount to volley a superb winner after Trezeguet's fortuitous equaliser.

Willian excelled throughout on the right flank and Chelsea, who had lost their past two league games to Manchester City and West Ham, should have won by more against opponents who had Blues legend Terry on the bench as assistant manager.

Penalty drama for Leicester

A 2-0 home win against managerless Watford was routine for Leicester, but striker Vardy was booked for diving when he seemed to be clearly fouled, despite the incident being checked by the VAR.

Vardy later converted from the spot, scoring for the seventh straight league game, and Leicester's winning streak also stretched to seven matches in the league after Maddison netted deep into added time.

Elsewhere, Southampton moved out of the bottom three at Everton's expense with Ralph Hasenhuttl's side sealing successive home wins with first-half strikes by Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand setting up a 2-1 victory over Norwich at St. Mary's.

Wolves are fifth after goals from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone downed West Ham 2-0. Nuno Espirito Santo's side are now unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches.

Divock Origi and Sadio Mane starred as Liverpool stormed to a 5-2 victory in a frantic Merseyside derby, handing Jurgen Klopp his 100th Premier League win.

Six goals were scored in a remarkable first half, with Liverpool - who started with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench - supremely clinical in attack, Origi striking either side of Xherdan Shaqiri's first goal of the season.

Origi's second came after Michael Keane had pulled one back for Everton, but Mane - provider for Liverpool's first two goals - made it 4-1. Richarlison reduced the deficit again in first-half stoppage time, but it was not enough to inspire an Everton comeback after the break. 

Instead, Georginio Wijnaldum's late strike rounded out the scoring, leaving Marco Silva's future looks increasingly uncertain as Klopp's side extended their unbeaten league run to 32 matches, a new club record.

Origi, Liverpool's hero in the corresponding fixture last term, wasted little time in getting things started, coolly rounding Jordan Pickford after latching onto Mane's exquisite pass.

Mane was the recipient of an even better pass for Liverpool's second goal - Trent Alexander-Arnold picking out the winger with a sensational diagonal - that saw Shaqiri slide a low effort across Pickford and into the net.

Keane's neat finish over Adrian hauled Everton back into the contest in the 21st minute, only for Origi to restore Liverpool's two-goal cushion.

Liverpool rounded off their rampaging first-half display when Mane slotted in from the edge of the area at the culmination of another sweeping counter, yet Everton had a second when Richarlison diverted Bernard's cross home via his shoulder.

However, the second half did not match the frantic pace of the first. Substitute Moise Kean had a glorious chance to make Mane pay for missing two golden opportunities, but drilled wide when one-on-one with Adrian.

Wijnaldum showed no such profligacy, however, dealing the final blow to Silva's team as Liverpool remain eight points clear at the top thanks to a victory that sends Everton into the relegation zone.

 

What does it mean? Record-setting Klopp marks a stark contrast to despairing Silva

Just over a year ago, Everton - who have not won at the home of their neighbours in the top flight since September 1999 - were Liverpool's equals for much of the Anfield derby, only to be outdone by Pickford's calamitous error. 

But now, with Everton in the bottom three, Silva looks all set to be heading for the exit door. Opposite number Klopp, meanwhile, is the second quickest - after Jose Mourinho - to reach 100 Premier League victories.

Origi's derby run rolls on 

Liverpool's Champions League hero seems content with a back-up role, yet he seems to be the man to call on when it comes to derbies. The Belgium forward has managed five goals against Everton, leaving him behind only club legends Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerrard in the Premier League era.

Sidibe the fall guy for Silva's desperate roll of the dice

Djibril Sidibe had a torrid 35 minutes defensively, with Mane capitalising on the acres of space afforded to him by Everton's wing-back. In response, Silva elected to switch systems completely, replacing the France international with Bernard 10 minutes before the break, though it did little to stem the tide.

What's next?

Liverpool travel to the south coast to face struggling Bournemouth on Saturday, with Everton hosting Chelsea at Goodison Park.

Liverpool have set an outright record for the longest top-flight unbeaten run in their history after a 5-2 Merseyside derby victory over Everton extended their stunning Premier League streak to 32 matches without defeat.

Domestic runners-up to Manchester City last term, Liverpool sit eight points clear of Leicester City at the top of the table courtesy of a pulsating triumph over their local rivals as six of the seven goals in Wednesday's clash at Anfield came in the first half.

Jurgen Klopp's men have now surpassed the stretch of 31 unbeaten matches achieved under Kenny Dalglish from May 1987 to March 1988. Only Arsenal (49) and Chelsea (40) have managed longer runs without losing in Premier League history.

Wednesday's win also saw Klopp reach a notable milestone as he brought up his 100th Premier League victory in his 159th game in charge - becoming the second-fastest to the landmark ahead of the likes of Alex Ferguson (162), Arsene Wenger (179) and Rafael Benitez (181).

Jose Mourinho needed only 142 games to record 100 wins during his first stint as Chelsea boss, while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is on course to comfortably break that record. Tuesday's 4-1 win at Burnley was Guardiola's 97th Premier League win in just his 129th match.

 

Fastest managers to 100 Premier League wins

Jose Mourinho - 142 matches

Jurgen Klopp - 159

Alex Ferguson - 162

Arsene Wenger - 179

Rafael Benitez - 181

Claudio Ranieri - 187

Gerard Houllier, Kenny Dalglish, Mauricio Pochettino - 197

Jurgen Klopp started with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench for Liverpool's derby clash with Everton at Anfield.

Liverpool headed into Wednesday's Merseyside showdown - the 234th meeting between the local rivals and the first of potentially nine matches for the Reds in December - eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Everton, meanwhile, were sitting 17th, and a defeat, combined with a Southampton victory over Norwich City, would see them drop into the relegation zone, with Marco Silva under huge pressure at Goodison Park.

Liverpool boss Klopp, however, opted to shuffle his pack, with Salah and Firmino, who have featured in 12 and 14 league games respectively this term, both starting as substitutes.

Sadio Mane retained his place, with Xherdan Shaqiri coming in for his first start of the season and Divock Origi leading Liverpool's line.

Liverpool made five changes in total, with James Milner and Adam Lallana coming in for midfielders Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Adrian replaced goalkeeper Alisson, suspended after receiving a red card in the 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

"One change we had to do in Adrian for Alisson, and the other four we wanted to do, just to respect the game, to respect the intensity of the game first and foremost," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"We did it because we can do it. I have to show the respect for the boys and I’ve said a lot of times how much I like the squad and now we have to use it. That's the line-up for today because we think the game will be really intense and for this you need kind of fresh legs and we try to bring them in."

Silva, meanwhile, stuck with the Everton side which started in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Leicester City.

Everton manager Marco Silva has urged his side to embrace the challenge of taking on Premier League leaders Liverpool in Wednesday's Merseyside derby.

The 234th edition of one of English football's most famous fixtures takes place with the city's two clubs experiencing sharply contrasting fortunes.

Liverpool are undefeated and eight points clear of nearest challengers Leicester City in the Premier League.

Leicester ensured the gap did not increase last weekend thanks to a dramatic stoppage-time winner against Everton, who are fourth bottom and two points above the relegation zone.

Nevertheless, Silva wants his players to grasp the opportunity presented to them this midweek and pursue the club's first win at Anfield since 1999.

"There are many, many things to win in the game," Silva told a pre-match news conference, on the day star forward Richarlison lifted some of the gloom at Goodison Park by signing a new long-term contract.

"It will be tough. They are having a very, very good season. They are top of the table. At home they are beating all the teams they are playing against.

"The record for us is not good enough. Twenty years without a win there is a long time for our club and our fans.

"Look to that situation as a good opportunity for us to change what was the last 20 years in this football club."

Everton acquitted themselves well on the other side of Stanley Park last season, eventually falling to a 1-0 defeat as Divock Origi netted an injury-time winner that was made possible by a bizarre Jordan Pickford error.

"One of the toughest games they had last season at home was against us. It was a really good game from both teams and we want to embrace the challenge," Silva said.

"You know how it is in a derby - the form and who is on top in the table is not important because you are playing in a derby. We have to go with that thinking in our mind and embrace the challenge.

"The result [last season] [was unfair. We didn't deserve it at all. It was hard for us.

"In that game I saw Everton Football Club really embracing the challenge, playing face to face with them at Anfield.

"We were in a good moment in our season, with our full squad in good shape. If we can repeat the same type of performance, it will be really good."

Everton will face Liverpool once again in January after the FA Cup third-round draw paired them together – an outcome Silva felt was less than ideal for each club.

Absentees Seamus Coleman and Fabian Delph will have to target that game after failing to recover in time for Wednesday's match, although forward Theo Walcott is back from a bout of illness.

"Theo will be okay," Silva said. "He was sick and worked the last two sessions with the team. He will be in conditions to be in the squad.

"Coleman tried this morning again but is not in conditions to be fit for the match and Delph is not training with the team. Let's see in the next few days."

Everton forward Richarlison has signed a new deal that will keep him at Goodison Park until 2024.

The 22-year-old was signed from Watford in July 2018 for a fee that could rise to £50million and has largely impressed during his time on Merseyside.

He scored 13 goals in 38 appearances across all competitions last season, while his header in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Leicester City took his tally to six in the current term.

Marco Silva's side are languishing in 17th in the Premier League after picking up just four wins from their opening 14 games.

"I intend to be here a long time," Richarlison told evertontv. "This was the club which gave me the opportunity to show my football.

"It was here I managed to get a place in the Brazil national team and it was here I have scored lots of goals in the Premier League.

"The club trusts me and I trust them. The supporters have a lot of affection for me and I try to give back all this affection as much as possible on the pitch.

"I go out and put my life on the line for them. I try to sweat blood and tears for this club. I intend to continue honouring the shirt and making the fans happy. And I hope they continue singing my name."

Richarlison has scored six goals in 19 appearances for Brazil, with all his appearances for his national side coming after his move to the Toffees.

Jurgen Klopp has sympathy for Marco Silva but says he is not surprised the Everton manager's position is subject to fevered speculation.

Silva has overseen a poor start to the season, with a last-gasp defeat to Leicester City on Sunday leaving them languishing 17th in the Premier League.

The Portuguese takes his beleaguered side to Anfield for the Merseyside derby on Wednesday knowing another defeat could see him lose his job.

Klopp saw enough in the defeat to the Foxes to suggest the Toffees are capable of turning a corner but knows a club with Everton's ambitions can only remain patient for so long.

"Of course, I have sympathy [with Silva] because I know how difficult the life of a manager can be," the German told a media conference.

"The last thing Marco needs now is that I feel sorry for him, but I am really on his side because I know about the job.

"The last game against Leicester was really good in a changed system. They caused Leicester a lot of problems and had their chances. In all other situations that would be a positive sign."

Asked if Everton are unfortunate to be just one place outside the relegation zone, Klopp responded: "The table tells the full truth at the end of the season. Come on, if you go through that squad, I'd say that is a really good squad but it is not 100 per cent right and not clicking.

"There is a lot of pressure there as Everton are a very ambitious club, rightly so, and if it doesn't go the right way the pressure increases pretty quickly.

"They are not the only ones in this situation; this league is really difficult for all of us and we have to respect that."

Klopp considers himself to be fortunate that his position at Liverpool has not been under threat since arriving in October 2015 and says owners can sometimes be too quick to dismiss a manager.

"In general, if you are in the job like mine then there is pressure there," he explained. "You have to deliver and if it doesn't work out they have to try something else.

"The most important thing before you sign a manager is that the people who sign the manager look for the right things. There are a lot of really good managers out there, but it needs to fit to the club and the ambitions. If it does, then everybody can be happy at the end.

"But, in general, the pressure comes too quickly and the decisions are made too quickly, because people are not patient enough."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed Lionel Messi as "probably the best player I have seen in my life" but thinks Virgil van Dijk should have been awarded the Ballon d'Or.

Barcelona superstar Messi the prestigious honour for a record sixth time on Monday, with organisers France Football declaring his seven-point margin over Van Dijk to be one of the narrowest in the award's 63-year history.

The Barcelona captain finished top of the count with 686 points, just ahead of Van Dijk's 679.

While recognising Messi as the greatest player of his generation, Klopp feels Van Dijk should have been rewarded with the prize for his stellar contribution to Liverpool's Champions League win last season.

He told a media conference: "The decisions are made by journalists, right? I see it slightly different. Lionel Messi is probably the best player I have seen in my life, but last season I cannot remember a more impressive season by a defender ever.

"It would have been right if Virgil had won as well. We won the Champions League and he had an outstanding season."

Van Dijk is likely to line up at the heart of Liverpool's defence for the Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield on Wednesday.

Monday's FA Cup third-round draw conjured up the exact same fixture for the first week of January, with Klopp revealing he would have preferred an easier tie to kick off their cup campaign.

"I didn't run through my living room and celebrate," he said. "It's not exactly what you wish for, but we have no problem playing Everton. It's a big game against big opponents. Obviously, we start the hard way. We cannot change that and we have time to prepare for that Everton game after this one."

Klopp confirmed Liverpool have no new injury concerns for Wednesday's game but says Joel Matip has still not recovered from a knee injury, which has kept him out since the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on October 20.

"Joel needs a bit more time," he explained. "It's healing but not exactly what we wish for."

Real Madrid have made Fabian Ruiz their top transfer target.

According to reports, "negotiations have accelerated" as the Spanish heavyweights aim to take advantage of the disarray at Napoli.

But the midfielder also has high-profile admirers in England and France.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STEP UP FABIAN INTEREST

Napoli midfielder Fabian is a man in demand.

Madrid appear to be in pole position, with Cadena SER claiming the Spanish giants are "very serious" about taking the 23-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Negotiations over a contract extension at Napoli are said to have stopped and the Spain international is reportedly warm to the idea of joining up with Zinedine Zidane's side.

However, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain could look to force a three-way bidding war for the Spain international, who has previously been linked to Barcelona.

ROUND-UP

- Ex-Valencia head coach Marcelino has emerged as a left-field managerial candidate for Arsenal and Everton, according to the Daily Mail. The 54-year-old lost his job at the Mestalla in September following a reported falling out with owner Peter Lim.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears he will be sacked if Manchester United lose their next two games against Tottenham and bitter rivals City, says The Sun.

- Former Premier League striker-turned-reporter Jan Aage Fjortoft claims Liverpool are favourites to land Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho – but the winger will cost the Premier League leaders €130million.

- Chelsea have offered little-used striker Olivier Giroud to Serie A sides Milan and Inter, according to CalcioMercato.

Barcelona are keeping tabs on 16-year-old PSG midfielder Edouard Michut, reports Le Parisien.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Marco Silva's prospects at Everton look bleak. Sunday's last-gasp defeat to high-flying Leicester City has left the Toffees in 17th and a trip to Anfield does not present the ideal remedy.

Kelechi Iheanacho's VAR–assisted strike in second-half stoppage time cost Everton a share of the spoils at the King Power Stadium, a day short of the anniversary of Jordan Pickford's calamity gifting Liverpool all three points in the first Merseyside derby of last season.

Jurgen Klopp's side have gone from strength-to-strength since then, losing just one Premier League match – to Manchester City in January. 

Everton gained a modicum of revenge in March, when a goalless draw at Goodison Park ultimately proved costly for the Reds, who missed out on the league title by two points.

However, it is difficult to find more contrasting fortunes at present, with Liverpool eight points clear at the top and Everton languishing just two points above the drop zone.

The Toffees have a torrid recent record against Liverpool and, if reports are to be believed, Wednesday's meeting at Anfield could well prove to be Silva's final game of a tumultuous 18-month spell.

Yet, while Silva may ultimately pay the price for a dismal start to the season should Liverpool claim an expected win, Everton's woeful form against their neighbours stretches back much further.

TWENTY YEARS OF HURT

You have to go back over 20 years – to September 1999 – for Everton's last win at Anfield in any competition; Kevin Campbell was the Toffees' hero in a 1-0 success.

Liverpool and Everton dominated English football throughout the 1980s, but since the start of the Premier League era, the derby has become significantly more one-sided.

Everton have just nine wins out of 54 games, with Liverpool claiming 23 victories, while there have been 22 draws.

Seven of Everton's triumphs in that run have come at Goodison, with just two at Anfield, where Liverpool have won 13 times, with the points shared on 12 occasions.

Liverpool have scored 72 goals against Everton in the Premier League, with the Toffees – who have conceded 40 at Anfield – managing just 46 in return.

THE STATS DON'T LIE

Liverpool's dominance over Everton is backed up by even more damning statistics. 

Everton's win percentage against Liverpool is their third-lowest against a Premier League opponent – 16.7 per cent, or nine wins from 54 meetings.

Only against Arsenal (14.8 per cent) and Tottenham (14.5 per cent) do the Toffees have a worse win percentage against in the Premier League era.

Indeed, since their victory at Anfield in 1999, Everton have managed just four wins over Liverpool in all competitions, the most recent of which came in October 2010.

Sam Allardyce was in charge on the last occasion Everton avoided defeat at the ground they used to occupy before Liverpool were formed, with Wayne Rooney's penalty securing a 1-1 draw in December 2017.

Before that, a thunderbolt from Phil Jagielka ensured a share of the spoils back in 2014 under Roberto Martinez, who suffered two 4-0 defeats at Anfield in the space of three seasons.

LIVERPOOL'S DECADE OF DOMINANCE

While Everton's record since the start of the Premier League makes for grim reading, their dreadful form in derbies is magnified when narrowing it down to the past nine years – since Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta led the way to a 2-0 win at Goodison Park in October 2010.

Everton had the better of the derbies in 2010-11, following up their triumph with a 2-2 draw at Anfield the following January.

Since the start of 2011-12, Everton have failed to win any league matches against Liverpool, while their points per game average of 0.56 is their lowest against any opponent in this period.

Liverpool have won seven of the 16 league meetings in this time, with Everton managing draws on nine occasions.

Of the top-flight opponents Everton have faced more than five times since the 2011-12 campaign began, Liverpool are the only team they have not beaten at all, with the Toffees having triumphed twice over Spurs, three times against Arsenal and Manchester City, and four times over Chelsea.

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