Raheem Sterling will sit out of England's Euro 2020 qualifier on Thursday after a bust-up with international team-mate Joe Gomez.

Sterling admitted his emotions got the better of him when he confronted Gomez, after the pair also clashed on the field during Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday.

Gareth Southgate has sought to act quickly and decisively to draw a line under the matter, but the England manager can at least take comfort from the fact he is far from the first boss to have to try to defuse a team-mates' tiff.

Here we look through some examples of when presumed footballing friends became – however briefly – the best of enemies.

Neymar v Nelson Semedo

Neymar's world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain dominated Barcelona's preparation for the 2017-18 season, and all was not well on the training ground in the weeks leading up to the €222million switch.

Recent arrival Nelson Semedo became involved in a skirmish with the wantaway star in what proved to be an unseemly coda to his time at Camp Nou.

"I just arrived and one of the most important players in the team got in a fight with me," Semedo told Sport five months on from the July 2017 fracas. "It annoyed me at the time, but I also understood he was in a difficult moment, he wanted to leave."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic v Oguchi Onyewu

Never a shrinking violet, Zlatan Ibrahimovic boasts a career of confrontation in football. The taekwondo black-belt seemingly came close to meeting his match in USA defender Oguchi Onyewu when both played for AC Milan.

"I head-butted him, and we flew at each other," Ibrahimovic wrote in his autobiography. "We wanted to tear each other limb from limb. It was brutal. We were rolling around, punching and kneeing each other. We were crazy and furious – it was like life and death.

David Beckham v Alex Ferguson

Many a Manchester United player felt the heat of Alex Ferguson's infamous 'hairdryer' during the Scot's historic Old Trafford reign but – as far as we're aware – his ferocious words never actually drew blood.

The same could not be said for a stray boot in the United dressing room, though, when David Beckham was given a rocket by his boss in the aftermath of a February 2003 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal during the midfielder's final season at the club.

"He was around 12 feet from me. Between us on the floor lay a row of boots. David swore. I moved towards him and, as I approached, I kicked a boot. It hit him right above the eye," Ferguson explained. The resulting cut and butterfly plaster predictably dominated as the UK tabloids gorged on the fallout. 

Mario Balotelli v Micah Richards

Mario Balotelli was rarely far away from behind-the-scenes controversy at Manchester City, allegedly throwing darts at youth team players and once even grappling with his manager and mentor Roberto Mancini.

However, things reached boiling point in 2011 due to the unexpected multi-lingual talents of one of his team-mates.

"We were playing five-a-side and we were losing because he didn't work, which is evident,' Micah Richards told Sky quiz show 'A League of Their Own' in 2016. "He swore at me in Italian and he thought I didn't understand. But I know a bit of Italian lingo, so I said, 'Who you talking to?' He said it again, so we squared up and I offered him out. But he said no."

Craig Bellamy v John Arne Riise

Balotelli's arrival at City in August 2010 came around the same time as Craig Bellamy was tying up a loan move to Cardiff City, leaving us all to wonder what might have happened had the combustible duo shared a dressing room for any period of time. John Arne Riise, perhaps, has a fair idea.

In an infamous incident before a Champions League game at Barcelona in 2007, where both players went on to score in a Liverpool win, Riise drew Bellamy's terrifying wrath when he refused demands to sing karaoke on a team night out.

Later on, Riise found an unexpected visitor in his hotel room. "Craig Bellamy at the foot of my bed with a golf club in his hands," he reported in his autobiography. According to the Norway full-back's version of events, he managed to avoid Bellamy striking his shins by jumping out of bed but took blows to his hip and thigh.

Aboubakar Kamara v Aleksandar Mitrovic

While the risks of a rowdy team karaoke session might seem obvious in hindsight, sometimes even yoga isn't safe.

Aboubakar Kamara had not appeared particularly zen when he grabbed the ball off Aleksandar Mitrovic to take and miss a penalty during Fulham's December 2018 Premier League game against Huddersfield Town.

A fight then reportedly broke out between the pair at a yoga session and an eventful few weeks for Kamara concluded with him being arrested on suspicion of actual bodily harm and criminal damage after an incident at Fulham's training ground.

Alan Shearer v Keith Gillespie

Famously incisive in front of goal, the Premier League's all-time record goalscorer Alan Shearer once became involved in an argument about dropped cutlery with Newcastle United team-mate Keith Gillespie that escalated sharply.

"We ended up going outside, and I took one swing and missed, and he hit me - and that was goodnight," Gillespie told talkSPORT of the scrap during a 1997 team trip to Dublin. "I did actually spend a night in hospital. Because when he hit me, I fell and hit my head on a plant pot. I was unconscious."

Apparently, Shearer visited his stricken team-mate and they "had a laugh about it". They weren't the only ones.

Stig Tofting v Jasper Gronkjaer

A tough-tackling midfield enforcer, you might expect any training ground row featuring Stig Tofting to have followed a bone-crunching challenge. However, there was more shivering than shuddering when a pre-2002 World Cup jape involving Jasper Gronkjaer got out of hand.

During some stretching exercises, Tofting and partner-in-crime Thomas Gravesen sprayed the then-Chelsea winger with water bottles and put ice cubes down his shorts. Gronkjaer hurt his eye during the prank, which concluded with him wrestling Tofting and being grabbed by the throat.

Danish FA official Jim Stjerne-Hansen told reporters: "These players need a kindergarten teacher to sort them out."

"THANK YOU SO MUCH! THANK YOU SO MUCH!"

Pep Guardiola's gargantuan sarcasm when he greeted referee Michael Oliver and his officials at full-time certainly matched the magnitude of a ferocious and frenetic Anfield encounter.

The Manchester City manager had long been in a righteous funk at missed chances and rejected penalty appeals as Liverpool closed out a 3-1 victory that puts them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

That's right, eight. Not nine. They're nine points clear of fourth-placed City.

Guardiola probably reached the midway point of his tether as early as the sixth minute. Trent Alexander-Arnold handled in the Liverpool box – the fact Bernardo Silva inadvertently did so just beforehand probably saving the England right-back in the final VAR analysis – and Liverpool played to the whistle to a greater extent than their opponents.

Ilkay Gundogan's clearance was as wretched as Fabinho's strike from outside the box was magnificent.

City picked themselves up off an all-too familiar Merseyside canvas and got back on the front foot. Kevin De Bruyne's deliveries were not to their usual standard but Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero both probably should have scored from them. City's two world-class attacking figureheads are still yet to find the net on this ground.

The 13th minute brought a brutally brilliant second, displaying one the key facets of Liverpool's triumph. Alexander-Arnold toiled under Sterling's examination at times, but his cross-field pass to fellow full-back Andy Robertson was glorious.

Those diagonal balls tested City's makeshift defence all day and Robertson's cross found Mohamed Salah lurking between career midfielder Fernandinho and greenhorn left-back Angelino to head gleefully home.

Guardiola repeated how proud he was of his team's performance after the match and, even if this was primarily a was to avoid an FA ban by giving his own take on Oliver's efforts, it was understandable.

City continued to plug away, Angelino often to the fore in tandem with Sterling down the left and prodding a typically immaculate De Bruyne pass against the post.

But they were vulnerable in the transition as they chased the game and this is Klopp's domain. As in the riotous 4-3 win over City in January last year, Georginio Wijnaldum was magnificent – an indomitable cocktail of power and intelligence, as deft as he was destructive.

Then there was Jordan Henderson, who will surely see this season as a failure if he does not lift the league title Liverpool supporters have pined for over an interminable three decades.

Shifted to the right flank after the break, Henderson's cross for Sadio Mane's third made sure of victory and City's persistent threats during the final half hour, when Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back, were notable for coming after James Milner replaced his captain.

Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might sit on the bench as more technically astute footballers than Henderson, but they will never exceed his worth to Klopp's cause.

Guardiola was left to lament "the boxes" in his post-match interview following Liverpool's clinical clinic. It was something he pondered often during his first season in charge of City, before back-to-back titles, 198 points, five major trophies and all that.

Another relic of that time, Claudio Bravo, was back. The veteran Chile international was helpless when beaten by Liverpool's first two shots on target - even if Klopp's admission that he encouraged his players to shoot from distance felt telling – but his reaction to Henderson's teasing 51st-minute delivery was atrocious.

Selecting such a strong side to face Atalanta in midweek, losing Ederson in the process, damaged City's chances. As did the decision not to reinforce at centre-back after Vincent Kompany's departure, while rushing back Rodri to protect a patched-up backline he is yet to show he can adequately screen since signing from Atletico Madrid was another questionable move.

Calls made before this weekend went a long way to sealing Guardiola's fate as City's wait for an Anfield win goes on. Liverpool's relentlessness is magnified by the fact his side have slipped slightly and significantly from the peerless heights of the past two seasons.

All it takes is a few mis-steps in these circumstances, so maybe this title race isn't over. But if City do make it three in a row, Guardiola should be bellowing thanks all over again. Liverpool faltering decisively from this position would amount to delivering gift-wrapped glory to Manchester.

Unai Emery reached the milestone of 50 Premier League matches in charge of Arsenal on Saturday in the 2-0 defeat at Leicester City, but an overriding sense of disappointment is all he has managed to establish at the club.

Emery arrived in 2018 as Arsene Wenger's replacement, with the Frenchman ultimately paying the price for going 14 years without winning the title.

In fairness to Wenger, spending at the club was significantly reduced in the wake of their move to the Emirates Stadium, particularly when compared to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool over the same period.

It was hoped Emery's introduction would bring a fresh approach and winning mentality after years of stagnation at Arsenal. However, despite his trophy successes in previous spells with Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain, some – justifiably – had doubts about the Spaniard's style of play and training methods often criticised as boring.

After reaching 50 Premier League games, it is difficult at present to see him lasting much longer and his record compared to the division's best highlights the gulf in class.

Going backwards after Wenger

Emery's Arsenal have averaged 1.74 points per game across his 50 matches in the top flight. Of those in charge of the traditional 'big six', that figure is only better than Mauricio Pochettino (1.7) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (1.30) over their 50 most recent Premier League games – though the latter's figures are obviously skewed by his spell at Cardiff City.

That's where the positives end in terms of points per game for Emery, however.

Jurgen Klopp (2.62) and Pep Guardiola (2.52) are way out in front over their past 50 matches, while Frank Lampard – who has only taken charge of 12 in the Premier League – has accumulated a respectable 2.17 points per outing.

Similarly, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has done significantly better, averaging 1.84 points per game across his last 50 matches in the Premier League with Liverpool and the Foxes.

But the real kicker is the comparison with the much-maligned Wenger, whose 1.76 average means he too collected more points over his final 50 games at Arsenal than Emery has in his first 50.

Way behind the most prolific scorers

Wenger's Arsenal also scored more than Emery's side. During the Frenchman's final 50 games, they scored 96 times, seven more than they have with the Basque coach.

City have set the bar in terms of scoring over the period in question, netting 130 times, 12 more than Liverpool.

Defensively it is the other way round. While City's record of 33 allowed is exceptional, Liverpool's is even better at just 31.

Arsenal's defensive woes have been well-documented under Emery, with Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Sokratis Papastathopoulos hardly convincing.

As such, they have conceded 68 times since the start of last season, more than double both City and Liverpool and four more than in Wenger's final stretch.

Emery's already had enough time to solve issues

Emery can at least point to the fact he has lost fewer matches (13) than Wenger (16) did over the periods highlighted, though it's a pretty hollow victory.

Klopp and Liverpool again set the standard here, having lost just one of their past 50 Premier League matches, though even Rodgers has been beaten fewer times than Emery over his 50 most recent games, losing 12.

The overarching issue for Arsenal and Emery is a complete lack of identity, something one can certainly argue they still had even in Wenger's latter days.

While these statistics highlight how far behind the Premier League's leading pair Arsenal are, their lack of a discernible style and direction is arguably the main problem, one Emery probably will not get much more time to fix.

After all, there is little doubt they have regressed under his stewardship.

Robert Lewandowski continued what has felt like a one-man argument for the Bundesliga's status quo as he inspired Bayern Munich to a 4-0 Klassiker victory over Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena.

On the face of it, these are changing times in Germany's top flight, not least for Bayern.

The reigning champions were playing their first league game under interim head coach Hansi Flick after Niko Kovac didn't so much run out of road as go careering off the autobahn during last weekend's miserable visit to his old employers Eintracht Frankfurt.

Lewandowski got Bayern's goal to briefly punctuate the misery at the Commerzbank-Arena. Of course he did.

Saturday's opener to begin another Dortmund ordeal in Bavaria continued his run of scoring in every Bundesliga and Champions League game this season.

The Poland star's coolly taken second 14 minutes from time moved him on to 23 in all competitions for Bayern in 2019-20 before the November international break.

Lewandowski is an elite performer operating at the irresistible peak of his powers and a bedraggled BVB had no answer.

Julian Weigl criminally switched off as he ghosted in to head home in the 17th minute, although Dortmund had no more joy against the mighty number nine when their collective gaze was fixed upon him.

Kingsley Coman was unable to turn in after Lewandowski spun intelligently into the channel and he was also involved in both Serge Gnabry's offside effort before half-time and legal goal afterwards.

Back at Dortmund after his Bayern sojourn, it felt like Mats Hummels was fighting a futile battle against his own team-mate. The indignity of putting through his own net to complete the rout would have been a better fit for most of the other insipid performers in yellow and black.

Borussia Monchengladbach can go four points clear at the summit if they beat Werder Bremen on Sunday, while RB Leipzig remain ahead of Bayern on goal difference thanks to a thrilling 4-2 win at Hertha Berlin.

Marco Rose and Julian Nagelsmann are two exciting young coaches threatening to shake up the established order and it seems clear that is where the challenge to Bayern's supremacy now resides.

It is a task beyond Dortmund, who wear the scars inflicted under the yoke of their bitter rivals too visibly, while picking up fresh ones on each trip to Munich.

Jadon Sancho, the future superstar earmarked to end the suffering, was ignominiously substituted in the 36th minute of a loss that continued a hideous Bundesliga run at Bayern.

4-0, 5-0, 6-0, 4-1 and 5-1 are their past five league scorelines at the Allianz. The pain has become unrelenting.

Their previous win on enemy territory in the league was a 3-0 victory in April 2014, the only catch being Bayern had already won the title by that stage.

Jurgen Klopp was the Dortmund head coach that day. The seasons when he lifted the club to new heights and made Der Klassiker a European fixture to rank alongside the Spanish argument from which it cribs its name feel like they belong to a completely different era.

Incumbent BVB boss Lucien Favre would probably be joining Kovac in a period of enforced leisure time if not for Tuesday's stirring comeback against Inter in the Champions League, but his brittle squad are making a mockery of those pre-season tips for Bundesliga glory.

This is how they deal with Bayern in a time of crisis. They do not have a prayer. If things are to actually change, it's over to Gladbach and Leipzig.

From the moment Lewandowski brought them under his brutal spell, Dortmund's fate felt inevitable. A once vital fixture has become a painful procession to watch through your fingers or not at all.

In the past six meetings between Manchester City and Liverpool in major competitions Pep Guardiola used notably different tactical setups on each occasion.

Defensive problems with a 3-5-2 despite a 5-0 win over the 10-man Reds in September 2017 prompted a switch to his tried and trusted 4-3-3 as City swept all before them on the way to a 100-point haul and Premier League glory in 2017-18.

Well, almost all. Liverpool won a thriller 4-3 on Merseyside in the January of that campaign – persuading Guardiola to select a diamond midfield for the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final three months later.

That didn't work either, as City were ransacked 3-0 and were unable to turn the tie around despite an all-or-nothing 3-1-4-2 line-up tearing into the return leg at the Etihad Stadium with gusto.

Last season it was out with the cavalier and in with control, whether that was Bernardo Silva playing in a deeper central midfield position during a 0-0 draw in Liverpool or Aymeric Laporte playing on the left of a defence able to pivot from a four to a three in a gripping 2-1 triumph in Manchester.

City will search for a first Anfield win in 16-and-a-half years on Sunday, with Liverpool's six-point lead at the top of the Premier League table compromising their ambitions of a third straight title.

Ederson this week joined an injury list featuring Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane, David Silva and Oleksandr Zinchenko, meaning an even taller order for Guardiola against the most persistently challenging adversary of his coaching career.

Here, we look at how Guardiola might approach his latest crack at the Klopp conundrum.

4-4-2, 1-4-4-1 – Guardiola's 2019-20 shape experiments

During August's Community Shield encounter against Liverpool, where a typically tight game went City's way on penalties after a 1-1 draw, Guardiola debuted a tweak to his 4-3-3. One of the attacking midfielders – in this instance Kevin De Bruyne – would press high and close to the centre forward, forming a 4-4-2 shape without the ball.

Ostensibly, this ploy has been designed for an aging David Silva to be able to press in a more economical fashion. The master playmaker is likely to miss out at Anfield with a muscular injury, however, and namesake Bernardo seemed a good fit for the role during the first half against Atalanta.

The Portugal international's positioning allowed him to play an astute pass to create Raheem Sterling's opener after the goalscorer won back possession with an interception.

Expect to see more of that when the hosts have the ball, while a new configuration when building play from the back might be used to try and neutralise Liverpool's formidable press.

Ederson's supreme ability with the ball at his feet is simply not replicated by Claudio Bravo, despite the Camp Nou credentials of the man who will deputise for City's injured Brazil international.

This will undoubtedly compromise the construction of the visitors' attacks on Sunday, meaning Fernandinho's accelerated progression from makeshift to mainstay at centre-back is likely to be locked in.

A notable ploy in the games against Crystal Palace away and Atalanta at home, when Guardiola paired Fernandinho with fellow defensive midfielder Rodri in the heart of defence, was one of the centre-backs moving alongside the holding midfielder when City started their build-up.

This created another passing option for the goalkeeper and deeper centre-back and amounted roughly to a 1-4-4-1 shape.

Fernandinho's superb passing range and John Stones' smooth style being suited to this approach means there is another argument for Nicolas Otamendi being the odd man out in defence, before considering his ranking alongside Bravo in the accident-prone stakes.

A time for Foden?

Ever since his maiden first-team appearance two years ago, the understandable clamour for boyhood City fan Phil Foden to feature more frequently has steadily grown.

The difference this season is a case can be made beyond romanticism and the importance of the 19-year-old's development; in certain matches and situations, City look better with Foden in the side

He dazzled for the most part when he started the 5-1 win over Atalanta, only to blot his good work with a pair of needless late bookings. That red card is a reason for Guardiola to stick with more tried and tested names, but he cited the England Under-21 star's box-to-box capabilities as the reason for his selection and frequent success against the Serie A side.

The playmaker's presence lends a dynamism to City's midfield that was notably lacking from this season's Premier League defeats to Norwich City and Wolves, and meeting Liverpool's verve and energy head on feels like a must.

Guardiola's midweek trident of Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne might well have been road tested with Anfield in mind, but throwing Foden into a high-stakes encounter – as when he scored the winner in last season's vital 1-0 victory over Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium – is being given strong consideration.

"Phil Foden has a great stamina capacity, a great thing against Liverpool," a source close to Guardiola told Omnisport before David Silva's injury made Foden's path to the first XI theoretically more straightforward.

"I think City are not interested in a crazy match versus Liverpool, but to try to be in control of the ball. But finally, that [picking Foden] is the crucial decision around Pep's match plan."

 

Aguero or Jesus… or both?

Sergio Aguero has started 2019-20 in typically prolific form, scoring 13 times in 14 appearances, despite sometimes appearing to be operating shy of top gear.

At the same time, Gabriel Jesus is also enjoying a strong run of form and, given Guardiola's frequently stated admiration for the Brazil striker's high-pressing, there could be a temptation to switch his attacking spearhead.

However, as separate as it remains from what he brings in open play, Jesus' feeble penalty at San Siro will not have helped his case. Also, Aguero's pedigree in big games – even allowing for the anomaly of him never finding the net at Anfield – surely sways the argument in his favour.

Jesus' revival after an underwhelming 2018-19 came playing on the right-hand side of Brazil's attack. Guardiola has not played Aguero and Jesus together in the same 4-3-3 forward line with any frequency since the early months of 2017-18 and a bold Jesus-Aguero-Sterling frontline would certainly raise eyebrows on Merseyside.

It could also cause plenty of problems. Nevertheless, Bernardo Silva's tireless work rate to negate Andy Robertson or Riyad Mahrez looking to atone a wretched penalty miss of his own on the same ground 13 months ago remain far more likely options on Guardiola's right flank.

Omnisport's predicted Manchester City line-up to face Liverpool: Bravo; Walker, Fernandinho, Stones, Mendy; Gundogan, De Bruyne, Foden; Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling.

Lewis Hamilton has been crowned Formula One champion once again, but there was a point at which his title defence looked under serious threat.

Having won all but four of the first 12 races this season, Hamilton could have been forgiven for going into the mid-season break thinking his sixth championship success was effectively wrapped up.

When the Briton made the most of Mercedes' decision to pit him a second time at the Hungarian Grand Prix by using his fresh tyres to overcome a 19-second gap to Max Verstappen in the final 20 laps, it looked like nothing could stop the Silver Arrows.

That all changed when the second half of the season got under way, with Charles Leclerc claiming back-to-back wins in Belgium and Italy before his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel triumphed in Singapore.

Hamilton still held a 65-point advantage over closest rival Valtteri Bottas, but Leclerc and Verstappen – who won in Austria and Germany – had made it clear they were not going to make things easy.

However, hopes of the drivers' championship turning into the sort of entertaining battle that has been absent from F1 for years were quickly scuppered when Hamilton took the top step of the podium in Russia.

The challenge was short while it lasted, but the 34-year-old Hamilton was finally forced to scrap with an opposing team again, having until then found team-mate Bottas his nearest rival.

Now, after wrapping up the championship in the United States, his sights will be set on equalling Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven drivers' titles.

Asked about his chances of reaching milestones set by Ferrari great Schumacher, Hamilton last month told Bild am Sonntag: "I'm not even anywhere near. I'm so far from his records.

"Michael's records are the summit of a huge mountain, and I'm still at base camp.

"The closer you get, the bigger your footsteps get, but of course I'm unbelievably honoured to be placed in that category and I've made it so far.

"I grew up watching Michael, and what he did is unbelievable."

The Mercedes driver's seemingly modest take may not be too far off the mark – 2020 could well prove to be Hamilton's biggest test yet.

Ferrari have made significant strides over the course of the season and proved they can outperform the Silver Arrows on high-speed tracks. Leclerc now has wins under his belt, having earlier agonisingly missed out in Bahrain and Austria, and will inevitably be a force to be reckoned with if the Scuderia are brave enough to back him.

Leclerc was denied in Spielberg by Verstappen, whose controversial move down the inside ensured it was he who triumphed – though he faced a lengthy wait to have it confirmed while the stewards investigated the contact in his overtake of the Monegasque.

That was the first of Verstappen's two victories for Red Bull this season and he will be keen for more when their partnership with Honda enters its second campaign.

Vettel cannot be discounted either, the four-time champion having ended a year-long wait for a win in Singapore, while Renault will hope to get themselves in a position to mix it with the big three.

This year, Hamilton batted down the competition to seal success. It could prove a very different story next time around.

Mesut Ozil's nonchalant backheel flick from the byline for Ainsley Maitland-Niles was legitimately the most efficient way to let his team-mate put Arsenal 4-2 up.

His nonchalant lean on the advertising hoarding as a gaggle of Gunners fans leapt towards him in celebration was simply the best thing he could possibly have done.

After five weeks on the outside looking in, a playmaker of rare talent was back on the field enjoying himself. It was wonderful to see.

Wednesday's riotously berserk 5-5 EFL Cup draw preceding a penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool was Ozil's third appearance of the season in all competitions and a first since a 5-0 win at Nottingham Forest in the previous round.

Since then, there's been an error-strewn draw at Manchester United, a comfortable win and breathless comeback in the Europa League, an unconvincing victory over Bournemouth, a troubling defeat at Sheffield United and then Sunday's 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace – a 2-0 lead surrendered in a pit of mutual seething featuring Granit Xhaka and the Emirates Stadium faithful.

What Ozil has made of that from his vantage point in the stands is anyone's guess, although the clanging Shkodran Mustafi own goal that gave Liverpool an early lead probably wasn't a complete surprise.

Tricks and treats in Halloween week

Ozil simply went about his business of smooth, effortless playmaking, cajoling Arsenal on to the front foot in a contest where ample changes made to each side meant entertainment leapt into the void left by any semblance of solid team structure.

The former Germany international looked to have the slowest pulse inside Anfield when he knocked a pass to the byline for Maitland-Niles and then recycled possession to Bukayo Saka for Lucas Torreira's equaliser. Coolness, calmness and an Arsenal goal crafted intelligently from open play. Remember those?

He played a part in Gabriel Martinelli's first before a seventh goal in as many Gunners outings for the 18-year-old came after a move where Ozil's reverse lay-off qualified as both a trick and a delectable treat this Halloween week.

"We've got Ozil! Mesut Ozil! I just don't think you understand," the Arsenal fans in the Anfield Road End boomed. Perhaps it was a song directed towards their head coach. Unai, you're allowed to pick this guy, you know.

After Martinelli's brace, Ozil gave away a dubious penalty for James Milner to reduce the arrears. Maybe he shouldn't track back after all.

No sooner had Arsenal re-established their two-goal lead did it vanish into the crisp Merseyside night. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slammed home a violent long-range effort home against his former club and Emiliano Martinez could only push a firm hit from Divock Origi into his net.

Heroes, villains and different trajectories

Even when Arsenal are inspired by sparkling individual displays, they remain as robust as a hollowed-out pumpkin. When Liverpool are much-changed and disjoined, this Jurgen Klopp-inspired collective will still pull things out of the fire.

That is the respective lot of these clubs right now and one set by mis-management and shrewd management over a number of years. Joe Willock remarkably scoring the best goal of the 10, Origi's last equaliser and Liverpool's eventual penalty shootout triumph all exist in that context.

Nevertheless, this Wednesday evening offered a reminder that the best football Arsenal – or any team for that matter – produce tends to come a safe distance away from hatred and bile.

This is a squad increasingly split into midweek cup heroes and weekend Premier League villains. The fact Ozil has been in both camps fairly recently underlines the folly of that distinction.

We know that over the past 16 months Ozil has retired from international football citing "racism and disrespect" and been the victim of an attempted carjacking. It is hard to contemplate the toll such events must take on a person. On a human level, it felt satisfying to see him soak up Wednesday's adoration from the travelling supporters.

Xhaka and Mustafi's on-field errors do not come with similar mitigation. But it is tempting to wonder whether sections of an Arsenal fanbase taken on a ride of risible ticket prices and false dawns since moving to their current home are misdirecting their anger.

Ozil's satisfaction on the hoarding showed a little love and kindness can always make more meaningful noise than the latest hot take.

Lewis Hamilton has had a sixth Formula One title all but wrapped up for some time. In Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix, he edged ever closer.

Hamilton needed to outscore his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 14 points or more at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez but was made to wait as the Finn came in third.

It seems a matter of when, not if, for Hamilton however, as he nears capping another extraordinarily consistent campaign with another deserved title.

But while Hamilton – and Mercedes – have continued their dominance of F1 in style, 2019 has at least offered hope to others that title tilts of their own may be on the horizon.

With Hamilton showing no signs of letting up, who can be the main challengers to his crown next term?

CHARLES LECLERC

With successive wins in Belgium and Italy this season it has been a breakthrough campaign for Leclerc, who does not seem far off replacing Sebastian Vettel as Ferrari's number one driver.

Vettel's resurgence in the latter stage of the campaign has helped the four-time champions' cause, though Leclerc is undoubtedly the future for the team with nine podium finishes in 2019.

The 22-year-old has more than proved his quality this year and, with three races remaining, sits six points ahead of his team-mate in the drivers' standings. If he gets the better of Vettel, then Hamilton should be his next target.

MAX VERSTAPPEN

F1's youngest ever competitor looked set for a title challenge when he claimed two victories as part of three podium spots in four races between June and August.

Unfortunately for Red Bull the 22-year-old's form has since dipped, with Verstappen making the top three in only one of the following six grands prix.

The Dutchman's luck seemed to have changed when he clinched the second pole position of his career in Mexico City, only to be handed a three-place grid penalty.

However, despite his struggles of late, Verstappen – who is 10 points shy of Vettel in fifth in the championship standings – is one of the most talented drivers on the grid and should see himself as a contender for 2020.

VALTTERI BOTTAS

Hamilton has rightly taken the limelight, but the hard work and consistency shown by Bottas should not go unnoticed.

Bottas has improved no end since moving to Mercedes and is on course to complete his best season, having come third and fifth in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

By accumulating three victories this term, he is just 16 points shy of the 305 he earned in 2017.

There was some uncertainty Bottas would be remaining at Mercedes, with reserve driver Esteban Ocon – who has now joined Renault for 2020 – chomping at the bit to be given his chance, but Toto Wolff has stuck by the Finn, who will surely be aiming to switch a supporting role for a lead part next season.

Leigh Halfpenny disabused any notion of solidarity with Willie le Roux when he caught his opposite number in mid-air after half an hour of Sunday's attritional Rugby World Cup semi-final in Yokohama.

Wales and South Africa's fullbacks had an abundance of work to get through in swirling conditions as the opening 40 minutes produced 40 kicks from hand.

After the thundering intensity and brilliance of England's Saturday dethroning of New Zealand, this felt like a different sport at times. Opposition 22s were not usually places to set up camp but visit fleetingly.

This clash of two brutally physical packs meant such an encounter was always on the cards, placing huge onus on a pair of fly-halves whose route to a defining match has been nowhere near as smooth as they would have hoped four years ago.

When South Africa beat Wales 23-19 in the 2015 quarter-final at Twickenham in an eminently more watchable affair, a 21-year-old Handre Pollard landed five penalties and a drop goal.

A career on the line

Already named IRB Junior Player of the Year for 2014, Pollard's cool-headedness and nerveless accuracy had him marked out for greatness. However, a shoulder injury sustained playing club rugby in Japan set off a career-threatening chain of events.

He decided to try to nurse the problem through the 2016 Super Rugby season with the Bulls, but that plan was shelved after he suffered a snapped anterior cruciate ligament during training.

Pragmatically, Pollard elected to have surgery to fix his shoulder while incapacitated, only to contract an infection in hospital.

"It got to the point where the doctors raised the subject of amputating my arm, although it wasn't an immediate option," he told The Guardian. "I spent six weeks in hospital pumped full of antibiotics about seven hours a day."

The treatment worked and an absence from the international stage of almost two years ended against New Zealand in North Shore. Pollard was a replacement in a 57-0 mauling at the hands of the All Blacks, yet he was playing with the perspective that things could have been so much worse.

It helps to know a World Cup semi-final is at once much more than a game of rugby but still only a game of rugby. South Africa anticipated a tight contest and bet on Pollard's goal-kicking. He was perfect in a game where they were never behind.

A career forever questioned

The responsibility of leading the catch-up operation fell to Dan Biggar, who kicked 14 points to Pollard's 18 in that Twickenham meeting.

Acclaim has rarely arrived so easily for Biggar as it does for his counterpart, though. His 11-year international career has been a fight for approval against celebrated compatriots, while measuring up uncomfortably to the aesthetic demands of a Welsh 10.

From competing against James Hook and Rhys Priestland during his early years to recent jousts with Gareth Anscombe, Biggar has been a loyal servant to his country, always striving to belong.

When an injury to Halfpenny four years ago thrust kicking duties upon him, many doubted Biggar's chops for the task. His 23 points sent England on the way to heartbreak at their own party.

Anscombe being ruled out of this competition persuaded Wales great JJ Williams to declare his country could not win a World Cup with Biggar at fly-half.

"I've had it my whole career,” Biggar told WalesOnline. "There could be another ex-player calling for someone from Penclawdd to play number 10 next week! It's one of those things."

There was similar defiance in each swipe of the boot that took Wales from 3-0, 6-3 and 9-3 behind to parity early in the second period.

Glory and despair

Unfortunately for Biggar, the Springboks had decided to target him at the gain line and he missed Damian de Allende as the South Africa skipper burst through for a game-breaking try.

It was his last involvement, as Rhys Patchell came on in his place – the words of Williams and others perhaps unfairly pounding in Biggar's ears.

Josh Adams went over to level matters once again after a monumental Wales effort by the South Africa line, but the glory would be Pollard's.

Wales brought a maul to ground right in front of referee Jerome Garces and, after a frivolous drop goal attempt, Pollard took it back to the tee.

Ice cold as usual, he bisected the posts with a certain inevitability. Of course, his presence on such a stage was anything but inevitable when faced with the consuming darkness of that hospital bed.

Abandoned, crumbling stadiums and empty, cracked swimming pools. Plummeting participation and dwindling interest. Platitudes and empty gestures.

The reality of sporting legacy is it rarely delivers. A capricious concept dressed up as big-hearted altruism, often propagated by politicians fishing for likes; the cornerstone of bid documents, legacy can look great on PowerPoint but has little influence at pitch level.

Any nation can birth a sporting jamboree. The woozy thrill of conception is followed by a deliciously pregnant wait and then a rush of endorphins on arrival. Postpartum reality is rather more complicated.

Material legacy is often found in infrastructure – the road and rail and housing improvements that any responsible government should be carrying out, global sporting spectacle or not.

The real sporting legacies are bound up in memories created on the field, which is why Japan's Rugby World Cup will live long, despite Sunday's 26-3 quarter-final loss to South Africa; which is why the Springboks' 1995 home triumph - Nelson Mandela their 16th man - so resonated.

Even if the Land of the Rising Sun will not see its own heroes crowned as World Cup champions in Yokohama next month, their brand of attacking, running rugby has lit up the tournament.

By reaching the knockout stage for the first time, Japan piqued interest of millions who never previously gave rugby a second glance. Perhaps the Brave Blossoms themselves have peaked, after the huge investment it has taken to reach this point, to forge a team capable of taking on - and beating - some of the world's best. To guarantee Japan - a team who lost 145-17 to New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup - would not only avoid humiliation but become everyone's favourite second team.

Japan were named as hosts a full decade ago, and in tandem with world rugby chiefs signed up to an Impact Beyond 2019 legacy project, designed to grow rugby throughout Asia. The message seems to be that, despite Japan hosting a whole blimming bells-and-whistles World Cup, the sport still needs to be force-fed into the culture long after the tournament ends.

Investment in Japan's team has been spectacularly well-judged, with previous coaches John Kirwan and Eddie Jones building the platform for Jamie Joseph's current squad to dazzle a domestic and worldwide audience over the past month.

Over 50 million people in Japan reportedly watched the crucial pool win over Scotland. That is almost half the nation. Even more will surely have tuned in for the Springboks clash, viewers who will dictate the long-term positioning of rugby within Japanese sport.

Baseball is number one, with sumo, football, tennis, wrestling, golf, basketball and a host more traditionally ahead of rugby.

Next year the passion of the Japanese people will shift to Olympic sport, when Tokyo stages the 2020 Games.

They are spoiled for choice. We are all spoiled for choice.

Rugby has made a breakthrough, Japan gave the world a team to adore in the Blossoms, but not every great show needs an after-party. Despite a rash of giddy think pieces - meta - Japan really aren't on track to rival the All Blacks.

Perhaps they will flower again in four years' time; perhaps the screaming, roaring fans that packed out Tokyo Stadium on Sunday will have more reasons to celebrate in France.

But after this success was created with precision tooling, enormous wads of yen, and awash with a strong flavouring of imported delicacies, now is surely the time for Japanese rugby to be left to evolve naturally.

Perhaps this isn't the start of something big. Perhaps it's the end of something big. The miracle of Brighton. Six World Cup victories in a row. Sassy wing twins Kenki Fukuoka and Kotaro Matsushima.

Sayonara for now, Japan. You played your part supremely well.

Eden Hazard has finally arrived at Real Madrid. The reported €100million signing opened his goalscoring account and got an assist on Saturday, helping unconvincing Los Blancos see off Granada 4-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Having played five matches before the visit of Diego Martinez's men and with only a yellow card to show for his efforts, pundits had been quick to point out the Belgium international's stuttering form.

There is no doubt Hazard's hamstring injury in August played a significant role in disrupting his start to life in Madrid, preventing him from playing the first few weeks of the season.

Yet, for all the understanding from some, Hazard had become a key conversation topic around the club, with questions dominating Zidane's news conferences.

To Zidane's credit, he had been quick to back Hazard – perhaps learning from his treatment of Gareth Bale – and even suggested there were parallels to his own start at the Bernabeu.

"I know [Hazard] is going to succeed here," Zidane said before Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw against Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.

"The same thing happened to me, this is why I'm very calm, I knew things would work out for me in time and it's the same with Hazard."

While Zidane is probably bending the truth with respect to his own start, having scored three times by the end of September in his first season at the club, it was a comment made to buy Hazard a little extra time – after all, Madrid's fans are infamous for their lack of patience.

Having again been underwhelming against Brugge, making just one key pass, Hazard still initially appeared rusty in the visit of Granada – allowing a defender the chance to get a foot in and tackle him when well placed to cut a ball back into the danger zone.

But in the 42nd minute a low cross almost found Bale, who wanted a penalty for an apparent foul by Carlos Neva, suggesting the Belgian was settling into the contest.

And his next involvement in stoppage time saw Hazard make the sort of impact he did so regularly with Chelsea, racing on to a throughball and nonchalantly lobbing Rui Silva to make it 2-0, adding to Karim Benzema's opener.

The relief on his face was soon replaced by unbridled joy – Sergio Ramos' reaction seeming to say, "About time!".

He followed that up in the second half with an assist, going on a mazy run on the left flank, before cutting back inside and teeing up Luka Modric, having drawn several defenders in.

Modric subsequently unleashed a ferocious strike into the top-left corner from 30 yards, taking full advantage of the space made for him.

No one will attempt to claim Hazard is back to his best on the back of this match – after all, he was generally quiet in the first half and he only got an assist because of Modric's excellence.

But after a sequence of below-par performances in which he offered precious little, Hazard has at least shown hints of his brilliance in a Madrid shirt for the first time.

And given Madrid's rather fragile mentality – as evidenced by the performances against Brugge, Levante, Real Valladolid and now Granada, who fought back from three goals down before James Rodriguez struck late on – Zidane needs Hazard in full stride as soon as possible.

Tottenham's 3-0 defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday condemned Spurs to a second successive loss with 10 goals conceded this week, piling the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino. 

Spurs were demolished 7-2 in their own stadium by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, prompting further questions of Pochettino, who continues to be linked with a departure. 

Pochettino urged his team to produce a response at Brighton, telling his players to "man up" and put things right. 

But a Brighton side inspired by 19-year-old Aaron Connolly piled on the misery at the end of a crushing week for Spurs, with Pochettino appearing increasingly defeated and deflated. 

With the manager seemingly running out of ideas, we chart the highs and lows of his time at Spurs. 

LOW – The only way is up 

Tottenham's standing compared to the other big clubs at the start of Pochettino's tenure was laid bare in the first month of the new boss' debut campaign. Liverpool were the visitors, with Spurs hoping for the chance to make something of a statement, but Brendan Rodgers' men blew them away with ease by winning 3-0. It was Spurs' first loss under Pochettino and they went on to miss out on Champions League qualification by six points that term. 


LOW – Stamford Bridge implosion hands Leicester the title 

There was no denying Spurs' vast improvement between Pochettino's first few months and 2016 as they looked to challenge for a maiden Premier League title. However, their form at the end of the season saw them come up short, squandering a 2-0 lead at Chelsea in an ill-tempered encounter to come away with a 2-2 draw, therefore securing a famous success for Leicester City. Pochettino's men finished third, 10 points off the top. 


HIGH – Bidding farewell to White Hart Lane in style 

Having seemingly established themselves as top-four regulars, Spurs looked to further consolidate their new-found status by moving to an extravagant new stadium. In their final outing at the more modest White Hart Lane in May 2017, Spurs downed Manchester United 2-1. A glamourous new era seemed to be on the horizon, with Pochettino steering the Spurs ship expertly. 


HIGH – Spurs hit 13 goals in two games 

Spurs then finished that season in remarkable fashion, crushing Leicester City 6-1 and then going one better against relegated Hull City, winning 7-1 despite both games being away from home. Harry Kane was the star on both occasions, netting four at the King Power Stadium and a treble the following week. Those victories wrapped up a second-place finish in the Premier League. 


HIGH – Manchester United crushed at Old Trafford 

In August 2018, Pochettino was among the favourites to replace an under-fire Jose Mourinho at United and he helped inflict more misery on the Red Devils and make his pitch for the job with an emphatic 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Kane and a Lucas Moura double did the damage, making it the hosts' worst start to a league season since 1992-93. 


HIGH – VAR-ty time as Llorente steers Spurs past City 

Spurs' Champions League hopes appeared to be vanishing against Manchester City in April this year when, after winning 1-0 at home, they found themselves trailing 4-2 in the 59th minute despite earlier leading 2-1 on the night. Fernando Llorente then got what proved the vital goal – the ball striking him and going in, the goal standing even after a VAR check for an apparent handball. Raheem Sterling had no such luck, however, as his stoppage-time goal was disallowed by VAR for offside against Sergio Aguero. Pochettino's men survived a bonkers encounter to reach the last four. 


HIGH – Incredible turnaround secures first Champions League final 

Somehow Spurs managed another lucky escape in the semi-finals as well. A 1-0 defeat at home to Ajax in the first leg had them looking doomed, even more so when Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech made it 3-0 on aggregate in the first half of the return fixture in Amsterdam. But a remarkable Lucas Moura hat-trick in the second half sealed a vital 3-2 win in stoppage time and left Ajax devastated. Spurs were heading to Madrid. 


LOW – An underwhelming Champions League final 

Their first Champions League final – it was an historic occasion regardless of the result. Yet, there was an air of frustration at how they approached what proved a tepid contest, with fans bemoaning an apparent lack of attacking intent as a half-fit Harry Kane struggled to make an impact. Mohamed Salah's early penalty gave Pochettino's men an uphill struggle and Divock Origi wrapped things up late on. 


LOW – Battered by Bayern, swept aside at Brighton 

The worst week of Pochettino's reign? If the 7-2 demolition by Bayern Munich at home in the Champions League wasn't bad enough on its own, the embarrassment was exacerbated by the fact an Arsenal academy product – Serge Gnabry – scored four and he certainly milked the occasion. It was the first time Spurs had ever conceded seven at home in a major competition. Despite the pressure increasing on Pochettino, no response was forthcoming on Saturday as Brighton cruised past them 3-0 at the Amex Stadium. 

The Olympic Games must have the better hype man because the World Athletics Championships is often perceived as an inferior cousin in the prestige stakes.

However, since its first staging at Helsinki in 1983, the track and field global gathering has seen scores of jaw-dropping performances - and delivered some of the most famous world records.

Usain Bolt ran the fastest 100 metres and 200m in history at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Mike Powell's Bob Beamon-beating 8.95m long jump came at Tokyo 1991 and Jonathan Edwards' mind-blowing triple jump of 18.29m was achieved in 1995 in Gothenburg.

Those records still stand, and more stunning achievements are sure to come at Doha 2019.

Athletics greatness need not hinge on winning an individual gold medal at the Olympics, and these 10 past track and field stars serve as proof that World Championship glory can just as easily help secure a place in the pantheon.

 

MIKE POWELL

Unlike the legendary Beamon, whose staggering leap of 8.90m came in 1968 at Mexico City, Powell could not jump to Olympic gold: he took silver behind Carl Lewis in Seoul '88 and Barcelona '92. But Powell banished Beamon from the world-record lists at the 1991 World Championships when the Tokyo crowd saw him leap 8.95m with his penultimate attempt. Lewis, for once, had to settle for second best in the sandpit. Powell successfully defended the world title two years later in Stuttgart.

MERLENE OTTEY

Jamaican Ottey competed in seven Olympics - her last in 2004 was representing Slovenia at the age of 44 - and won nine medals, but there was not a gold among them (three silver, six bronze). There is no doubt she ranks among the greatest sprinters of all time, however, claiming fourteen World Championship medals including 200m golds in 1993 and 1995 and a 1991 sprint relay triumph with Jamaica.

FRANKIE FREDERICKS

Name a more iconic Namibian in sport. We'll wait. Fredericks won Olympic silver in the 100m and 200m at both the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Games, and three world silvers over 200m (1991, 1995 and 1997). Michael Johnson was his long-time nemesis at 200m, but Johnson only entered the 400m at the 1993 Worlds, and Fredericks took advantage by running a then championship-record of 19.85 seconds to snatch gold, powering ahead of John Regis and Carl Lewis.

STEVE CRAM

The 'Jarrow Arrow' could not follow his great rivals Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett to Olympic glory, yet he was a formidable rival to both in an era when British men ruled the middle distances. Cram took silver in the 1500m at Los Angeles in 1984, but a year earlier he had landed World Championship gold in Helsinki when he outran American Steve Scott, Moroccan great Said Aouita and Ovett to take the glory. Cram also held world records at 1500m and the mile.

MARY DECKER

United States star Decker was famously favourite for 3000m gold at the Los Angeles Olympics, before tangling with Zola Budd and falling, to the horror of watching American spectators. She had been judged the likely champion having triumphed in both the 1500m and 3000m at the Helsinki World Championships. Because of the controversial nature of the Budd incident, the twin triumphs in Finland and multiple world-record runs have been largely overshadowed, but they attest to her greatness.

WILSON KIPKETER

Kipketer would have been a gold-medal hot favourite for the 800 metres at the 1996 Olympics, but a citizenship dispute rendered him ineligible as he switched from representing Kenya to Denmark. Talent-spotted by Kip Keino, he won world titles in 1995, 1997 and 1999. In 1997 he obliterated Coe's long-untouchable 800m world record, set 16 years earlier. He later landed Olympic silver and bronze medals but the World Championships was where this remarkable athlete shone brightest.

GREG FOSTER

Chicago-born Foster fought a fierce rivalry from the likes of Renaldo Nehemiah, Roger Kingdom and Colin Jackson, and there was simply not enough gold to go around at a time when the 110m hurdles was a standout event. Foster took silver behind Kingdom at the LA OIympics, yet at the World Championships he incredibly won consecutive golds at Helsinki '83, Rome '87 and Tokyo '91.

ANA QUIROT

Cuba's boycott of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, out of solidarity with North Korea, denied Quirot a likely 400m and 800m golden double, given her form that year. Quirot, a remarkable athlete, suffered devastating and scarring grade three burns on much of her body in a domestic accident in 1993. A favourite of Fidel Castro, she won bronze and silver over 800m at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics but pocketed world titles over the same distance in 1995 - on Castro's birthday - and 1997.

INGRID KRISTIANSEN

The Norwegian was formidable on the track and on the road, winning the London Marathon four times along with triumphs in Boston, Chicago and New York, while also landing a world cross country title. She could finish only fourth, however, in the marathon at the 1984 Olympics and a foot injury forced her out of the Seoul 10,000m when leading the race for gold. At the World Championships, she topped the podium at Rome in 1987 in the 10,000m.

CALVIN SMITH

Smith was unfortunate to hit his sprint peak around the same time as Lewis, his fellow American and the dominant athlete of the 1984 Olympics. Smith still scooped 200m gold glory at the 1983 and 1987 World Championships and broke the 100m world record at a domestic event in 1983, also landing bronze over the latter distance in the controversial 1988 Olympic final, having been promoted from fourth after Ben Johnson was thrown out. He won an Olympic relay gold but never topped the podium on his own.

Mercedes will be glad of a return to a happy hunting ground at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi after Ferrari's dominance of recent rounds.

Charles Leclerc was unable to convert pole in Singapore into a hat-trick of wins as team-mate Sebastian Vettel stepped up to keep the streak going.

Leclerc is now within 100 points of championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who has not tasted victory since the Hungarian Grand Prix at the start of August.

A sixth title is still firmly within Briton Hamilton's grasp, but he and Valtteri Bottas will be keen to turn the tide for Mercedes with half an eye on the 2020 season.

Here, we look at some of the key numbers ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.

5 – Mercedes have won all five previous editions of the Sochi race, with Hamilton on the top step of the podium three times. Bottas and Nico Rosberg have one win apiece.

4 – Mercedes have only once failed to make pole their own in Russia, while Hamilton's four podiums were only interrupted by a fourth-placed finish in 2017.

2008 – If Ferrari chalk up a fourth consecutive win it will be the first time they have enjoyed such a run since Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa won two apiece between the Malaysian and Turkish Grands Prix of 2008.

0 – Red Bull have no podiums in five appearances in Russia – the most they have featured at any race without doing so.

29 – Vettel has completed the most pit stops this season and is only one shy of the 30 he tallied over the duration of the 2018 campaign.

5 – Leclerc's five poles is more than any other driver has achieved this term. The last Ferrari driver to lead in poles at this stage of the season was Michael Schumacher with eight in 2004.

14 – Max Verstappen progressed 14 places from a start of 19th on the grid at last season's race in Sochi. He has only bettered this once in his career, making up 16 positions in the 2018 United States Grand Prix.

19 – Ayrton Senna won the most Grands Prix having led from start to finish. Hamilton is on 18, one behind the great Brazilian.

City derbies, with their heady blend of familiarity and ferocity, can make enemies of neighbours and friends at the best of times.

In Saturday's Derby della Madonnina, Inter ultimately secured the bragging rights through an authoritative 2-0 win, but midway through the first-half their wing-back Danilo D'Ambrosio was likely ruing Gianluigi Donnarumma's pre-match words.

"With D'Ambrosio, I have a beautiful relationship," the Italy and Milan goalkeeper told DAZN. "He is my compatriot and he also lives near me."

Best mates with the opposition are we, Danilo? Probably best not to hit the post from three yards out with the goal gaping in that case.

In truth, it was a slice of fortune Donnarumma earned on a day when longevity and goalkeeping greatness were a focus in Serie A.

Gianluigi Buffon played his 902nd club match earlier on Saturday as Juventus battled to a 2-1 home win over Hellas Verona, matching the mark set by Milan great Paolo Maldini.

Donnarumma entered senior football as a fully formed teen sensation, already dubbed Buffon's heir. He was also on the books at Milan from the age of 14, steeped in the history of a club defined by one-club men like Maldini. They were big gloves and boots to fill.

Still only 20, he has travelled plenty of road since then. For a long time, none of it felt particularly smooth.

Mino Raiola's typically bombastic attempts to engineer more money and a blockbusting transfer for his client drove a wedge between Donnarumma and the Milan faithful. Then there was the steady drip, drip, drip of errors that threatened to become a deluge.

When Inter beat Milan 1-0 11 months ago, Mauro Icardi – another man well-versed in player-fan relations – scored the winner after a wretched misjudgement from the Rossoneri keeper. On this occasion, it often felt like Donnarumma and his 6ft 5in frame was the only realistic bridge between a yawning gulf in class.

His first big save came in the 18th minute, thwarting Romelu Lukaku after Lautaro Martinez's cute pass played in his strike partner.

Donnarumma's stop to deny the impressive Martinez was stunning three minutes later, with D'Ambrosio on the rebound seemingly one of those briefly distracted.

There was no suggestion of a neighbourly favour when the Inter man propelled himself skywards for a thumping overhead kick. Again, Donnarumma saved and an offside verdict meant Martinez converted the rebound in vain.

A cruel deflection from Marcelo Brozovic's speculative 49th-minute strike felt like the only way Donnarumma was likely to be beaten at that stage, although Inter's 100 per cent start to the Serie A season scarcely seemed under threat from that point.

A bustling Lukaku is brimming with confidence and directed home a fine header to seal victory. Antonio Conte has always felt his best teams operated near their peak with a "point of reference" striker. Inter have that in Lukaku and he might just take them all the way to the Scudetto.

Milan's aims under Marco Giampaolo must be more modest after they managed a solitary shot on target over the course of the 90 minutes – the exciting front two of Krzysztof Piatek and Rafael Leao too frequently isolated as playmaker Suso faded to the margins.

But in Donnarumma they have a young man who has weathered a storm, partially of his own making, and is back on the road to superstardom. He and Milan might yet enjoy a beautiful relationship of their own.

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