Manchester United, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund are hoping to sign Juventus midfielder Emre Can.

Can, 26, is out of favour in Turin and has made just two Serie A starts this season.

The former Liverpool midfielder will reportedly be allowed to leave during this transfer window and three European giants are eyeing the Germany international.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD, TOTTENHAM AND DORTMUND EYE EMRE CAN

Manchester United, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund are chasing Juventus' Can, according to SPORT1.

With Euro 2020 coming up later this year, Can wants regular playing time to earn a spot in the Germany squad.

Can made 37 appearances in all competitions for Juve last season, but has played just eight times in 2019-20.

Sportmediaset reports Juve are working on a move for Napoli midfielder Allan to replace Can.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter will wrap up a deal for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen early next week, according to Sky Sport Italia. The Serie A club will pay €18million (£15.2m) plus €2m (£1.7m) in bonuses for Eriksen, who is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying at San Siro and Inter are targeting Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud after recognising it would be difficult to sign Napoli's Fernando Llorente, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Barcelona are making progress in their bid to land Valencia forward Rodrigo, according to Sport. While working on a loan move, Barcelona want an option to buy at season's end, while Valencia want it to be an obligation to purchase for around €60m. The report says Barca are willing to pay Valencia a "penalty fee" if they do not make the loan permanent.

- Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Lemar is close to signing with Premier League club Arsenal, according to El Chiringuito. Lemar has made just nine LaLiga starts this season.

- Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are in talks over a swap deal. Goal reports the clubs are discussing swapping full-backs Mattia De Sciglio and Layvin Kurzawa.

- With Marcus Rashford injured, Manchester United have looked at signing Shanghai Shenhua's Odion Ighalo and Monaco's Islam Slimani, who is on loan from Leicester City, according to Sky Sports.

Jamie Vardy will miss Leicester City's FA Cup trip to Brentford on Saturday but Brendan Rodgers is hopeful he will be back to face Aston Villa in the EFL Cup semi-final.

The striker was substituted during the first half of the Foxes' 4-1 win over West Ham in the Premier League, with initial fears that he had suffered a hamstring injury proving unfounded.

Vardy was in fact struggling with a problem in his glute and will undergo treatment in Leicester when his team-mates are in action at Griffin Park.

Manager Rodgers is optimistic, however, that the former England forward will return on Tuesday to face Villa for the second leg of a tie that is poised at 1-1.

"He's not available for the weekend and there will be a question mark for Tuesday, although it's certainly not as serious as we first thought," Rodgers said on Friday.

"It's not his hamstring, it's a glute, so we're hopeful for Tuesday, but there's a little bit of work to do. He'll get some work in with the medical team. He'll stay with them for the weekend.

"He's much better than directly after the game, when he was tight and sore and struggling to move. But today he was much better."

Vardy is the Premier League's top scorer this season with 17 goals.

Liverpool's march towards the Premier League title shows no sign of slowing down, as the Reds claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wolves.

Manchester United are clinging to a top-six position after they slid to a 2-0 home defeat to Burnley, the latest in a string of wretched results this season that have sparked an angry reaction from supporters.

While United toil, neighbours Manchester City ground out a 1-0 win at Sheffield United that continued their resurgent league form, with a winning combination delivering the goal for Pep Guardiola's side.

Leicester City might have expected a challenge from the big clubs behind them by now, but the Foxes continue to sit pretty in third place, and a 4-1 win over West Ham continued to make them look immovable from the top four this season.

The midweek Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, revealing a string of telling trends and match facts.

 

MANE INJURY DOES NOT DERAIL LIVERPOOL'S CHARGE

Liverpool lost Sadio Mane to injury during the first half in Thursday's clash with Wolves, yet Roberto Firmino struck late on to claim the win as the Reds became just the fifth side in English Football League history to go 40 straight matches unbeaten.

Jurgen Klopp's side have amassed 67 points from a possible 69 in the Premier League this season; this is at least five more than any side in English top-flight history has ever previously had after as many games of a campaign.

Raul Jimenez drew Wolves level after Jordan Henderson's opener, and the Mexican's header ended a run of 725 minutes without conceding a Premier League goal for Liverpool since Richarlison scored for Everton at Anfield in December.

Jimenez also became the third Premier League player to net 20+ goals in all competitions this season, after Sergio Aguero (21) and Raheem Sterling (20).

Since the start of last season, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has assisted 22 Premier League goals, at least five more than any other player, with 10 of those coming from dead balls, also a league-high.

Firmino, meanwhile, has scored six goals in his last eight games for Liverpool in all competitions, as many as he had in his previous 32 appearances for the club, and all of his 10 Premier League strikes this season have come away from home.

UNITED IN TURMOIL AS CLARETS PUT NEGATIVE SPIN ON OLE REIN

Manchester United may sit fifth, but in terms of points tallies Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's are closer to 14th-placed Newcastle than they are to fourth-placed Chelsea after 24 games.

The league standing is highly vulnerable, given Tottenham, Wolves and even Sheffield United are breathing down United's necks.

Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Burnley means United now have a negative Premier League win-loss record since manager Solskjaer was given the job on a full-time basis in March.

They had impressed during his caretaker spell, but since Solskjaer went from being a stand-in to the chosen one, their record shows 11 wins and 12 defeats in the Premier League.

United's Old Trafford setback followed their 2-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield, meaning they have suffered back-to-back league defeats for the second time under their Norwegian boss.

Burnley looked to be in freefall just days ago and relegation was becoming a serious concern, but wins over United and Leicester City have lifted them to 30 points - just four adrift of the Red Devils.

PASSPORTS AT THE READY, LEICESTER LOOK BOOKED IN FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN

Catch them if you can! Leicester City had a wobble with defeats to Southampton and Burnley, but Brendan Rodgers' men now sit 14 points clear of fifth place and surely their destiny is a second season in the Champions League.

In the absence of anything approaching a charge from teams outside the top four, it would take a spectacular collapse for the Foxes to miss out, with a 4-1 win over West Ham on Wednesday emphasising their quality.

Leicester have racked up eight wins in 12 Premier League home games so far, their best record at this stage of a season, and the 52 goals they have banged in amounts to their most in the top flight from their first 24 games since the achieved the same tally in 1930-31.

Rodgers and West Ham boss David Moyes were once rivals on Merseyside, in charge of Liverpool and Everton respectively.

While Rodgers eyes success towards the top of the table, Moyes has taken on a relegation battle with a West Ham side who are outside the bottom three on goal difference alone.

Since the start of October 2019, no team have gained fewer points (11) or lost more games (11) in the Premier League than West Ham, and it gets no easier: Liverpool are their next opponents.

At least that game is a home fixture for the Hammers. Moyes' away record in matches against teams starting the day in the Premier League top four is diabolical, winning just one of 50 such games.

KEVIN KEEN TO HELP - DE BRUYNE IS KING OF THE ASSISTS

When Sergio Aguero turned in a cross from Kevin De Bruyne to give Manchester City a 1-0 victory at Sheffield United, it was more than merely two Premier League greats combining to deadly effect.

History, in fact, was made in that motion, with De Bruyne becoming the first player in the Premier League era to provide 15 or more assists in three different seasons.

The Belgian had 18 in 2016-17, 16 the following season, and after an injury-wracked 2018-19 campaign he already has 15 from 23 appearances this term.

The scale of De Bruyne's achievement can be better appreciated by considering the likes of Ryan Giggs, Cesc Fabregas, Dennis Bergkamp and his own City colleague David Silva have been unable to produce at that level so consistently.

Former Wolfsburg playmaker De Bruyne has entered the top 20 of all-time assist providers in the Premier League, and there is no keeping Aguero down either.

Aguero has been directly involved in 43 goals in 43 Premier League appearances against newly promoted teams - scoring 35 goals and assisting in eight more.

It took City until the 73rd minute to make their breakthrough at Bramall Lane, and a lot of the credit for the hosts' resilience went to goalkeeper Dean Henderson, whose first-half penalty save from Gabriel Jesus means he has stopped four of the last eight spot-kicks he has faced in English league football.

Have Tottenham finally found an alternative to Harry Kane?

According to reports, Spurs are in talks to sign Real Sociedad's Willian Jose with just over a week to go until the transfer window closes.

But it could take in excess of £50million to finally end their search for a second out-and-out striker.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS TO DIG DEEP FOR SOCIEDAD STRIKER

Krzysztof Piatek, Islam Slimani and Fernando Llorente have all been linked but Tottenham have now set their sights on 28-year-old Willian Jose, reports the Guardian.

The Brazilian was left out of his side's Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol on Wednesday and could now be headed for north London.

Talks are underway, the Guardian states, although Spurs could be forced to contemplate meeting Willian Jose's €70million (£59m) release clause as Sociedad seek adequate compensation.

The one-time Real Madrid man has scored eight LaLiga goals this term after reaching double figures in each of the previous three seasons.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dani Ceballos has asked Real Madrid to terminate his Arsenal loan and find him a move elsewhere, according to Spanish radio station Cadena SER.

- The Gunners are set to suffer another blow as Ligue 1 outfit Lyon prepare to confirm the €25million signing of rumoured Atletico Madrid target Bruno Guimaraes, reports L'Equipe.

- Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will allow Philippe Coutinho to return to Barcelona at the end of his loan spell if, as desired, the Bundesliga giants land Leroy Sane and Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, reports Bild.

- After sealing a deal for Reinier Jesus, Madrid could return to raid Flamengo for 19-year-old forward Lincoln, says Mundo Deportivo.

- Leicester City plan to bolster their Champions League ambitions by splashing £15million on Southampton centre-back Jannik Vestergaard, according to The Sun.

- Serie A side Milan have submitted an 18-month loan offer for Manchester City-linked Florentino Luis, claims CalcioMercato. The 20-year-old defensive midfielder plays for Benfica.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers was relieved the injury that forced Jamie Vardy to hobble out of Wednesday's clash with West Ham was not a hamstring issue.

Premier League top scorer Vardy lasted 43 minutes of Leicester's 4-1 victory at the King Power Stadium before coming off in pain.

Fears that his problem could be hamstring-related were dispelled by manager Rodgers, however, meaning Vardy may soon be back in action.

"He just felt a twinge in his glute, so we'll just have to wait and see on that over the next day or so," Rodgers said in his post-match news conference.

"Thankfully, he said his hamstring was fine, he just felt the pain on his glute, so we'll assess that over the next couple of days."

Vardy has scored 17 goals for Leicester in the English top flight this season, helping them to reach third place, three points behind second-placed champions Manchester City.

Leicester's next match is an FA Cup fourth-round trip to Brentford on Saturday.

They face Aston Villa in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final next Tuesday, before returning to Premier League duty on February 1 when Chelsea visit the King Power Stadium.

Jamie Vardy gave Leicester City an injury scare before Ayoze Perez proved himself a capable deputy in Wednesday's 4-1 win over West Ham.

Harvey Barnes tapped in Ricardo Pereira's cross to give Leicester a 24th-minute lead, but the Foxes suffered a potentially major blow shortly before half-time when Premier League top scorer Vardy went off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

There was time for a second Leicester goal prior to the break, with Barnes darting in from the left and teeing up Pereira, returning the earlier favour and allowing his team-mate to thunder a shot beyond Darren Randolph.

Mark Noble slotted in a 50th-minute penalty to revive West Ham's hopes after Wilfred Ndidi fouled Sebastien Haller.

However, when Angelo Ogbonna caught Kelechi Iheanacho Leicester were awarded a spot-kick of their own and Perez fired the ball high and emphatically into the net to make the home win a certainty.

Perez rifled in a clinical late fourth for Brendan Rodgers' third-placed hosts, who coped admirably without Vardy but will nevertheless hope his absence is brief.

Manchester United are no closer to concluding their long-running search for a director of football.

Rumours emerged over the weekend indicating the Red Devils were closing in on Lille's Luis Campos, famed for spotting the likes of Kylian Mbappe during his time at Monaco.

But fresh reports in France suggest United will be left frustrated in any bid to lure the Portuguese to Old Trafford.

 

UNITED TARGET NOT INTERESTED IN LEAVING LILLE

Claims that United have commenced negotiations with 55-year-old Campos are wide of the mark, reports Le 10 Sport.

There has apparently been no contact between the parties and, in any case, the former Real Madrid scout is said to have no plans to leave Lille.

United's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday and the loss of Marcus Rashford has exacerbated the need for signings, an area in which Campos was expected to assist.

Campos previously had a long career as a head coach in his native Portugal, where he led Gil Vicente and Beira-Mar among others.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are in preliminary talks with Neymar's representatives about a contract extension, according to French broadcaster TF1, although the Brazilian would prefer to delay concrete discussions.

- Krzysztof Piatek's proposed switch to Tottenham has stalled over Milan's £30million asking price, claims the Daily Mail.

- Spurs could turn their attention to Leicester City flop Islam Slimani, according to the Telegraph. The 31-year-old is out on loan at Monaco, where he has scored seven goals in 13 Ligue 1 games.

- Inter forward Matteo Politano favours a return to Serie A rivals Roma but may be given the option of leaving San Siro for Sevilla, says Corriere dello Sport.

- LaLiga side Espanyol hope to sign Reinier on loan once the Brazilian teenager's move to Real Madrid goes through, reports Spanish newspaper SPORT.

Dreams of Premier League glory began to feel like an inevitability at Anfield as Liverpool beat Manchester United on a weekend that saw Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City drop points.

Jurgen Klopp's side dispatched their old rivals with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, leaving Reds supporters full of confidence after Burnley came from behind to beat third-placed Leicester 2-1 at Turf Moor.

There was a surprise result at St. James' Park on Saturday, Frank Lampard's Chelsea dominating for long periods against Newcastle United but succumbing to a late Isaac Hayden goal in a 1-0 defeat.

There were late goals at the Etihad Stadium, where Sergio Aguero thought he had won it with a brace, only for Fernandinho to put through his own net in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The weekend's Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, as well as Wolves' dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Southampton at St. Mary's.

 

ANFIELD FULL OF HOPE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK HOME WINS OVER UNITED

They are no longer saying it quietly: Liverpool fans firmly believe the title is theirs after watching their side beat United on Sunday.

The victory marked the first time Liverpool have claimed consecutive home Premier League wins over the Red Devils since winning three in a row between September 2008 and March 2011 and there was an air of invulnerability around Anfield at the final whistle.

Liverpool have taken 91 points from a possible 93 in their last 31 Premier League matches, winning 30 and drawing just one, while United have now lost nine of their last 16 top-flight away games (W3 D4 L9).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score in eight of those games and they gave Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson little to do despite creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Alisson kept himself busy by becoming the first Reds keeper to assist a Premier League goal since March 2010, when Pepe Reina laid on a goal against Sunderland.

 

 


LATE HAYDEN WINNER LEAVES LAMPARD'S BLUES REELING

Chelsea have lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of 2018-19 after Hayden scored in the 94th minute to snatch victory for Newcastle over Lampard's inconsistent Blues.

Four of Chelsea's eight league defeats this season have come in their last eight matches and supporters making the trip to Tyneside had reason to be fearful of their side coming unstuck.

Chelsea have now lost five of their last seven top-flight trips to St. James' Park but defeats to teams managed by Steve Bruce have been a rare occurrence - this was only the second time he has beaten the Blues in 23 games against them as a manager (D5 L16).

Prior to Hayden's strike, Newcastle had not scored a last-minute winner since Ayoze Perez struck against Tottenham in December 2015.

It was Hayden's third Premier League goal and came in his 70th appearance in the competition, his last coming in February 2019 against Wolves.

 

POROUS CITY PAY FOR ERRORS AT THE BACK

City came from behind to lead with three minutes left in their clash with Palace but conceded at home in the Premier League for the 12th time this season as the Eagles secured a point at the death.

Pep Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals at home in the league as they did in the whole of last season and this was their third draw of the 2019-20 season - in their title-winning campaign last term they only drew twice.

Aguero's double inside five minutes marked the Argentina international's 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for the club in his 360th appearance, but Fernandinho became the first City player to score a Premier League own-goal since Nicolas Otamendi against Huddersfield Town in November 2017.

The scoring was opened by new signing Cenk Tosun, who netted in the 39th minute to become the fourth Turkish player to reach 10 Premier League goals after Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay.

Palace are ninth in the table after four consecutive draws - the last time they drew as many Premier League games in a row was in 1992-93 when they started the season with the same sequence.

 

WOLVES EMERGING AS COMEBACK SPECIALISTS

When Raul Jimenez scored from the penalty spot at St. Mary's he pulled Wolves level after they had been two goals down, but there was even better to follow for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Jimenez scored again in the 76th minute, taking his tally to 19 goals in all competitions this season and clinching three points for Wolves that means they have now picked up 18 from losing positions in the Premier League this season - seven more than any other side.

Falling behind after 15 minutes to a Jan Bednarek goal was nothing new for the visitors, who have conceded first in 16 league games this season including each of their last seven in a row.

But Jimenez has been directly involved in 28 goals this season and after Shane Long netted his 54th Premier League goal to make it 2-0 to the Saints, Pedro Neto scored for the second time in his last three league appearances to tee up the Mexico international for a memorable brace.

Jimenez now has 19 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions this season, giving him more direct goal involvements than any other top-flight player in 2019-20.

Jamie Vardy missed a penalty as Burnley came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 at Turf Moor and condemn the Foxes to back-to-back Premier League defeats.

After Chris Wood's instinctive finish against his former side had cancelled out Harvey Barnes' contentious opener, Leicester looked set to retake the lead when Ben Mee fouled the Foxes' goalscorer with 23 minutes remaining.

Vardy, however, lacked his usual composure from the spot, with Nick Pope making a smart stop down to his left and also denying Leicester's forward in a one-on-one soon after.

Pope's saves paid further dividends in the 79th minute as Ashley Westwood lashed home from the centre of Leicester's box and, despite a late glut of pressure, Brendan Rodgers' side could not find a way back.

Sunday's victory ends a four-match losing streak in the Premier League for Burnley, with Sean Dyche's side – who were furious that Barnes' opener was allowed to stand despite a robust challenge from Dennis Praet in the build-up – now up to 14th, five points clear of the relegation zone.

Leicester, meanwhile, have lost four of their past six league fixtures but remain in third place, six points above Chelsea.

Manchester City without Pep Guardiola?

Speculation over Guardiola's future is not going away, with Premier League champions City set to be dethroned by Liverpool this season.

And a move to Paris Saint-Germain could be on the cards…

 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARE MAMMOTH GUARDIOLA OFFER

French champions Paris Saint-Germain are trying to lure Pep Guardiola from Manchester City, according to the Express.

Amid uncertainty over Guardiola's future, the Ligue 1 holders are ready to make a huge offer to tempt the City manager to Paris.

Guardiola, whose side appear set to finish some distance behind Liverpool in the Premier League, has also been linked with a return to Barcelona, despite their appointment of Quique Setien this week.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Mirror, Premier League leaders Liverpool and rivals Chelsea will battle it out for RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

- Juventus midfielder and former Liverpool star Emre Can is wanted by Everton, reports The Mirror. Can is out of favour in Turin and has been previously linked to Manchester United.

- Il Corriere dello Sport claims Sevilla want to sign Inter midfielder Matias Vecino, who appears destined to leave Milan ahead of Christian Eriksen's reported arrival from Tottenham.

- Speculation over Bruno Fernandes' future is set to drag on. Although he has been tipped to join United, Sporting CP and the Red Devils are reportedly miles apart in their valuations of the captain. While United want to bring in Fernandes this month, the Standard says they are threatening to abandon their pursuit over fears it could damage Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's transfer plans at the end of the season. Over-paying for Fernandes has prompted concerns it could impact United's interest in Leicester City star James Maddison and Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho.

Real Madrid are unwilling to loan out James Rodriguez, with Marca reporting the LaLiga giants are only interested in selling the Colombia international.

Harry Kane may have suffered an untimely injury, but England boss Gareth Southgate could well be blessed with a wealth of attacking options heading into Euro 2020.

Kane's hamstring injury should not see him miss the European Championship, but it has handed plenty of England hopefuls the chance to prove their worth.

And it seems as though this season, the Premier League belongs to homegrown forwards.

Jamie Vardy – who has retired from international duty – leads the way with 17 goals, ahead of three players sharing second place in the scoring charts with 14: Danny Ings, Marcus Rashford and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal striker Aubameyang is one of only four non-English players to take their place in the Premier League's list of leading scorers as things stand, along with Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Raheem Sterling, Tammy Abraham and Kane complete the top 10 and, using Opta data, we assess whether the 2019-20 Premier League campaign is an anomaly or the start of something new.

SIX OF THE BEST

Vardy's incredible form has been key to propelling Leicester City up the league, with Brendan Rodgers' side currently sitting third. 

The 33-year-old has 17 league goals to his name this season, though it is another Englishman who has been making the headlines recently – one who downed the Foxes last time out. 

Southampton's Ings has scored 10 goals in his past 11 top-flight appearances and is already the highest-scoring Southampton player in a single season since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14. 

Level with Ings is Manchester United's Rashford, who seems to have finally taken up the mantle as the Red Devils' talisman and has scored 19 times across all competitions, one less than England team-mate Sterling, who has 11 league goals. 

Chelsea's transfer ban in the off season handed Abraham the chance to shine, and shine he has, scoring 13 times in the top flight, two more than England captain Kane. 

It should also be noted the six leading English scorers all represent different clubs, showing that homegrown talent is shared across the league. 

THE NEXT GENERATION

Of the English players leading the way this season, two – Rashford and Abraham – are 22, while City sensation Sterling is only just 25.  

Indeed, only Vardy, of the English forwards in the top 10, is above the age of 30. 

After overcoming a glut of injury issues, Ings is finally hitting his stride once more, with Southampton the benefactors.  

But, with the 27-year-old averaging a goal every 109.8 minutes in the league – a figure bettered only by Vardy among the other English players – Ings must be in serious contention for a place in Southgate's squad for the upcoming friendlies against Italy and Denmark. 

There is also plenty of potential for the future outside of the players in the top 10. After Sterling and Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the highest-scoring English player and the 22-year-old seems to be coming into his own for Everton. 

He has scored eight league goals and 10 in total across all competitions, while United's Mason Greenwood is the highest-scoring teenager in the competition. 

Away from the Premier League, Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho has been lighting up the Bundesliga since his move from City in 2017.

HISTORY SAYS...

Only twice in the past nine Premier League seasons has an English forward won the Golden Boot, with Tottenham star Kane doing so in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Last season, the award was shared between Mane, Salah and Aubameyang, though each only managed 22 goals – the lowest amount since Carlos Teves finished top of the charts with 20 in 2010-11.

Since the start of the previous decade there has been a steady increase in the number of English players finishing in double figures for the season, with five last term being the most. But with six players inside the top 10 – and Calvert-Lewin not far away – this season, 2019-20 is proving the best season for homegrown strikers in that timeframe.

With Euro 2020 on the horizon, it appears this could well be the season that kick-starts a new wave of English talent starring in the big time.

Liverpool continued their relentless march towards the Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham while Sergio Aguero sent records tumbling in Manchester City's resounding win at Aston Villa.

The Reds moved 16 points clear at the top thanks to Leicester City's defeat to Southampton – as Danny Ings kept up his superb form – though the gap was reduced slightly when City thrashed Villa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Manchester United ended a three-match winless streak with a resounding 4-0 triumph over lowly Norwich City.

We review the key top-flight matches with the help of Opta data.

 

CHAMPIONS-ELECT SET NEW BENCHMARKS AS TITLE TILT CONTINUES AT PACE

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, it seems certain that the Premier League title will be Liverpool's for the first time come the end of the season – or earlier, at this rate.

Roberto Firmino's fifth goal in his past six appearances handed Jurgen Klopp's side the points at Tottenham, who lost successive league matches for the first time this season, and have also conceded 20 goals in 13 matches under Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool sit on 61 points at the top of the pile, the most any side has ever registered after 21 matches in a single season across Europe's big five leagues.

Klopp's team have amassed 104 points across their past 38 Premier League games, winning 33 times and drawing on five occasions; this is a record total by any team across a 38-match run in the competition's history.

It is 38 league games since Liverpool last suffered a defeat. In the same amount of time, Spurs have lost 16 matches – including three defeats to the Reds.

AGUERO SMASHES RECORDS IN SIX-GOAL ROMP

It was a waltz in Villa Park for City on Sunday, as Aguero's hat-trick and a masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne propelled Pep Guardiola's side to a 6-1 win and up into second place.

With his second goal – which came early in the second half to put City 5-0 up – Aguero became the highest-scoring non-British player in Premier League history, moving ahead of Thierry Henry.

Aguero moved onto 177 top-flight goals when he thumped in his third, making the former Atletico Madrid forward the outright record holder for hat-tricks in the Premier League with 12 to his name – one ahead of Alan Shearer's tally of 11.

After his first-half double and assist for Aguero's hat-trick goal, Riyad Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals or more since the start of last season in all competitions. 

De Bruyne, meanwhile, is now on 15 assists for this campaign after teeing up two of City's goals.

INGS KEEPS GETTING BETTER

Two of the Premier League's leading scorers went head-to-head at the King Power Stadium, but while Jamie Vardy failed to inspire Leicester City to victory, Southampton's Ings proved the match-winner as the Saints gained revenge for their 9-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Ings' effort nine minutes from time was his 14th of the season and his ninth goal in his past 10 top-flight appearances.

It means 40 per cent of Ings' 35 Premier League goals have come in this campaign, while he is also the highest-scoring Southampton player since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14.

Dennis Praet put Leicester ahead and is the 14th different player to have scored for the Foxes in the Premier League this term, while Brendan Rodgers suffered successive home defeats for the first time since he took over.

UNITED'S FORWARDS RUN RIOT IN OLD TRAFFORD ROUT

Missing leading scorer Teemu Pukki, Norwich City never looked likely to trouble United, who cruised to a convincing win to lift themselves into fifth place.

It is the first time United have scored four goals in consecutive home games in the league since September 2017, while the Canaries have not won in nine Premier League matches.

Marcus Rashford scored twice and is now on 19 goals in all competitions this season – only Raheem Sterling, with 20, has more among Premier League players.

Juan Mata set up two goals, the first time he has provided two assists in a league match since October 2012 – also against Norwich – while Mason Greenwood has scored four top-flight goals this term, more than any other teenager in the competition.

Roberto Firmino scored the only goal of the game as relentless Liverpool won at Tottenham to go 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League following Leicester City's defeat to Southampton.

Firmino's first-half strike on Saturday took the runaway leaders to 61 points, a European record among the continent's big-five leagues after 21 games played.

Liverpool look unstoppable in their quest to be crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years, with second-placed Leicester – who have played a game more than the Merseyside club – slumping to a 2-1 loss at home to Southampton.

The Foxes consigned the Saints to a record-equalling 9-0 drubbing in October, but had three goals ruled out for offside at the King Power Stadium and Danny Ings' 10th goal in his last 10 top-flight starts gave the south-coast club sweet revenge.

Manchester United replaced Sheffield United in fifth spot with a 4-0 drubbing of Norwich City at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford claiming a brace, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and was sent off in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Chelsea are five points better off than the Red Devils in fourth, having avoided a third successive Premier League home defeat with a 3-0 victory over Burnley.

Richarlison scored the only goal in Everton's win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park, while Newcastle United and Wolves had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Molineux.

 

FIRMINO GIVES REDS CAPITAL GAINS

Jurgen Klopp's all-conquering side took another stride towards an elusive title by making it 20 wins out of 21 in the Premier League.

A clinical finish from Firmino eight minutes before half-time was enough to seal maximum points in north London.

Son Hueng-min and Giovani Lo Celso squandered great chances to level for Spurs and they proved to be costly as Jose Mourinho's side suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats to sit in eighth spot.

INGS KEEPS SAINTS MARCHING

Southampton pulled off a magnificent victory to leave high-flying Leicester stunned.

Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans had goals disallowed for offside and Southampton had a penalty decision overturned by VAR in an action-packed encounter.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's upwardly mobile side were not to be denied maximum points, though, courtesy of a deflected first-half strike from Stuart Armstrong and a 14th of the season in the league from Ings – who hit the crossbar twice – either side of Dennis Praet's first Leicester goal.

 

RUTHLESS UNITED HAMMER CANARIES

Manchester United responded to their 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City with a ruthless demolition of bottom side Norwich.

Rashford took his tally of league goals this season to 14 with one in each half and Anthony Martial scored United's third two minutes after the England striker helped himself to a double from the penalty spot.

Mason Greenwood was given far too much time to add a fourth soon after coming off the bench as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran riot, leaving Norwich still seven points adrift of fourth-bottom Aston Villa.

AUBA AND OUT

Aubameyang's 15th top-flight goal of the campaign gave the Gunners a first-half advantage at Selhurst Park, but things turned sour for the striker after the break.

The Gabon international was initially booked by referee Paul Tierney for a challenge on Max Meyer, but a red card was brandished after a VAR review which took over two minutes. 

Jordan Ayew's deflected strike had brought injury-hit Palace level before Aubameyang was ordered off and neither side could force a derby winner.

Danny Ings gave in-form Southampton sweet revenge over Leicester City and Manchester United hammered bottom side Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Leicester consigned the Saints to a record-equalling 9-0 defeat in October, but the second-placed Foxes – who had three goals ruled out – were beaten 2-1 at the King Power Stadium less than three months later.

Ings' 10th goal in his last 10 top-flight starts sealed all three points for a Southampton side who have now won three and drawn one of their last four Premier League matches.

Manchester United replaced Sheffield United in fifth spot with a 4-0 drubbing of Norwich at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford scoring twice, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and was sent off in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Chelsea are five points better off than the Red Devils in fourth, having avoided a third successive Premier League home defeat with a 3-0 victory over Burnley.

Richarlison scored the only goal in Everton's win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park, while Newcastle United and Wolves had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Molineux.

 

INGS KEEPS SAINTS MARCHING

Southampton pulled off a magnificent victory to leave high-flying Leicester stunned.

Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans had goals disallowed for offside and Southampton had a penalty decision overturned by VAR in an action-packed encounter.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's upwardly mobile side were not to be denied maximum points, though, courtesy of a deflected first-half strike from Stuart Armstrong and a 14th of the season in the league from Ings – who hit the crossbar twice – either side of Dennis Praet's first Leicester goal.

 

RUTHLESS UNITED HAMMER CANARIES

Manchester United responded to their 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City with a ruthless demolition of bottom side Norwich.

Rashford took his tally of league goals this season to 14 with one in each half and Anthony Martial scored United's third two minutes after the England striker helped himself to a double from the penalty spot.

Mason Greenwood was given far too much time to add a fourth soon after coming off the bench as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran riot, leaving Norwich still seven points adrift of fourth-bottom Aston Villa.

AUBA AND OUT

Aubameyang's 15th top-flight goal of the campaign gave the Gunners a first-half advantage at Selhurst Park, but things turned sour for the striker after the break.

The Gabon international was initially booked by referee Paul Tierney for a challenge on Max Meyer, but a red card was brandished after a VAR review which took over two minutes. 

Jordan Ayew's deflected strike had brought injury-hit Palace level before Aubameyang was ordered off and neither side could force a derby winner.

Tottenham appear close to landing a replacement for Harry Kane, while Thomas Lemar could also be set for the Premier League.

Kane needs surgery on his left hamstring and is not expected to return to training for Spurs until April.

It seems the Premier League club are nearing a move for Milan forward Krzysztof Piatek, although there are contrasting reports over the status of the deal.

And, Atletico Madrid midfielder Lemar could also be heading to London.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS CLOSE TO LANDING PIATEK AS KANE REPLACEMENT

Tottenham have agreed a deal worth £28million (€32.95m) for Piatek, according to The Sun.

However, the Mirror reports Spurs have had a loan bid for the 24-year-old Poland international rejected, although talks are continuing.

After netting 11 times in 21 games for Milan last season following a January move from Genoa, Piatek has four goals in 18 this campaign.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea and Tottenham are both trying to sign Atletico's Lemar on loan until the end of the season, according to The Telegraph. Lemar is linked with an Atletico exit after just nine LaLiga starts this season.

- While Christian Eriksen's possible Spurs exit will dominate headlines this month, it appears the midfielder will not be heading to Old Trafford. Sky Sports reports Manchester United have ruled out making a bid for the Denmark international this month.

- Searching for a right-back, Tottenham are keen on signing Barcelona's Nelson Semedo, according to the Mirror. The position has been a problem for Spurs since Kieran Trippier's off-season move to Atletico.

- Javier Hernandez's stay at Sevilla could be coming to an end. Marca reports the club could let the forward, who has one goal in nine LaLiga games this season, leave amid apparent interest from LA Galaxy.

- Leicester City are trying to sign Juventus defender Merih Demiral, according to the Mirror. Manchester City and Everton are also reportedly interested in the Turkey international.

- Piatek aside, there may be other moves at Milan. La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira says Roma are interested in Suso and Cengiz Under could be heading to San Siro, while Milan are still eyeing Inter's Matteo Politano.

- Could David Moyes and Marouane Fellaini reunite for a third time? Sky Sports reports Moyes' West Ham are interested in signing the Shandong Luneng midfielder, who played under the Scot at Everton and Manchester United.

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