Ajax relocated their Champions League swagger to go top of Group H with a 2-0 win over Lille.

Erik ten Hag's entertainers took a solitary point from their back-to-back meetings with Chelsea but Hakim Ziyech put them ahead early on at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

A hero of last season's unlikely run to the semi-finals, Ziyech's brilliant goal launched an outing where the Eredivisie champions were typically dazzling and vulnerable.

Lille's finishing let them down, however, with Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan Ikone the main culprits, before Quincy Promes made sure of victory.

Ajax's opener came after 94 seconds and in delightful fashion.

Wonderful one-touch passes from Sergino Dest and Donny van de Beek ended with Zakaria Labyad picking out skipper Dusan Tadic, whose lay-off allowed Ziyech to dispatch an unerring strike past Mike Maignan.

The goalscorer returned the favour when Tadic had a powerful angled effort saved in the 12th minute, while Victor Osimhen's theatrical tumble inside the Ajax area underlined Lille's early desperation.

Bamba tracked back diligently to make a vital interception as a lurking Dest hoped to put Ajax 2-0 up, but the Lille winger had a moment to forget in the 31st minute when he blazed over from six yards with the goal at his mercy.

Lille resumed on the front foot, only for Ikone to join Bamba by producing a horror miss.

Osimhen muscled past Perr Schuurs after Lisandro Martinez's poor header and cut back for Ikone to lift inexplicably beyond the crossbar with the outside of his right boot.

Martinez stepped out of defence with a composure belying his early second-half efforts and found Ziyech on the right to curl a cross towards Promes for a smart back-post finish.

Lille stuck gamely to their task, although Andre Onana's superb double save from Bamba and Yusuf Yazici ensured their endeavours ended without reward.

Ziyech was denied a deserved second by a VAR handball verdict as Ajax kept pushing and Van de Beek thudded a powerful effort against the post.

What does it mean? Advantage Ajax but all to play for

Chelsea and Valencia's earlier thrilling 2-2 draw at the Mestalla contributed to an ideal Wednesday for Ajax, who lead the way with 10 points from the Blues and Los Che on eight apiece. It means a draw with Valencia in Amsterdam next month will see them through. Lille only have pride to play for against Chelsea due to a solitary point from five matches.

Ziyech stars for Amsterdammers

Ten Hag will hope a grimacing Ziyech departing holding his arm five minutes from time was not on account of any serious problem. As is often the case when Ajax hit top gear, the Morocco forward was a delight. An over-enthusiastic fan invaded the pitch to embrace Ziyech towards the end of the second half and you could definitely see where the youngster was coming from.

Bamba and Ikone serve up video nasties

Lille were rarely able to exercise any control against supreme opponents, yet continued attacking with gusto. It made Bamba and Ikone's horrible misses all the more lamentable.

What's next

Ajax travel to FC Twente on Sunday, a day after Lille host Dijon in Ligue 1.

Lionel Messi is bidding to score at home in the Champions League for the first time this season as Barcelona take on Borussia Dortmund.

The Argentina international fired his latest blank in the 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague three weeks ago, leaving his side with work to do if they are to progress to the last 16.

Barca will be through if they beat Dortmund or if they draw and Inter fall to defeat at Slavia in the other Group F contest taking place on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, holders Liverpool host Napoli at Anfield aiming to avenge a 2-0 defeat from the reverse fixture, while Chelsea will reach the knockout stages with victory against Valencia.

Below, we have highlighted the key data ahead of Wednesday's eight matches.

Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund

12 - Barcelona forward Messi scored with his last shot at Camp Nou in the 2018-19 Champions League season. He has attempted 12 without success this term, failing to score in both home matches. Should he not to score in this game, it would be first time since October 2011 he has failed to find the back of the net in three consecutive home games in the competition (a run of four).

4 - Borussia Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi has scored four Champions League goals this season – only one Moroccan player has ever netted more in a single campaign, with Marouane Chamakh scoring five for Bordeaux in the 2009-10 campaign.

Slavia Prague v Inter

3,119 - Slavia Prague have given 3,119 minutes to Czech players in the Champions League this season – the most by players of the nation of the club they are representing in the competition this campaign.

3 - Lautaro Martinez has scored in his last three Champions League appearances for Inter. He could become the fifth Argentinian to score in four consecutively, after Hernan Crespo (2002), Lionel Messi (six occasions), Sergio Aguero (2019) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (2013).

Liverpool v Napoli

2 - Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored in his last two Champions League appearances – the only Englishman to score in three consecutive matches for the Reds is Steven Gerrard (five in a row in 2007-08).

3 - Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti was the last manager to win an away Champions League match at Anfield, leading Real Madrid to a 3-0 victory in October 2014. No coach has won more away Champions League games in England than Ancelotti (three – level with Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri).

Genk v Salzburg

0 - Genk remain winless in all 16 of their Champions League matches (W0 D8 L8). It is the fifth longest winless run in the competition's history and the longest since December 2017 (Maribor – 17 matches).

5 - Salzburg striker Erling Haaland will become just the third player to score in his first five Champions League appearances if he scores in this match. The two to do so are Alessandro Del Piero (1995, Juventus) and Diego Costa (2013-14, Atletico Madrid).

Valencia v Chelsea

3 - Valencia have won three of their last four home Champions League games (W3 D0 L1), having lost four of their previous five (W1 D0 L4).

14 - Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has had more shots than any other Chelsea player in the Champions League this season (14). However, he has found the net with just one of those shots and has scored as many own goals as he has goals (one).

Lille v Ajax

10 - Lille are winless in 10 home Champions League matches (W0 D4 L6). Only two teams have ever had longer home winless runs – Spartak Moscow (11 between 2001 and 2006) and Steaua Bucharest (13 between 1996 and 2013).

10 - Ajax's Hakim Ziyech has been involved in 10 goals in his last 12 Champions League appearances (four goals, six assists). The Moroccan has either scored or assisted in each of his last six away games in the competition (two goals, five assists).

RB Leipzig v Benfica

30 - RB Leipzig are one of only two teams yet to give a single minute to a player aged 30+ in the Champions League this season, along with Genk. In his 10 games as coach in the competition, Julian Nagelsmann has only used one player aged 30 or older – Hungarian striker Adam Szalai for Hoffenheim last season.

10 - Benfica have lost all 10 of their away matches in Germany in the European Cup/Champions League, facing six different teams without success.

Zenit v Lyon 

2 - Zenit have lost two of their last three home European matches (excluding qualifiers) – one more than they had lost in their previous 21 home games (W18 D2 L1).

4 - Lyon's Memphis Depay has scored in all four Champions League matches this season. No Lyon player has ever scored in five consecutive appearances, while only three Dutchmen have scored in five or more – Roy Makaay (2002), Ruud van Nistelrooy (2002, 2003 and 2007) and Arjen Robben (2013).

Neymar had a "bad performance" on his return for Paris Saint-Germain, according to coach Thomas Tuchel, who nonetheless defended the fit-again forward.

The Brazil star had been out of action for a month with an injury sustained on international duty but started for PSG at home to Lille in Ligue 1 on Friday.

Neymar had a hand in PSG's second goal in a 2-0 win that moved the champions 11 points clear at the top of the table.

However, in his 65 minutes on the pitch, he failed to record a single shot or key pass and completed only 63.9 per cent of his passes on an underwhelming return to action.

Tuchel, though, was not expecting a top performance given his time on the sidelines.

"No, I'm not worried by his bad performance," Tuchel told reporters of Neymar's display. "I do not know if it's normal. 

"I did not expect much from him because he missed six weeks. It's a lot for someone like him, who needs pace for everything he does. 

"He missed precision today, timing. But it's like that. He had to play a few minutes."

Neymar was replaced by Kylian Mbappe and went straight down the tunnel rather than watch the rest of the game from the bench.

"It's normal. Many players enter the locker room directly," was Tuchel's view. 

"I did not see that because I was focused on the game, changing tactics. 

"We have to talk about this thing internally. But we are not going to talk about it too much now."

Goals from Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria in the first half saw PSG to a routine victory at Parc des Princes.

"They are fit, and strong together," Tuchel said of the Argentina duo. "Both stayed with us during the [international] break.

"That's good because you can manage them and keep them fresh. Both are decisive and score goals. And they work for the team and it makes a huge difference for us."

Neymar returned for Paris Saint-Germain as a comfortable 2-0 home win over Lille moved the Ligue 1 champions 11 points clear at the top of the table.

The Brazil star had been out of action for a month due to injury but was fit enough to start at Parc des Princes on Friday, though fellow forward Kylian Mbappe, who has been ill, was only deemed ready for the bench.

Mbappe's initial absence did not hurt PSG as on-loan striker Mauro Icardi hit his ninth goal in his past eight appearances to put his side in front.

Angel Di Maria struck the second before half-time and Mbappe came off the bench to make it a good day for coach Thomas Tuchel ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Real Madrid.

Icardi continued his hot streak with the opening goal for PSG in the 17th minute, the Argentina attacker arriving at the back post to convert Idrissa Gueye's left-wing cross.

PSG had not hit top gear but doubled their advantage before the half-time break.

When Neymar was tackled the ball ran loose for Julian Draxler to trick his way into space and free Di Maria in the left channel to beat Mike Maignan with a trademark left-foot curler.

Though Keylor Navas had to save well from Luiz Araujo, such was PSG's comfort that Neymar was able to make way for Mbappe's return midway through the second half.

Lille substitute Loic Remy had a chance to set up a grandstand finish but scuffed a tame finish at Navas, while Yusuf Yazici curled wide from a promising position in the closing stages.

What does it mean? Another title looks certain for PSG

Despite already having lost three times in the league this season, PSG are 11 points clear and seemingly cruising to another Ligue 1 crown. The challenge for Tuchel will be maintaining momentum and intensity for key Champions League clashes still to come.

Lille lost vital members of their coaching staff to Tottenham after Jose Mourinho's appointment this week and Christophe Galtier's side, who have only won once in the league since September, face a battle to secure Champions League football.

Gueye adds to clean sheet collection

PSG's array of attacking talent is the envy of clubs from all over the world but Gueye, who joined from Everton ahead of the 2018-19 season, may prove their most important signing in some time.

The Senegal midfielder has now played nine Ligue 1 matches for his new club and they have won eight of them, conceding just three times. As well as providing protection for PSG's defence, he created the opening goal for Icardi with a fine low cross.

Draxler miss not punished by Lille

PSG should have won by a greater margin but Draxler, who had otherwise been impressive, wasted a superb chance to add to their lead early in the second half after being set up by Icardi.

Substitute Edinson Cavani, who replaced Icardi, was also profligate in the last minute.

What's next?

PSG are already through to the next round of the Champions League but can secure top spot by avoiding defeat away to Real Madrid on Tuesday, with Tuchel's side back in domestic action next Sunday when they go to Monaco.

Lille are at home to Ajax on Wednesday then host Dijon in the league three days later.

Neymar is back in the Paris Saint-Germain side to face Lille in Ligue 1 on Friday after recovering from injury.

The Brazil forward has been out of action for a month after sustaining a hamstring injury while on international duty.

But PSG coach Thomas Tuchel indicated in a pre-match news conference that Neymar was ready to return and he is in the XI to take on fifth-placed Lille.

Kylian Mbappe has been passed fit to start in attack with Neymar after recovering from illness.

Keylor Navas is back in goal for the Ligue 1 champions, replacing Sergio Rico, after the Costa Rica international missed PSG's win at Brest last due to a groin injury.

Christophe Galtier's side have won just one of their last six Ligue 1 games while PSG are unbeaten in their 19 home Ligue 1 matches against Lille.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are back in the Paris Saint-Germain squad to face Lille in Ligue 1 on Friday.

Both of Thomas Tuchel's star forwards have endured injury interrupted campaigns so far.

Neymar missed the start of the season as he completed his rehabilitation from ankle ligament damage but returned in style with four goals in five Ligue 1 outings.

A hamstring injury sustained while on duty with Brazil last month left him back on the sidelines but Tuchel told reporters on Thursday the world's most expensive footballer had resumed training.

Mbappe has nine goals in 11 games across all competitions in 2019-20 despite being compromised by hamstring, thigh and adductor problems, before illness placed his participation in the game at the Parc des Princes in doubt.

The attacking duo return in time for a pivotal week, with trips to Real Madrid and Monaco on the horizon.

PSG are eight points clear of Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 table and they are five points better off than Madrid thanks to a perfect record from four Champions League group matches to date.

Right-back Thomas Meunier is back from a hamstring injury but midfielders Marco Verratti (knee) and Ander Herrera (thigh) remain among the absentees.

VAR controversy, Leicester City's swashbuckling style, Liverpool's unrelenting charge to the title – these are all among the most prominent themes of the opening months of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

But arguably trumping all of them in terms of column inches has been Chelsea's use of young players, with Frank Lampard's return to the club as head coach coinciding with a new-found desire to bring youngsters into the first-team.

Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Christian Pulisic have all featured regularly, while Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have recently returned from serious injuries.

Eden Hazard, Graeme Le Saux, Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson and Petr Cech are just a few of the army of people to lavish Chelsea and Lampard with praise for this philosophy.

Although it is difficult not to be cynical of Lampard's insistence that he would have had the same approach even if Chelsea were not banned from signing new players, the fact remains they are giving young players a chance.

But how does their use of under-23 players compare to the rest of the teams in Europe's top five leagues?

PREMIER LEAGUE

It might surprise supporters to learn that among Premier League clubs, Chelsea don't lead the way for appearances (60), minutes (4,164) or assists (8) for players who were under 23 on matchday.

Manchester United have racked up the highest number of matches for players younger than 23 (84), one more than Leicester. The next highest is Bournemouth (67), while Arsenal and Norwich City are also ahead of Chelsea.

As such, United have given 5,801 minutes of Premier League football to young players, though Leicester lead the way with 6,164 and are also on top in terms of assists (15).

Chelsea's 20 goals from qualifying players is a division high, however, four more than United. Leicester are the third and final side to reach double figures.

And the Blues' average starting XI age of 25 years and 115 days is among the youngest, though Bournemouth are ahead on that front (25y 88d).

LALIGA

In Spain's top flight, only Real Sociedad (84) and Real Mallorca (68) have given more matches to young players than Chelsea. They're also the only clubs to accumulate more minutes played by youngsters than the Blues (5,341 and 5,944, respectively).

La Real also top the charts for goals (10), assists (8) and average starting XI age (25y 235d) in Spain, though none of those records better Chelsea's.

Therefore, it's fair to say LaLiga, renowned for its development of young players, is lagging behind Premier League in that regard at the moment.

SERIE A

Chelsea's 60 appearances by young players would put them fourth on those terms in Serie A, with Fiorentina (79), Genoa and AC Milan (both 72) out in front.

Those three have also given more minutes to under-23s, with Fiorentina (5,837) setting the bar again.

Genoa have had 11 goals set up by under-23 players, three more than Chelsea, while Milan's average starting XI age (24y 203d) is much lower than Lampard's men.

But in each of those two parameters, Chelsea would be second in the chart. They would lead for goals from under-23s, with Fiorentina top in Italy on 10.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig (80), Mainz, Schalke (both 70) and Borussia Monchengladbach (63) have been the most open to playing under-23s in the Bundesliga

Similarly, all four clubs have seen those players feature in more than 4,500 minutes this season – Leipzig unsurprisingly leading the way with 5,259.

Leipzig are also Chelsea's closest challengers in terms of goals. Their record of 17 may be slightly less than the Blues, but their 11-assist haul - level with Gladbach - takes them to 28 involvements, exactly the same as Lampard's side.

Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig are also the youngest side in the Bundesliga, with their starting XI's average age just 24 years and 340 days. Mainz (25y 38d) are the only other top-flight German club to beat Chelsea in this regard.

LIGUE 1

France's Ligue 1 is by far the most accessible of the five major leagues for young players, with a total of 1,360 appearances from under-23 players across the 20 clubs, an average of 68 per team.

In comparison, the Premier League (871) averages 43.55 appearances per club and the Bundesliga's 18 sides afford under-23s 45.28 outings (815 total).

Nice make up the biggest share of the Ligue 1 appearances with a massive 121, but Lille (116), Lyon (99), Reims (96), Nimes (83), Toulouse (82), Rennes, Bordeaux (both 75), Metz (74), Monaco, Dijon (both 65) and Strasbourg (62) have all allowed youngsters to play more than 60 matches.

Of course, a key element of this is the lack of funds at many of these clubs and French football in general with the exception of Paris Saint-Germain, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, have entrusted the fewest games (30) to under-23 players in the division.

Nevertheless, only Nice (24y 41d), Lille (24y 111d) and Lyon (24y 288d) have a younger starting line-up on average than Lampard's Chelsea.

Lille boss Christophe Galtier took a swipe at "classy" Jose Mourinho for taking two of his coaches to become part of his new team at Tottenham.

Mourinho was appointed as the new man in charge of Spurs on Wednesday after Mauricio Pochettino and his assistants were sacked.

Former Real Madrid and Manchester United boss Mourinho moved quickly to arrange his backroom team at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos and Joao Sacramento both appointed from Lille.

There has also been speculation that Mourinho wants sporting director Luis Campos to join him in north London to take up a similar role.

Galtier does not blame his coaching staff for taking up a new position, but he made it clear he was none too pleased with the way in which Mourinho has gone about things.

"Everyone has their own way of doing things. It's very classy, anyway, very classy to act like that," Galtier said in ironic tones ahead of Lille's Ligue 1 clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Friday.

"I was angry; the timing isn't good. There are ways to do things. Regardless, what matters is that I agree with the decision of the president [Gerard Lopez].

"I have also been in a deputy role. They were asked, they believe in this project, they want to go. That's football today.

"My president and Luis Campos could not do anything to keep two people who couldn't stay in this project. We're not in the world of the Care Bears.

"I learned it by phone from my president on Tuesday night. He told me about the situation. I didn't see anything coming. We were preparing normally for the match in Paris.

"He explained it to me, and I understood. I would have done the same thing. If staff want to go to another project, it takes so much investment that if your head is 10 per cent elsewhere, you're doomed to failure."

Galtier certainly does not expect Campos to follow his former coaching staff to Spurs, though.

"Luis is 200 per cent invested in the project [at Lille] and I don't see a 1000th of a wish to look elsewhere," he said. "We're close and looking forward."

Real Madrid star Eden Hazard says he has rejected multiple offers from Paris Saint-Germain and would never sign for the Ligue 1 champions.

The Belgium international claims he has always made it clear he would only return to France's top flight to play for former club Lille, the team he left in 2012 to join Chelsea.

PSG were linked with a move for Hazard before the completed a switch to Madrid this year for a reported €100million fee.

"No, never," he told L'Equipe when asked if he would ever join PSG.

"They've often wanted to sign me. I didn't want to come back to Ligue 1 and with another club to Lille.

"I always told them no. In my head, it was clear.

"They're a club who can help you win the Champions League, but they were not in my plans. If I come back to Ligue 1, it will be with Lille."

Hazard has struggled to make a significant impact in Spain since arriving from Chelsea in June.

The 28-year-old has scored only once in eight appearances in all competitions and has been accused in some quarters of being overweight.

Hazard this week denied those suggestions, telling Sky Sports: "For the last month, I've been in good condition with no injuries.

"I'm in good shape. When I'm on the pitch I will always try to do my best, with Real Madrid or Belgium. I just want to keep this momentum."

Madrid host Real Sociedad in LaLiga on Saturday before they face PSG in the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu next Tuesday.

Neymar is ready to return to action for Paris Saint-Germain against Lille on Saturday, but the Ligue 1 champions could be without Kylian Mbappe.

The Brazil superstar has not featured for his club since sustaining a hamstring injury during the October international break, continuing a tale of fitness woe that has stained his time at the Parc des Princes.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference, head coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed Neymar would be available for a mouth-watering week of fixtures, with trips to Real Madrid and Monaco coming after Lille's visit to the French capital.

"Neymar feels good," Tuchel said. "He has trained well and will be in the group for tomorrow's match, but he will not be able to play 90 minutes.

"He will bring us quality and decisive things. When he is with us, we are super dangerous. That is necessary if we want to continue to win

"Lille, Real Madrid and Monaco represent three challenging games for us."

Mbappe has often stepped up in Neymar's absence, but the France forward has been laid low by illness having already suffered hamstring, thigh and groin setbacks this term.

"He had a fever, he has to start training today, we have to wait," said Tuchel, who will be without midfield duo Marco Verratti (knee) and Ander Herrera (thigh).

Neymar's rehabilitation took in a trip to watch the Davis Cup in Madrid this week, something which neither delighted nor angered his boss.

"What can I do? I'm not his father, nor the police. I am just his coach," Tuchel added.

"He trained well. Did I enjoy his trip to Madrid? No. But he was very professional during those two weeks.

"He did more than others, working with the group and also individually. If all goes well, he can play [against Lille]. Tomorrow we will decide".

Tottenham have agreed a deal with Lille to bring in coaches Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos to work with Jose Mourinho.

Former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Mourinho was appointed Spurs' new head coach on Wednesday following Mauricio Pochettino's departure the previous day.

Spurs moved quickly to begin securing the desired backroom setup for their new coach, as Lille confirmed the departure of Sacramento and Santos.

Tottenham have reportedly paid £3million for the duo, with Sacramento expected to become Mourinho's assistant. Santos joins as goalkeeping coach.

"To Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos, LOSC wish all the success in this new project," a Lille statement read.

ESPN report Spurs may yet return to Lille for sporting director Luis Campos, who previously worked with Mourinho at Real Madrid.

Pochettino's time at Tottenham saw numerous reports of tensions between the manager and chairman Daniel Levy over transfers.

The arrival of Campos as sporting director would seemingly act as a buffer, and Mourinho is said to have funds to make signings in January.

A stunning 30-yard strike from Geoffrey Kondogbia highlighted Valencia's 4-1 come-from-behind Champions League Group H victory against Lille on Wednesday.

Victor Osimhen gave Lille a first-half lead but a 66th-minute penalty from Valencia captain Dani Parejo completely changed the complexion of the match.

Parejo's panenka finish was followed by an unfortunate Adama Soumaoro own goal and Kondogbia then whipped the Mestalla crowd into a frenzy with an incredible effort from long distance.

Ferran Torres soon made it three goals in the last 10 minutes for the hosts, the substitute's well-taken finish capping an outstanding second-half performance from Albert Celades' men.

Osimhen's opener was thanks to the sharp closing down of Benjamin Andre, who blocked Parejo's pass and watched the ricochet fall invitingly for the goalscorer.

The Lille striker still had plenty to do but he was too quick for both Gabriel Paulista and Ezequiel Garay before composing himself and shooting through the legs of Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

Valencia gradually worked their way back into the contest, and only a pair of terrific saves from Mike Maignan denied Rodrigo Moreno an equaliser just before the break.

Yusuf Yazici had a great chance to double Lille's lead in the 53rd minute, but shot straight at Cillessen after good work down the left from Osimhen, and it was a miss the visitors would come to regret.

Valencia were awarded a spot-kick after Jose Fonte handled Rodrigo's cross and Parejo showed nerves of steel to level in audacious fashion.

Pressing hard for a winner, Valencia took the lead in the 82nd minute when Jose Gaya's cross was turned in, via the inside of the post, by Soumaoro.

And that opened the floodgates, Kondogbia producing a sublime effort before Torres wrapped up the win with a smart finish on the angle.

 

What does it mean? A three-horse race for progression

Valencia's win - and Chelsea's 4-4 draw with Ajax - means all three sides have seven points after four Group H games.

An exciting race for the two last-16 spots is now on the cards, while Lille remain at the foot of the group with just one point.

A moment of pure joy

Kondogbia had not scored since February but this strike was worth the wait, the midfielder's outrageous effort sure to live long in the memory.

Lille's defenders backed off Kondogbia, almost encouraging him to shoot, and the end result was something of beauty.

A stop-start season continues

Denis Cheryshev scored Valencia's goal in a 1-1 draw at Lille last month but he has been not been able to nail down a regular starting berth for Valencia this season. He has been suspended, as well, and lasted just 30 minutes before succumbing to injury.

What's next?

Valencia will be after just their third home league win of the season on Saturday when they take on Granada. Lille are at home, too, hosting Metz.

Tuesday's Champions League schedule presents the chance for Marco Reus to set a new record for Borussia Dortmund, while Erling Haaland will hope to maintain his scoring run.

Reus drew a blank last time out in Europe, the Bundesliga side losing 2-0 to Inter, but will hope to make club history in the return fixture in Germany.

Barcelona are top of the table in the same group and the reigning LaLiga champions will be eager to preserve their unbeaten home run when they take on Slavia Prague at Camp Nou.

Liverpool are another team who seem to relish having home comforts, plus history tells us Chelsea should be feeling confident when Ajax visit Stamford Bridge.

We have picked out some of the notable numbers from Opta ahead of the eight games taking place at the start of matchweek four.

 

Barcelona v Slavia Prague

15 - Following his goal last time out, Lionel Messi has now scored in 15 consecutive UEFA Champions League seasons he has appeared in (since the start of 2005-06), a feat only matched by Real Madrid icon Raul (between 1995-96 and 2010-11).

33 - Barcelona are on a run of 33 home games without defeat in the competition. That is the longest streak in Champions League history, while they have only lost once in their last 55 outings at Camp Nou.

 

Borussia Dortmund v Inter

3 - Lautaro Martinez will look to become the first player to find the net in three consecutive Champions League appearances for Inter since Samuel Eto'o, who scored in four in a row in 2010

17 - Marco Reus has scored 17 Champions League goals for Borussia Dortmund, making him the club's joint-top scorer alongside former team-mate Robert Lewandowski.

 

Chelsea v Ajax

10 - Willian has created 10 goalscoring chances for his Chelsea team-mates so far in Europe this season. However, he is still yet to provide an assist!

100 - Chelsea have won every Champions League match when they have faced Eredivisie opponents. They overcame Ajax in the reverse fixture last time out, adding to home and away victories over Feyenoord in the 1999-2000 season.

 

Liverpool v Genk

11 - Alisson has kept 11 clean sheets in his Champions League career - six for Liverpool and five for Roma. Only Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen (12) has posted more since the start of the 2017-18 season.

23 - Liverpool have not lost at home in all European competitions since October 2014, a run of 23 games. The last visiting team to celebrate success at Anfield? Real Madrid (3-0).

 

Lyon v Benfica

0 - Benfica have won none of their four away Champions League matches played on French soil (D2 L2). In fact, they have failed to score a single goal so far!

6 - Lyon have drawn each of their last six home Champions League matches – the longest such run in the history of the competition.

 

Napoli v Salzburg

13 - Will Napoli get lucky at home for a 13th time in the Champions League? They have won 12 of their last 18 played out in front of their own fans, including four of the last five since a 4-2 loss to Manchester City in November 2017.

19 - Erling Haaland (19) is aiming to become only the second teenager in the history of Europe's top-tier club tournament to score in four consecutive appearances. Only Kylian Mbappe has previously achieved the feat.

 

Valencia v Lille 

10 - Valencia have conceded at least once in each of their last 10 home Champions League matches. They have been beaten in their last two European home games and will be aiming to avoid losing three in a row at the Mestalla for the first since November 2007.

14 - Including qualifiers, Lille are winless in their last 14 European games (D7 L7). Their last victory was way back in July 2014.

 

Zenit v RB Leipzig

14 - Zenit have won their previous 14 group-stage matches at home in the Europa League and Champions League combined, a run stretching back to November 2014, when they beaten 2-1 by Bayer Leverkusen.

10 - At 32 years and 105 days, Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann will become the youngest coach to reach the milestone of 10 Champions League matches in charge.

A new striker in January is a priority at Manchester United and reports suggest a familiar face could make a sensational return to England.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously said the club will be doing business after Christmas, with a striker still required following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in his previous two matches, while Anthony Martial marked his return from injury with a goal against Norwich City last Sunday, but a surprising name could provide the answer to United's depth issues up top.

 

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE CONTACT WITH IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United have made contact with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in MLS for LA Galaxy in 2019, but they were eliminated from the post-season after a 5-3 defeat to cross-town rivals LAFC in the Western Conference semi-finals last weekend.

Interest in the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain striker has increased since the end of LA Galaxy's season with the Swede still believing he can contribute at the highest level.

The 38-year-old is currently a free agent and scored 29 goals at Old Trafford in a brief spell with the club previously.

ROUND-UP

- One player who may create funds for Manchester United's January business is defender Chris Smalling, but Corriere dello Sport claim the Red Devils want double the €10 million price Roma are expecting to pay for him. 

- AS are reporting Edinson Cavani is weighing up his future at Paris Saint-Germain with Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami keeping tabs on the Uruguayan.

Stefano Sensi is currently on-loan at Inter Milan from Sassuolo, but Sport claim Sensi's agent is in Barcelona as speculation of a move to the Spanish champions grows.

- The Daily Mail claims Wolves will turn to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes in January as they seek reinforcements to cover the injured Willy Boly.

- Chelsea are interested in signing Hertha Berlin winger Javairo Dilrosun when their transfer ban expires, according to Calciomercato.

- L'Equipe say Nantes are among several clubs showing interest in free agent forward Hatem Ben Arfa.

Albert Celades described Valencia's performance at Lille as their weakest in this season's Champions League after a dramatic late equaliser earned the hosts a 1-1 draw.

After Denis Cheryshev's goal put Valencia on course for three points at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Mouctar Diakhaby was sent off for a second bookable offence, leaving the visitors with 10 men in the closing stages of Wednesday's game.

Diakhaby's dismissal gave Lille the boost they needed to find a way back into the match and Jonathan Ikone came off the bench to score a stunning goal in stoppage time.

Valencia head coach Celades slammed his side's display after they missed the opportunity to draw level with Chelsea and Ajax at the top of Group H, telling reporters: "I think that was our weakest performance so far.

"You got the feeling that the team wasn't at ease and that we weren't better in any area than Lille. Lille had a lot of chances. They were dangerous in a lot of situations.

"It's difficult to get out of a group like this, but we knew that each game would count.

"They caused us problems, particularly in the first half. We didn't play enough in their half of the pitch. We passed the ball around a lot, but in our own half. We wanted to play further forward, but it wasn't possible.

"We know we didn't play well, but Lille are a very good team. They have all my respect, but we know we can play better."

Lille counterpart Christophe Galtier admitted his side's hopes of progressing beyond the group stage remain slim after they picked up their first point of the campaign.

Galtier picked out the return fixture against Valencia on November 5 as a must-win for Lille, saying: "When you're in a competition, you want to go as far as you can, even though it's a very tough competition, and my players did everything they could to win. I am frustrated for them.

"I do not know if this match can revive us but it shows that we are progressing. We started from nothing in terms of experience and with experience comes progress.

"There are three games left and it will be necessary to win in Valencia."

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