Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Elneny have again tested positive for coronavirus, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has announced.

Liverpool striker Salah was originally diagnosed with the illness last Friday, and he faced criticism having attended the wedding of his brother earlier in the week.

The agent of Elneny then revealed on Monday that the Arsenal midfielder had also contracted the virus.

Two days on, the EFA confirmed both players still have COVID-19 in their systems.

"Today, Mohamed Salah, the star of the national team and the English club Liverpool, made a new swab to detect the COVID-19 virus, but its result was positive," an EFA statement read.

"And Mohamed Elneny, the star of the national team and Arsenal, also conducted a second swab, which confirmed its positive results."

As such, both Salah and Elneny are major doubts for their respective clubs in the near future.

In the United Kingdom, people who have tested positive for coronavirus are usually required to self-isolate for at least 10 days, and potentially up to a fortnight.

Liverpool and Arsenal are both next in action on Sunday, facing Leicester City and Leeds United, respectively.

Mohamed Salah has been slammed in an extraordinary tirade by former Egypt forward Mido, who criticised the Liverpool star for contracting COVID-19 and called the national team's administration "cowards" for aiding the player's apparent negligence.

It was confirmed last Friday that Salah had been diagnosed with the virus after returning two positive test results.

It subsequently emerged that Salah had attended the wedding of his brother in Cairo earlier in the week, an event that was said to have had hundreds of guests.

While some footage from the wedding showed Salah dancing in a crowd with a facemask on, in others the covering is shown to be only around his neck – like much of the world, Egypt has imposed COVID-19 protocols to curb the spread of the virus, including social distancing measures and the wearing of masks in enclosed public spaces.

It has not been confirmed that Salah contracted the virus at the wedding, but he has attracted widespread condemnation for attending it during a pandemic and so close to Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Togo.

Now Mido, a controversial figure himself during his playing days, has blasted Salah and the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) – including his former team-mate Mohamed Barakat, now national team director – for allowing the situation to arise in the first place.

"I know I may be under attack after my next talk, but it has to be. Mohamed Salah made a big mistake by attending his brother's wedding a few days before the Egyptian national team match," the former Tottenham, Ajax and Roma striker told Al-Nahar TV. "He showed great negligence with the steps taken to prevent coronavirus, and the result was that he was infected.

"The neglect of Mohamed Salah caused the Egyptian team to lose an important player in a very important match and time, and he also risked the health of his team-mates. He should not have been present at his brother's wedding, especially at that time.

"The other point here is the silence of all those responsible for the player's negligence, which confirms the fact that the player is still bigger than the national team and this will lead to a great failure.

"When I missed the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, I was punished by missing the final and being excluded from the national team for six months, even if I played [at club level].

"The final we lost, I was young and I thought I was bigger than the team, but I confirm now that no one is bigger than the team, and if someone thinks this, this will be a great failure.

"Officials in Egypt did not direct any word of blame or reproach to Mohamed Salah and the harm caused by his negligence to the Egyptian team, and I name each of the minister of sports Ashraf Sobhi, chairman of the EFA Amr Al-Ganayni, the coach of the national team Hossam Al-Badri, and the national team director Mohamed Barakat, all are cowards and fear Mohamed Salah fans who love the Liverpool star.

"But here I am speaking without calculations or fear of anyone. No one can say that Salah did not make a mistake by going to his brother's wedding at that difficult time and in light of the coronavirus crisis.

"All the English newspapers speak against us negatively, Salah should have been blamed for what he did, but everyone feels fear."

Salah also looks set to miss Liverpool's Premier League clash with Leicester City.

Mohamed Salah has returned a second positive test for coronavirus, confirming the Liverpool talisman will have to go through a period of isolation.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) revealed on Friday that Salah tested positive for COVID-19, though subsequently added that further tests would take place.

However, there has been no reprieve for the 28-year-old star, who again returned a positive result.

Salah will therefore miss Egypt's upcoming double-header with Togo, while he will be unable to feature for Liverpool in their Premier League clash with Leicester City on November 25.

His availability for the Champions League meeting with Atalanta on November 28 is also in doubt.

"Egyptian national team and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has undergone a second test, and results have confirmed that Salah tested positive for COVID-19," a statement released by the EFA said.

"Salah is keeping a high spirit and is not showing any symptoms of the virus."

The EFA also confirmed they are liaising closely with Liverpool's medical staff.

Salah has been in sensational form for defending champions the Reds this term, netting 10 goals in all competitions and creating more chances than any other player in the Premier League.

It has so far been a costly international break for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who is set to be without Joe Gomez for a significant part of the campaign after the centre-back sustained a knee injury on duty with England, while Trent Alexander-Arnold suffered a calf problem in the 1-1 draw with Manchester City in the Reds' last game.

Gomez underwent successful surgery on Thursday, and on Friday issued a message of thanks for the support he has received.

"The road to recovery has already begun," wrote Gomez in a post on his official social media accounts. 

"I've been here before, I know what it takes and I'll be back stronger than ever. I'm obviously gutted, but this is part of gods [sic] plan and I believe everything happens for a reason.

"I'd like to thank everyone for their well wishes and messages of support. I'm focused on my recovery and supporting my team-mates in every way I can."

Mohamed Salah has enjoyed a fantastic start to the campaign but, after contracting coronavirus, now faces a spell out of the Liverpool side.

Salah returned a positive result ahead of Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations double-header against Togo and will now have to undergo a period of self-isolation.

While it is unclear as to when Salah underwent the test, coronavirus protocols dictate the 28-year-old must isolate for 14 days from that date, meaning he will miss Liverpool's clash with Premier League leaders Leicester City on November 21.

Liverpool have already been without Salah's fellow forward Sadio Mane due to COVID-19 this season, with the Senegal winger sitting out of the 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa.

This absence will be particularly painful given Salah's brilliant start to the campaign, and we take a look at the Opta data behind the Egyptian's flying form.

TOP OF THE CHARTS

Salah's eight goals from as many appearances sees him lead the way in England's top flight, along with Tottenham's Son Heung-min, Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Leicester's Jamie Vardy.

It appears Vardy – whose tally includes five penalties compared to four successful spot-kicks from Salah – will now have the opportunity to nose clear of the Reds superstar when Brendan Rodgers' side roll up to Anfield.

With his penalty against Manchester City before the international break, Salah moved level with Fernando Torres (in 2009-10) and Robbie Fowler (1995-96) for the most goals through eight games of a Premier League campaign for Liverpool.

Though he has no assists to his name this term, Salah has created 21 chances for his team-mates, more than any other Premier League player, while his tally of 34 attempts ranks behind only Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

Salah ranks joint-top for shots on target (15) and shots from inside the area (26) and first outright for touches in the opposition box (85), with his 5.8 expected goals – outperformed by 2.2 – the fourth-highest in the league.

WHAT WILL THE REDS MISS?

Salah will be a big miss, but Jurgen Klopp's side have not lost any of the six league games he has been absent for since he joined from Roma in 2017, winning three and drawing three.

Leicester have also been far from Salah's favourite opponent. He netted three goals across his two league appearances against the Foxes in 2017-18 but has not managed to score in his past four meetings with them.

His absence does come on the back of Joe Gomez sustaining a serious knee injury while on England duty, however, with Liverpool already without star defenders Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has returned a positive test result for coronavirus, the Egypt Football Association (EFA) has announced.

Salah is away with Egypt on international duty but, ahead of two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Togo, the EFA has confirmed they will be without their star man.

The EFA revealed on Friday that Salah, who has scored 10 goals in all competitions so far for Liverpool, had tested positive for COVID-19.

While the 28-year-old is asymptomatic, Salah will have to isolate for 14 days from the date of the test, meaning he will definitely miss the Reds' next Premier League outing, against leaders Leicester City on November 21, while it would appear likely he will be absent for the Champions League clash with Atalanta four days later.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp acknowledged sometimes he must look like "a complete idiot" with his animated behaviour in the technical area during matches.

The German has become famous for his touchline antics both for the current Premier League champions and at previous clubs Borussia Dortmund and Mainz.

Speaking in a new film, The End of the Storm, which charts Liverpool's bid to end their 30-year wait for the league title, Klopp claimed he finds it hard to contain his passion.

He said: "People see me very animated constantly, grinding my teeth and pointing.

"I cannot look overnight like The Thinker [a bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin], standing out there like this and everybody thinks obviously something must be going on in his mind.

"I still have the most red cards, or certainly the most fines, as a manager in the history of the Bundesliga. [My use of] irony doesn't help. Referees cannot really deal with that.

"At specific moments I still look like a complete idiot on the sidelines, I know that."

Klopp's Liverpool team have become known for their aggressive pressing style on the pitch, with his side's players showing boundless energy.

Although the Reds boss, who also described himself in the film as a "control freak", claimed it had more do with their style of play rather superior fitness levels.

"You don't have to be fitter to play for Liverpool," explained the 53-year-old German.

"You just have to be fit and to fit our plan. Our game is not actually as intense as it looks. We do the things we do to save energy.

"Winning the ball back immediately is a two or three-yard sprint. If you don't win the ball there, 10 players have to run 50 or 60 yards to win the ball, it's much more exhausting.

"Even when we are attacking we need to have players who are ready to defend. Because the only time in life when you can feel free is when you have protection."

Klopp also revealed his pride at the cosmopolitan and diverse makeup of Liverpool's squad, citing the welcoming and flexible environment for Muslim players such as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in particular.

He added: "I love that we have so such ‘Multi-Culti’. I would say [having] the best ambassadors for being a Muslim in the team is really great.

"Muslims wash their body very often in specific situations. Before warming up, after warming up, it takes time. So, we decided to do things differently.

“We only had an hour when we arrive in the stadium and when we go back in the dressing room after warming up to do these rituals. It costs us exactly two minutes to do these rituals.

"It’s easy to give these two minutes away that they can do in this moment what is to them absolutely important.”

Another day of Premier League drama finished with Leicester City at the summit, unseating Tottenham while Liverpool were held.

Spurs had required a late winner at West Brom before the Foxes edged past Wolves, setting the stage for another mammoth meeting between Manchester City and the champions.

Sunday's action was not done there, though, as Aston Villa went to Arsenal and won in style.

Read on for the story of the day's play in our Opta-powered data dive.

 

West Brom 0-1 Tottenham: Kane leaves it late but keeps closing on the greats

Tottenham were made to wait at West Brom in the day's early game, but Harry Kane's 150th Premier League goal maintained their perfect away start to the season.

Spurs have now won each of their first four away matches in the league for only the fourth time in their history, 2020-21 joining 1949-50, 1960-61 and 2017-18 in the history books.

This had more in keeping with the scrappy win at Burnley than the big successes over Southampton and Manchester United, but Kane, just as in each of those games, made a telling contribution.

The England captain nodded in two minutes from time and reached 150 goals in his 218th game in the competition, slower only than Alan Shearer (212) and Sergio Aguero (217) in reaching that mark.

 

Leicester City 1-0 Wolves: Vardy takes fast-starting Foxes top

Jamie Vardy scored one of two first-half penalties to send Leicester top and secure their best ever start to a top-flight season with a 1-0 victory over Wolves.

Vardy netted his 23rd Premier League spot-kick – the most of any player since his 2014-15 debut – and the Foxes held on even after their talisman passed up a second opportunity from 12 yards.

The former England striker has plenty of practice from 12 yards, with Leicester now having been awarded eight penalties through eight games. Previously, United in their 16th game last season had been the fastest Premier League team to eight spot-kicks.

 

Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool: Hosts held again despite spot-kick drama at Etihad

Kevin De Bruyne missed the target from 12 yards as City drew 1-1 with Liverpool, their third stalemate in five Premier League matches.

After Mohamed Salah fired Liverpool into the lead from the spot, De Bruyne teed up Gabriel Jesus' equaliser but then dragged his penalty wide, becoming the first Premier League player to direct a spot-kick off target since team-mate Riyad Mahrez's wild blast in October 2018 – also against Liverpool.

It meant another draw for City, who had been held three times in 70 matches before this five-game stretch.

Salah's own penalty – the second conceded by Kyle Walker this season – had given him his eighth goal in eight league games this season, a start to a Premier League campaign in Liverpool colours matched only by Robbie Fowler in 1995-96 and Fernando Torres in 2009-10 (both also eight in eight).

But a sequence of 19 passes at the other end concluded with De Bruyne teeing up Jesus, the first time Liverpool had conceded following such a passage in the Premier League since September 2017 when again De Bruyne found Jesus with the last of 19 balls.

 

Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa: Emirates a happy hunting ground again for Watkins-led Lions

Ollie Watkins' brace led Villa to a stunning 3-0 success at Arsenal in the late game, the visitors' third straight away win at the start of the season.

Villa have started a league campaign with three consecutive wins on the road for the first time in their history after Watkins twice added to Bukayo Saka's own goal.

Only Chelsea in 2005-06 and City in 2015-16 have similarly started with three away wins without conceding, although victory at Emirates Stadium perhaps should not have come as a surprise. It was Villa's fourth in the league, with only Chelsea (five) managing more as a visiting team at Arsenal's modern home.

Jack Grealish teed up Watkins for the third and has now been involved in nine Premier League goals this season (four scored, five assisted), trailing only Tottenham pair Kane (15) and Son Heung-min (10) in that regard.

Arsenal's captain was far less effective. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed the full 90 minutes in a home Premier League match without registering a shot for the first time.

Kevin De Bruyne's missed penalty proved costly for Manchester City as they played out an engrossing 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium. 

Mohamed Salah did convert a 13th-minute spot-kick as the reigning Premier League champions struck the first blow in the heavyweight top-flight tussle, putting them on course to sit top of the table during November's international break. 

City, however, weathered the early storm amid the Manchester downpours before countering impressively through Gabriel Jesus, his sixth goal in his past seven league outings. 

They could have scored again before half-time had the usually reliable De Bruyne not failed to convert from 12 yards out, the Belgian missing the target completely after another penalty was awarded for handball.

The majority of the pre-match focus had been on Jurgen Klopp's team selection, though the German solved the selection poser involving Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino by picking both, seemingly deciding attack to be the best form of defence for his team following previous results in this fixture. 

The bold approach reaped an early reward, albeit one gifted to them by Kyle Walker's ill-timed lunge on Sadio Mane. Salah duly slotted home from the spot for his eighth league goal of the season. 

Aggrieved following a potential foul on Raheem Sterling at the other end prior to the opener, City took their time to get to grips with Liverpool's attacking system.

De Bruyne's ability to find a pocket of space allowed him to set up the equaliser for Jesus, the Brazilian's turn deceiving Trent Alexander-Arnold and allowing him to poke the ball beyond Alisson. 

City had the chance to take the lead before the break. Joe Gomez was punished when a cross struck his outstretched arm, only for De Bruyne to uncharacteristically drag wide.

Jesus spurned a glorious opportunity of his own, heading Joao Cancelo's inviting cross wide, during a second half that saw a more considered approach from both sets of players.

Liverpool faded as an attacking threat as the minutes ticked by, not aided by the loss of Alexander-Arnold to injury, but avoided suffering any late knockout blow, thereby maintaining the five-point gap between themselves and City.

There is one more weekend of Premier League action to go before the final international break of the year and some mouthwatering fixtures lie ahead.

Faltering Everton look to get their season back on track at home to lowly Manchester United on Saturday, while the previous two champions Manchester City and Liverpool do battle on Sunday.

But who can you trust to deliver fantasy points in these mammoth clashes? Use our Opta-powered weekly guide to find out.


HUGO LLORIS

The brilliance of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale has prompted title talk at Tottenham, but keeping goals out is just as important. For that, they – and you – can rely on Lloris.

Of Premier League goalkeepers to have played at least 500 minutes since the start of last season, the Spurs captain has the best save percentage at 75.8.

Lloris ranks second in that time, behind Dean Henderson, for goals prevented. He has conceded just 28 (excluding own goals) from shots worth 40.6 xG, a difference of 12.6.

CONOR COADY

When selecting players for a fantasy team, the first guarantee you might look for is that they will indeed play. There are no concerns in that regard when it comes to Coady.

The Wolves skipper is one of just four outfielders in the Premier League to play every minute of every match since the start of last season.

This helps Coady regularly collect points for clean sheets, too, managing more (17) than any other outfielder over the same stretch.

KURT ZOUMA

Chelsea's vastly improved recent defensive form makes a Blues defender an obvious selection, so why not opt for a man who also does the business at the other end?

Zouma has three Premier League goals already this season, the best return of any defender.

And that makes this already the Frenchman's most prolific campaign in the competition, trumping his two in 2018-19 – although he also weighed in with a pair of assists that season.

MOHAMED SALAH

Sometimes it's worth just going for the obvious option.

Diogo Jota might be Liverpool's man of the moment, but Salah has also netted in each of the Reds' past three games and has proven he can sustain this form over an extended period.

Indeed, since moving to Anfield in 2017, Salah has a competition-high 80 Premier League goals in 115 games, nine clear of next best Harry Kane over the same period.

BRUNO FERNANDES

Consistency is another key component in fantasy football, allowing you to transfer a player in and not have to worry about moving him out again the following week.

In this regard, Fernandes is surely king. The Manchester United midfielder has been involved in 12 goals (scored eight, assisted four) in his nine away games so far in the Premier League.

In only one of those nine matches – the 2-0 win at Crystal Palace in July – has Fernandes failed to register either a goal or an assist.

TIMO WERNER

Interest in Werner might have dimmed after he failed to record a goal or assist in his first four Premier League games, but the Chelsea man is now showing he was worth sticking with.

Werner has three goals and an assist over his past three games, suddenly finding his feet in England.

After netting a brace from the spot in Chelsea's midweek Champions League game, the German also looks to now be the Blues' penalty taker, ensuring more fantasy points.

CALLUM WILSON

Reliable Southampton scorer Danny Ings might be out injured, but Friday's opponents Newcastle United have another man steadily supplying the goals.

Wilson struggled as Bournemouth were relegated last season but has already proven invaluable to the Magpies and a host of fantasy managers.

With six strikes in seven league games this term, the forward has netted more than he managed in his final 30 Bournemouth matches (five), while his goals have been worth six points to Newcastle.

Mohamed Salah moved level with Steven Gerrard as Liverpool's top goalscorer in European Cup and Champions League history on Tuesday.

Salah netted a stunning breakaway goal early in the second half against Atalanta as the Reds tore the Serie A side apart.

That strike, a composed left-footed finish at the end of a rapid burst forward, was the Liverpool number 11's 21st in the Champions League proper for the club.

Salah therefore tied Gerrard's all-time benchmark.

Salah, who reached the 2018 final in his first season at Anfield and won the competition the following year, swiftly teed up a fourth Liverpool goal for Sadio Mane.

Diogo Jota had scored twice before the break and completed his hat-trick – his first in Liverpool colours – as Jurgen Klopp's side moved 5-0 up after just 54 minutes.

Squads are being stretched, injuries are piling up and managers are moaning, but there is no let up as the Champions League group stage rolls around for a third straight week.

There were hard-fought wins, thrilling draws and a few teams on the end of thrashings on matchday two.

Real Madrid's European form continues to cause concern after they followed their loss to Shakhtar Donetsk with a draw at Borussia Monchengladbach; Inter, who are also yet to win, are next up on Tuesday.

Holders Bayern Munich are away to Salzburg, Liverpool head to Atalanta, and Manchester City host Olympiacos with all three clubs aiming to maintain 100 per cent starts.

Salzburg v Bayern Munich: Bavarians brilliant on the road

The defending champions have maximum points from the first two games of their Group A campaign and the omens are good for them as they go to Austria next, with Die Roten unbeaten in 14 away matches in the competition – two shy of the record set by Manchester United between 2007 and 2010.

Whatever the outcome, there is a strong possibility this contest will be a thriller. Since the start of last season, Bayern (58) and Salzburg (38) are among the top three teams in terms of the number of goals their Champions League matches have seen.

Salzburg's Dominik Szoboszlai has found the net in each of his past two appearances in the competition and could become the first Hungarian player to find the net in three consecutive Champions League matches.

Real Madrid v Inter: Zidane keen to avoid unwanted record

Madrid are winless in their past four Champions League matches (D1 L3), which is their worst run in the competition since September 2006 when they went five without a victory. Zinedine Zidane made his last appearance in the competition as a player during that run, and will be out to avoid equalling that record as coach.

Inter have lost eight of their previous 10 Champions League away games in Spain (W1 D1). Although in the history of Europe's premier club competition, only against Lyon (30 per cent) do Madrid have a lower win percentage than they do against Inter (33 per cent, three wins in nine games) among teams they have faced at least five times.

Arturo Vidal could be a lucky charm for the Nerazzurri as he bids to become the first player to score against Madrid in the Champions League for three different clubs, having previously done so during his time at Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Atalanta v Liverpool: Klopp eyes first Italian away success

Jurgen Klopp has lost all five of his away Champions League matches in Italy, losing to Napoli three times plus defeats to Juventus and Roma during his managerial career with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund. Only former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson (6) has lost more away Champions League games on Italian soil than Klopp.

The Reds will have to keep an eye on Atalanta's Duvan Zapata, who has been directly involved in six goals in five starts in the competition for the club (four goals and two assists), in the first competitive meeting between the two clubs.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota will attempt to follow his Premier League goalscoring feats in the Champions League. Jota can become only the second player to score in his first two starts in the competition for the Reds, following Robbie Keane back in 2008.

Manchester City v Olympiacos: Torres can match Mbappe and Haaland

City are unbeaten in their past 13 games in the group stage of the Champions League (W10 D3), winning five of the six games at the Etihad Stadium in this run (D1).

Pep Guardiola won has his two previous Champions League matches against Olympiacos, winning 3-0 away and 4-0 at home as Bayern Munich boss in the 2015-16 group stage.

City winger Ferran Torres is looking to become the third-youngest player in competition's history to score in four consecutive appearances (20 years, 248 days), behind only Kylian Mbappe (18 years, 120 days) and Erling Haaland (19 years, 107 days).

Other fixtures:

Lokomotiv Moscow v Atletico Madrid

5 - Should Atletico win they will have beaten Lokomotiv more often than any other side in major European competition, having defeated them four times already.

3Joao Felix scored in both Champions League matches against Lokomotiv last season - no Atleti player has ever scored in three consecutive games against an opponent in the competition.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Monchengladbach

7 - Shakhtar’s two Champions League starting line-ups this season have featured seven players aged 21 or younger – they could become the first team to do so three times in the competition.

9 - The last nine German teams to visit Ukraine in the Champions League have all failed to win (D6 L3). Bayern's victory over Dynamo Kiev in December 1994 is the most recent.

Midtjylland v Ajax

14 - Ajax will be without Dusan Tadic in Denmark. Since making his debut in the competition for Ajax in September 2018, he has been directly involved in more goals than any other player for the club with 14 (seven goals and seven assists).

14 - The number is also the total shots the Danish side have had on goal in this season's competition; they have the highest expected goals total (2.08) of any of the three teams yet to score.

Porto v Marseille

12 - A defeat in this match for Marseille would see them become only the third team in history to lose 12 consecutive matches in Europe's premier club competition, after Anderlecht (12 between 2003 and 2005) and Jeunesse Esch (16 between 1973 and 1987).

5 - Porto have won five of their past six home games in the Champions League, with their only defeat in this run coming in April 2019 against Liverpool; the team who went on to win the competition that season.

The Premier League appeared to revert back to the norm this weekend as five of the big six claimed victories and Liverpool climbed to the top of the table for the first time this season.

In doing so, the Reds became the first English top-flight club to top the division having conceded the outright highest number of goals of any side since Norwich City in November 1992.

Erstwhile pacesetters Everton and Aston Villa both lost for the second game running, to Newcastle United and Southampton respectively, while Manchester United's poor start to the domestic campaign continued with defeat to Arsenal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are stuck on seven points after six matches, making this their worst start to the season since David Moyes' brief spell in charge in 2the 13-14 season, when they went on to finish seventh.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at some of the more unusual stats to have emerged over the weekend.


BALE'S LONG WAIT

After a slow start to life back at Tottenham following his loan switch from Real Madrid, Gareth Bale showed what he is capable of with his headed goal against Brighton and Albion.

The Wales international scored what proved to be the winner exactly 200 seconds after being brought off the bench by Jose Mourinho, coming seven years and 166 days after his previous goal for the club in May 2013.

That gap of 2,724 days is not the longest between Premier League goals, though, with Matt Jackson holding claim to that particular honour.

Jackson went an incredible 4,935 days between his last goal for Everton in May 1993 and first in the league for Wigan Athletic 13 years later.

Also high up on the list is Leeds United forward Rodrigo, who netted against Manchester City last month, some 3,559 days after scoring for Bolton Wanderers against Wigan.

 

SALAH CONTINUES PENALTY STREAK

Mohamed Salah's penalty may have been a controversial one in Liverpool's win over West Ham, but there was never any doubt about the outcome of where the spot-kick would end up.

That is the 13th penalty in a row the Egypt international has buried for Liverpool during a run of 18 successful spot-kicks on the spin in all competitions for the Reds.

Sixteen of those have come in the Premier League, though the reigning champions still have some way to go to match the all-time record of 29 scored in a row by Southampton - a run spanning some 17 years.

As for the worst such streak, Leicester City failed to score from six in a row between August 1994 and September 1996.

 

UNITED SLOW OFF THE MARK... AGAIN

Sunday's 1-0 loss to Arsenal leaves United with only two wins from their opening six matches and languishing in the lower reaches of the division.

Solskjaer pointed out after the game it took his side 10 games to reach three wins last season when going on to finish a respectable third, behind Liverpool and Manchester City.

That was also the case in 2014-15 when recovering to finish in a Champions League spot.

At the other end of the spectrum, United have won eight of their first 10 matches on three occasions - in 1993-94, 2006-07 and 2012-13, finishing as champions each time.

 

ZIYECH UP AND RUNNING

Hakim Ziyech scored on his full debut for Chelsea in the Champions League win over Krasnodar and did likewise on his first Premier League start in Saturday's routine 3-0 win over Burnley.

The Morocco international also set up Timo Werner to become the first player to both score and assist on his full debut in the competition since Ruben Neves in August 2018.

He is the third African player to ever do so, along with Salah and Dame N'Doye, who it is fair to say have had contrasting careers in England's top flight.

Salah has since scored 82 goals and assisted 29 in 128 Premier League appearances, compared to six and one respectively for N'Doye during spells with Hull City and Sunderland.

Ziyech has a long way to go to match Salah's return but he has certainly made a bright start to his career with the London club.

 

INGS-CREDIBLE FROM RANGE

Danny Ings continued his fine form in front of goal with another sublime long-range strike to put Southampton four goals up in their 4-3 win against Aston Villa - the Villans falling just short of producing a remarkable comeback.

The England international, who later hobbled off with a knee injury that does not appear to be too serious, has now bagged 27 goals since the start of last season in the Premier League.

Only Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (29) has scored more during that time, while no player has scored more from outside the box - Ings' five goals putting him level with James Maddison and Kevin De Bruyne.

Jurgen Klopp has made a staunch defence of Mohamed Salah following accusations of diving against West Ham, claiming the Egyptian sustained a noticeable knock to the foot in the incident.

Liverpool fell behind to Pablo Fornals' goal at Anfield on Saturday, but the Premier League champions fought back to claim a 2-1 win.

Salah got the equaliser from the spot, with Arthur Masuaku penalised for fouling him, although the Liverpool star has been criticised for making the most of supposedly minimal contact with the top of his foot.

But Klopp insists Salah is being treated unfairly, claiming he is suffering from three blows to his foot, one of which was from Masuaku's challenge.

When asked ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Atalanta if the scrutiny of Salah is fair, Klopp said: "No – I don't know what people need. What can I say? It was a foul I think for pretty much everyone who saw the situation.

"Believe it or not, yesterday morning I spoke to Mo about how he feels and he has exactly three proper knocks on the foot, and one is from the penalty situation.

"That's how it is, there's a knock, you go down or not, whatever, sometimes the ref whistles it. We don't talk that long about penalties we don't get, yet here we are two days after the game talking about it.

"There was clear contact, so no, I don't understand the criticism."

Diogo Jota got the winner off the bench against the Hammers, making it three goalscoring appearances in a row across all competitions for the Portugal international, a recent arrival from Wolves.

There have been calls from some quarters for Jota to replace the misfiring Roberto Firmino in the Liverpool starting XI, and although Klopp would not be drawn on that debate, he dismissed the notion that the 23-year-old's start to life with the Reds has been surprising.

"He's good, our players should be when they join," Klopp added. "He's the best age, 23, already experienced, played a lot of Premier League football. He's a good boy and a really good signing, that's the situation.

"We never hold players back in beginning, it's just that they usually need time to adapt but we knew before that it wouldn't take took long because way Wolves play. They play a different system, but the intensity level is always incredibly high.

"Only one player who has to defend slightly less, [Raul] Jimenez, then the boys on the wings they have to run like crazy, so it was clear physically he'll be fine and technically we saw he's good.

"The rest is about finding your feet in a new environment and the boys always make it easy, and Diogo a really good guy, his English is brilliant, so it's easy to step into the squad.

"It's good that we have more than 11 players who look like they are in good shape at the moment."

Liverpool head into the Atalanta clash having won both of their first two matches, though Klopp has lost all five of his away Champions League games in Italy.

Additionally, Atalanta have only failed to score in one of their past 19 games in European competition excluding qualifiers, scoring 40 goals in that period.

Diogo Jota came off the bench to score a late winner as Liverpool rallied from a goal down to beat West Ham 2-1 at Anfield. 

The Portuguese linked up brilliantly with fellow substitute Xherdan Shaqiri five minutes from time to ensure the champions denied their in-form opponents a share of the points. 

Liverpool were forced to come from behind after Pablo Fornals' well-taken early goal, which was cancelled out by Mohamed Salah's penalty moments before the break. 

The turnaround helped Jurgen Klopp's men prevail as they extended their unbeaten league run at Anfield to 63 games, equalling a club record streak set between February 1978 and December 1980.

As they would have expected, Liverpool started the game by taking complete control of possession, probing a penned-in West Ham defence. 

But after holding firm throughout their early examination, the visitors showed that they only needed one chance to get on the scoresheet, Fornals latching onto a poor Joe Gomez clearance and steering the ball in off a post. 

Indeed, the Hammers were the best side for large parts of the first half, finding their way deep into opposition territory with worrying regularity from the hosts' perspective. 

Still, they could not entirely manage the Liverpool threat and, with a half-time lead seemingly in the bag, conspired to give away a penalty as Arthur Masuaku clumsily clipped Salah, who converted from the spot. 

Despite that setback, the Hammers' first-half performance meant they had every reason to come out for the second period brimming with confidence, and they wasted little time in underlining their ambition after the restart as Masuaku's cross was almost poked home by Fornals. 

With Liverpool still struggling to find their cutting edge by the 70th minute, Klopp looked to the bench, introducing Shaqiri and Jota. 

And the Reds manager thought that move had paid off handsomely when the latter turned the ball home after Sadio Mane had been denied from close range. 

However, a VAR check showed the Senegalese to have fouled goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in following the ball in, prompting referee Kevin Friend to chalk the goal off after checking replays. 

Jota would simply have to wait a little longer for his big moment, though, with an inch-perfect Shaqiri ball setting him up to thrash the ball home at the Kop end with five minutes remaining.

Life comes at you fast. So, too, does the Champions League this season, as a rearranged fixture list sees three matchdays in the group stage take place in as many weeks. 

The opening round of fixtures did not disappoint, providing plenty of goals and also the odd surprise. 

Perhaps the most shocking result of all was Real Madrid losing at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, and both clubs are back in action on Tuesday. 

Bayern Munich are also on duty as they head to Moscow, while Midtjylland will be hoping they can pull off the mother of all upsets when they visit Merseyside to play Liverpool. 

 

Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayern: Holders head on their travels

The reigning champions opened their defence in style last week, thrashing Atletico Madrid 4-0 at the Allianz Arena. Now they face Lokomotiv in Europe for the first time since a UEFA Cup tie in the 1995-96 season. 

Bayern will be aiming to extend a club-record run of 13 away games without defeat, their last loss on the road coming against Paris Saint-Germain in September 2017. They have won 10 on their travels since, while have only lost once in 14 Champions League meetings with Russian teams. 

Robert Lewandowski scored nine away goals in the Champions League last term, the joint-most by a player in a single edition of the competition alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-14. 

Shakhtar v Inter: Lukaku the one to watch for hosts

Shakhtar arguably pulled off the result of matchday one with victory in Madrid, though they have never managed to beat Inter in three previous meetings (D1 L2). This, though, will be the first Champions League fixture between the clubs. They have also failed to register a home win in their last six attempts in the competition, stretching back to a 2-1 triumph over Roma in February 2018.

The key to success for the hosts will surely be stopping Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian is on the longest run of scoring in consecutive European appearances for Inter (nine games), while he has been directly involved in 15 goals during that period (11 goals and four assists).

Lukaku has scored in each of his last three Champions League games for the Nerazurri; he could become just the fifth player to score in four in a row for the Italian side, a feat previously achieved by Christian Vieri, Hernan Crespo, Samuel Eto'o and Lautaro Martinez.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Real Madrid: Benzema may be key for Zidane

Can Zinedine Zidane's squad bounce back? A Clasico triumph over rivals Barcelona has helped silence the critics - for now at least.

Madrid are unbeaten in their last nine matches against German teams (W6 D3), a run that started after a 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in April 2016. They have won four of their last five away fixtures in the group stages, too.

Karim Benzema, who did not start against Shakhtar, has been directly involved in 19 goals in his last 21 Champions League games when named in the XI, netting 14 goals and providing five assists.

Liverpool v Midtjylland: Salah chases record as Danes visit Anfield

Jurgen Klopp's Reds play their first European home game since a 3-2 reverse to Atletico in March that ended their hopes of reaching a third successive final. That is their only setback in the last 26 European fixtures at Anfield.

There is hope for the Danish side in that Liverpool have failed to keep a clean sheet in their previous four home Champions League fixtures, though the makeshift pairing of Joe Gomez and Fabinho did keep Ajax at bay in Amsterdam in matchday one. Yes, the same Ajax who won 13-0 at the weekend.

As for the hosts, Mohamed Salah is two goals away from equalling Steven Gerrard's club record of 21 in the European Cup/Champions League.

 

Other fixtures:

Marseille v Manchester City:

8 - City games usually provide goals; both teams have scored in each of their last eight Champions League fixtures. They are on their longest wait for a clean sheet in the competition since between February 2015 and 2016 (nine matches).

32 - Dimitri Payet is still looking for his first goal in the competition. He has attempted 32 shots without scoring (21 for Lille and 11 for Marseille).

Atalanta v Ajax:

9 - Ajax are unbeaten in their last nine away games in the Champions League (W6 D3), winning six of their last seven. Only in two of their 15 previous Champions League campaigns have the Dutch side started with two consecutive defeats (2004-05 and 2012-13).

10 - Only Barcelona (11) had more shots on target during the opening round of fixtures this season than Atalanta's tally of 10 in the 4-0 thrashing of Midtjylland.

Porto v Olympiacos:

6 - These clubs have previously faced each other on six occasions in all European competitions, with Porto winning twice. Both of those victories came at home (D1 L3).

12 - Olympiacos have lost 12 of their last 14 away games in the Champions League (W2), losing the last seven in a row and shipping at least two goals in each of those defeats (21 in total).

Atletico Madrid v Salzburg:

1 - Dominik Szoboszlai could become the youngest Hungarian player to score in consecutive Champions League games (aged 20 years and two days), having found the net in Salzburg's 2-2 draw with Lokomotiv.

8 - Atletico are unbeaten in all eight of their previous meetings with Austrian teams in European competition (W7 D1). Having lost their last two European fixtures, they will be looking to avoid suffering three consecutive defeats for the first time in Champions League history.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.