Manchester City secured a last-16 spot in the Champions League but failed to turn their complete dominance into more than a 1-0 win over Olympiacos.

Eager to put Saturday's 2-0 Premier League loss to Tottenham behind them, Pep Guardiola's side controlled proceedings in Wednesday's Group C clash in Athens.

But they had only one goal to show for it as Phil Foden, who wowed for England during the international break, swept the visitors into a first-half lead that never came under threat from the toothless hosts.

Guardiola, who signed a new contract last week, saw his side frustrated by a combination of profligate finishing and fine goalkeeping from Jose Sa.

City, who scored nine goals across their opening three group games, were quickly on the front foot and Foden stung the palms of Sa with a low drive, with the goalkeeper also gathering a Gabriel Jesus header.

Jesus came far closer to breaking the deadlock on the half-hour mark, racing in behind before seeing his shot blocked away by the defiant Sa.

The opener finally arrived in the 36th minute, Foden converting from Raheem Sterling's back-heeled assist after City's slick play had Olympiacos chasing shadows.

Sterling had the busy Sa scrambling across his line to repel a dipping free-kick in first-half stoppage time, with City denied again after the interval as Ilkay Gundogan's effort flashed wide and Joao Cancelo's flick was saved.

Olympiacos were simply not able to apply any pressure – their first shot did not arrive until the 88th minute – leaving City to coast to a win that was brightened further by the late introduction of Sergio Aguero from the bench after an injury lay-off.

 

What does it mean? City's welcome top-flight distraction

The loss at Spurs left City with just 12 points from eight matches and in the unfamiliar territory of the Premier League's bottom half.

This result was a tonic to those domestic woes and it affords Guardiola the chance to make some changes for the remaining two group games, knowing safe passage to the knockout phase is assured.

For Olympiacos, while second spot is still up for grabs, a third-place finish and a berth in the Europa League might be a more likely prospect.

Foden shines bright

Foden scored twice for his country in an eye-catching display against Iceland in which he also showcased some dazzling skills.

He was lively in Greece too, keeping his cool to score what proved to be the winner with one of his six shots, while also creating four chances.

Sa under siege

City had 11 shots on target, seven coming during a first half in which the hosts failed to even register a touch in City's penalty area, so Sa was indeed a busy man.

He was an excellent last line of defence but his all-action outing stood in stark contrast to the anonymous performance of the Olympiacos attack.

Konstantinos Fortounis had just 53 touches and not one of them was a shot on target.

What's next?

City host Burnley this weekend before a trip to Porto next Tuesday, while for Olympiacos it is a top-of-the-table clash at Aris before heading to Marseille on the European stage.

Neither Inter nor Real Madrid have room for error as they face one another in the Champions League on Wednesday.

A mammoth meeting at San Siro could set one of the two European giants on course for an early exit, with both sides currently outside the qualification places.

Champions Bayern Munich are also in action, as are Liverpool, who host Atalanta after a thumping win in Italy last time out.

Atletico Madrid had a big win at the weekend as Manchester City suffered a disappointing defeat, but both now likewise turn their attention to continental competition.

We preview all of these games plus the rest of Wednesday's action with the help of Opta data.
 

Inter v Real Madrid: Los Blancos seeking breakthrough success

At risk of going winless through their opening four games of a Champions League campaign for the first time, Inter at least have a strong record at home to Real Madrid. Los Blancos have won three of their past four games against Inter but never away from home.

Madrid have enjoyed taking on Serie A sides in recent years, though. They have seven wins from eight such games under Zinedine Zidane, scoring at least twice in each victory, while their sole defeat in this period - 3-1 against Juventus in 2017-18 - was still enough to secure progress en route to the title.

Zidane's side - missing captain Sergio Ramos - must handle Romelu Lukaku, who has been involved in 15 goals (11 scored, four assisted) in the Europa League and Champions League across the past two seasons. Excluding qualifiers, only Robert Lewandowski (22 involvements) has outperformed the Inter forward.

Bayern Munich v Salzburg: Goals galore guaranteed?

Robert Lewandowski will climb to joint-third on the list of all-time Champions League goalscorers the next time he finds the net, increasing his tally of 70 to match Madrid great Raul's 71.

The Bayern number nine might well fancy his chances against Salzburg, who have conceded a joint-high 11 goals in the competition this season. Their games have produced 17 goals - more than any other team's.

Salzburg certainly face a tough ask, having lost all of their previous five Champions League meetings with reigning champions - including the 6-2 defeat at home to Bayern on matchday three when they conceded six goals for the first time in a European match while the German giants claimed a 14th straight win.

Liverpool v Atalanta: Goal-hungry visitors out for revenge

Another fixture that would appear primed for plenty of goalmouth action sees Atalanta visit Liverpool, having suffered two of their three heaviest defeats in European competition - 5-1 v City last season, 5-0 v Liverpool last time out - against Premier League sides.

Atalanta failed to score on matchday three but had netted in their previous 10 in the Champions League, while they have won their past three away games, scoring at least three times in each, since the City reverse.

Liverpool are looking for four consecutive victories in the Champions League for the first time since March 2009 and can call again on Diogo Jota, who netted a hat-trick in Bergamo and would become the fastest Reds player to five goals in the competition if he scored again in his fourth match.

Olympiacos v Manchester City: Torres, De Bruyne and defence on top form

City are struggling in the Premier League but have quickly found their feet in Europe this season. The same is true of Ferran Torres, who will aim to become the third City player to score in four consecutive Champions League matches after Raheem Sterling (November 2017) and Sergio Aguero (March 2019).

Torres' goal in the previous meeting with Olympiacos was assisted by Kevin De Bruyne, who already has four assists in the Champions League this term - his best ever tally.

Crucially, Pep Guardiola's defenders are also delivering on the European stage and they can win three in a row without conceding in major continental competition for the first time since the 1969-70 Cup Winners' Cup.

 

Other fixtures:

Borussia Monchengladbach v Shakhtar Donetsk

29 - Heading into matchday four, Gladbach had the highest shot conversion rate of any team in the Champions League this season (29 per cent - 10 goals from 35 shots).

6 - With three goals and three assists, Alassane Plea has been involved in six of his side's 10 goals - the joint-highest tally in a player's first three appearances in the competition since 2003-04 (also Adriano for Inter in 2004 and Erling Haaland for Salzburg in 2019).

Ajax v Midtjylland

1 - Ajax have only won one of their past eight home games in the Champions League (D2 L5), losing each of their most recent three without scoring a goal.

26 - Excluding qualifiers, Midtjylland last kept a clean sheet in European competition back in September 2015 (1-0 v Legia Warszawa), conceding 26 goals in 10 games since then.

Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow

10 - Atleti are unbeaten in their past 10 games against Russian opponents in European competition (W8 D2), with their last such defeat coming back in February 2013 (2-0 v Rubin Kazan in the Europa League).

7 - Atleti have conceded seven goals in three Champions League matches so far this season - more than they have in any other group stage in a single season under Diego Simeone.

Marseille v Porto

8 - Marseille are looking to avoid becoming the eighth team to lose each of their first four group games while failing to score in a single Champions League campaign, with Anderlecht in 2017-18 the last to do so.

0 - OM have had fewer shots on target than any other side in the Champions League this season (four), as well as being the only side yet to score in the competition this term.

Pep Guardiola was expecting Manchester City to start the new campaign on top form but insists "the season is still so young" as his team instead toil in the bottom half of the Premier League.

City are in Champions League action against Olympiacos on Wednesday, looking to advance to the last 16 with a fourth straight victory.

As well as delivering another result on the European stage, though, Guardiola recognises the match is important to "recover our feelings" after another painful outing in the Premier League.

City went down 2-0 at early leaders Tottenham on Saturday and now lie 13th in the table, already eight points off the pace with a game in hand to play.

A return of 12 points from eight games is City's worst start to a league season since 2008-09 (10 points), while their failings in attack are particularly concerning, netting just 10 times - a low since scoring six times in eight matches in 2006-07.

Guardiola is confident his side will turn their fortunes around, though, explaining: "I had a feeling we would do really well this season. I don't know why [we haven't].

"From the beginning, I expected a reaction after how we finished the last season against Lyon in Portugal. I have a good feeling.

"We know what we have to do. We are a team who last season scored a lot and now we are struggling.

"I have to find a solution, to find the right way to attack more fluently and have the feeling that we can score goals. But in the way we play, I'm quite good, quite happy.

"There are little details still we have to improve, conceding penalties that are unnecessary, sometimes we miss clear chances we have to score.

"But the moment will break. In one or two games, this kind of thing will get better. The season is still so young and I'm fully optimistic we're going to do a good season."

Guardiola is also willing to stay patient with record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, who watched on from the bench at Spurs as City had 22 shots without finding the net.

Aguero suffered a knee injury in June and has played just 110 minutes in the league so far this season, attempting a single shot that failed to hit the target.

"We want him to come back," Guardiola said. "Today he trained again. That he can recover a good feeling in his knee is the most important thing.

"I know it is not easy [being] injured but we wait for him and it's a step at a time.

"We still have many, many games this season to play and we will need him. We want him to recover and be back in the best condition."

In the meantime, new signing Ferran Torres has taken on a striking role, still waiting on his first Premier League goal but scoring three times in three matches in the Champions League.

Another goal against Olympiacos would make him just the third City player - after Aguero and Raheem Sterling - to net in four straight games in the competition.

Torres said of his responsibility to the team: "Obviously we have had a few injuries of our strikers in the squad.

"But I think we are scoring goals as a team - probably not as many as we would like but we are also facing difficult opponents as well, so it's difficult.

"We are working hard as a team to sort that out and I am confident that the goals will arrive.

"Playing as a striker is not my natural position but I feel very comfortable playing there. I am also scoring goals so it is good.

"When you work hard and make sacrifices for the team, you get your rewards, so I am trying to work hard to keep scoring goals."

Manchester City are reportedly making plans to sign Lionel Messi next year.

Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave Barcelona during the close season, but ended up staying with the LaLiga giants.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner is out of contract at the end of the season and City continue to eye the star forward.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY CONTINUE TO MAKE MESSI PLANS

Manchester City are making plans to sign Barcelona captain Messi, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The report says the Premier League giants are trying to attract Messi with the idea of playing in England before finishing his career with fellow City Football Group (CFG) club New York City in MLS.

Messi has been linked with the likes of City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter previously.

He has six goals in 10 games this season, including three in seven in LaLiga.

Messi's dribbles success rate (56.3) in LaLiga is his lowest since 2015-16, while he is creating just two chances per 90 minutes, his lowest number since 2012-13.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports City manager Pep Guardiola is closer to agreeing to a contract extension, with his deal up at the conclusion of the current campaign.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona's pursuit of City defender Eric Garcia is seemingly continuing. Sport reports Barca will attempt to sign Garcia again in January, but City still want €15million (£13.5m) for the defender despite his contract expiring at the end of the campaign.

- Also out of contract at the end of the season is Bayern Munich defender David Alaba. Tuttosport says Juventus are considering a move for the Austria international, who has been linked with several European heavyweights.

- Sidelined with a serious knee injury, Ansu Fati's future could be clearer soon. Marca says talks between Barcelona and Fati are on track, even with the 18-year-old forward contracted until 2022.

- Liverpool continue to be linked with defenders after serious injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez. The Daily Star says the Premier League champions may make a move for Olympiacos and Portugal defender Ruben Semedo in January, although it could cost them £18million (€20.1m).

- After just three Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season, Marcos Alonso again being linked with a move. The Daily Mail reports Crystal Palace are looking at the left-back.

Pep Guardiola was delighted to see Gabriel Jesus make a goalscoring return in Manchester City's win over Olympiacos.

Jesus came off the bench for his first appearance since September, scoring in the 3-0 Champions League victory on Tuesday.

The Brazil forward has been directly involved in nine goals (six goals and three assists) in his past seven appearances in the Champions League.

Guardiola, whose side host champions Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, was happy to have the 23-year-old back.

"It was important of course. The fact that Gabriel is back is so important for us and good news, especially for the striker to score a goal, a brilliant goal that he scored," the City manager told a news conference.

"There were good things, I'm delighted with most parts of the game and happy that Gabriel is back."

While City top Group C with nine points from three games, they are 10th in the Premier League ahead of a blockbuster clash with Liverpool.

But with City now unbeaten in eight games in all competitions, Guardiola said he was pleased with where his team were at.

"It is what it is. It's well. I'm delighted to face [Liverpool] with the situation that we have. We struggled in the beginning, the people know it," he said.

"But we move forward, we dropped some points, especially with West Ham we didn't expect it. The rest maybe we deserved it. But it's still just six or seven games in the Premier League. We have a lot of games to play.

"We have one game left [before international break] so now is time to enjoy tonight. I want to think about the game today, tonight, nine points and tomorrow is recovery. And in the layover we are going to prepare the training sessions for two days before Liverpool."

John Stones had an "almost perfect" performance as he made his first start for Manchester City in over a month, according to Pep Guardiola.

Stones partnered Nathan Ake in the centre of defence as City beat Olympiacos 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium to make it three wins from three Champions League group games this season.

Guardiola's men restricted the Greek champions to a solitary shot on target on a night when goals from Ferran Torres, Gabriel Jesus and Joao Cancelo helped City earn a comfortable three points, and Stone's display on his full return to the side delighted his coach.

"Last season we did not have enough players for competitions when we had a nightmare with injuries," Guardiola told BT Sport.

"It was really good, especially Nathan for the beginning and from John. He's back at his level with an incredible performance – almost perfect – and it is not easy when you are a long time without playing.

"I am so delighted for his mentality, he played really good."

Guardiola also welcomed the return of Jesus, who made only his second City appearance of the season when he came on as a second-half substitute.

The 23-year-old Brazil international scored within 12 minutes of his introduction to double City's lead – an intervention Guardiola picked out as the key moment of the game.

"[We were] exceptional first half, unfortunately we could not finish with more goals because we played really well," said Guardiola.

"In the second half we struggled for some moments but when we scored the second one the game was over. We struggled a bit to find the second goal but finally with an incredible goal from Gabriel and then from Joao, we finished the game.

"In general it's good news for him and for us that Gabriel is back. It was a real solid performance, especially in the first half, and the reason why we struggled a little bit is because we could not score the second one."

Looking ahead to his side's clash with Premier League champions Liverpool at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, Guardiola added: "Now it's good, we have finally four or five days to recover well and prepare for Liverpool and the international break, and focus on the Premier League."

Ferran Torres became the third-youngest player in Champions League history to score in four consecutive appearances as he helped Manchester City to a third straight win in this season's competition, a 3-0 success over Olympiacos.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are the only players to have netted in four games in a row at a younger age than 20-year-old Spain international Torres, who scored in the 12th minute, adding to his strikes against Porto and Marseille for City this term and against Atalanta for Valencia last season.

City went into this game unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions and could have been out of sight by the time the Greek champions began to put them under pressure in the second half.

But substitutes Gabriel Jesus and Joao Cancelo scored late on to clinch a result that extends City's group stage streak to 14 games without defeat, and manager Pep Guardiola will be pleased with their form as he aims to take City beyond the quarter-finals for the first time in his reign.

Torres met a City corner with a sublime backheeled shot that flew narrowly wide after six minutes.

City's recent signing went one better six minutes later, playing a one-two with Kevin De Bruyne before sliding a low shot through the legs of goalkeeper Jose Sa to put the hosts in front.

Guardiola's men continued to create the better chances and Raheem Sterling put the ball in the net, only to have his close-range effort ruled out for offside.

A poor pass by Phil Foden afforded Mathieu Valbuena a shot at goal early in the second half but he fired narrowly wide under pressure from John Stones.

Youssef El-Arabi tested Ederson with a shot from just inside the box as City found themselves pinned back again, and Jose Holebas later blazed wide.

But De Bruyne played in Jesus nine minutes from time and the Brazilian lashed the ball home from an acute angle, before Cancelo's carefully placed shot found the bottom corner from just outside the box to wrap up the win.
 

What does it mean? Torres filling Aguero's boots

With Sergio Aguero injured, Torres has staked his claim playing as a centre-forward, with three goals in three Champions League appearances for City.

De Bruyne the creator

Only Kylian Mbappe (15) has made more assists than De Bruyne (14) in the Champions League since the start of the 2017-18 season and the Belgium international fed City's forwards from the first whistle here.

Toothless Olympiacos toil again

Olympiacos have just one goal to show for their efforts in three Champions League games this season and wasteful finishing ensured they scored from none of their six shots on goal here.

What's next?

City face Premier League champions Liverpool at home on Sunday, while Olympiacos are away against struggling OFI in the Greek Super League 1 on the same day.

Gabriel Jesus is closing in on a return ahead of Manchester City's Champions League clash with Olympiacos but Pep Guardiola may have to do without Sergio Aguero against Liverpool.

Jesus has been out since suffering a knock in City's first game of the season at Wolves in September, but is back in training.

Guardiola has not ruled out of the prospect of the 23-year-old Brazil striker making his comeback against Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The City boss said in a press conference on Monday: "It’s too early to know. We will see today, last session. He [Jesus] is better and did one session with the team, a regeneration.

"We are happy he is back. But happy with Ferran [Torres] playing there [in a more advanced role], too."

Aguero is on the mend but may not be fit in time for the blockbuster Premier League clash with reigning champions Liverpool on Sunday.

The Argentina international sustained a hamstring injury in City's draw at West Ham last month, ruling the club's all-time leading goalscorer out of victories over Marseille and Sheffield United.

Guardiola acknowledges the visit of Jurgen Klopp's side on Sunday may also come too soon for the 32-year-old striker.

"We don’t want to make a step back, he's getting better," he said.

"It was so hard to believe when he felt something in the last game when he played against West Ham but he's getting better."

He added: "I don't know about Liverpool, after the international break, [he] will be ready."

Pep Guardiola claimed this season's Champions League will be more difficult than ever for Manchester City to win.

City are in their 10th consecutive season in the competition and have never got further than a semi-final appearance in 2015-16 when Manuel Pellegrini was charge.

Guardiola, who twice won the Champions League as Barcelona head coach, was appointed City manager with a remit to bring European silverware to the club.

Under the Catalan they have consistently reached the knockout phase, but have never progressed beyond the quarter-final stage.

And ahead of their Group C clash with Olympiacos on Tuesday, Guardiola acknowledged the quest to become European champions seems to become more of a challenge with each passing season.

"It’s tough, really tough. There’s many examples to prove what I’m saying," Guardiola told a media conference on Monday.

"There are more games with managers better prepared, more games where they know what they have to do. Teams are better.

"There is more money everywhere not just a few clubs, a lot of clubs have the possibility to spend and buy players, and there are important managers.

"It’s difficult. Last season, Atalanta, look what happened, semi-finals of the Champions League, and the Italian league was incredible.

"Shakhtar Donetsk, look what happened and now in Real Madrid and a draw against Inter. It ridiculous, this didn’t exist before. It doesn’t matter where you go.

"It's hard to qualify [for the knockout stage], every time we qualify I say to players 'congratulations, enjoy that moment' but it’s the first success of the season, to qualify for the next round."

Holders Bayern Munich begin their Champions League defence with the visit of Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, in a game that will pit Robert Lewandowski against Luis Suarez.

Liverpool, winners in 2019, travel to Ajax, and Real Madrid host Shakhtar Donetsk, with two of the competition's most successful clubs hoping to avoid some worrying runs of defeats.

Antonio Conte's Inter tackle Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City host Porto, a team who boast a rather unfortunate record when it comes to games on English soil.

Here is some of the key Opta data from day two of matchday one.

Ajax v Liverpool: Can Firmino stop the rot?

This will be Liverpool's first meeting with Ajax since the 1966-67 European Cup, when the Dutch side prevailed 7-3 on aggregate in the last 16.

Liverpool's campaign last season ended at the same stage with back-to-back losses to Atletico Madrid. Should they lose in Amsterdam, it will be the first time since Brendan Rodgers was in charge in October to November 2014 that they have suffered three consecutive Champions League defeats.

Perhaps Roberto Firmino is the man to help them. He has been directly involved in 26 goals (15 scored, 11 assisted) in 33 Champions League matches; since his debut in 2017-18, the only other player with 10 or more goals and assists in that time is Kylian Mbappe (13 goals, 13 assists).

 

Bayern Munich v Atletico Madrid: Lewandowski has history in his sights

Bayern were the first team in history to win every game en route to lifting the trophy last season, and their 11-game winning run is already the longest ever in the competition.

Should Robert Lewandowski score, he will become the first player to do so in 10 Champions League group games in a row. He currently shares the record of nine with Cristiano Ronaldo, who did so from 2012 to 2014.

Atletico have only won twice in their previous 10 group games away from home, but Luis Suarez could give them the boost they need – he has scored five goals in his last five starts in the competition, as many as he managed in his previous 31 starts combined.

 

Real Madrid v Shakhtar Donetsk: Zidane puts 100 per cent record on the line

Real Madrid have been in the Champions League group stage 28 times and have never failed to reach the next round. Leeds United, who did so twice, are the only other team to feature in more than one group stage and boast a 100 per cent record.

That said, Madrid lost their final two games last season – both legs of the last-16 tie with Manchester City – and losing to Shakhtar Donetsk would put them on a three-match losing streak in the Champions League or European Cup for the first time since September 1986.

With captain Sergio Ramos injured, Zinedine Zidane will have concerns about his defence. At least the forward line is in capable hands: Karim Benzema has managed four goals and two assists across six consecutive home games in the competition, and Shakhtar have failed to keep a clean sheet in 22 Champions League matches in a row.

Manchester City v Porto: More English misery?

Porto have played 20 away games against English sides in Europe and have failed to win any. In fact, they have lost 17 of those games and have not scored in the previous seven. They do at least go into this contest off a run of just two defeats in 16 Champions League group-stage matches.

City have a pretty strong recent record in the group stage, having gone unbeaten in 11 games since a surprise 2-1 loss to Lyon in September 2018. They also have Raheem Sterling in sharp form: the forward has scored 20 goals in the competition since his debut for City in September 2015, a tally only Harry Kane can match among English players in that time.

 

Other fixtures:

Inter v Borussia Monchengladbach:

9 – Romelu Lukaku has scored nine goals in 11 appearances in European competition for Inter. Since the start of last season, only Robert Lewandowski (15) and Erling Haaland (10) have netted more across the Champions League and Europa League.

8 – Strike partner Lautaro Martinez has scored five in six Champions League starts and eight in 14 in Europe overall for the Nerazzurri.

 

Salzburg v Lokomotiv Moscow:

10 – Since September 2018, Lokomotiv Moscow have lost 10 Champions League games, more than any other club in that time.

16 – Salzburg scored 16 group-stage goals last season but finished third in their group. The only other team to score that many and get knocked out were Chelsea in 2012-13.

 

Midtjylland v Atalanta:

16 – Atalanta have scored at least once in 16 of their previous 17 European games, including nine in three matches in last season's knockouts. Josip Ilicic has nine goals in 13 European appearances for the club.

18 – Midtjylland conceded 18 goals in eight matches in the 2015-16 Europa League, their previous involvement in Europe. No team conceded more that season.

 

Olympiacos v Marseille:

3 – This will be Andre Villas-Boas' first Champions League game since March 2016. He has lost his most recent three matches in the competition.

41 – Steve Mandanda has made 41 appearances in the competition, the most for any Marseille player in history. The goalkeeper accounts for 37 per cent of the total games played by current Marseille players in this tournament.

Former Bayern Munich defender Rafinha has returned to Europe with Olympiacos after a brief stint with Flamengo.

Rafinha, 34, joined Flamengo in June 2019 and enjoyed a trophy-laden spell that included the Campeonato Brasileiro and Copa Libertadores last year.

But, following coach Jorge Jesus' decision to move back over the Atlantic Ocean to re-join Benfica, Rafinha has also opted to return to Europe, where he had previously spent 14 years of his career.

The former Brazil international spent five seasons with Schalke from 2005, before a solitary campaign in Italy at Genoa.

He then joined Bayern in 2011 and was there until completing his move to Flamengo last year.

Liverpool have confirmed the signing of defender Konstantinos Tsimikas on a long-term deal.

A Greece international who plays at left-back, Tsimikas joins the Premier League champions from Olympiacos for a reported fee of £11.7million (€13m).

The arrival of the 24-year-old provides an additional option to Andy Robertson, covering an area of need in Jurgen Klopp's squad ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Liverpool had also been linked with Norwich City's Jamal Lewis, though reports suggested they were unable to come close to agreeing a fee for the Northern Ireland international.

"I'm very happy, I'm very proud to be here. For me, [it's] the biggest club in the world," Tsimikas told Liverpool's official website. "It's an honour to be here and I will give my best."

"The league here, I like a lot. I watch it on the TV and it was always one dream I had from when I was a kid to come to play in this league and to come through.

"With a lot of work and focus on what I do and what the coach wants, and every day working hard in training, I can be on the highest level.

"[I want] to achieve [our] goals. To win the league again and also to win the Champions League."

Tsimikas played in both legs as Olympiacos knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League, though their run in the competition was ended by Wolves in the following round.

His addition provides competition at a position Robertson has made his own. The Scotland international played in 36 league games in the title-winning campaign, with Klopp also using midfielder James Milner in the role.

Could Paulo Dybala swap Italy for Spain?

The Juventus attacker was close to leaving Juventus for either Manchester United or Tottenham prior to the 2019-20 season, while Paris Saint-Germain were also linked.

Now, Real Madrid are reportedly targeting the 26-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – KROOS OUT, DYBALA IN?

Real Madrid are set to offer Toni Kroos or Isco as part of a deal to bring Juventus star Paulo Dybala to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to SportMediaset.

LaLiga champions Madrid are eyeing a move for Dybala, who has been in negotiations with Serie A titleholders Juve over a new contract amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Juve are unwilling to part with the Argentina international – who enjoyed a fine Serie A campaign prior to Maurizio Sarri's sacking as he looks ahead to life under Andrea Pirlo.

ROUND-UP

- Kicker claims Jadon Sancho has told Borussia Dortmund he is happy to stay at the club if a blockbuster transfer to Manchester United fails to materialise. The England international has been heavily tipped to join United, with personal terms reportedly agreed.

Barcelona want to sign Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, reports The Telegraph. The LaLiga giants are eyeing a cash-plus-player deal to try to prise the Portugal international to Camp Nou.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are poised to sign Olympiacos left-back Kostas Tsimikas, according to widespread reports. Having failed to strike a deal with Norwich City for Jamal Lewis, Liverpool are close to prising Tsimikas from the Greek powerhouse. Meanwhile, The Sun says Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are targeting a shock £35million swoop for Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks.

- The front page of Monday's edition of Marca says Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane must sell before he is able to sign players ahead of the 2020-21 season. Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are two players unwanted in the Spanish capital as Madrid continue to be linked with the likes of PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe, Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

- AS Diario reports Villarreal are on the verge of signing Valencia pair Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin. Valencia captain Parejo and team-mate Coquelin have been told they are free to leave Mestalla.

Napoli have joined the race to sign Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon claims Sky Sport Italia. On loan at Sevilla, Reguilon has been linked to Chelsea and Everton.

- According to Calciomercato, Inter are interested in Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. However, salary demands may prove problematic amid talk of a swap deal involving Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

Raul Jimenez's 27th goal of the season earned Wolves a 1-0 Europa League victory over Olympiacos and a 2-1 aggregate success that booked their quarter-final place.

The Greek side had knocked Arsenal out of the competition on their previous visit to England, but another Premier League scalp proved beyond them thanks to Jimenez's early penalty.

Mady Camara thought he had levelled in the first half but a goal that would have forced extra time was ruled out by VAR as Youssef El-Arabi was adjudged offside in the build-up.

Wolves led just eight minutes in when goalkeeper Bobby Allain barged Daniel Podence to the floor, with Jimenez converting the spot-kick for his 37th goal involvement of the campaign - the joint-most with Kevin De Bruyne this term among Premier League players.

Olympiacos thought they had levelled in the 28th minute through Camara's effort, which deflected in off Willy Boly, but, after a lengthy delay, El-Arabi was found to have just strayed offside prior to delivering the cross.

An audacious 25-yard rabona attempt from Jimenez then went over the top, while Podence was denied by Allain in the second half.

Substitute Diogo Jota wasted a golden chance to wrap up the tie when he squandered a one-on-one chance and Wolves were indebted to Rui Patricio's brilliant point-blank save from Ahmed Hassan with nine minutes to go.

Nuno Espirito Santo's team will face Sevilla in the last eight in Germany next week.

Five months after the Champions League and Europa League were halted, the continent's creme de la creme are ready to finish what they started.

Atletico Madrid's dramatic extra-time win at Anfield seems an age ago, as does Manchester United's 5-0 thrashing of LASK, with those results two of the final matches to occur before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the season.

Now, with those domestic leagues and cup competitions that did return having finished, the focus is solely on Europe's elite.

The Europa League resumes on Wednesday, with the Champions League coming back on Friday - both competitions reaching a conclusion this month with mini tournaments taking place in different countries.

Here, we detail the who, what, why, where and when.

 

PREVIOUSLY ON... THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AND EUROPA LEAGUE

Both the Europa League and the Champions League are at the last-16 stage, but while all 16 teams remain in the Europa League, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Tottenham are all out of Europe's premier club competition.

Their conquerors - Atletico, Paris Saint-Germain, Atalanta and RB Leipzig - all won across two legs prior to pause being pressed on the campaign.

Only six of the eight first legs in the Europa League happened, with four away teams - United, Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel claiming advantages, while Istanbul Basaksehir beat Copenhagen 1-0 in Turkey and Wolves drew 1-1 at Olympiacos.

With Spain and Italy being two of the countries initially hardest hit by the pandemic, Sevilla's tie with Roma and Inter's fixture against Getafe could not begin. 

 

SO HOW WILL THIS ROUND CONCLUDE?

Let's deal with the Champions League first.

PSG and Atalanta can put their feet up knowing their quarter-final begins on August 12, the day before Leipzig face Atletico Madrid.

Four last-16 ties remain and the quartet of home teams in the second leg - Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich - will respectively host Real Madrid, Lyon, Napoli and Chelsea in their own stadiums without fans present.

That is also the case in the Europa League, though Sevilla's clash with Roma, and Inter's encounter with Getafe will now be one-off fixtures at neutral venues in Germany.

 

AND FROM THE QUARTER-FINALS ONWARDS?

Due to the need to get this thing wrapped up quickly before the 2020-21 season begins, both the Champions League and Europa League have done away with two-legged affairs for the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Instead every last-eight and last-four match will be decided across 90 minutes - or 120 minutes, or a penalty shoot-out should they be required.

And with the pandemic still a very real threat, the two competitions will be concluded in one city to minimise travel and reduce the risk of spreading COVID within the squads.

Benfica's Estadio da Luz will be the venue for the Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and final between August 12 and 23, while those comparative stages in the Europa League, taking place between August 10 and 21, will be staged in Cologne.

 

WILL ALL THE PLAYERS STILL BE INVOLVED?

This stage of the football calendar is typically transfer time and even a global pandemic could not stop that.

So Leipzig's Timo Werner, who scored four times for the Bundesliga club in their run to the last eight, is now on Chelsea's books while winger Leroy Sane has swapped Manchester City for Bayern Munich. Neither man will be able to play for either their new team or their old.

Those like Achraf Hakimi, a recent Inter signing from Dortmund, will also be reduced to a watching brief.

It is a different case for Hakimi's new team-mate Alexis Sanchez, who has been included in Antonio Conte's squad for the latter stages after terms were reached on a loan extension with Manchester United - though a new arrangement will need to be made for him to be available from the quarter-finals onwards.

Sanchez's parent club were not willing to let Roma have loanee Chris Smalling any longer, though, the English centre-back having bade farewell to the Eternal City on Tuesday ahead of his return to United, for whom he cannot feature either given his prior involvement with the Giallorossi.

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.