Paul Pogba may be about to experience a case of deja vu as he drifts towards the Manchester United exit door.

When the mercurial midfielder waved goodbye to Old Trafford in 2012, the Frenchman headed to the bright lights of Turin to make his name at Juventus.

Fast forward eight years and it seems the 27-year-old Pogba is edging closer towards retracing his own footsteps in an attempt to relaunch his career.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS 'OPEN TALKS' WITH POGBA'S AGENT

Manchester United star Paul Pogba is a "top target" for Juventus in 2021, according to journalist Carlo Garganese.

Serie A champions Juve have already began talks with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola, and a deal could be done as soon as January.

Raiola claimed Pogba's United career was over in an interview with Italian outlet Tuttosport last week, prompting links to Juve, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

If an agreement cannot be reached in January, the player United paid £89million for four years ago could be set for a Serie A return in the off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- United will have to wait until the end of the season to bring in any new recruits, according to the Manchester Evening News. But reports from Todo Fichajes in Spain suggest the Red Devils are set to reignite their interest in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez as a potential Pogba replacement. United are said to be preparing a £63m (€70m) offer for the Spaniard.

- With Liverpool and midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum still yet to come to agreement on the terms of a new contract, Le10Sport reports that the Reds are lining up Lille's former Bayern Munich and Swansea man Renato Sanches to come in and fill the Dutchman's shoes.

- Liverpool are shopping for centre-back reinforcements after losing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long-term injuries. Barcelona seemed primed to sign Manchester City fringe player Eric Garcia but Spanish outlet Diario AS says Liverpool are ready to swoop for the summer free agent.

- Arsenal are eying a move for Porto midfielder Fabio Viera, who has a £27m (€29.9m) release fee in his contract, according to Record. Meanwhile, Defensa Central are reporting that Gunners manager Mikel Arteta has put Lyon's Houssem Aouar and Madrid's Isco on his January wish list.

- One of Europe's brightest young prospects, Hungarian attacker Dominik Szoboszlai, will complete his move from Salzburg to RB Leipzig after a medical on Thursday, Fabrizio Romano reports. Arsenal, Madrid and Bayern Munich had shown interest in the 20-year-old.

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain will do battle in a repeat of their memorable Champions League last-16 tie from three years ago, while holders Bayern Munich were drawn against Lazio in Nyon on Monday.

LaLiga giants Barca became the first team in the competition's history to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit when they famously defeated PSG 6-1 in the return tie at the same stage in the 2016-17 season.

Neymar scored twice and assisted Sergi Roberto's last-gasp winner on that occasion but his status to face his former club with PSG may be in doubt after the Brazil superstar sustained a serious-looking ankle injury in Sunday's 1-0 loss at Lyon.

Barca also defeated PSG in the quarter-finals en route to treble glory in 2014-15 and in the last eight in the 2012-13 campaign.

PSG were runners-up in a competition delayed by the coronavirus pandemic last term, and their conquerors Bayern were paired against Serie A side Lazio.

While Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Porto have already secured their place in the Champions League knockout stages, some big names are in danger of a shock elimination.

After making history by leading Real Madrid to three straight Champions League titles during his first stint as head coach, Zinedine Zidane is on the verge of another first that could well place his future at the club in serious jeopardy.

Inter are also fighting for their future in the competition, as are Atletico Madrid and semi-finalists from the past two campaigns Ajax and Atalanta.

Ahead of what is sure to be a thrilling finale to the group stage, we take a look at the best stats courtesy of Opta.

 

Midtjylland v Liverpool: A first in reach for Reds

Jurgen Klopp's men are already guaranteed to finish top of Group D but victory over bottom side Midtjylland will see them register five wins in a single Champions League group stage for the first time.

Their form on matchday six in the competition is strong too. They have triumphed in each of their past three final group stage matches by an aggregate score of 10-0.

Taking three points would see the Reds become just the third Premier League side, after Chelsea in 2003-04 and Manchester United in 2010-11, to win all three of their away games in the group stage.

Should Caoimhin Kelleher be given another opportunity between the posts, he could become the first Liverpool goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in their first two Champions League starts.

Salzburg v Atletico Madrid: Shoot-out for progression

Atletico will be looking to avoid just a second exit at this stage in their eighth campaign in the competition under Diego Simeone.

They will need to be wary of Salzburg forward Mergim Berisha, who has scored four goals in as many Champions League starts for the club this season – only Erling Haaland (eight in 2019-20) has scored more for the Austrian side in a single campaign in Europe's premier club competition.

Enock Mwepu will be another threat for the visitors, having attempted six shots and created four chances in Salzburg's 3-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscow last time out.

Ahead of matchday six, only two players had been directly involved in more shots in a Champions League game this season – Lionel Messi and Munir El Haddad played a part in 11 against Ferencvaros and Krasnodar respectively.

Real Madrid v Borussia Monchengladbach: Blancos on the brink

A win will see Zidane's struggling Madrid into the knockout rounds and avoid the ignominy of suffering their first Champions League group stage exit after 28 consecutive progressions.

The drop-off this season can be seen in the fact their defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk last time out was Madrid's fourth in their past seven matches in the competition – they only lost five of their first 39 Champions League games under Zidane (W25 D9).

Goals should be expected at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, with the previous five meetings between the teams seeing 20 goals scored with 10 apiece.

Gladbach just need to avoid defeat to advance and some game time for Alassane Plea would likely help them achieve that; he has been directly involved in eight goals (five scored, three assisted) in his five Champions League appearances at an average of one every 45 minutes.

Inter v Shakhtar Donetsk: Conte's San Siro woe

Failure to win against high-flying Shakhtar at San Siro will see Inter bow out at the group stage for a third consecutive season. Before this run, they had advanced from 11 of their 12 pool appearances (including the second group stage) in the competition.

Shakhtar may have beaten Madrid twice but they have a goal difference of minus seven; the only teams to have advanced with such a record after five games are Galatasaray in 2013-14 and Atalanta in 2019-20.

Inter will therefore be hoping Romelu Lukaku can help get them over the line. The Belgium striker has played a role in 17 goals in his 15 European matches for the Nerazzurri, including scoring a double in a 5-0 success over the Ukrainian side in last season's Europa League semi-final.

A strong performance from Lukaku would go a significant way to ensuring Antonio Conte does not become the first Inter coach to oversee a Champions League group stage campaign without a home win.

Other fixtures:

Ajax v Atalanta

2 - Ajax are unbeaten in their last seven games against Italian opponents in the Champions League, but five of these have ended in draws. They must win to reach the last 16.

4 - Atalanta went winless at home in the Champions League group stage this season (D2 L1), yet will qualify for the knockout rounds if they avoid defeat here. It will be just the fourth time a team has picked up as little as two points at home in a group stage and still qualified for the next round, after Roma in 2002-03 and Milan in both 2009-10 and 2012-13.

Bayern Munich v Lokomotiv Moscow

13 - Bayern drew 1-1 against Atletico in their most recent Champions League outing – the first time they failed to win in the competition under Hansi Flick after he oversaw 12 straight victories.

1 - Lokomotiv have drawn both of their away games in the Champions League this season and have never previously gone unbeaten away from home in a single season in the competition.

Manchester City v Marseille

16 – If City beat Marseille they will have accrued 16 points in the Champions League group stage this season, the joint-most of any English side in a single campaign along with Arsenal in 2005-06 (finalists), Manchester United in 2007-08 (winners), and Tottenham in 2017-18 (last 16).

8 - Marseille have lost each of their past seven away games in the Champions League and another defeat here would see them record their worst ever losing run on the road in the competition.

Olympiacos v Porto

100 - Olympiacos have won all three of their home Champions League matches against Porto, in three successive seasons between 1997 and 1999 – it is their best 100 per cent record on their own patch against any side in the competition.

4 - Porto have kept a clean sheet in four consecutive Champions League matches since conceding three goals away to Manchester City in October – the last side to record five or more consecutive shutouts in the competition was Juventus in 2016-17. Manchester City are also on a run of four.

Pep Guardiola lavished praise on Phil Foden's performance in Manchester City's 0-0 Champions League draw at Porto.

City were frustrated by their dogged hosts at Estadio do Dragao, with Gabriel Jesus having a goal ruled out for a VAR offside against Joao Cancelo 10 minutes from time.

Nevertheless, the stalemate saw the Premier League side secure top spot in Group C with a game to spare.

Foden has started four successive Champions League matches, although the England midfielder has been a substitute for City's past five domestic outings.

Speaking to BT Sport, Guardiola seemed to acknowledge the growing clamour for the 20-year-old to become a permanent fixture in his first XI, irrespective of the opponents or competition.

"What a player, what a player," he said when asked about Foden's display.

"His intensity and he always creates things. He was so good, I'm delighted with his performance."

Foden made two key passes and his four completed crosses accounted for half of City's total as they chipped away at a resolute Porto backline.

He won six out of eight duels and drew three fouls – more than any other City player during a combative contest – although none of his team-mates lost possession more often than Foden (23 times).

After the 5-0 weekend win over Burnley, Guardiola told his players they would be making a "mistake" if they felt their absence from his line-ups was solely down to rotation.

However, he told a post-match news conference that he was keen for a number of his squad to find their "rhythm" after being in and out of the side.

"I think a few players need rhythm, like Bernardo [Silva], Oleks [Zinchenko], Fernandinho and Joao," he said.

"I wanted to give them minutes for the rhythm. I have to know that I can trust the players. Now it is time to focus on the Premier League."

Guardiola added: "We played with huge personality, with courage. It's not easy with eight [defensive] players in the box. They are so strong with the full-backs, they are so fast.

"Even with that, we created enough chances to win. This is the most important thing."

City's 18 shots were the most they have ever had in a game Champions League without finding the net.

Fernandinho believes Gabriel Jesus' pace and passion can give Manchester City's attack the cutting edge they have lacked this season.

Jesus came off the bench during the second half of City's 0-0 draw at Porto on Tuesday, a result that sealed top spot in Champions League Group C.

It was a frustrating outing in front of goal for Pep Guardiola's side, something that has become familiar during a stuttering start that sees them lying 11th in a compressed Premier League table, and City's 18 attempts were their most without scoring in a Champions League match.

Jesus looked to have ended their frustration 10 minutes from time, beating inspired Porto goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin at the second attempt before a VAR review showed Joao Cancelo was offside before delivering the cross to set him up.

The Brazil striker has three goals from seven appearances in an injury-interrupted campaign and his compatriot Fernandinho believes Jesus gives another dimension to a City forward line that is still without Sergio Aguero after his latest knee setback.

"A striker always should be alert in the box and he showed his quality," the veteran midfielder told BT Sport.

"Unfortunately, it was offside but I'm glad for him. He changed the game with his passion and his pace

"It was a good point for us and we’re glad to finish top of the group."

Fernandinho made his first start since suffering an injury during the initial encounter with Porto in Manchester six weeks ago.

He was in the thick of a frequently combative affair - contesting 10 duels, making three interceptions and committing five fouls, while also winning a pair of free-kicks.

"It's important to get one point away from home. Especially against a tough team like they are," the 35-year-old said.

"They fought the whole game to get the point and go through as well.

"I think we tried to win the game since the beginning. We tried to play our game since the first minute."

Porto joined Manchester City in the Champions League knockout stages after a 0-0 draw where Gabriel Jesus was denied a winning goal by VAR. 

Pep Guardiola's side were already through to the last-16 and will now progress as group winners, although they will be frustrated to have lost their 100 per cent record in this season's competition having dominated for long periods at Estadio do Dragao. 

Jesus scored on the rebound when Agustin Marchesin tipped his 80th-minute header onto the crossbar, although replays showed Joao Cancelo was fractionally offside before delivering his cross to the Brazil striker. 

Marseille's win over Olympiacos rendered this match to be academic, with the other two teams in Group C on three points apiece. 

City penned Porto into their own half for most of the opening exchanges, while each side had penalty claims ignored by referee Bjorn Kuipers - first when Malang Sarr slid in on Raheem Sterling before Ederson robustly met fellow Brazilian Otavio in his area. 

Ederson palmed Diogo Leite's 22nd-minute header out of his goalmouth, sparking a rapid break where opposite number Agustin Marchesin thwarted Ferran Torres. 

Sarr made a vital clearance over his own crossbar when Sterling scampered in behind the Porto defence, with the England winger's shot from the resulting corner cleared off the line by Zaidu Sanusi. 

Phil Foden's sumptuous 58th-minute throughball found Sterling, although Marchesin was equal to the task and Torres' footing deserted him when the rebound fell his way. 

In a remarkable 70th-minute sequence, a stretching Ruben Dias inadvertently hooked a Sterling attempt out of the Porto goalmouth, with Marchesin equal to Torres' overhead kick follow-up. 

The home goalkeeper made another brilliant save from Dias' centre-back partner Eric Garcia, earning his VAR reprieve by the time he was finally beaten by Jesus.

Matchday five of the Champions League could mean qualification for the last 16 for some - and spell trouble for others.

Bayern Munich and Manchester City are already through, but their respective opponents, Atletico Madrid and Porto, could do with positive results.

Real Madrid recorded a valuable win at Inter last time out but must do better against Shakhtar Donetsk than they did on matchday one, while the Nerazzurri themselves know nothing but a victory at Borussia Monchengladbach will do.

Liverpool need just a point at home to Ajax to progress, but with injury problems mounting and a 2-0 home loss to Atalanta last week, their progress no longer looks to be such plain sailing.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Real Madrid: Zidane's men aim to qualify against goal-shy opponents

Shakhtar's 3-2 win at Madrid was a serious shock, one that became more apparent as they lost their latest two games by four or more goals without scoring. Only Malmo and Red Star Belgrade have ever done so in three consecutive matches.

Indeed, Shakhtar have failed to score with each of their 23 shots since netting their third in the Spanish capital.

Madrid know a victory will guarantee their place in the knockouts for the 24th season in a row, a competition record. Their form might be inconsistent, but they have lost only one of their previous seven away games against Ukrainian opponents – a 2-0 defeat to Dynamo Kiev – since March 1999.

 

Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich: Holders could match club record – but without Lewandowski

Bayern Munich will match a club-record seven away wins in a row in the Champions League with victory at Atletico Madrid. They have won their previous six by an aggregate score of 27-7.

Diego Simeone has lost three of his five meetings with Bayern in this competition, but Atleti have only been beaten once at home in Europe in their previous 24 games.

Robert Lewandowski needs just one goal to surpass Raul in the all-time goalscoring list in the tournament, having reached 71 against Salzburg. However, with the striker missing this contest, Atleti may fancy their chances of beating Bayern at home for the third time in a row.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Inter: Can Conte fix his Champions League woes?

Since losing the first meeting in 1971, Borussia Monchengladbach have gone four games unbeaten against Inter.

This season marks the first occasion Inter have ever failed to win any of their opening four Champions League matches, and they are at risk of losing three in a row in the group stage for the first time.

Indeed, Antonio Conte has won only 20 per cent of his Champions League games in charge of the Nerazzurri, the lowest ratio of any of his predecessors over at least five games in the competition. Fail to win in Germany, and Inter are out.

 

Porto v Manchester City: Imperious defence meets clinical attack

Porto have lost three games in a row against Manchester City 9-2 on aggregate and are winless in five previous meetings with English opponents.

Pep Guardiola's side have already kept three clean sheets this term, one more than they managed in nine Champions League matches in 2019-20.

Porto, however, have scored with 25.8 per cent of their shots this season, a tally only bettered by Gladbach (28.6 per cent).

Liverpool v Ajax: Mane must find magic touch

Ajax and Liverpool have not met at Anfield since 1966-67, when the Eredivisie side won the tie 7-3 on aggregate. That was the last occasion the Reds lost to a Dutch side (they have played 14 such games since).

Ajax are unbeaten in 11 away games in the Champions League, their best run since March 1997, and they have not lost in their latest five visits to England in this competition.

Liverpool, who need a point to progress, could do with Sadio Mane finding form. The forward has scored only once at home in his previous 10 appearances in this tournament, going 426 minutes without finding the net in that run.

 

Other fixtures:

Lokomotiv Moscow v Salzburg

20 – Of the 20 shots attempted between these sides in their matchday-one meeting – which ended in a 2-2 draw - 15 of them were by Salzburg. Indeed, Lokomotiv Moscow scored twice from just three shots on target in the game.

50 – Since the start of last season, Salzburg's 10 games in the Champions League group stages have seen 50 goals scored (23 for, 27 against), the most of any club. Salzburg have won just two of those 10 games (D2 L6).

 

Atalanta v Midtjylland

3 – Midtjylland have lost all three of their previous games against Italian opponents in European competition, conceding 13 goals and scoring just one in reply.

1 – Atalanta have only failed to score in one of their last 12 games in the Champions League (25 goals in total), although this did come in their most recent home game in the competition, losing by five goals to Liverpool.

 

Marseille v Olympiacos

13 – Marseille have lost their last 13 Champions League matches – a competition record – scoring just six goals and conceding 29.

10 – The Ligue 1 side (six) and Olympiacos (eight) are the only two teams in the Champions League in 2020-21 yet to attempt at least 10 shots on target, with the Greek team managing just one across their previous two matches against Man City.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hit back at Sergio Conceicao after the Porto coach's claims he pressured referees.

Conceicao accused Guardiola of pressuring referees during Porto's 3-1 Champions League loss to City in October.

Ahead of the return Group C meeting on Tuesday, Guardiola denied the claims.

"I'm not in agreement. He can say, maybe it's his opinion, but I'm not agreeing that we pressure the referees," he told a news conference.

"It's not the way that we in the history speak for ourselves. We are not the type of team to do this, honestly. I would admit it. So one thing is an action that you don't agree [with], you can make any comment, one specific action. But it's not a part of who we are, honestly.

"In the five years we are here together and the people in Germany and Spain know completely that it speaks for itself, our behaviour.

"I'm not agreeing. It's not true."

City have already secured their place in the last 16, while Porto sit second on nine points, three behind and six clear of Olympiacos.

Guardiola expects a difficult encounter, although City have won their previous three meetings with Porto by an aggregate score of 9-2.

However, City are playing an away game at Porto in European competition for just the second time and first since February 2012, when they recorded a 2-1 win in the Europa League.

"It will be tough, we know it. It’s the Champions League away. Top teams in Portugal have to win every weekend," Guardiola said.

"When you have that mentality in all departments in the club, not just the players, it makes them so dangerous. That’s why we expect a difficult a game.

"We did when they came here and it was. Tomorrow will be too."

Pep Guardiola revealed Sergio Aguero did not train on Monday and will miss Manchester City's Champions League trip to Porto.

City's talisman has been beset by injury problems this season but returned from a hamstring issue in last week's 1-0 Group C win at Olympiacos.

However, the Argentina forward appears to have suffered a minor setback, although Guardiola was not too alarmed.

"I'm not concerned," he said ahead of Tuesday's game. "He didn't train, he has a little bit of disturbance in his knee.

"He didn't train but I'm not concerned."

The 32-year-old has scored 17 goals in his last 20 starts in the Champions League, but City will not be able to call on him in Portugal.

Guardiola's side, who won the reverse fixture 3-1 after Aguero opened the scoring, need only a point to secure top spot in the group.

Aguero's absence has coincided with a relative dearth of goals for City this season, with only 15 scored in nine Premier League games.

However, they have sharpened up in defence on the continental stage, with their tally of three clean sheets so far in this campaign more than in the whole of last season's.

John Stones has played his part in that and the England centre-back has come in for praise after an upturn in form.

Guardiola wants to see more of the same from a player who has been guilty of some high-profile errors during his time at the Etihad Stadium.

"After five years together we know each other incredibly well," said the City boss.

"We know he's got incredible skills. It depends on him to maintain this level. He struggled last season, he needs continuity to be fit, training, be ready.

"We are delighted, especially for him. He's a special guy, so sensitive. All of the backroom staff are so happy for him."

Porto, who are winless in five Champions League games against English teams, have lost their past three meetings with City by an aggregate score of 9-2, conceding at least two goals in each game.

But the hosts do boast a strong record at Estadio do Dragao, having won six of their past seven home matches in the competition.

Andre Villas-Boas says he and other Porto fans would be "very proud" if Hulk returns to the club.

The Brazilian forward has been tipped to return to Estadio do Dragao in 2021 after suggesting in a social media post that he will not be renewing his contract with Shanghai SIPG.

Hulk won 11 trophies with Porto, including four league titles and the 2010-11 Europa League, before moving to Zenit in 2012 for a reported fee of €60million.

He moved to the Chinese Super League four years later and has won the domestic league title and FA Super Cup.

Hulk played under Villas-Boas at Porto, Zenit and Shanghai SIPG, and the current Marseille head coach admits it would be something to celebrate if the 34-year-old returned to Portugal.

"I worked with him at three different clubs," he said. "I just want Hulk to choose freely.

"If he chooses Porto and Porto want it, it will probably be the last club of his career, and it will be something that makes us, Porto fans, very proud."

Villas-Boas' Marseille face Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday knowing a victory is required if they are to keep alive their chances of reaching the last 16.

The Ligue 1 side are bottom of Group C after losing their opening three games to Manchester City, Olympiacos and Porto, while they are the only team in this season's competition yet to score a goal.

They have managed just four shots on target in the 2020-21 group stage, the fewest of any team, while they have created only 12 chances, the lowest number alongside Shakhtar Donetsk.

Porto won the previous match 3-0 at home, but head coach Sergio Conceicao remains wary of underestimating their opponents.

"There are six competitive, very difficult games, and this one is no exception," he said.

"We have to look not only at the path [to qualify] but at the quality of them and their coach.

"I'm not lowering our expectations, which are to go there and win, but nothing is decided."

Paris Saint-Germain's focus is reportedly on Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, not Sergio Ramos.

Ramos has been linked with the Ligue 1 champions with his Real Madrid deal expiring at the end of the season.

But PSG seemingly have other deals they want done first.

 

TOP STORY – PSG PRIORITISING MBAPPE, NEYMAR OVER RAMOS

PSG are prioritising new deals for Mbappe and Neymar over a potential move for Madrid defender Ramos, according to Goal.

Mbappe and Neymar are both out of contract in 2022 and have unsurprisingly emerged as targets for clubs in Europe.

The star forwards have both been at PSG since 2017, helping the club win Ligue 1 in every season since.

Interestingly, Mbappe and Neymar have both appeared in just 38 of 113 Ligue 1 games for PSG since arriving.

PSG have won 34 and lost just one of those, while averaging 3.3 goals for. Without at least one of them, their win percentage drops from 89.5 to 72, and average goals for dips to 2.5.

 

ROUND-UP

- Out of contract at Liverpool at the end of the season, Georginio Wijnaldum's future remains unclear. CalcioMercato reports the midfielder is wanted by Barcelona and Inter.

- There could be plenty of movement coming up at Barcelona. Sport reports Riqui Puig has no plans to leave the club in January despite interest from Porto and Benfica. It also says while the LaLiga giants are prepared to let Puig and Carles Alena leave on loan, they are working on selling Samuel Umtiti, Martin Braithwaite, Junior Firpo and Matheus Fernandes.

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports the club are working on a contract extension for Ousmane Dembele, whose current deal expires in 2022.

- With Lautaro Martinez continually linked with Barcelona, Inter are considering their options. The Serie A giants are eyeing Torino striker Andrea Belotti as a replacement if Martinez joins Barca, according to CalcioMercato. Since Belotti arrived at Torino in 2015, only Ciro Immobile (111) and Gonzalo Higuain (90) have scored more goals than his 85.

- Also in Serie A, Napoli are considering a loan move for Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri, according to la Repubblica.

Pep Guardiola is expecting captain Fernandinho to be out of action for between four to six weeks after the midfielder sustained another injury in Manchester City's win over Porto.

The Brazil international was brought on in the 85th minute of Wednesday's Group C clash at the Etihad Stadium but failed to see out the game after pulling up with a suspected leg injury.

He has suffered several muscle issues in recent seasons, seeing him sit out 15 games two seasons ago as City won a clean sweep of domestic honours.

And Guardiola, who was also without Gabriel Jesus, Nathan Ake, Benjamin Mendy, Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte against Porto, is predicting another lay-off for the versatile midfielder.

"It is bad news. It is in the place he was injured before," Guardiola told BT Sport. "He will be out a long time. It's happened."

Fernandinho has made 228 Premier League appearances for City since joining the club in 2013, often filling in as an auxiliary centre-back in recent times.

Providing a further update at his post-match news conference, Guardiola added: "It will be four to six weeks. It's a big blow as we have a run of games ahead and no people there."

However, Guardiola delivered more positive news on the fitness of De Bruyne and Laporte, with the key pair possibly in contention for Saturday's league trip to West Ham.

"I think Kevin and Laporte start training tomorrow but I don't know how they will be tomorrow and the next days so we will see," he said.

"Unfortunately people came back and now we have lost another but it is really important to come back. 

"In three days we go to London and after we travel to France to play against Marseille and then Sheffield [United] three days after.

"The schedules are so demanding and we need all the players."

City trailed to Luis Diaz's impressive early solo strike against Portuguese champions Porto but soon hit back through Sergio Aguero's penalty, awarded for Pepe's sloppy challenge on Raheem Sterling.

Ilkay Gundogan then put his side in front with a dipping free-kick and substitute Ferran Torres added a third 17 minutes from time as the hosts made a winning start to their 10th successive Champions League campaign.

"This is a good start for us. The last 10-15 minutes of the first half and the start of the second we played well," Guardiola said.

"Obviously we concede the first goal so it was even more difficult to come back. In periods we played quite well and in periods we can still improve. 

"So at the end the most important thing is we have the three points and started well to the competition."

Gundogan's stunning free-kick was the turning point in the contest, the German midfielder sending his effort up and over the wall as Guardiola was preparing to replace him.

"I'm glad he didn't [make the substitution]!" Gundogan told BT Sport. "I was quite sure he was going to take me off but saw there was an opportunity for me so thankfully he didn't sub me.

"I have to admit I don't practice it a lot but there are certain distances I feel comfortable with a free-kick. 

"That was the perfect distance for me. I had a little discussion with Raheem and I was quite confident to take it. Thanks to him for allowing me to take it. Obviously I'm very happy I could score."

Substitute Ferran Torres was among the scorers as Manchester City earned a 3-1 comeback win against Porto in Wednesday's Champions League opener after Luis Diaz's impressive solo strike.

City were eliminated at the quarter-final stage for the third year running last season and their latest attempt at winning the competition got off to a somewhat shaky start at the Etihad Stadium.

Diaz profited from some poor defending to race through and open the scoring but the Portuguese champions were pegged back after Pepe gave away a penalty from which Sergio Aguero converted, ending his longest goalscoring drought of 231 days.

Ilkay Gundogan scored a set-piece of his own with a dipping free-kick and close-seasonTorres netted five minutes after being brought off the bench as City turned the game on its head to make a winning start to their Group C campaign.

Porto had failed to score in their previous seven away encounters with English clubs in Europe but had to wait just 14 minutes for that drought to end.

Diaz embarked on an impressive solo run that saw him carry the ball from 45 yards out, evade a number of half-hearted challenges and drill a precise shot past Ederson.

City were given a chance to hit back six minutes later, however, as Pepe clattered into Raheem Sterling moments after Gundogan struck the outside of the post.

The penalty was awarded after a lengthy VAR check for a possible Gundogan foul on Agustin Marchesin, who got a hand to Aguero's spot-kick but could not keep it out.

Mateus Uribe fired over following a poor pass from Ederson and Kyle Walker hooked the ball off the line to spare Ruben Dias' blushes as Porto ended the first half on top.

The visitors dropped off slightly after the break and were undone in the 65th minute by Gundogan's set-piece brilliance, the Germany midfielder lifting the ball up and over the wall after being fouled by Fabio Vieira.

The game was put out of Porto's reach when Torres played a one-two with fellow substitute Phil Foden and crashed past Marchesin.

Following a scuffle between Sterling and Pepe, who had a running battle throughout, Rodri went close to adding a fourth late on as Marchesin pushed his 30-yarder onto the post.

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.

Pep Guardiola does not believe Manchester City's repeated failures in the Champions League are the result of mental issues and conceded he still feels responsible for last season's shock loss to Lyon.

City have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals of the competition during Guardiola's tenure, last reaching the semi-finals under Manuel Pellegrini in 2016.

They start another quest for European glory on Wednesday with a home clash against Porto at the Etihad Stadium.

City saw their dreams of lifting the trophy unexpectedly dashed by a 3-1 defeat to Lyon in Lisbon in August, with Guardiola still bearing the psychological scars from the events at Estadio Jose Alvalade.

"It was a tough moment. I felt so responsible," Guardiola told a media conference. 

"I was not able to drive the club and the players. I feel so responsible. We have to accept the reality, we were not good enough. 

"We didn't play bad, but at the same time we made mistakes and we can't do that in this competition and go through.

"The reality is, every player and manager, not just here, has to dream with high expectations. We have to accept it with humility.

"When we do this it is the best way to improve. This competition is so demanding and the mistakes we commit, I feel so bad for the players. We are going to start tomorrow from zero again.

"I have the feeling we are close. Every season when I analyse when we go out, I have the feeling we are close.

"At the same time, we make mistakes that make you feel we don't deserve to go through. I don't think it is mental. It is about desire and avoiding mistakes.

"Of course, if you are used to being in the latter stages, maybe it would be easier. Being here 10 times is good for us, but I know the reality of this club.

"The next step is making the semi-finals. The things we have done are the past and now it is a new opportunity.

"In this competition in some departments we need to be better. The players know it, five minutes after the game they know. We have the same challenge, a new opportunity. Tomorrow's the first step of many to get really far in this competition."

The omens are good for City ahead of that first step. They are unbeaten in 11 group stage games since losing to Lyon in September 2018 and Porto are winless in their last four opening group stage matches.

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