Steven Gerrard is "really, really interested" to see if action will be taken against Manchester City amid reports a Premier League punishment could see them stripped of their 2013-14 title.

On Friday, City were hit with a two-season ban from European competition and a €30million fine by UEFA for "serious breaches" of its Financial Fair Play regulations.

The club have denied any wrongdoing and immediately announced their intention to lodge an appeal against the ruling with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A domestic punishment is one possible outcome as the Premier League conducts its own investigation to see if its rules were broken in the four-year period in question, between 2012 and 2016.

The Citizens won the Premier League in 2013-14, finishing two points ahead of Liverpool, meaning any potential retrospective points deduction could benefit the Reds and their former captain, Gerrard.

But with the process set to be a lengthy one, Gerrard is not getting ahead of himself.

"I read that myself," the Rangers manager told reporters when it was put to him that City could face domestic action as a result of their alleged indiscretions.

"We will wait and see. From a UEFA point of view, it is obviously a real strong sentence or punishment. I'm sure they will appeal so we will wait and see what the outcome is on that.

"Then we will see whether the Premier League act from there, but if you look at the severity of the punishment from UEFA, something has gone badly wrong.

"So, I'm really interested to see the outcome of that. Until the [potential] punishment from the Premier League, I won't comment further. But I'm really, really interested in it...for obvious reasons.

"It's all ifs and buts. It is what it is. Manchester City were champions. As I sit here right now, congratulations to them. They are champions. Until things develop, if they develop, it's all ifs and buts.

"I've got nothing to say on the matter. All I say is I'm very interested because of the severity of what UEFA have put out there."

The probe into City's financial affairs was prompted by a series of allegations published by German magazine Der Spiegel in November 2018, which drew on documents purportedly obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks.

Following an investigation, the Adjudicatory Chamber of UEFA's Club Financial Control Body found City guilty of "overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016", allegations the club denied.

Rangers cut the gap to leaders Celtic down to two points in the Scottish Premiership thanks to a 2-1 victory at their Old Firm rivals on Sunday, despite another red card for Alfredo Morelos.

Nikola Katic's 56th-minute header secured Rangers their first league triumph at Celtic Park in 10 attempts, raising hopes for Steven Gerrard's squad they may finally be able to end Celtic's long run of dominance in the top flight.

While the reigning champions remain at the summit, their Glasgow neighbours have a game in hand as they bid to lift the title for the first time since 2010-11.

The only setback for Gerrard was the late dismissal of Morelos, who was sent off for the seventh time in his Rangers career after picking up a second booking for diving during added time.

Both teams had scored during a crazy nine-minute spell in the first half that saw a missed penalty, a Rangers opener and a fortuitous equaliser from a familiar scorer in these fixtures.

The visitors were on top before Katic presented Celtic the chance to take the lead by holding on to Christopher Jullien's shirt at a corner, the infringement spotted by referee Kevin Clancy.

However, Allan McGregor helped out his team-mate by turning away Ryan Christie's spot kick - and Rangers went ahead soon after when Ryan Kent swept in Borna Barisic's square pass with his left foot.

Celtic had struggled in attack but benefited from a fortunate break to draw level, Callum McGregor's shot going in off Odsonne Edouard, with the deflection - seemingly off an arm - wrongfooting goalkeeper McGregor.

Yet Rangers recovered from the unfortunate setback to retake the lead early in the second half, Barisic again the provider as his corner picked out the run of fellow Croatian Katic.

Steven Davis preserved the visitors' narrow advantage when he headed off the line from Jullien for a second time in the contest, while Morelos - still yet to score against Celtic - received his marching orders too late for the hosts to capitalise on the man advantage.

Steven Gerrard has signed a two-year contract extension to keep him as Rangers manager until 2024, the club have confirmed.

Liverpool great Gerrard, 39, confirmed earlier this week talks over a new deal were at an advanced stage and confirmation of an agreement arrived on Friday.

The former midfielder took charge at Rangers ahead of the 2018-19 season and led them to a second-placed finish, but they look set to run Celtic much closer this term and Gerrard is thrilled to see the club building towards success once again.

"I'm delighted to be extending my stay at this fantastic football club," Gerrard told the club's website.

"When Dave King [chairman] approached me about the possibility of extending my contract with Rangers, it was a very easy decision to make because I'm very happy and feel that we are building something special together at the club.

"I'd like to thank the board for the backing they have given me already in my time at the club and also most importantly, the Rangers fans who have given me and the team such tremendous backing both this season and last."

Although Rangers ended nine points adrift of Scottish Premiership champions Celtic last season, they improved on their third-place finish from the campaign before and are on track for a real title tussle in 2020.

After 15 matches, Rangers are just two points adrift of Celtic, with the pair running away from the rest of the pack, as Motherwell in third are seven points further behind despite playing two matches more.

Gerrard's contract extension comes as a major show of faith less than a week after losing 1-0 to Celtic in Sunday's thrilling League Cup final.

Rangers were the better side for much of the contest but failed to make the most of Celtic being down to 10 men for the final 27 minutes following Jeremie Frimpong's dismissal.

They followed that up with a 1-1 draw with Young Boys in the Europa League on Thursday, securing their progress to the knockout phase from a tricky pool that also included Porto and Feyenoord.

Steven Gerrard has signed a two-year contract extension to keep him as Rangers manager until 2024, the club have confirmed.

Steven Gerrard praised his Rangers side for quickly overcoming the disappointment of missing out on a domestic trophy to reach the Europa League knockout stages.

Alfredo Morelos' opener looked set to be sending Rangers into the knockout stages as Group G winners on Thursday, until Borna Barisic's own goal drew Young Boys level in the closing stages.

Ryan Jack then saw red in stoppage time, but Rangers held on as they joined group winners Porto – who triumphed 3-2 against Feyenoord – in qualifying for the last 32.

Gerrard was particularly pleased with the response from his players after their 1-0 defeat to rivals Celtic in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday.

"I'm very pleased that we will continue European football after Christmas," said the Rangers boss.

"It took character and guts. It's been tough since the weekend. I know what it’s like to lose a final, you feel flat. You take days to recover.

"For us to recover and perform well enough to get out of the group is fantastic."

Rangers progressed from a tricky group, leaving Gerrard to reflect on the club taking "another step in the right direction" under his stewardship.

"I'm not going to stand here celebrating a draw, or finishing second, but let's give credit where it's due," he added.

"This club has suffered a lot, I think this is the first time they've had knockout football in Europe since 2011.

"Eight years ago, they had top footballers and obviously it has suffered a lot. This is another step in the right direction. Very pleased, very proud but I won't over celebrate."

Gerrard also revealed he is close to signing a new contract with Rangers, having recently suggested terms had been agreed.

"Something's imminent," said the former England international who took over at Ibrox in May 2018.

"It's pretty straightforward. I've been waiting for this moment, to get the two huge games out of the way, and the club will announce it when they're ready.

"But for me now it's all about Motherwell, getting the lads recovered."

Rangers survived a late fightback from Young Boys as Steven Gerrard's side held on for a 1-1 draw to progress to the Europa League knockout stages.

Alfredo Morelos' first-half goal looked set to be enough to claim all three points for Rangers – a win which would have seen them top Group G.

But an 89th-minute Borna Barisic own goal set up a nervy finale at Ibrox on Thursday.

However, despite losing Ryan Jack to a second yellow card in stoppage time, Rangers held firm to book their place in the round of 32, with Porto - who won 3-2 against Feyenoord – topping the table.

After a dominant start, Rangers hit the front when Morelos – who missed a penalty in Sunday's Scottish League Cup final defeat to rivals Celtic – tucked in his 26th goal of the season.

The 23-year-old had already drawn a smart stop from Von Ballmoos before getting the better of defender Frederik Sorensen to slot home.

Morelos could have doubled his tally shortly after the restart, but Von Ballmoos did well to close the angle.

That miss lifted the visitors and Allan McGregor had to make an instinctive save from Christian Fassnacht's header, before Morelos saw another strike well saved.

Young Boys made their good fortune count – Barisic only able to turn a low cross into his own net – but Rangers clung on, even when down to 10 men following Jack's dismissal.

Steven Gerrard has revealed he is on the brink of signing a contract extension with Rangers.

Rangers appointed Gerrard on a four-year deal in May 2018 and the former Liverpool midfielder led them to second in the Scottish Premiership in his first season in charge.

The 39-year-old missed out on a first piece of silverware in senior management after a controversial 1-0 loss to rivals Celtic in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday.

However, Gerrard remains committed to guiding the club back to their previous heights after they were relegated to the Third Division for the 2012-13 season.

"The club approached me probably a week, 10 days ago about a new deal and it's a pretty simple decision as far as I'm concerned," said the Liverpool legend.

"I'm happy here and I'm as hungry and determined to get the good days back here as I ever was, so talks have been pretty straightforward and positive.

"When it's signed and announced you'll have to wait and see."

Gerrard stated official confirmation of renewals for Allan McGregor and Steven Davis could arrive after Rangers take on Young Boys on Thursday with a place in the last 32 of the Europa League on the line. He also hopes to tie down Bournemouth loanee Jermain Defoe beyond this season.

"[Extensions for] Allan McGregor and Steven Davis are imminent. That'll be very close and will probably be announced after Thursday's game. But that's all agreed," said Gerrard.

"They're two players I want around for a year's extension on top of this year.

"Jermain's is a bit different because he's a Bournemouth player until the end of the season but it's a similar situation in the fact that we want him to stay around.

"We'll obviously deal with that as and when we need to."

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says his players and the assistant referee need to share responsibility for the 1-0 Scottish League Cup final defeat to Celtic on Sunday, but concedes officials need more help than they are getting.

Gerrard's side were comfortably the more dominant throughout, carving out a host of clear opportunities and then missing a penalty through Alfredo Morelos just moments after Christopher Jullien's goal for Celtic, who played much of the second half with 10 men.

Replays appeared to show Jullien in an offside position when he tucked home Ryan Christie's free-kick, leaving Gerrard frustrated the goal was not ruled out, with VAR not yet introduced to Scottish football.

"Finals are normally decided on big moments and the big moments haven't gone in our favour," he told a media conference.

"We conceded from a set-piece, which we shouldn't have given away. Once you concede it, you have to defend it better.

"There were three Celtic players standing in offside positions but unfortunately we play in a country where there is no VAR.

"I think it [VAR] has taken something away from the game, so I'd be a liar if I said I'm 100 per cent in favour of it.

"But one thing I do know is that the officials up here do need some support and help because there are too many things, not just for our club but across the board, that they maybe miss and need a bit of support on.

"I'm not the type of person who blames or look for excuses. The big moments have gone against us today; we are all responsible for that.

"But the reality is, at the top end of football, you expect the linesman to get one of them right from the three who were in an offside position."

Many were surprised to see Morelos take the crucial spot-kick ahead of regular taker James Tavernier, but Gerrard was quick to dismiss suggestions his captain passed up the opportunity to step forward.

"Alfredo was the nominated penalty taker," he explained. "It was nothing to do with James passing the buck or anything like that. I decided we needed to change that up.

"Unfortunately, we haven't taken our chance in that big moment. People will look back at that moment as the chance to swing the momentum of the whole game in our favour, although we were much the stronger team throughout the 90 minutes anyway."

Celtic survived the dismissal of Jeremie Frimpong to claim a 10th consecutive domestic trophy with a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Rangers in the Scottish League Cup final at Hampden Park.

Neil Lennon's side were second best for long periods but a combination of Christopher Jullien's 60th-minute goal and a string of fine saves from Fraser Forster ensured Steven Gerrard's wait for a first piece of silverware in his managerial career goes on.

Celtic looked like they had gift-wrapped Rangers a way back into the game just minutes after Jullien's strike, Frimpong dismissed for hauling down Alfredo Morelos inside the penalty area.

As had been the case throughout the match, however, Forster was equal to the Colombian's effort from 12 yards, making sure Celtic maintained their run of dominance in Scottish football.

Rangers had started with a spring in their step, Connor Goldson heading wide from a corner and Forster superbly pawing away Ryan Jack's swerving 25-yard drive inside the opening 15 minutes.

The Celtic goalkeeper then stood firm to repel Morelos' strike after he had raced away from Kristoffer Ajer, then denied Rangers' leading scorer again after he had been played in behind the Celtic defence.

Rangers continued to look threatening at the start of the second period, Morelos flashing agonisingly across the face of goal after being picked out at the back post.

Those misses came back to haunt Rangers on the hour mark, though, when an unmarked Jullien stole in at the back post to convert Ryan Christie's free-kick to give his side the lead.

Rangers were handed an immediate chance to restore parity with Frimpong’s foul following some slapstick defending from Celtic, but Morelos' weak spot-kick was turned away by Forster.

Substitute Michael Johnston inexplicably fired wide after being played clean through, whil there was still time for one final Morelos miss - the forward dragging narrowly wide deep into stoppage time, as Celtic held on for yet another win in a major final.

Arsenal appear to be spiralling into a deeper mess as the days pass.

Just over a week on from sacking Unai Emery, the Gunners now reportedly have doubts over how long Freddie Ljungberg should be left in charge.

Misjudging the situation could have serious ramifications for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future.

 

TOP STORY – DOUBTS EMERGE OVER LJUNGBERG

Arsenal fear interim boss Ljungberg's lack of managerial experience will force them to make a full-time appointment before the end of the season, reports The Mirror.

Gunners chiefs seemed set to back the Swede when Emery was moved aside but a draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road and the 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion in midweek have cast doubt over his capabilities.

Action could be taken sooner rather than later as the club mull over a list of potential targets, particularly as there are "growing concerns" about star striker Aubameyang .

The 30-year-old has reportedly stalled on contract talks and the lack of clarity over the head coaching position could end with Arsenal being forced to sell one of their strongest assets.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in their sights after their transfer ban was reduced on Friday, reports The Athletic.

- Juventus are considering a move for either Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic or Leandro Paredes of Paris Saint-Germain, claims Corriere Torino.

- Inter's interest in Arturo Vidal could aid Barca's bid to sign Lautaro Martinez from the Serie A side, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Steven Gerrard is on the verge of agreeing a new deal with Rangers that will see him remain as manager until 2024, says The Sun.

- Two Eredivisie stars could be headed for Portugal, reports A Bola. Belgian forward Cyriel Dessers of Heracles Almelo and exciting AZ prospect Myron Boadu are said to be in the sights of Primeira Liga heavyweights Sporting CP .

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard says Virgil van Dijk "100 per cent" deserves to claim the Ballon d'Or for his "faultless" performances en route to winning the Champions League.

Van Dijk is in the running for football's top individual prize, going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

But Gerrard, now Rangers boss, while claiming to be "Messi's number one fan", is in no doubt that the Liverpool defender should get the award.

Speaking after Rangers' draw with Feyenoord, Gerrard responded when asked by a Dutch reporter if Van Dijk should win: "Yes, 100 per cent.

"I'm Messi's number one fan, for sure. I love the player. Obscene numbers in his game in terms of assists and goals. I'm definitely a Messi fan, in the gang.

"But if you talk about consistency from one player over a year, who wins the European Cup and is absolutely faultless in every performance, that means you deserve to win the Ballon d'Or."

Van Dijk finished second behind Messi in FIFA's The Best awards in September.

Steven Gerrard suggested Alfredo Morelos proved he is worth more than £50million as he scored twice in Rangers' 2-2 Europa League draw at Feyenoord.

Rangers' superstar striker has repeatedly been linked with moves to the Premier League, but boss Gerrard claimed coming into Thursday's match that even a huge offer could not tempt him to sell the Colombian.

Morelos responded with a pair of superb headers as Rangers moved within a point of reaching the last 32.

When Gerrard's claims about the £50million valuation of Morelos were brought up in a post-match news conference, the manager laughed.

He replied: "Do you believe me now? He's not for sale. He's not for sale at any price."

Between his two goals, Morelos could also have had a penalty as he bowed under a challenge from Leroy Fer inside the area.

Gerrard had been frustrated by Rangers' first-half performance but reserved most of his ire for referee Damir Skomina, calling for an explanation from UEFA.

"I asked the players [at half-time] to remember what we stand for, what we're about, how hard we've worked to get this opportunity," Gerrard told a news conference.

"I asked for the real Rangers in the second half and we got it. We won the second half 2-1 and we deserved it.

"We should have had a blatant penalty. I'm sure when the referee sees that, he'll be devastated. I'd like an explanation as to why, from UEFA, we never got a penalty.

"We certainly deserved to take something from the game after our second-half showing. I was proud of our performance second half."

He added: "It's a blatant penalty, a blatant penalty. [Fer] is climbing all over [Morelos]. It's desperate defending. He just crushes him to the floor.

"Anywhere else on the pitch, it's a foul. So it's a penalty."

Rangers struck twice in the space of four second-half minutes to beat Porto 2-0 and move joint-top of Europa League Group G.

Talisman Alfredo Morelos scored for the third European match in a row to break the deadlock in the 69th minute and then turned provider for Steven Davis.

The quick-fire double lit up a contest that had been meandering towards another draw, the sides having shared the spoils in a 1-1 result in Portugal last month.

And the three points takes Steven Gerrard's men level at the top of the pool with Young Boys on seven apiece, three ahead of Porto and Feyenoord.

It was for the most part a game of few chances and scant entertainment at Ibrox, although it could have panned out very differently had Glen Kamara not acrobatically cleared Pepe's early effort off the line.

The hosts created precious little in a scrappy first half and wasted a rare opening just before the break as Brandon Barker blasted over from James Tavernier's cut-back. 

Veteran defender Pepe was forced off with an injury just a few minutes into the second half but Rangers still struggled to test the visiting back line.

A speculative long-range strike from Ryan Kent flew wide, before the same man called Agustin Marchesin into action soon after, the goalkeeper diving low to his right to tip an effort around the post.

Then came the game's decisive spell, Morelos – who also scored at Porto – expertly picking out the bottom corner and then finding Davis for him to do the same shortly after.

It proved a telling one-two punch from which the visitors failed to recover as Porto's winless run on the road in the Europa League was stretched to eight games.

Hearts have opened an investigation into the alleged racist abuse of Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos during Sunday's Scottish Premiership meeting at Tynecastle.

Colombian Morelos was allegedly targeted with abuse after scoring the equaliser for Steven Gerrard's side in a 1-1 draw.

In response, Hearts have confirmed they have started an investigation and have pledged to ban any supporter found guilty.

"The club is aware of an incident of alleged racism and is currently investigating it," Hearts announced in a statement reported by BBC Sport.

"It goes without saying that Heart of Midlothian Football Club utterly condemns any form of racism and any individuals found guilty of such an offence will face an indefinite ban from Tynecastle."

The latest incident of alleged racist abuse comes in the wake of a troubling week across football.

On Monday, England's Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia had to be stopped twice as a section of home supporters made monkey chants and Nazi salutes.

Bulgaria's coach Krasimir Balakov, along with the president of the country's football association Borislav Mihaylov, subsequently resigned, while police have reportedly arrested several suspects.

On Saturday, an FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town was abandoned after the Boro players walked off in the 64th minute.

Boro's goalkeeper Douglas Pajetat was allegedly a victim of abuse from some Yeovil fans, with Omnisport understanding the Cameroonian had bottles thrown at him and was also spat at.

Championship club Bristol City are investigating a claim of racist language being used in the away end during their match at Luton Town this weekend.

Steven Gerrard would have loved the opportunity to play under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

The Reds icon scored 186 goals in 710 appearances for his boyhood club before switching to MLS side LA Galaxy in July 2015.

Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers in October of the same year and Gerrard – who now manages Scottish Premiership side Rangers – admits to wondering if he should have stayed at Anfield longer to work with the German. 

"I always had little thoughts as I've gone along," he told Sky Sports. "Should I have stayed at Liverpool? Should I have signed a year extension?

"Maybe I might have been able to have that cameo under Jurgen Klopp as maybe a squad player.

"These things always cross my mind but, look, I made decisions. I am very proud of my Liverpool career; I am very proud of where I am up to now in my management.

"I want to give that my full focus and keep trying to learn and grow and improve and see where that journey takes me now.

"But, of course, you always have little moments. Imagine if I'd stayed at Liverpool a bit longer and maybe I'd bumped into Jurgen Klopp, as someone who could maybe have given him 10-15 minutes off the bench.

"Of course, it has crossed my mind. I would have loved that."

Klopp's side have started the season in blistering form and have an eight-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League after winning all eight of their games, while Gerrard's Rangers are top of the Scottish Premiership. 

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