With all 20 Premier League teams now back in action, fantasy football managers around the world are tinkering and tweaking as they look to find that perfect balance of solid but deadly.

It's fair to say that we've already had a few surprises (for the fantasy football world, at least) this season, with Manchester United players barely making a splash at home to Crystal Palace (looking at you, Bruno Fernandes), Liverpool shipping three to promoted Leeds United on day one and Dominic Calvert-Lewin leading the scoring chart.

Everything's been all over the place – you need as much help as you can get, and hopefully that's where we can help.

Using Opta data, here are a few tips that might enable you get back on track, or even – for those of you lucky enough – build on an emphatic start…

RUI PATRICIO

Despite the disappointing 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, Wolves appear set for another encouraging season, having seemingly recruited well and retained most of their key players.

Among those is Rui Patricio, who is second only to Ederson (0.45) in terms of goals conceded per game (0.82) since the Premier League resumed in June, while the Portugal international's six clean sheets in that time is also the second best in the division.

Up next for Wolves is a trip to West Ham, who have lost both of their first two games of the season, scoring just one goal in the process.

MICHAEL KEANE

Goal-scoring perhaps isn't a key factor for many when considering which defenders to choose in their fantasy team, but picking one who has a habit of finding the net can give you the edge.

Michael Keane heads into the weekend having scored twice since the June resumption, a record beaten by no other defender, while he also boasts the best shot conversion rate (40 per cent) among defenders to have attempted at least five in that time period.

Everton are looking impressive at the moment, and with quality deliveries from James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne floating in regularly, who's to say Keane won't find the net again at Crystal Palace?

SADIO MANE

This one's quite simple – Sadio Mane loves playing against Arsenal.

In 12 matches against the Gunners, he has scored six times. He has only managed more in meetings with Palace (nine in 11), and he goes into the game on the back of a match-winning brace at Chelsea last time out.

Matches between two of the big guns can prove a little risky in terms of captain selection, and Mane's certainly not cheap – but few have his record in such games.

MATHEUS PEREIRA

It's been a difficult readjustment to the Premier League for West Brom, who host Chelsea next having conceded eight times in two matches and scored just twice.

But those two goals should pique the interest of fantasy fans, given Matheus Pereira was involved in both (one goal, one assist) and won't break the bank.

The Brazilian will surely be key if the Baggies are to avoid the drop this term, having had a hand in 11 more goals (nine scored, 17 set up) than any other player for the club since the start of 2019-20.

RAUL JIMENEZ

Two games, two goals – Jimenez has picked up right where he left off last season, the Mexican continuing to be the go-to man in attack for Wolves.

There's every chance that will continue at West Ham as well, given his penchant for scoring against the Hammers.

Jimenez has three goals in his past three Premier League clashes with West Ham, including a brace in January.

He also has four in six domestically, though a word of caution – Jimenez hasn't netted in three successive games since November last year.

GABRIEL JESUS

With Sergio Aguero out for the time being, Gabriel Jesus has the chance to find some form and enjoy a run of regular starts – he'll likely be encouraged by what's to come as well.

Leicester City are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, and in five previous league outings against the Foxes, Jesus has four goals.

Only against Everton (seven) has Jesus netted more frequently, and given City's impressive season-starting 3-1 win at Wolves, they will be favourites when Brendan Rodgers' table-toppers (on goal difference) come to town.

On the face of it, Jesus looks a strong choice for the captaincy this week.

 

DANNY INGS

Under Ralph Hasenhuttl, Danny Ings really is in the form of his life.

Since the start of last season, his haul of 24 goals is second only to Jamie Vardy in the Premier League, while he has scored 45 per cent of Saints' league goals in that time.

Up next is former club Burnley, and although notoriously difficult to play against, they conceded four to Leicester last time out.

Wolves have completed the signing of right-back Nelson Semedo from Barcelona on an initial three-year deal.

Semedo arrives at Molineux in a reported £32.2million (€35m) transfer as a replacement for Matt Doherty, who joined Tottenham last month.

The Portugal international, who spent three years at Camp Nou after signing from Benfica, posted a message to Barca on his Instagram page on Tuesday before Wolves confirmed his arrival the following day.

Semedo wrote: "Thank you very much Barcelona for giving me the dream of wearing this shirt. Thank you for making me grow as a player and as a person.

"I've had three wonderful years that I won't forget. I want to thank my team-mates, the staff, the fans and all the people who have helped me from the moment I arrived until today."

Semedo is the latest player to leave the Blaugrana as new coach Ronald Koeman overhauls the first-team squad following a dismal 2019-20 campaign.

The 26-year-old featured 42 times in all competitions last season, scoring once, as Barca lost their LaLiga crown, failed to win a trophy and crashed out of the Champions League in humiliating fashion, going down 8-2 to Bayern Munich.

Arturo Vidal has left for Inter, while Luis Suarez is also expected to depart. The club blocked captain Lionel Messi's exit.

Semedo's departure had been anticipated, with Barca linked with bids for alternative right-back options - including Arsenal's Hector Bellerin, Norwich City's Max Aarons and Ajax's Sergino Dest.

Contrasting reports have Aarons and Dest close to moves to Catalonia.

Semedo was welcomed at Wolves, where his new contract has the option for a further two years.

"It isn't often that we have the opportunity to sign a world-class player from a world-class club," executive chairman Jeff Shi said. "Nelson's signing shows we will never stop progressing and we are still hungry and humble in our heart."

Semedo, a two-time LaLiga winner, added: "I'm very excited to be here. It's a very good team. To play in the Premier League is a dream from me, too."

Nelson Semedo sent a goodbye message to Barcelona ahead of his reported move to Premier League side Wolves.

Barcelona and Portugal full-back Semedo is poised to swap the LaLiga giants for Wolves, who boast countrymen Nuno Espirito Santo, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Fabio Silva, Rui Patricio, Daniel Podence, Pedro Neto, Vitinha, Roderick and Ruben Vinagre.

As Barca look to free up salary space and raise funds, Semedo farewelled Camp Nou in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

"Thank you very much Barcelona for giving me the opportunity to live the dream of wearing this shirt, of playing in Camp Nou, of learning and enjoying the best in the world," Semedo wrote.

"Thank you for making me grow as a player and as a person. They were three wonderful years that I will never forget.

"Thank my colleagues, staff, fans and all the people who helped me since I arrived until today. I wish you the best luck in the world. Eternally grateful."

Semedo joined Barca from Portuguese giants Benfica in 2017.

The 26-year-old won two LaLiga titles, the Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana during his time in Barcelona.

Semedo made 32 LaLiga appearances and 42 across all competitions last season as Barca were dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Pep Guardiola hailed Kevin De Bruyne's influence upon an injury-ravaged Manchester City squad after he starred in Monday's 3-1 win over Wolves.

Guardiola headed to Molineux with seven senior players unavailable but his team turned in a sparkling display against opponents who beat them twice last season.

De Bruyne was City's star man, winning and converting a 20th-minute penalty before having a hand in goals for Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.

"Since we came back after the games for the national teams, every training session he has incredible commitment," Guardiola, who saw Raul Jimenez briefly reduce the deficit in the 78th-minute, told a post-match news conference.

"Right now he is an incredibly important player for us. He always was, but in the situation we are in right now, it is so important.

"He took an incredible penalty, he took it perfectly. Then there is the amount of assists, how he runs. He played really well, like all the team.

"He likes to play football, he doesn't feel the pressure and likes to compete at a high standard."

Ilkay Gundogan's positive test for coronavirus compounded Guardiola's selection problems heading into City's opening Premier League game of the season, with Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Eric Garcia all injury absentees.

Aymeric Laporte only returned to training last Friday following his own COVID-19 positive, although John Stones and new signing Nathan Ake were assured for the most part in the centre of defence.

Guardiola confirmed a team predominantly made up of academy players will launch City's bid for a fourth consecutive EFL Cup against Bournemouth on Thursday, with Leicester City up next in the Premier League on Sunday.

"Most of them are for after the [October] international break," he said when considering when asked when the injured players might return. "After that they’ll be ready.

"Laporte is not injured but he had just one training session in two months. Eric Garcia had 16 stitches, that is why he is not here but maybe for the next game he will be fit.

"The others I think after the international break – Joao, Bernardo, Oleks and Sergio will be longer.

"This is the situation. Maybe in the next days it will change a little bit."

The strain of those considerations appeared to be weighing upon Guardiola during a largely terse briefing, but he still found time to praise Foden, who made a goalscoring return to club action after being banished from the England squad earlier this month for breaching coronavirus protocols in Iceland.

"He played really well," he added.

"Apart from scoring the goal, in the first half he was not much involved. In the second half he played incredibly well.

"Since day one he trained really well. In all the time he played with us, if we decide to play five minutes or 90 minutes it doesn’t matter.

"He has a big impact and makes great contributions to the team. Today was not an exception."

Kevin De Bruyne was already looking towards another title tussle with Liverpool after Manchester City won at Wolves, adding that team glory ranks above his personal exploits despite a standout performance.

City won the Premier League in 2017-18 and 2018-19, holding off the Reds down the home stretch in the latter season, but then relinquished their crown to Jurgen Klopp's team last term.

Liverpool registered six points from the opening two matches of their title defence before Pep Guardiola's men even took to the field, with City making a late start due to their involvement in the Champions League in August.

However, De Bruyne broke the deadlock at Wolves on Monday, had a hand in Phil Foden's second and then, after Raul Jimenez halved the deficit, supplied an assist for Gabriel Jesus in stoppage time.

The reigning PFA Players' Player of the Year, who created six chances in all, did not shy away from the challenge before City.

"It's obviously hard," De Bruyne told Sky Sports. "It's a little bit of a weird season, but we know we have to start well.

"Wolves have been a bit of a bogey team for us in the last couple of seasons, so to come here and do this performance is encouraging, because we're missing a few players.

"I think the team played really well. The only thing we really can do is play game by game. We know Thursday [Bournemouth in the EFL Cup] is another one and we'll try to do our best.

"We know if the pace is the same as the last three years, it's going to be a hard job. We want to fight against [Liverpool], we need to fight against them.

"I think we make each other better and that, for me, is what sport is all about."

De Bruyne had 20 league assists last season, tying Thierry Henry's record, and was awarded his first of the new campaign after tackling Willy Boly before Jesus netted.

Yet individual statistics are of little concern to the midfielder, who has also scored 14 times since the start of last season - his 35 goal involvements the most of any Premier League player in that time.

"I don't know if my output is going to be more," he said. "I'm perfectly happy with the way the second goal goes. That's why we have so many attacking players - so I can slot them in and they can do the rest.

"I would prefer to have five goals and five assists and go away with the title. You can contribute in a lot of ways.

"I'm a midfielder, I know these days it's a lot about statistics, but I try to set myself [the goal] to play the best that I can for the team.

"Obviously, if I have good numbers, it's going to help myself, it's going to help the team. But even if I play badly, I need to try to contribute in one way or another. That's what I'm trying to do."

Speaking to Radio Catalunya in 2017, Pep Guardiola took a self-deprecating tone when considering his feted coaching reputation.

You see, life is easy with Lionel Messi in your dressing room.

"The greatest advantage of having Leo is that the other 10 players know they have Leo on their team and that sooner or later he will do it," he said.

"I was his coach and we were planning and I thought, 'We will get the ball to Messi and that's that, we will score.'"

At the start of this month, it briefly looked like Guardiola would be able to unfurl this approach at Molineux in Manchester City's Premier League season opener against Wolves.

Of course, Messi concluded an exit from Camp Nou was not viable and a fantasy football tonic to a dispiriting 2019-20 in east Manchester was taken off the table.

Nevertheless, during Monday's impressive 3-1 win over opponents that have tended to give his team fits, Guardiola settled on an update of his old template.

Get the ball to Kevin De Bruyne and that's that.

Okay, so this is a simplification of the sparkling display City put on to get their Premier League title bid up and running.

John Stones was in from the cold alongside new signing Nathan Ake in a silky-smooth centre-back pairing - or was it a pairing? Rodri dropped in from midfield to play in between them at times during the first half, with Stones taking opportunities to join attacks down the right flank.

Captain Fernandinho enjoyed himself back in the midfield role a defensive shortfall denied him last season, and everything in front of the veteran Brazilian was all whirring, flashing, frictionless movement.

Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden were as tenacious out of possession as they were in it.

But it was PFA Players' Player of the Year De Bruyne who stamped himself all across what quickly became a pulverising opening 45 minutes for the hosts.

All the shifting plates in Guardiola's 4-2-3-1 seemed designed to put De Bruyne in the areas of the field where he can cause damage. Which, all things considered, amounts to a fair amount of turf.

Take the combination of athleticism and opportunism that saw him put down the throttle and chase Foden's pass to draw a brainless foul from Romain Saiss. Rui Patricio guessed correctly but De Bruyne struck the 20th-minute penalty sumptuously.

After the half hour he nipped into a pocked of space behind the Wolves midfield to release Sterling, who set up Foden for number two.

There was De Bruyne again, forcing a fine save from Patricio after he tore onto Jesus' flick-on, like the archetypal box-to-box midfielder.

Soon afterwards there was a devilish whipped cross from out on the touchline and, even as City's level dropped and they flirted with throwing away the sort of points they frequently fumbled last term, De Bruyne regularly carved holes in Wolves, working through the repertoire that makes him the most complete footballer in the division.

Since the start of 2019-20, the Belgium superstar has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other player, thanks to 14 goals and 21 assists. He created more chances (six) and had more shots on target (four) than any other City player on Monday.

Nevertheless, De Bruyne's team-mates are still without the serenity Guardiola claimed for Messi's old colleagues. Around the hour, when Adama Traore had the shackles of his right wing-back brief loosened and Stones became reacquainted with his lackadaisical side, a clatter of Wolves chances came and went.

The impressive Daniel Podence had the audacity to nutmeg De Bruyne before setting up Raul Jimenez's nicely placed 78th-minute header.

Despite paying the price for attempting the dirty work on that occasion, the 29-year-old contested a team-high five tackles and gained possession nine times - no City player did so more frequently. He covered 11.58 kilometres at an average speed of 7.12 km/h.

It was no surprise, therefore, to see which player bustled in between a hesitant Wolves defence to set up Jesus for the game-clinching goal.

Get the ball to Kevin De Bruyne and that's that.

Kevin De Bruyne was typically influential as Manchester City survived a tough second half to defeat bogey side Wolves 3-1 in their Premier League opener at Molineux.

Pep Guardiola's side - aiming to reclaim the title they lost to Liverpool last term - were featuring for the first time in 2020-21 due to their involvement in the previous campaign's Champions League knockout stage.

But City made up for lost time in a dominant first 45 minutes on Monday as De Bruyne capitalised on a rash challenge to break the deadlock from the penalty spot, before Phil Foden added a stylish second.

Wolves, who did the double over City last season, enjoyed a better spell after the break and belatedly netted through Raul Jimenez, yet De Bruyne's tackle in the final seconds allowed Gabriel Jesus to strike a deflected clincher.

Pep Guardiola would love to stay at Manchester City beyond this season but believes he has work to do to earn a new contract.

Guardiola will begin a fifth consecutive campaign in charge of the same side for the first time in his career when he takes City to Molineux on Monday to face Wolves in their Premier League opener.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has won six major hours in four seasons at the Etihad Stadium, including back-to-back Premier League titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19 - triumphs over the course of which they accrued a scarcely credible 198 points.

But Liverpool stormed to glory in England's top flight last term, finishing 18 points clear of City, who again fell short in the Champions League as Lyon punished a limp quarter-final showing in Lisbon.

It leaves one of the most celebrated coaches of his generation with plenty to prove heading into the new season, and Guardiola believes his employers are at the top of the list of those he must impress.

"I would love to stay longer here. It is a place I love to be, but I have to deserve it," he said.

"This club achieved standards in the last decade but we have to maintain that and I have to deserve it.

"I am going to see if I deserve it this season, in terms of how the club goes forward and improves."

At the same time, Guardiola was keen to explain his view of the situation was not down to an ultimatum of any kind.

He enjoys an easy relationship with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and his old Barcelona allies Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano - City's respective director of football and chief executive.

Both sides remain relaxed when it comes to talks over an extension.

"We didn't speak with the club in these terms," Guardiola said. "They allow me to do my job the best I can, with all my staff and the players, and this is [what I'm] going to continue to do.

"They didn't tell me you have to do this or you have to that, or you have to win this or you have to win that. They told me to play. In my feeling, I know the standards of the club and if I don't achieve the standards, I probably don't deserve [to stay] so I have to win to extend my contract.

"We have a game every three days so we don't have much time to think about it. I try to see Txiki and Ferran every day and I speak every week with Khaldoon.

"When it is going to happen, it is going to happen. Now we have other issues. The organisation is so strong in all departments. It will not be a problem for the club to do what we have to do in the future."

Guardiola cut an embattled figure after last month's 3-1 loss to Lyon, where his switch to a 3-5-2 formation was heavily criticised.

City moved quickly to sign Valencia winger Ferran Torres and Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, but their moves to secure an elite centre-back have stalled, while the dream of bringing Lionel Messi to Manchester quickly faded having briefly looked like being realised.

Club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero could miss the first two months of the season as he recovers from meniscus surgery - all of which adds up to a tricky build-up as City aim to overthrow a formidable foe in Liverpool.

Nevertheless Guardiola insists he is ready for the challenges ahead as his career moves into the unchartered territory of season number five.

"I would not be here if I didn't feel the fire or the desire to play good," he added.

"I still want to help the players avoid making mistakes and still I have passion to do it, maybe more than ever.

"I want to try to be together and do a good season."

Diogo Jota can step straight into the Liverpool team after his stunning move to Anfield, says a delighted Jurgen Klopp. 

The Portuguese forward joined from Wolves in a reported £45million deal and Klopp believes the newcomer will add valuable and credible competition for places in the Premier League champions' attack. 

Jota scored 16 goals in 67 Premier League games for Wolves and joins a group of forwards that includes Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Takumi Minamino at Anfield. 

Manager Klopp said Jota gives him "so many options", with his ability to play anywhere across Liverpool's familiar front three or in a deeper role. 

"He knows it's a step for him and he can give us things we don't have - that's why it's cool," Klopp said. 

"The space for improvement is not what I like most, but it's there. He is now already ready to play for us but yes, I'm pretty sure there's something to come. 

"And the way we play, the way we train and the way we treat people, I think will help him as well. 

"And, of course, being in a team like this is good because [there are] good players around you, make yourself better. That's how it will be with him as well and what he will do with us." 

Given the level of investment, Liverpool will expect Jota to deliver as they aim to back up such a successful 2019-20 campaign.

Klopp always said Liverpool had the finances to spend if the right player came along, after criticism that they were slow to act in the transfer market, and the signing of Jota shows he was working behind the scenes.

The German boss told Liverpool's website: "He's a player who gives us so many options to use him. He's 23 years old, still far away from being kind of a finished article, so much potential. He has the speed, he can combine, can defend, can press.

"He has some natural things which we have in our game, like this desire and the greed and the direction.

"Of course he has to adapt to a few things and has to learn a few things – what we do differently because there are, of course, differences – but a lot of things are already there. And so I'm really excited."

Liverpool have strengthened further with the signing of Wolves forward Diogo Jota for a reported £45million.

Jota, 23, has signed a long-term deal with the Premier League champions, who confirmed the arrival of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on Friday.

The Portugal international adds further depth to Jurgen Klopp's attack, although he is set be a back-up for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Jota arrives at Anfield after three seasons at Wolves, the club he joined, initially on loan, from Atletico Madrid in 2017.

"It's just a really exciting moment for me and my family," Jota told Liverpool's official website.

"All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool - the world champions - is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.

"It is one of the best teams in the world - the best at the moment because they are world champions. When you look at the Premier League, you always see Liverpool as one of the biggest teams in the country, so it's impossible to say no."

Jota – signed permanently by Wolves in 2018 – scored 16 goals in 48 games in all competitions in 2019-20, including seven in 34 in the Premier League.

He joins Thiago and Kostas Tsimikas as new arrivals at Liverpool for the 2020-21 season.

Meanwhile, Ki-Jana Hoever has moved in the opposite direction, the 18-year-old defender joining Wolves for a reported £10m fee.

Liverpool have strengthened further with the signing of Wolves forward Diogo Jota for a reported £45million.

Jota, 23, has signed a long-term deal with the Premier League champions, who confirmed the arrival of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on Friday.

The Portugal international adds further depth to Jurgen Klopp's attack, although he is set be a back-up for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Jota arrives at Anfield after three seasons at Wolves, the club he joined, initially on loan, from Atletico Madrid in 2017.

"It's just a really exciting moment for me and my family," Jota told Liverpool's official website.

"All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool - the world champions - is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.

"It is one of the best teams in the world - the best at the moment because they are world champions. When you look at the Premier League, you always see Liverpool as one of the biggest teams in the country, so it's impossible to say no."

Jota – signed permanently by Wolves in 2018 – scored 16 goals in 48 games in all competitions in 2019-20, including seven in 34 in the Premier League.

He joins Thiago and Kostas Tsimikas as new arrivals at Liverpool for the 2020-21 season.

Meanwhile, Ki-Jana Hoever has moved in the opposite direction, the 18-year-old defender joining Wolves for a reported £10m fee.

Wolves have signed teenager defender Ki-Jana Hoever from Liverpool as Diogo Jota prepares to make his move in the opposite direction.

The 18-year-old Netherlands youth international has signed a five-year deal after making a switch reported to be worth in the region of £10million.

Hoever joined Liverpool from Ajax in 2018 and made his debut at Molineux last January, 11 days before his 17th birthday.

That saw him become the club's youngest ever player as Jurgen Klopp's side went down to an FA Cup third-round defeat.

Hoever marked his fourth start with a goal against MK Dons in last season's Carabao Cup and made four competitive appearances for Liverpool overall, also featuring as part of the squads that lifted the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in 2019-20.

"Wolves came with the best plans for me," Hoever told Wolves' official website "I'm hoping I can make it to the next level with them and achieve great things with them. It's a big season ahead and I hope we can achieve great things.

"They had a few brilliant seasons in the Premier League, and they are one of the top teams that's fighting for the Champions League. I really want to be a part of that with this club and really want to get this club to the next level – that's why Wolves was the decision that I made.

"Of course, this is a special place for me because I made my debut in professional football here. I'm really excited to be playing here and not get shouted at but cheered at. It's a really nice stadium, I just hope that the fans can join us soon and support us as well."

Speaking ahead of Monday's Premier League encounter with Manchester City, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo explained the departure for former Atletico Madrid forward Jota to the Premier League champions - reportedly for £45m - was essentially a done deal.

"Diogo is amazing - everyone knows that - and the three seasons at Wolves, what he did for us was fantastic," he said.

"Things happen when naturally they should happen. He's going to the right place. He'll never be forgotten by our fans."

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed Diogo Jota is joining Liverpool as he said the Portugal international was going to "the right place".

The Reds signed Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara on Friday and their transfer business has not stopped there, with reports suggesting Liverpool have agreed a deal worth up to £45million to acquire Jota.

Speaking on Saturday, Nuno confirmed the 23-year-old would be leaving Molineux, while teenage defender Ki-Jana Hoever will move in the opposite direction.

Jota was left out of Wolves' squad for the EFL Cup defeat to Stoke City on Thursday, and Nuno explained it was due to his expected transfer.

"First, I want to apologise for Thursday, sometimes you have to keep things private," he told reporters ahead of Monday's Premier League clash with Manchester City.

"Diogo is amazing - everyone knows that - and the three seasons at Wolves, what he did for us was fantastic.

"Things happen when naturally they should happen. He's going to the right place. He'll never be forgotten by our fans."

Ex-Atletico Madrid man Jota has made 131 appearances for Wolves, scoring 44 times, and he netted two hat-tricks in last season's Europa League campaign.

Dutch youngster Hoever has only played in four games for Liverpool - all in domestic cup competitions.

"Ki will join us," Nuno added.

"He's a young player who has potential and talent. It's up to us to get the best out of him.

"Ki is not eligible for Monday. He'll join us tomorrow, we'll integrate him. It's a small squad, he can give us good options.

"I'm really looking forward to working with him, but the squad is not closed and we need to work on that."

Liverpool's transfer activity is ramping up.

After securing the services of Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota is reportedly next on the list.

Could there be more arrivals?

 

TOP STORY – JOTA LIVERPOOL BOUND

Premier League champions Liverpool are set to complete the signing of Wolves star Diogo Jota, according to Goal.

Liverpool announced the arrival of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on Friday as they look to retain their Premier League crown in 2020-21.

Now, Jurgen Klopp's men are poised to bring former Atletico Madrid forward Jota to Anfield amid widespread speculation.

 

ROUND-UP

- RMC claims Porto full-back Alex Telles has agreed terms with Manchester United over a five-year deal. However, Paris Saint-Germain are also considering a move for the 27-year-old Brazilian following Juan Bernat's knee injury.

- Liverpool have enquired about Schalke star Ozan Kabak, reports Chris Williams. Bundesliga strugglers Schalke are reluctant to sell the 20-year-old centre-back.

Atletico Madrid are finalising a deal for Bayern Munich utility Javier Martinez, says Marca. Martinez played for Athletic Bilbao before joining Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern in 2012.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City are eyeing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde as an alternative to Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. Pep Guardiola's City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, though they have struggled to find an agreement with Napoli as PSG reportedly circle.

Milan have overtaken Barcelona in the race to sign Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Sky Italia. Tipped to reunite with former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman at Barca, Depay could now join Milan in a swap deal involving Lucas Paqueta.

- The front page of Saturday's Mundo Deportivo says Barca are looking to sell Nelson Semedo to fund new arrivals, with Ajax sensation and Bayern target Sergino Dest, City defender Eric Garcia and Depay wanted.

- Goal confirmed Juventus are working to bring Everton forward Moise Kean back to Turin in addition to signing Roma's Edin Dzeko. Juve are interested in a loan deal, though Everton are asking for a permanent transfer or loan with an obligation to buy.

Manchester City's latest Premier League title pursuit belatedly gets under way at Wolves on Monday.

Prior Champions League involvement saw Pep Guardiola's men sit out the opening weekend of the new season, while their meeting with Wolves is the final fixture of the second round.

City's rivals will have played twice by the time Kevin De Bruyne and Co take to the field, meaning they will be desperate for a fast start at Molineux.

But Wolves beat City twice last term as their championship defence came off the rails.

Do Guardiola's side have a problem with opponents like the high-flying Wanderers? Opta advanced metrics delve deeper...

ARE THREE-MAN DEFENCES AN ISSUE?

Wolves have regularly lined up with a back three since their promotion to the Premier League two years ago, even if the shape in front of that defence occasionally changes.

The ever-present Conor Coady was flanked by Willy Boly and Romain Saiss in a 3-5-2 at the Etihad last term, while Leander Dendoncker joined Coady and Saiss in the back line for a 3-4-3 for the return fixture.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side came out on top in both matches, yet of the nine occasions City faced a three-man defence between the start of last season and January 26, those were the only two defeats for Guardiola's men. They also drew with Atalanta's 3-4-1-2.

However, in the remainder of the season, that statistic was turned on its head. Other teams followed Wolves' lead and City struggled to break down their opponents.

Manchester United's 3-4-1-2 twice toppled City, while Arsenal's 3-4-3 and Lyon's 3-5-2 also secured victories. City scored only once across those four matches and were regularly caught out on the counter.

A 1-0 win at Leicester City - who played 3-5-2 - on February 22 represents the last time City beat a team using a back three.

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO CITY'S PRESS?

Such systems have been particularly prevalent in the Premier League since Antonio Conte's Chelsea won the title in 2016-17, so why are City - champions in 2017-18 and 2018-19 - suddenly struggling?

The season before last, when Guardiola's men held off a challenge from Liverpool, City's pressing clearly led the way.

They ranked top in the division for high turnovers within 40 metres of an opponent's goal (217), high turnovers that led to either shots (43) or goals (nine), pressed sequences where opponents managed three or fewer passes within 40 metres of their own goal (578), the average starting position of their open play attacks (46.1m up the field) and opposition passes allowed per defensive action (10).

Teams like Wolves, who could defend in numbers and aim to counter, would quickly find sky blue shirts in their faces as they tried to launch attacks.

But while City actually improved in some respects in 2019-20, rivals also got to grips with the system. City had 252 high turnovers but were only joint-best in the Premier League. An increase to 587 pressed sequences was merely the third highest tally.

One new area for concern as City pressed their opponents was an inability to capitalise on their high turnovers, meanwhile, scoring only six times despite creating 65 shots.

And now facing an effective press, City increasingly committed costly mistakes at the back. There were 21 defensive errors that led to shots last season, up from 15 the previous campaign, while the number that ended in goals rose from two to a worrying seven.

The defeats to Wolves were littered with loose passes and rash decisions. In the 3-2 at Molineux, Ederson was sent off early and then Raheem Sterling and Benjamin Mendy each lost possession prior to goals.

IS AYMERIC LAPORTE THE KEY?

A calming presence at the back as well as an excellent defender, Aymeric Laporte might prove key to these tricky encounters for City.

The Frenchman was missing for both matches against Wolves, defeats that contribute to a tally of eight in the league when he has been absent since joining the club. By contrast, City have only lost six Premier League matches with Laporte in the side.

His winning percentage is a remarkable 84.7, compared to 61.3 for the team when he is out. City earn 2.6 points per game with Laporte and 2.0 without him.

Laporte scored an equaliser at Wolves in 2018-19, although City could not go on to win on that occasion in the first of a series of well-matched meetings between the sides.

Guardiola has won just 20 per cent - one of five - games against Nuno, his lowest such record against any one coach.

Yet City are not the only elite team to struggle against Wolves, who have taken 28 points over 24 clashes with the 'top six' since returning, a haul only bettered by Liverpool and City themselves. Guardiola's side have been warned.

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