Manchester City have reportedly identified Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister as their desired replacement for Ilkay Gundogan at the end of the season.

Mac Allister, 24, is enjoying a career-best season, with his five goals in 17 Premier League fixtures already matching his best ever tally for a full league season.

The talented creative midfielder also made six starts for Argentina during their march to victory at the Qatar World Cup, scoring his first senior international goal during a 2-0 win over Poland in the group stage.

His emergence as a player capable of shining on the world stage, as well as his contribution to Brighton's terrific season, has apparently caught the eye of City boss Pep Guardiola.

 

TOP STORY – CITY VIEW MAC ALLISTER AS IDEAL GUNDOGAN REPLACEMENT

According to Fichajes, Gundogan is expected to leave City when his contract expires at the end of the season, and Bernardo Silva could follow if he gets his wish with a LaLiga move.

The report states Guardiola is a big fan of Mac Allister, and believes he has proven himself as a capable Premier League producer.

Fichajes claim Brighton have set an asking price in the range of £40million, indicating they are more willing to part ways with him than 21-year-old Moises Caicedo, with both of their contracts expiring in 2025.

 

ROUND-UP

– ESPN is reporting Napoli will hold firm with an asking price of at least €100m (£90m) for 24-year-old striker Victor Osimhen, who has strong interest from Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

– According to 90min, Chelsea's top priority now is sorting out a contract extension for 24-year-old England international Mason Mount.

Mason Greenwood will look to revive his career in China if United decide to let him go, per the Sun.

– Caught Offside is reporting West Ham and Everton will have to return after the season if they want to sign 27-year-old winger Sheraldo Becker, with Union Berlin unwilling to deal in January due to their strong league position.

Manchester City are reportedly planning a move for Leicester City midfielder James Maddison at the end of the season.

Maddison, 26, has been one of the top goal-creating midfielders in the Premier League over the past couple of seasons, collecting seven goals and four assists from 14 fixtures this campaign after a 2021-22 season with 12 goals and eight assists.

He closed last campaign with goals in each of his final four Premier League outings and was heavily sought after in pre-season, but Leicester opted to hold onto their midfield star.

Regardless of what happens in the second half of the season, Maddison has less than 18 months remaining on his contract and has reportedly shown no interest in extending, which will likely force Leicester's hand unless they want to lose him on a free transfer as appears likely with Youri Tielemans.

TOP STORY – CITY VIEW MADDISON AS KEY COG IN THEIR FUTURE MIDFIELD

According to the Daily Mail, City boss Pep Guardiola is an admirer of Maddison, and with plenty of upheaval expected in the club's engine room, a space could open up for the Foxes star.

The report states Leicester set their asking price at £60million when Newcastle United came knocking prior to this season, but they held firm as the offers "did not come close" to their valuation.

City midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva are both expected to depart at the conclusion of the campaign, and their supposed £70m demand for the latter would likely pay for Maddison's arrival.

Leicester are already set to lose Tielemans on a free transfer after spending £32m to purchase his services in 2019, and they will likely be eager to avoid a similar fate with Maddison, while Brendan Rodgers could then use the fee to fund a mini rebuild.

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Chelsea enquired about 25-year-old Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella but were told the Italian club have no interest in selling, as he remains tied to the club until 2026.

– According to Sky Sports Italia, disgruntled Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo had a change of heart and wanted to head to Bournemouth, but the English side turned him down after spending their funds elsewhere.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting Barcelona have an anxious wait to see if their €4m ($4.35m) transfer for 21-year-old LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo will be processed as the deal was signed seconds after the deadline.

– Manchester United captain Harry Maguire never considered a loan move to Inter and will remain with the club until at least the end of the season, per Fabrizio Romano.

Manchester City must be "almost perfect" between now and the end of the season if they are to catch Premier League leaders Arsenal, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

Arsenal dropped points for just the third time this season in Tuesday's goalless home draw with Newcastle United, but they are still eight points clear of second-placed City.

The reigning champions play their game in hand away at Chelsea on Thursday, though Guardiola accepts Arsenal may well be uncatchable on current form.

"The way you have to reduce the gap is to play good and win games," Guardiola said at Wednesday's pre-match press conference.

"They have an average and they're going to do 100 points or more if they carry on, and we won't catch them. We will have to be almost perfect. 

"We'd expect from here to the end of the season they'd drop a little bit in terms of their performances, but they were excellent against Newcastle, so we'll see what happens."

City were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton on Saturday and have taken only four points from the past nine on offer either side of the World Cup break.

However, Guardiola's side have won their past three games against Chelsea without conceding a goal, including a 2-0 win in November's EFL Cup third-round tie.

"It is always difficult when you travel to Stamford Bridge," Guardiola said. "It is a tough game against a tough side who are well managed.

"It doesn't matter the position you are when you travel there – it's always difficult. At the same time, we're looking forward to it and the next few weeks in different competitions."

City face Chelsea twice in the space of three days, first in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge and then at the Etihad Stadium in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

Guardiola confirmed Ruben Dias remains absent for at least the first of those games, while a late decision will be made on fellow centre-back Aymeric Laporte.

Bernardo Silva is line to retain his place in attack, despite again suggesting this week that his future lies away from City beyond this season.

Asked about Silva's latest comments, Guardiola insisted the Portugal international – under contract until June 2025 – remains an important part of his plans.

"He's a key player, so important on and off the pitch," said Guardiola, who has lost just seven of his 34 Premier League games in London, three of those against Chelsea.

"He's a guy who can talk, always with a nice conversation and always you learn about his humanity, his vision for the club and the league. 

"He's an incredible player against top sides, in decisive games he's always there. Nothing has changed about his future."

City have won their first Premier League game in each of the past 10 calendar years, stretching back to a 1-0 loss at Sunderland in 2012.

Bernardo Silva will likely seek a "new project" in the next few years, but he will wait until the end of the season before discussing his Manchester City future.

Since signing for City from Monaco in 2017, Silva has won four Premier League titles as well as five domestic cups, playing a vital role in Pep Guardiola's team.

Barcelona were reportedly interested in luring the Portugal international to Camp Nou in the last transfer window, though City's reluctance to sell ensured a move never materialised.

While Silva is focused on winning more silverware with City before the end of the season, he has refused to rule out a move prior to next campaign.

"I'm very focused on this season and it doesn't make sense to talk about leaving because we're in the middle of the season," Silva told Record.

"I've been at Manchester City for almost six years, I have a lot of respect for the club, news keeps coming out and people know that there have been talks between me and the club and, at the end of the season, we'll talk again to see what's best for the two sides.

"I'm 28 years-old, I'll be 29 in the summer, and I have two more years on my Manchester City contract. My contract would end at 31.

"I won't hide that my goal in the coming years, if something good happens elsewhere, will probably be to move to a new project."

While Barcelona appears the most likely destination for Silva, the midfielder did not hide his desire to one day return to his home country with Benfica – where he failed to become a first-team regular at the start of his career.

"My goal was to return to Benfica at the age of 32 at the most," he said. "What do I think today? It depends on what happens next summer.

"I'm not going to lie, it's not something I don't think about. I think about it every year. It has always been a goal. I couldn't fulfil my dream of playing for Benfica when I was 19, 20 years old, but I still want to fulfil it.

"Being very realistic, for me to leave Manchester City for Benfica, or to leave another great European club for Benfica... I cannot leave with two or three years on my contract, because Benfica do not have the money to pay these clubs.

"I have to go free. I'm in a difficult situation that I have to manage, but we'll see what happens."

Silva's current side lost more ground in the title race on Saturday, drawing 1-1 against Everton as Arsenal extended their lead at the summit to seven points by beating Brighton and Hove Albion.

Silva is hopeful City can claw back that deficit, while a first Champions League title is also a key target after they lost the 2021 final against Chelsea.

"I'm focused on winning more titles for City," Silva explained. "We want to win the league again.

"We have a competition that we have never won and that is a great objective, which is the Champions League, so we want to try again."

Bernardo Silva insists there is "no panic" at Manchester City despite Arsenal's five-point lead at the Premier League summit.

Mikel Arteta, who was previously Pep Guardiola's assistant coach at City, has guided the Gunners to 13 wins from 15 top-flight games this term, sparking dreams in the red half of north London of a first title win since the 2003-04 season.  

Reigning champions City have dropped points in four of their 15 games this season and Silva, who was an unused substitute in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Leeds United, knows there is little room for error as they aim to rein in the Gunners.

"It's the Premier League. You never know what is going to happen in this league. Newcastle United since the takeover have invested very well and look like they have a very good project," he said.

"Arsenal is not a surprise, maybe for some but not for me. I know the manager very well, I know how well he understands the game and how he deals with his players because when he was with us he did the same thing.

"It's a very young team but when you add players with a winning mentality like Gabby [Gabriel Jesus] and [Oleksandr] Zinchenko then it becomes a very dangerous side. I'm not surprised at all about Arsenal.

"We're behind and have to go after them knowing it's a difficult league. The league is still very much alive. We're not in a perfect position but we're better than most teams so we'll keep fighting.

"There’s no sense of panic but concern that we're five points behind – we're not happy. We know we can't make more mistakes. Arsenal can make mistakes and if they drop a few points they'll be a in a race with us and other teams.

"If we drop points, maybe Newcastle will go past us, [Manchester] United will go past us, Tottenham will go past us and Arsenal will keep running and it won't be easy to go after them.

"There's no panic but definitely motivation and a lot of focus to not let them go further away from us."

City are next in action on Saturday when Everton travel to the Etihad Stadium. 

Cristiano Ronaldo still has what it takes to play at the top level of club football, says Bernardo Silva, who insisted it was none of his business what his Portugal team-mate decided for his future.

Ronaldo scored Portugal's opener in a 3-2 win over Ghana on Thursday - a goal that sparked the match at Stadium 974 into life, as well as making the 37-year-old the first player to score at five different World Cups.

Having left Manchester United by mutual agreement earlier this week, Ronaldo was the focus of the Group H clash and stepped up to lash home a penalty he won midway through the second half.

Andre Ayew swiftly equalised for Ghana but quickfire goals from Joao Felix and Rafael Leao settled the contest, despite Osman Bukari's header setting up a grandstand finish.

Asked if Ronaldo would move to another leading club, Manchester City playmaker Silva told reporters: "That's his decision, that's the decision of the club that needs to offer him a contract, because now he's a free agent. That's his business, not mine."

On whether Ronaldo could still cut his teeth at the highest level, Silva said: "Yeah I think so, I think so.

"It depends on what he wants. I don't know what he wants with his life. He has to speak to his family and decide what he wants for his life.

"I support his decision in terms of it's his decision. He's my team-mate with Portugal. If he feels happy, we're happy.

"He worked really well. We knew it before – we know we can still count on him, not just with the goal but he worked very hard for the team."

On Wednesday, Ronaldo's former United team-mate Bruno Fernandes said it was a "dream come true" to have played with the forward at club level, as well as for Portugal.

Fernandes quipped after the Ghana game that Ronaldo thrives on proving his doubters wrong.

"I think Cristiano likes to work under that criticism from everyone, so I pray for all of you to keep doing that, so it gets the best of him when you guys do that," Fernandes told reporters.

"I said already, he is one of the players I looked up to when I was a kid. It was a dream come true in the national team, I did it at a club also – that's something amazing.

"I still share the space with him in the national team and the main thing for me is that Portugal in this World Cup does the best we can.

"If we do that, Cristiano will be happy, I will be happy, everyone will be happy."

Pep Guardiola's new contract with Manchester City will see him remain at the Etihad Stadium until 2025, when he will mark nine years at the club.

The Catalan coach has already remained in the Premier League for longer than he has at his previous roles with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, finding a home within English football and establishing a dominant force with his City side.

Throughout his six and a half years in charge so far, Guardiola has been in charge of numerous superstars and club legends, with an all-time squad that would be of envy for any manager in world football.

But how exactly do you break that down into a full XI? Stats Perform has taken on the task and done exactly that.

Ederson

Guardiola made a bold choice upon his arrival in Manchester, swiftly making it clear England international Joe Hart, a two-time Premier League winner, would not fit into his plans moving forward. After a disappointing season with Claudio Bravo, Ederson arrived in 2017 and has been number one ever since.

All of Ederson's 260 appearances across all competitions have come as a starter, higher than any other player under Guardiola, while he sits fifth in the list for total appearances under the Catalan boss.

Kyle Walker

Signed from Tottenham Hotspur in 2017, Kyle Walker has been a mainstay in the City side that has dominated domestic football over the course of the past five years, ranking fifth for the most starts under Guardiola in all competitions (207).

Walker's versatility has been a key benefit for Guardiola and England, with his attacking play also fitting into City's style of play well. Since arriving at City, Walker has contributed 17 assists across all competitions, behind only Joao Cancelo (20) among defenders.

Aymeric Laporte

Among defenders during Guardiola's spell in charge, only John Stones and Walker have started more games than Laporte (155), with both players having joined the club in the seasons before Laporte's arrival from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.

A total of 163 appearances across all competitions puts him narrowly ahead of Nicolas Otamendi (161) for most games under Guardiola.

John Stones

Snapped up in 2016 as one of Guardiola's first signings, Stones has had to contend with incredible competition for his spot at the heart of the defence, with the likes of Laporte, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake all drafted in.

Despite that, Stones continues to be an important player for City and has made 175 starts under Guardiola and 206 appearances overall, ranking second in both among defenders behind only Walker.

Joao Cancelo

The versatile Portuguese full-back moved to City in 2019 from Juventus and has excelled for City, tallying 149 total appearances and 135 starts in all competitions since joining the club, and provides a huge boost in the attacking third.

A total of 20 assists puts him above any defender during Guardiola's spell in charge, even those who have been at the club far longer.

Kevin de Bruyne

Few players fit the Guardiola philosophy more than De Bruyne, who has hit new heights under the former Barcelona boss to stand among the finest players in world football – with a record in front of goal that many would envy.

De Bruyne has registered 117 assists under Guardiola, way ahead of second-place Raheem Sterling (66), while he has scored 73 goals – only behind Gabriel Jesus, Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

Ilkay Gundogan

With 205 starts under Guardiola, the midfielder has been an integral part of the City side since following the Catalan from Germany to Manchester, ranking only behind Walker, David Silva, Sterling, De Bruyne and Ederson in that regard.

Only six players have scored more goals under Guardiola than Gundogan (51), who ranks ninth for the most assists (33).

Fernandinho

The rock of City's midfield for years, Fernandinho started 200 games under Guardiola and made a total of 244 appearances, the latter seeing him rank behind only Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne and Sterling.

A total of 12 goals and 16 assists in those matches represents a decent return for a player renowned more for his defensive strength.

Bernardo Silva

Slotting into the attack ahead of Phil Foden and David Silva, both of whom have a stellar record under Guardiola, Bernardo Silva narrowly gets the nod due to his own impressive numbers in the final third.

Silva has 104 direct goal contributions (50 goals, 54 assists) in 273 appearances, starting in 208 of those matches. Only Sterling and De Bruyne have more assists under Guardiola, while Silva is one of eight players to hit the half-century mark for goals.

Sergio Aguero

In the future, Aguero's spot in the team is likely to be under significant threat from Erling Haaland following his blistering start to life at City, but the Argentine superstar retains the edge for the time being.

Aguero scored 124 goals under Guardiola, more than any other player, with Sterling the only other to have broken the century mark. Those goals came in just 183 appearances with Guardiola in charge, displaying his deadly ability in front of the net.

Raheem Sterling

An unsung hero of the Guardiola era, Sterling played 292 times under the Catalan boss, more than anyone else, while only Aguero scored more goals than Sterling (120).

Sterling also contributed 66 assists under Guardiola, sitting behind only De Bruyne, and is the only player to have scored over 100 goals and added over 50 assists under the Catalan boss.

Bernardo Silva remains uninterested by Cristiano Ronaldo's scathing interview on Manchester United as Portugal aim to focus on the World Cup.

Portugal captain Ronaldo caused a stir this week in a wide-ranging interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV, criticising United, senior figures at the club and current manager Erik ten Hag.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner said he felt "betrayed" by United, who he claims have made "zero progress" since Alex Ferguson departed Old Trafford in 2013.

Portugal showed no signs of distraction with a 4-0 friendly victory over Nigeria in their sole World Cup warm-up game on Thursday, and Silva says he has no interest in the ongoings with Ronaldo at United.

"The news coming from England has nothing to do with Portugal," the Manchester City midfielder said on Saturday. 

"It concerns him, I don't have to comment, it has nothing to do with me. It's not about the Selecao but about Cristiano.

"It's still for Cristiano. I am not a Manchester United player. If I were, I wouldn't answer you. It's a rival club. I have nothing to do with it.

"We are with Portugal, focused on our matches, we are not focused on Cristiano's situation with his club. So I'll answer questions about the World Cup and our team."

Ronaldo missed the Nigeria triumph through "illness", with United team-mate Bruno Fernandes scoring twice before late goals for Goncalo Ramos and Joao Mario.

Silva acknowledged Portugal are somewhat reliant on the firepower of Ronaldo, but insisted Fernando Santos' side have the quality to compete without the 37-year-old.

He added: "Almost all our players play for big clubs in the best leagues. This is a team that relies on Cristiano, he's part of it of course, but when he's not here we know how to respond on the pitch as we have done lately.

"Not only in this game [against Nigeria], but also in the Nations League, in some of the qualifiers, where we responded well [to his absence]. That's what counts.

"There are 26 of us. When one is not here, another one replaces him. We will give our best to represent our country."

Fernandes appeared to give Ronaldo a frosty reception on arrival for Portugal duty before assuring there were no problems between the pair ahead of Thursday's World Cup opener against Ghana.

Silva reiterated Fernandes' viewpoint as he suggested the interview has not altered the harmony within the Portugal camp.

"I don't see any strange atmosphere between Cristiano or anyone else," he continued.

"Again, it's a matter for him and his club. I have nothing to do with it, I don't even play in it. It's a question he has to solve on his own. 

"I see him motivated for our team as we all are. One more to help our selection and help our team to achieve its goals. I don't see what the problem is. It's an individual matter that we have already talked about.

"We only talked about this in the last press conference, while Portugal has a World Cup to play that is more important.

"I understand your questions and your persistence in trying to pull out whatever it is because there is nothing."

Barcelona are expected to be major players in the January transfer market after a busy pre-season.

The 26-time Spanish champions are top of LaLiga at the World Cup break but crashed out of the Champions League.

The Blaugrana are still battling financial challenges, while they also have some unsettled players on their books.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLOTTING JANUARY GUNDOGAN MOVE

Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona are planning to move for Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in January, with fears Franck Kessie may exit soon.

The Blaugrana are eager to bolster their midfield options and a move for Bernardo Silva appears difficult despite their ongoing interest.

As a result, Barca have turned to the Germany international, whose contract with City ends in mid-2023. The report also claims the Catalans could move for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans.

Kessie has been linked with Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Fulham by Spanish media outlet Sport. The Ivorian only joined in July, but the club's financial position means they are open to letting players go.

ROUND-UP

– Despite being linked with a long list of names, Sport claims Barcelona will only make one signing in the January transfer window, with a right-back seen as a priority. Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard and Villarreal's Juan Foyth are among their options.

– New Aston Villa heard coach Unai Emery wants to bring in Real Madrid's Eden Hazard and Nacho Fernandez, according to El Nacional. Spanish boss Emery left Villarreal for the Villans last month.

Juventus are ready to offer a new contract to French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, claims Tuttosport. Rabiot had been linked with an off-season move, with Manchester United mentioned as a possible destination, but has impressed this term.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Milan are putting together a bid for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January. The Moroccan winger is expected to cost less than €20million (£17.5m).

Inter are keen on Valencia left-back Jesus Vazquez in January and a mid-2023 move for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, reports La Gazetta dello Sport.

Barcelona have reportedly reignited their chase of Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva, and are said to be confident in their ability to get the deal done in January.

Silva, 28, has won four league titles with City since arriving at the club in 2017, and is enjoying another strong season after setting a new career-high with eight Premier League goals in the 2021-22 campaign.

The Portuguese international with 72 senior caps has two goals and five assists in his 12 league appearances this season, and has appeared in all six of City's Champions League group stage fixtures.

Barcelona have been linked with Silva for months, but after recent reports claimed they had moved on, a recent development has positively impacted the Spanish giants' financial situation and put the City star back on their radar.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA REVISIT CITY'S SILVA AFTER PIQUE RETIREMENT

According to Sport, the retirement of Gerard Pique has resulted in significantly improved financial flexibility for Barcelona, allowing them to revisit their long-standing interest in Silva.

The report claims City may be hesitant to part ways with a key contributor in the midst of a title chase, but that Silva had previously asked to leave the club before the failed sale of Frenkie de Jong muddied the waters.

Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo adds Barcelona will look at 31-year-old Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez as their top choice to fill the defensive void left by Pique's departure.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Chelsea are preparing to terminate the loan of Denis Zakaria, claiming they can not offer him regular starts and have no interest in activating the €28million buy clause in the deal.

– According to ESPN, Liverpool are the favourites ahead of Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United and City to land Borussia Dortmund phenom Jude Bellingham.

– The Leicester Mercury is reporting Leicester City will not allow Youri Tielemans to leave during the January transfer window, despite his contract expiring at the end of the season.

Milan are keeping a close eye on 22-year-old Spezia centre-back Jakub Kiwior, with Gazzetta dello Sport reporting they could make a move in January.

– According to La Razon, Aston Villa manager Unai Emery is interested in 25-year-old centre-back Pau Torres, who he coached at Villarreal.

Bernardo Silva can help Manchester City go top of the Premier League table with a win at Leicester City, while Aleksandar Mitrovic should also get the nod in your fantasy team this week.

Silva only came off the bench in City's goalless Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, so he should be fresh at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Mitrovic made it three top-flight goals in as many games in Fulham's win at Leeds United last weekend and can add to his tally for the season of nine when Everton visit Craven Cottage this weekend.

David Raya could earn you some points when Brentford face struggling Wolves, while Arsenal will need a win against Nottingham Forest to return to the summit if City are victorious and Ben White can help them keep a clean sheet.

Stats Perform use Opta data to pick out the men you should be looking at selecting this weekend.

 

David Raya (Brentford v Wolves)

Only Nick Pope and Ederson (both five) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Raya.

No team has scored fewer than Wolves' five goals this season and they also have the lowest shot conversion rate (3.45 per cent) along with the lowest goals differential of -8.01, with Opta having their expected goals tally at 13.01.

After suffering a 4-0 hammering at home to Leicester last weekend, it could be a painful trip to London for Wolves and Raya may be in for a quiet afternoon.

Ben White (Arsenal v Nottingham Forest)

Defender White can play a big part in bringing Forest back down to earth following their shock win over Liverpool.

Playing as right-back for the Gunners this season, White has provided two assists in his past four appearances - including one in the draw at Southampton last Sunday.

Kenny Tete and Kostas Tsimikas (both three) are the only defenders to have provided more assists in the competition this season and Arsenal will fancy their chances of ensuring Forest fire a blank.

Bernardo Silva (Leicester City v Manchester City)

Silva has already registered five assists in the Premier League for the champions this season.

The Portugal international averages an assist every 160 minutes he has been on the field this season, which is the best rate he has achieved since arriving at the club.

Silva has also scored twice and can cause lowly Leicester all sorts of problems.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham v Everton)

Only Erling Haaland (54.4) and Anthony Martial (52.5) have a better minutes per goal ratio than Mitrovic in the Premier League this season.

The Serbia striker is on a roll and could score in four consecutive league games for the second time in the 2022-23 campaign.

Third on the list of highest Premier League scorers this season behind Haaland (17) and Harry Kane (10), Mitrovic can ensure the Toffees come unstuck following their win over Crystal Palace.

Bernardo Silva does not think Manchester City should have had a goal disallowed in Sunday's defeat to Liverpool as the midfielder criticised referee Anthony Taylor for a lack of consistency.

City suffered their first league defeat of the season as they fell to a 1-0 loss at Anfield, with Mohamed Salah scoring a brilliant second-half winner.

Before that, Phil Foden had a goal wiped out following a VAR review, with referee Taylor urged to watch a replay on the pitchside monitor – a shirt-pull by Erling Haaland on Fabinho in the build-up led to the strike being disallowed.

That ultimately cost the champions a point, and Silva was particularly disgruntled by Taylor's decision given how he had refereed the game until that moment.

He told Sky Sports: "What we expect from the referees is consistency in the decisions.

"When you go through a path of not whistling little contacts through the whole game, you need to keep those decisions and keep going that way.

"If you want to whistle all of them, whistle all of them, but if from the beginning of the game you are not whistling all the little fouls, and we saw in this game the referee was letting us play, which is good, it's fine.

"Then, if there's a goal, you cannot whistle that soft one.

"If you want consistency from the referee, you cannot change just because there's a goal and just because it's a tough decision.

"You have to make the tough decision and keep the goal in my opinion."

Pep Guardiola is ignoring Liverpool's below-par start to the Premier League season ahead of Manchester City's trip to Anfield on Sunday, declaring: "Nothing changes what I feel about Liverpool."

City and Liverpool have finished as the Premier League's top two teams in three of the last four seasons, but the Reds trail the champions by 13 points after a poor start to the new campaign.

Liverpool's tally of 10 points is their lowest at this stage of a season since 2012-13 (nine), and Jurgen Klopp's team have already lost as many league games this campaign as they did throughout the entirety of last term (two).

That form represents quite the drop-off for a side who went tantalisingly close to a stunning quadruple in 2021-22, but Guardiola believes City will still face a stern test.

"I had the feeling at Anfield we have played really well [in the past]," Guardiola said on Friday. "It's different circumstances, but you have to behave at a top, top level. 

"In Anfield, winning or losing, we have behaved with an incredible personality. It's a football game, Liverpool is important because of the quality they have.

"Liverpool were going for a prestigious achievement of four titles. For two little details, they didn't achieve what no English team has done.

"I pay zero attention to them being in a good moment or bad moment. They know in the last years, we have fought for most of the competitions and titles, and it's been really close.

"We were a bit better, especially in the Premier League, but nothing changes what I feel about Liverpool."

Pushed on whether Liverpool remain title contenders, Guardiola said: "Liverpool have always been our biggest challengers, and they will be now. Being in the position that we are, with the World Cup, anything can happen."

City have picked up four points from their last two league trips to Anfield, just one fewer than they earned in their previous 17 visits to Liverpool (D5 L12).

Should Guardiola's men avoid defeat on Sunday, it will represent the first time they have done so in three consecutive away league games against Liverpool since December 1992.

City's efforts could be hampered by the absences of England trio Kalvin Phillips, John Stones and Kyle Walker, but Guardiola says Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva are raring to go after being rested at Copenhagen on Tuesday.

"John Stones will be back in, I don't know, maybe one week or 10 days. Kalvin is doing really well, but Kyle is out," Guardiola said.

"We have a lot of games, like all the teams. Players are recovering better. Erling could not play all the games last season. Bernardo was tired, but they feel good and are ready for Sunday."

Haaland has only played nine Premier League games for City, but he has already broken the records for most goals (15) and goal involvements (18) in a player's first 10 outings in the competition.

The Norwegian is just one goal away from matching the record for most goals scored by a player across any 10-game stint in Premier League history, set by former Liverpool attacker Luis Suarez – who from October to December 2013 scored 16 goals for the Reds.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly prepared to activate the €150million release clause in the contract of Milan forward Rafael Leao.

Leao, 23, has emerged as one of the top attacking players in the Serie A since arriving for €35million back in 2019, tallying a career-high 14 goals in all club competitions in the 2021-22 season before starting this campaign in blistering form.

The Portuguese star with 11 international caps has four goals and four assists from his first eight league games, as well as three assists from three Champions League fixtures, and it seems Paris Saint-Germain have seen enough to justify a substantial investment.

TOP STORY – PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN TO PULL THE TRIGGER ON MASSIVE LEAO RELEASE CLAUSE

French outlet Media Foot is reporting Paris Saint-Germain will return with bids for multiple big names they were unable to land in the past transfer window, and they could come in January.

The report mentions Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Luis Campos was responsible for bringing Leao to Lille in 2018, and as a result he has been monitoring the young talent for years.

With the futures of Lionel Messi and Neymar uncertain, Leao could represent the future of the club going forward, with Kylian Mbappe, and he is not the only big-money target mentioned in the report.

Paris Saint-Germain are said to also be returning with another offer to Inter for Milan Skriniar, and remain interested in Manchester City's Bernardo Silva.

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting Real Madrid have plans to replace Karim Benzema with City star Erling Haaland in 2024.

– According to The Independent, Manchester United are only going to make a move for one of Jude Bellingham or Frenkie de Jong, with the target yet to be decided.

– Liverpool's Naby Keita is a target for Barcelona, with the 27-year-old's contract set to expire at the end of this season.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli is demanding his wages be tripled before he agrees to a new contract.

– According to The i, Newcastle United are preparing bids for Leicester City midfielder James Maddison and Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby.

Jude Bellingham is attracting plenty of admirers with his impressive performances for Borussia Dortmund and England.

The 19-year-old midfielder joined Dortmund from Birmingham City in 2020.

Bellingham is contracted until 2025, but clubs are queueing up to sign the young prospect.

TOP STORY – BLUES JOIN QUEUE FOR BELLINGHAM

Chelsea are the latest club to join the race to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, reports the Telegraph.

Fabrizio Romano claims that Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Manchester United along with the Blues are all pursuing a deal for the teenager.

Romano reports that Dortmund are not in talks with any clubs yet, instead deferring any discussions and decision on a price tag until after the 2022 World Cup. The Telegraph claims that Bellingham will cost around £130 million (€145m).

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail reports Manchester City want assurances from Bernardo Silva that he will not push for a move at the end of this season following links with Barcelona during the last transfer window. City are said to be planning talks with Silva in the coming months.

– Barcelona are interested in Ilkay Gundogan, who has less than a year remaining on his Manchester City contract, reports Sport. The German midfielder, who turns 32 in October, has been with City since 2016.

– Karim Benzema and Real Madrid are close to agreeing to an extension on his contract, locking him down at the club until 2024, reports Italian journalist Nicolo Schira.

– Tuttosport claims Milan have offered Rafael Leao an improved contract worth €6million per season plus bonuses, as they attempt to fend off interest from Chelsea and Manchester City.

– The Sun claims Arsenal will make a January move for Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz after failing in an attempt to sign him on deadline day.

– Socceroos 18-year-old forward Garang Kuol has flown to England to sign with Newcastle United having reached an agreement with his Australian club Central Coast, claims Fabrizio Romano. Sky Sports reports that Kuol will be loaned out in January.

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