Massimiliano Allegri shut down talk of a Scudetto challenge as his improving Juventus prepare to face Milan at San Siro on Sunday.

The Bianconeri are on an eight-match unbeaten run in Serie A, their longest such streak since December 2020.

Having lost three times in six matches in a tough spell in October and November, Juve have won six and drawn two to close back to within a point of the top four, with Milan seven points ahead in second and champions Inter a further two clear at the top of the table.

Allegri, though, is not prepared to look beyond the challenge of facing the Rossoneri, who have lost only once in the past four league meetings with Juve, having been beaten in 14 of the previous 17.

"We're experiencing a good moment, but the path is still long because there are so many games left, and we're behind in the table," he told reporters on Saturday.

"Tomorrow is a great game to play. I'm sorry there are only 5,000 spectators; it would be nice to play these great events with full stadiums. It's an important match for the standings and we need to do well.

"We can't get too far ahead with things. We face Milan now, who have done a great job in the past year and a half. Congratulations to Stefano [Pioli], who has done an excellent job.

"We have to play an important game to keep close, to get to the end of February in the best condition in the table. We can't think too far ahead at this moment, or talk about the Scudetto."

Allegri delivered Milan their most recent league title back in 2011, after which they could only watch on as Juve embarked on a run of nine consecutive Scudetti before their run was halted by Inter last season.

Pioli's arrival has signalled a shift in the balance of power, though. Milan were second in 2020-21, a point above Juve in fourth, and are the obvious challengers to Simone Inzaghi's Inter this term.

 

Indeed, since the start of 2020-21, the Nerazzurri are the only side to have won more games (43) and earned more points (141) than Milan (39 wins and 127 points). In a league table of that time frame, Juve would be fifth.

Allegri suggested Juve are taking some inspiration from Milan's modern model as they look to move into a new era.

"Milan worked well, they did things in an orderly way and they chose good players. They're fighting for the title," Allegri said.

"Juve had nine wonderful years and won two trophies last season. This year, without [Cristiano] Ronaldo, there is more space for other players. We've played games with six players between the ages of 20 and 23.

"Young players give you strength, but they lack experience. You can only improve by playing matches."

The future of Paulo Dybala remains unclear but the Argentina star has history against Milan, with seven goals and five assists in 12 league games against them.

While he did not comment on contract talks with Dybala, Allegri certainly believes the forward is improving.

"Paulo is better physically. He's growing, he is very calm and this helps him because he can play more freely," he said.

"I would say he has less responsibility on his shoulders and I'm happy with what he's doing. He will give us a lot between now and the end of the season."

Juventus have ruled out a move for Manchester United's Anthony Martial after being boggled by the cost of a deal to bring in the Frenchman.

Club chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene said the expense that would be involved in recruiting the forward meant it was a non-starter.

Martial was absent from United's squad for Saturday's 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa, which interim manager Ralf Rangnick explained was down to the player not wanting to be included.

However, the 26-year-old denied that was the case, and he and Rangnick appear to have resolved their issues.

Ex-Monaco man Martial has scored 79 goals since his United debut in September 2015 – only Marcus Rashford (91) has scored more for the club in that period.

But he has played just 358 minutes in the first team this season, scoring only once, and a January exit may make sense for all parties. Martial is contracted to United until 2024.

Juventus have been linked with him, but Arrivabene told Sport Mediaset: "Absolutely not at those figures. We don't wait for them to come down, we don't wait at all. We don't talk about it."

Of more pressing concern may be the soon-to-expire contract of star Argentine forward Paulo Dybala, but Juventus appear relaxed about that matter, happy to wait until next month to address it.

"I said we would talk about it in February," Arrivabene said. "There is not only Dybala, but also [Juan] Cuadrado, [Mattia] Perin, [Federico] Bernardeschi who is a European champion and [Mattia] De Sciglio."

Juventus are confident such players will not be chasing pre-contract deals with other clubs in the meantime.

"We have excellent relations with the players," Arrivabene said. "They are very close to Juve. We talked and made an appointment for February. We will calmly do what we have to do."

Paulo Dybala said Juventus "don't play good football" after refusing to celebrate his goal in Saturday's 2-0 Serie A win over Udinese.

Dybala's future is in doubt as the Argentina forward's contract expires at the end of the season and the 28-year-old has been linked with a move to Serie A rivals Inter.

He did not celebrate his opener in the victory at the Allianz Stadium, instead glaring intensely towards the stands.

Asked if that was a signal to the club's directors over contract negotiations, Dybala dryly told Sky Sport Italia: "I invited a friend and couldn't see him. There are many people up there watching and I couldn’t find him."

After being asked if he was telling the truth, Dybala responded: "I don't know, that's up to you. There have been a lot of stories, and many things happened that I prefer not to talk about."

The result stretched Juve's unbeaten streak to eight games – only Inter have a longer run (12) – while they moved level on points with fourth-placed Atalanta as they chase a Champions League qualification spot.

Since the start of November, Juve have gained 26 points in Serie A – more than any other side in this period, although Inter (25) and Atalanta (22) have played two fewer games.

Dybala was less than complementary about Juve's playing style, though, and said they need to focus on working harder than their opponents during the closing months of the season.

"I think we played well. We must try to be more consistent after scoring goals, as too often we score and then start to defend more, become afraid of attacking, and we can't keep doing that," he added.

"We are Juventus, of course we are in the running for the Champions League spots and must try to win. We don't play good football; that is not our strength, so we need to focus on hunger and trying to run harder than anyone else."

Juve are next in action on Tuesday when they host Sampdoria in the last 16 of the Coppa Italia. 

Juventus maintained their push for a Champions League qualification spot as goals from Paulo Dybala and Weston McKennie sealed a 2-0 win over Udinese at the Allianz Stadium.

Massimiliano Allegri's side produced a stirring fightback to beat Roma 4-3 last weekend, but they needed no such drama to record a 10th win in their last 13 top-flight games against Udinese on Saturday.

Dybala was comfortably Juve's brightest spark and he put them ahead in composed fashion, with McKennie adding a second late on. 

The result lifted fifth-placed Juve onto the same points as Atalanta, who occupy the last Champions League qualification spot, although Gian Piero Gasperini's men do have two games in hand. 

Juve were dominant in the early stages and deservedly went ahead in the 19th minute courtesy of Dybala's seventh Serie A goal of the season.

The Argentina international did well to adjust his feet after receiving a deflected pass from strike partner Moise Keane before coolly lifting the ball over the onrushing Daniele Padelli.

Udinese's goalkeeper pushed away a Juan Cuadrado free-kick from an acute angle on the hour mark, while Dybala whipped narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area. 

Yet the result was wrapped up when an unmarked McKennie headed in Mattia De Sciglio's left-wing cross from six yards, the United States international's third league goal of the campaign. 

What does it mean? Juve rarely tested by tepid visitors

Juve were miles off their best but they scarcely needed to get out of second gear to ease past a poor Udinese outfit, who have lost two Serie A matches in a row for the first time since September. 

Allegri's men have now won their last six top-flight home games against Udinese, scoring at least two goals in all of them. The last time they registered a longer home winning streak against the Friulians was between 1980 and 1987 (seven).

Dybala proves his worth

Dybala, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has been linked with a move to Serie A rivals Inter and he showed here why Juve are desperate to tie him down.

The 28-year-old was his side's best player and has now scored more times against Udinese than any other side in the Italian top flight (10 goals in 17 games).

Kean off the pace

Kean struggled in attack for the hosts, taking just one shot and failing to play a single key pass before he was hauled off for Morata in the 64th minute. 

He did play a crucial part in Juve's opener, however, with his flick turned into Dybala's path by a defender's accidental touch.

What's next?

Both sides are in Coppa Italia round-of-16 action on Tuesday, with Juve hosting Sampdoria and Udinese visiting Lazio. 

Inter have been linked with Juventus star Paulo Dybala, but Simone Inzaghi instead focused on his delight with the recent form of Alexis Sanchez.

Dybala is out of contract at Juve at the end of the campaign and recent reports have suggested that the Nerazzurri will move to add him to their ranks ahead of next season.

But speaking at a news conference ahead of Inter's trip to Atalanta on Sunday, Inzaghi refused to comment on the possibility of moving for the Argentine, who has scored nine goals and registered four assists in 20 games in all competitions for the Old Lady this season.

"I've read and heard things but I don't like talking about players from other teams, I'm proud of the ones I have," he told reporters.

One of the players the former Lazio manager is proud of is Sanchez, who scored the winning goal in the last minute of extra time as Inter beat Juve 2-1 in the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday.

"Sanchez has been decisive and I am happy to coach him," Inzaghi added. "For a coach, to see the action that determined the match, with the four players who came on during the match and [Arturo] Vidal was also decisive with his entrance, is a great satisfaction.

"Sanchez is a great asset, but I'll evaluate him for the game against Atalanta.

"I've already said it, Sanchez is a champion who always wants to learn. He didn't need the goal against Juve, he's already settled down for two months."

Inzaghi also had words of praise for Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini, who once again has the Bergamo side in the top four of Serie A, three points ahead of Juve in fifth with a game in hand, with only Inter (51) and Milan (46) having scored more goals in the league than Atalanta's 44.

"Gasperini has been doing well for many years at Atalanta," he said. "Football has evolved over the years and occupying space at the right time is increasingly important.

"It's going to be a good, physical game, one to be experienced. Like the first game [2-2 at San Siro in September], with a very high tempo."

Despite being eight points behind Inter heading into the game, when asked if Sunday's opponents are a part of the race for the Scudetto, Inzaghi insisted: "Absolutely. Atalanta are in fourth place and they're improving all the time. It's a title race match."

Massimiliano Allegri says there is no questioning the "extraordinary" Paulo Dybala's value to Juventus and does not expect Arthur to leave this month.

Dybala's future is in doubt as the Argentina forward's contract expires at the end of the season and the 28-year-old has been linked with a move to Serie A rivals Inter.

Juve director Maurizio Arrivabene this week called for Dybala and his team-mates to show "character, grit and a desire to win" as the Turin giants battle for a Champions League spot.

Bianconeri head coach Allegri, who will take charge of the club for a 300th time when they face Udinese in Serie A on Saturday, says Dybala still has a big part to play.

He said: "The evaluations of the contracts are the job of the company, they are not things that concern me.

"I raised Dybala, he was a child when he arrived from Palermo, now he's grown up and he's an extraordinary player. I expect a lot [from Dybala] in this second part of the season. The value of the player is not discussed. He is a great player "

He added: "We are in a situation where we are temporarily out of the Champions League, so all the evaluations will be done in March/April. Juventus plans like this and we have to think about playing and working, we will see the rest later."

Midfielder Arthur has been strongly linked with a move to Premier League side Arsenal during the January transfer window.

Allegri is not planning for life without the Brazilian and also reiterated that Alvaro Morata will not be departing.

He said: "I don’t want to repeat myself. We have to get to the end of the season with these players in the best possible way.

"This means trying to reach the top four and go ahead in the Champions League and Coppa Italia."

Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci will miss Udinese's visit to Allianz Stadium due to a muscle injury.

Donny van de Beek has struggled to make much of an impression since his £35million move to Manchester United from Ajax in September 2020.

The Netherlands international was overlooked for regular selection by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and is also a fringe player under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

But Van de Beek, who previously starred in a talented Ajax side, could be offered a route out of Old Trafford this month.


TOP STORY – DORTMUND, NEWCASTLE IN FOR VAN DE BEEK

Van de Beek is reportedly considering a move away in order to win back his place in the Netherlands side.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Bundesliga heavyweights Dortmund and Premier League strugglers Newcastle United are possible suitors for the midfielder.

However, United will have the final say on any loan deal, which would not be expected to contain an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the campaign.

The 24-year-old has featured 49 times for the Red Devils – just 19 of those being starts – since arriving at the club 16 months ago.


ROUND-UP

– Barcelona will make one final effort to sign Alvaro Morata this month, according to Sport. Memphis Depay could be used as part of any deal.

– Liverpool want to sign Jarrod Bowen and the West Ham forward is keen on the move, says Football Insider. It will not be in January, though.

– Desperate for a replacement for Kieran Trippier, Atletico Madrid are interested in Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, according to AS.

– Tuttomercatoweb says Arthur is keen on the idea of joining Arsenal on loan, but Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri have yet to okay any departure.

– Meanwhile, TMW also claims Paulo Dybala is not yet prepared to listen to offers from other clubs, with a contract summit with Juventus set for February.

– The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal are frontrunners to sign Youri Tielemans after Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers admitted the midfielder may leave the club.

Jose Mourinho's Roma threw away a two-goal lead and squandered a late penalty as they lost 4-3 to 10-man Juventus in a whirlwind Stadio Olimpico clash.

The game was set up nicely after an early goal for each team from Tammy Abraham and Paulo Dybala, before a chaotic second period saw two strikes from distance by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini put the hosts apparently in charge.

However, a remarkable seven-minute turnaround saw goals from Manuel Locatelli, Dejan Kulusevski and Mattia De Sciglio put Juventus in front, before a Wojciech Szczesny penalty save from Pellegrini completed a miserable final 20 minutes for the Giallorossi.

Juve suffered a blow when Federico Chiesa was forced to come off with a knee injury in the first half following a tackle from Chris Smalling, and then saw Matthijs de Ligt sent off for a second yellow card in a handball incident that led to Roma's spot-kick, but they held on for a famous win in the Italian capital.

January 1 ushers the start of a new year and, for many, a chance for a fresh start. That is particularly true in the world of football as it signals the day the transfer window opens and some of Europe's top talents can plot a lucrative move elsewhere.

A number of the sport's top talents, including Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, are due to be out of contract at the end of 2021-22 and can therefore open talks with teams abroad in January.

While the futures of Mbappe and Pogba will be heavily discussed in the coming weeks, other big names across the continent will also become that little more attractive to buyers given their availability on a free (notwithstanding their lucrative salaries, of course!).

Stats Perform looks at the best players soon to be out of contract and therefore available to sign pre-contract agreements elsewhere from January 1.

 

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

Where better place to start than with a goalkeeper potentially seeking a new destination. Lloris has spent 10 seasons with Tottenham and has captained the side for the past six years, while also skippering the France national team since 2012.

Spurs have historically been reluctant to offer long-term deals to players in their 30s and that policy could see them lose one of European football's finest goalkeepers from the past decade. He has racked up 392 appearances for Tottenham, keeping 131 clean sheets in the process.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Martial did not quite transform into the superstar forward many were expecting upon joining United from Monaco six years ago, but neither has the France international been as big a flop as some would suggest.

Indeed, since making his Premier League debut in September 2015, only Marcus Rashford (57) has scored more goals for United than Martial's 56. Those goals have come from an expected goals (xG) return of 43, with that xG differential of 13 the largest of any player at the club in that timeframe.

 

Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

Chelsea face the prospect of losing four defenders without receiving a fee of any sort at the end of the campaign, with Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Rudiger all nearing the end of their respective contracts.

Tying down Rudiger to fresh terms should be the priority, given there has arguably been no better defender in the Premier League since Thomas Tuchel first took charge of Chelsea on January 27, backed up by the centre-back's Premier League-leading 17 clean sheets over that period.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

No player has quite dominated the transfer column inches in the same manner as Pogba in recent years and, with no sign of a new contract being signed anytime soon, it now looks certain the 28-year-old will depart United for a second time.

Pogba may have struggled for consistency at Old Trafford, not helped by niggling injury issues, but he has averaged one assist per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season – a tally not matched by any player to have played more than once.

Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

PSG rejected multiple offers from Real Madrid in 2020, but as it stands they are powerless to stop one of the game's leading lights departing at the end of the season.

As well as breaking a number of goalscoring records, Mbappe's 215 direct goal involvements in all competitions since making his PSG debut in September 2017 – 147 goals of his own and 68 assists – is a tally bettered by only Robert Lewandowski (242) and Lionel Messi (246).

 

Marcelo Brozovic (Inter)

Inter have so far been able to persuade Nicola Barella and Lautaro Martinez to extend their stays at San Siro, but Brozovic's future remains unclear heading into the new year.

Brozovic was a key part of Inter's Scudetto-winning side last term, featuring in 33 of their 38 games, and has started all 19 of their matches this campaign. Only Ruben Dias (1,713), Joao Cancelo (1,803) and William Saliba (1,840) have played more successful passes than the Croatia international (1,681) among players from Europe's top five leagues in 2021-22.

Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Gareth Bale and Isco are two high-profile Madrid players set to move on either in January or at the end of the season, but as well as trying to seal Mbappe's signing, Madrid's other priority might be ensuring Modric does not bring an end to his decade-long spell at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2022.

Proving that age is just a number, 36-year-old Modric has been as good as ever for LaLiga leaders Madrid this season. The six big chances created by the midfielder in 2020-21, leading to four assists, has been bettered by only four others in the division.

 

Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)

Dembele has struggled to come close to justifying his hefty transfer fee, reported to be an initial €105million, but he was recently described as having the potential to be the best attacking player in the world by head coach Xavi.

Barca president Joan Laporta is also eager to keep hold of Dembele, who has managed 30 goals and 22 assists in 126 appearances since his debut in September 2017, meaning he has been directly involved in 0.6 goals per 90 minutes. For comparison, that is an identical number to Antoine Griezmann during his short-lived stint at Camp Nou.

Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Strongly touted as a target for the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Zakaria will depart Borussia Monchengladbach in 2022 after confirming to the German club that he intends to run down his contract.

The defensive midfielder averages 52.3 passes every 90 minutes and 47.1 successful ones, the latter being the ninth-most this season among Bundesliga midfielders with at least 500 minutes played. Among the same group of players, only seven average more than his two successful dribbles every 90 minutes – all of those being more attack-minded players.

Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

Dybala has indicated that he wants to remain a Juventus player beyond this season but the longer talks over a new deal drag on, the more unlikely it appears he will still be in Turin six months from now – and that would be a major blow for the Bianconeri during an already difficult period.

The Argentina international has eight goals and four assists in 17 appearances this term, without being at what many would consider his best form – at least three more direct goal involvements than Juve's next most threatening player Alvaro Morata and double that of Federico Bernardeschi in third.

Paulo Dybala could be the subject of an audacious swoop from Juventus' Serie A rivals Inter.

The Argentine forward has a contract at the Allianz Stadium until June 2022 and previous reports had suggested a renewal was a mere formality.

However, it seems the situation is not quite as simple as once thought.

TOP STORY – INTER TO PLAY THE LONG GAME WITH DYBALA?

Prominent Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri explained there is the possibility that Juve's pursuit of Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic may open up the opportunity for the Dybala move to take place.

Inter have had their financial troubles, which led to the exits of Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi in the last window.

But the Nerazzurri are attempting to offload huge earner Alexis Sanchez, which could free up funds to bring Dybala to San Siro.

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are admirers of Chelsea full-back Reece James, according to El Nacional. The Catalan publication says Los Blancos could offer the Blues the chance to re-sign Eden Hazard in order to secure a deal.

- Antonio Rudiger looks far more likely to leave Stamford Bridge for the Santiago Bernabeu. AS reports PSG and Bayern Munich are also interested in the Germany centre-back, although the defender wants to join Madrid.

- Sticking with Madrid, and out-of-favour midfielder Dani Ceballos looks certain to depart the capital. A return to Real Betis is being touted by Mundo Deportivo.

- In the Premier League, Anthony Martial's long-term future at Manchester United remains up in the air. The France forward has told interim boss Ralf Rangnick he wants to depart Old Trafford, according to Goal.

- Over in the blue half of Manchester, Ferran Torres' switch from City to Barcelona is set to move a step closer with Sport reporting a medical is booked in for Monday.

- Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set for a fresh start in Serie A, so say Goal. The versatile midfielder is said to be on the cusp of securing a loan switch to Jose Mourinho's Roma.

- Napoli have yet to tie down Lorenzo Insigne to fresh terms. Links to Inter and Tottenham have run hot and cold, but MLS outfit Toronto are thought to be serious about the forward, offering him a €5million per year deal, say Calciomercato.com.

Serial trophy winner Medhi Benatia announced his retirement on Thursday as Juventus and Bayern Munich stars past and present hailed the powerhouse defender.

The 34-year-old former Morocco captain played a part in five consecutive league championship wins, firstly when landing two Bundesliga titles at Bayern in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

He joined Juventus from the German giants and featured in each of the next three campaigns as the Turin giants mopped up successive Scudetto triumphs, also leading his country at the 2018 World Cup.

Benatia was born in France and began his career in the Marseille youth set-up. He shot to prominence after a move from Clermont to Udinese in 2010, which paved the way for a switch to Roma in 2013, and one year later he was prised away by Bayern amid a scramble by elite clubs for his services.

After a double-winning second season, Benatia moved on to Juventus in 2016, before leaving the Bianconeri to sign for Qatari outfit Al-Duhail midway through the 2018-19 season.

While at Juventus, he was part of the squad that reached the 2016-17 Champions League final and also won the Coppa Italia twice. Most recently he has been with Turkish Super Lig side Fatih Karagumruk, who said Benatia had retired because of injury.

Responding to Benatia's announcement, which he revealed on Instagram, Juventus striker Paulo Dybala sent a heart emoji to his former team-mate. Ex-Bayern winger Franck Ribery did likewise, with current Juve full-back Juan Cuadrado and former favourite Sami Khedira also among those that sent greetings.

Blaise Matuidi, the former Juventus and France midfield general, wrote: "What a career, my brother. I remember those days at [French national football centre] Clairefontaine where we began to dream of being a professional footballer, but by dint of work you did much more than that. Incredible clubs, captain of a nation and having won a good number of titles, you can only be proud brother."

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly joined in the praise, writing: "Bravo capitano. Great man, great career, very good player and finally an example."

Paris Saint-Germain full-back Achraf Hakimi praised his former national team skipper, with the message: "Capitanooo. Good luck in your new stage big bro."

Announcing his decision to retire, Benatia said: "From a young age I had only one dream, to become a professional footballer. To get there, I had to force myself to work hard, make sacrifices, but above all set new goals at each stage of my career.

"This job has also allowed me to defend and represent my country, Morocco, with whom I have experienced unforgettable moments... in particular the 2018 World Cup."

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed he will rotate his side against Malmo, though Paulo Dybala will start for the Bianconeri.

Juve have already secured qualification for the next round of the Champions League, level on 12 points with Chelsea at the top of Group H heading into the final matchday.

Allegri's side, though, were crushed 4-0 by Thomas Tuchel's reigning European champions last time out, the Bianconeri's heaviest defeat in the competition and second-heaviest defeat in European Cup/Champions League history.

Chelsea visit Zenit on Wednesday and Juve host Malmo, who have won just one of their last eight meetings with Italian opposition in Europe's premier competition, but Allegri confirmed he would make mass changes despite top spot being up for grabs.

"Tomorrow, [Matteo] Perin, [Daniele] Rugani, Alex Sandro and [Adrien] Rabiot will play," Allegri told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. 

"We will see how [Moise] Kean is doing after he took a hit on Sunday. [Mattia] De Sciglio is back and I hope to give him a few minutes. We have to close the group well to prepare for the league match [at Venezia on Saturday].

"Arthur is fine and we'll see tomorrow morning because I have [Dejan] Kulusevski out and we only have [Federico] Bernardeschi as a winger. Let's see if we can play with three midfielders."

Allegri also confirmed that talisman Dybala, who has been directly involved in seven goals in as many Champions League appearances, would start after scoring in consecutive league games against Salernitana and Genoa.

"Paulo is fine, he'll be available tomorrow and he doesn't need to rest," Allegri added. "He's been out for a long time and he needs to play."

Asked whether finishing first or second in the group would make a difference for the next round of the competition, Allegri responded: "Apart from Liverpool, City and Bayern Munich the other things are still to be seen.

"We need to be lucky in the draw. It is important to have passed this round then let's see who gets us."

Juve are 11 points behind Serie A leaders Milan and seven behind Atalanta in the final Champions League qualification spot but Allegri insisted he is not concerned about being behind the pace at this point.

"When we win we are better, we train better, we are more serene," he continued. "We play and train to win all the games. And when we win the games, we work more peacefully, which is the most important thing.

"We take one step at a time. In the league we are behind, the four in front are travelling at an impressive rate. We can only try to win as many games as possible and hope that they falter in front but right now they are not failing."

For so long, Paulo Dybala has been tipped to extend his Juventus contract.

However, Dybala is yet to put pen to paper as his current deal winds down.

Liverpool are reportedly monitoring the situation and are ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA EMERGES AS LIVERPOOL TARGET

Liverpool are interested in signing soon-to-be Juventus free agent Paulo Dybala, according to Calciomercato.

Dybala is out of contract at the end of the season and while there have been negotiations, the Juve star is yet to re-sign in Turin.

The situation has reportedly alerted Premier League giants Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- El Nacional claims Real Madrid are eyeing Rennes sensation Lovro Majer as the successor to fellow Croatian Luka Modric at the Santiago Bernabeu. Modric is out of contract at season's end and has been linked with Premier League champions Manchester City.

Ousmane Dembele wants to rebuild his career away from Barcelona, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Frenchman has been linked with Manchester United, Newcastle United, Tottenham and Chelsea.

- United forward Edinson Cavani is an option for Barca as they look to bolster their attack, says Mundo Deportivo. Basel's Arthur Cabral has emerged as a possible January option.

Jose Mourinho's job at Roma is not in danger, according to Fabrizio Romano. Roma have only won three of their past nine Serie A fixtures.

- Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is still set to join Serie A champions Inter despite interest from Barca, per Romano.

- Former RB Leipzig head coach Jesse Marsch is an option to join Ralf Rangnick's coaching staff at United. Marsch was sacked by Bundesliga side Leipzig earlier this week.

Juventus moved up to fifth in Serie A as goals from Juan Cuadrado and Paulo Dybala sealed a 2-0 win over Genoa at the Allianz Stadium.

Cuadrado got Juve on their way in the ninth minute of Sunday's game, the wing-back whipping in straight from a corner for his third league goal of the campaign.

Salvatore Sirigu made a string of saves to deny Juve after that, but Dybala ensured there was to be no tense finale with a fine finish eight minutes from full-time.

Despite now winning four of their last five Serie A matches, Juve are still seven points adrift of fourth-placed Atalanta, while Genoa remain 18th and two points from safety.

Juve went ahead when Cuadrado's corner from the left looped over Sirigu and in off the underside of the crossbar, the Colombia international becoming only the eighth player to score directly from a corner in Serie A since 2010.

Sirigu blocked a Federico Bernardeschi effort at his near post soon after, and the Genoa goalkeeper did superbly to keep out Matthijs de Ligt's initial header and close-range follow-up in the 37th minute.

Sirigu was called into action again on the stroke of half-time, this time repelling Alvaro Morata's strike on the stretch after an incisive break.

Dybala whipped over at the start of the second period, before an inspired Sirigu denied Morata, Dybala and Cuadrado in quick succession.

Argentina international Dybala did eventually get the better of Sirigu, firing across him from the left-hand side of the penalty area after being played in by Bernardeschi.

Juventus returned to winning ways in Serie A with a routine 2-0 victory over bottom side Salernitana.

Massimiliano Allegri ruled Juve out of the title race after their defeat to Atalanta on Saturday, which followed a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea in the Champions League.

But Juve hit back on Tuesday, Paulo Dybala breaking the deadlock in the 21st minute, though he did send a stoppage-time penalty way over the crossbar.

Dybala's penalty miss was never going to prove costly, however, with Alvaro Morata having already sealed the points in the 70th minute.

Aiming to avoid a third successive defeat against newly promoted sides in Serie A for the first time, Juve started well with Dejan Kulusevski shooting just wide.

Kulusevski turned provider as Juve's pressure told in the 21st minute – Dybala exchanging a neat one-two with the winger before firing low beyond Vid Belec.

Giorgio Chiellini thought he had doubled the lead when he tucked home the rebound after Juan Cuadrado's free-kick was tipped onto the post, but he was denied a first league goal of the season following a VAR check, with Moise Kean deemed to have strayed offside.

Salernitana had a glorious opportunity to equalise when the ball broke kindly for Luca Ranieri in the 57th minute, but his effort crashed against the woodwork with Wojciech Szczesny beaten.

It proved costly as, just three minutes after entering the action, Morata was in the right place to flick home Federico Bernardeschi's low cross.

Dybala had the chance to put the icing on the cake from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game, but slipped at the vital moment and sliced his effort high over the goal.

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