The Gareth Bale transfer saga continues to roll on as he remains frozen out at Spanish giants Real Madrid with seemingly no way back.

The 30-year-old was linked with a move to China in the summer but the move did not materialise and Bale has since continued to find himself out of favour with Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

All is not lost for Bale though with three Premier League clubs battling for the Welshman's signature in January, as he builds towards a possible Euro 2020 campaign with Wales next June.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE TRIO KEEN TO SIGN BALE IN JANUARY

Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have all been linked with a January swoop for Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, according to AS.

The three Premier League giants are seeking solutions to solve inconsistent starts to their respective seasons and believe the Welshman could provide a timely boost leading into 2020.

Bale is seen as the perfect fit for a return to Premier League football, having maintained his good reputation from time spent with Southampton and Spurs, but it remains to be seen whether Madrid's asking price or the player's wage demands will be met. 

Marca believe Bale could revisit a potential move to China, however, with the player's agent believed to be in talks with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter Milan are hopeful of signing Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen on a free transfer this summer, according to The Guardian.

- Sky Italia say Inter are also considering a move for out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic, which would see the Serbian reunite with Antonio Conte.

- Staying in Serie A and Corriere dello Sport claim Roma have rejected the opportunity to sign former Sunderland flop Jack Rodwell on a free transfer.

- Corriere dello Sport also believe Napoli have pulled the plug on a potential move for Salzburg star Erling Braut Haaland as they expect the 19-year-old to join Manchester United in January.

- Manchester City will replace Leroy Sane with Real Sociedad playmaker Mikel Oyarzabal should the Germany winger get his move to Bayern Munich, according to Sky Sports.

- Turkish news outlet Takvim claim Besiktas are keen to cancel their two-year loan agreement with Liverpool for goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Liverpool midfielder James Milner believes the atmosphere at Premier League games is being "ruined" by VAR and has called for a review of its use.

There were yet more high-profile incidents involving the technology this weekend, with Arsenal and Everton both on the receiving end of highly contentious calls.

Milner is the latest player to question VAR in its current guise, claiming it leaves supporters unsure whether to celebrate a goal due to a fear it will be ruled out.

"I'm not a fan at all," he told The Guardian. "It might just be the old school part of me, but I think there's still too much debate around VAR. 

"Goal-line technology is incredible - it's instant decision. Black and white. But it's very hard to use VAR when you've still got opinions on the decisions and the atmosphere is being ruined. 

"You score, there's an explosion of noise and then it's over to VAR. You wait. Is it a goal?"

Milner benefited from a late VAR intervention to convert a stoppage-time penalty in Liverpool's 2-1 win against Leicester City on October 5.

The 33-year-old has sympathy for match officials but worries the system is having a negative impact on the sport.

"I had the experience of a penalty the other week," he said. "That was a new experience as they're debating if it's going to be a penalty.

"I think there's use for it - if we can improve it. But football is a game of human error on the field and in officiating as well. 

"They have a very tough job and I'm all for making their lives easier, but not at the expense of the flow of the game.

"If the VAR took away controversy I'd back it 100 per cent. But we're still having discussions about VAR. I don't think many footballers feel differently."

Liverpool lead the way at the top of the Premier League after 10 matches, sitting six points clear of reigning champions Manchester City.

After coming out second best in a tense title battle with City last season, the ex-England international is hoping the Reds can go one step further this term.

"It's so difficult to win the league," he said. "I've been fortunate to win it a couple of times and last year we were so close. 

"We were flying. We were winning every week and felt we should be 10 points clear. And you're still second. 

"Last year, if you'd have said: 'You'll only lose one [league] game all season,' I'd have snapped your hand off. But it wasn't good enough.

"This season we have a team that can do it. I think there's a calm around the club, both inside and outside, and people are confident we can get it done. 

"But City are so good they're capable of winning every game. The gap is not that big so we have to just keep pushing, and not worry too much about the title."

Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac has lamented the lack of time coaches are given to implement their ideas at a football club.

Despite leading Bayern to Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal success last season, Kovac oversaw a disappointing round-of-16 exit in the Champions League and his position has come under scrutiny in the early stages of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Bavarian giants have won just five of their nine league games and sit a point behind Borussia Monchengladbach at the Bundesliga summit, leading to speculation that Jose Mourinho has been lined up as a replacement for Kovac.

Speaking ahead of his side's DFB-Pokal second-round tie with Bochum on Tuesday, Kovac expressed his frustration at the lack of continuity in coaching and pointed to Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool as a positive example of what can happen if a coach is given time.

"You need time," he told a media conference. "You have to get to know your colleagues and the procedures, but that does not seem to apply to coaches. It's not about me, but about this issue in general.

"Klopp is now at Liverpool for four years, so we talk about continuity. Apparently, it no longer exists in football."

Kovac is likely to make changes for the visit to Bochum but would not be drawn on whether Philippe Coutinho would be rested.

Coutinho has impressed following his loan move from Barcelona, but Kovac is not happy with the attacking midfielder playing a combined 150 minutes in Brazil's friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria earlier this month.

"I am very satisfied with him," he said. "He always puts himself in the service of the team. Maybe he should not play so much every time he's with the national team. 

"The burden of flying and playing is quite high so we have to try to talk to the national coach."

Kovac confirmed that Javi Martinez is the only injury absentee for the clash at the Ruhrstadion, with Leon Goretzka expected to make his first start since the DFL-Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund on August 3.

Dejan Lovren has described Liverpool's defeat of Tottenham as a "massive, massive win" and says the Reds are getting smarter in the Premier League title race.

Having drawn 1-1 at Manchester United last Sunday to end their eight-game winning run at the start of the season, Liverpool looked in danger of a first league defeat of 2019-20 when Harry Kane put Spurs 1-0 up at Anfield on Sunday in the first minute.

There was further concern for Jurgen Klopp's side when Son Heung-min hit the crossbar early in the second half, just four minutes before Jordan Henderson levelled the scores.

Liverpool's pressure finally told when Serge Aurier fouled Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah struck the winner from the penalty spot with 15 minutes left, ensuring the leaders moved six points clear of champions Manchester City at the top of the table.

"We knew it would be a tough game, even though they didn't have brilliant results in the last couple of games," centre-back Lovren, who made only his second league appearance of the season, told Liverpool's website.

"We knew it would be tough and unfortunately they scored in the first minute, but we kept our nerve, played our game and we had many chances.

"We came in at half-time and the boss said: 'Usually I never say this, but I am satisfied even though we are 1-0 down. But we need to continue like that and keep our nerve'.

"We knew we would have another chance and we did it. It's a massive, massive win."

Although he is not prepared to look too far ahead, Lovren thinks Liverpool are in a stronger position to sustain their advantage in the title race, having lost a lead to City last season.

"Let's say that every season we are smarter and smarter," he said. "Definitely we've learned from all the years before and what kind of pressure we can play. We are used to it. We did it last year.

"We know what we need to do, but, like I said, let's not talk six or seven months up front. Let's go game by game. This is key."

Rumours linking Paul Pogba to Real Madrid are refusing to go away.

Pogba – nursing an ankle injury which is set to keep him sidelined until December – wanted to leave Manchester United in the previous transfer window but a move did not materialise.

With the January window approaching, Madrid are eyeing the French star again.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID PLOTTING POGBA PURCHASE

Real Madrid are preparing to make a January bid for Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to OK Diario.

Pogba was wanted by Madrid and former club Juventus in the previous window as he eyed an Old Trafford exit, yet United were unwilling to part with their prized asset.

But with Pogba reportedly set to make it clear he will not renew his United contract beyond 2021, Madrid are lining up a €150million (£129.5m) offer.

 

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- Another Frenchman is also reportedly high on Madrid's radar. AS reports the Spanish powerhouse are hoping to take advantage of a tense relationship between Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe and head coach Thomas Tuchel. Madrid are determined to lure Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.

- Linked with Madrid and LaLiga champions Barcelona, in-demand Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is also wanted by Premier League holders Manchester City. Gazzetta dello Sport claims City are set to make an approach for the Spain international.

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are interested in Inter forward Lautaro Martinez. The Argentina international has been linked with Barca after his agent previously revealed the club's interest in Martinez. Now, Ernesto Valverde's side are eyeing the in-form marksman – who has also reportedly attracted the attention of Manchester United – as Inter pursue Barca pair Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal.

United are prepared to meet Borussia Dortmund's demands for England sensation Jadon Sancho, reports the Mirror. Sancho has also been linked to Liverpool and Madrid.

Stefano Sensi's exploits at Inter have not gone unnoticed. On loan from Sassuolo with the option to buy, Sport says there is already contact between Barca, Inter and the player's agent.

Leicester City equalled a Premier League record that had been unchallenged since March 1995 when they destroyed Southampton 9-0 on Friday.

Their thumping win at St Mary's was the joint-biggest margin of victory in the Premier League, level with Manchester United's 9-0 thrashing of Ipswich Town.

Leaders Liverpool came from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 at Liverpool and maintain their six-point advantage over Manchester City at the summit.

Manchester United missed two penalties in their 3-1 win at Norwich City, while Christian Pulisic shone as Chelsea beat Burnley 4-2.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the major stories from this weekend's big games.

 

FOXES MAKE HISTORY AGAINST SORRY SAINTS

Brendan Rodgers' Leicester took full advantage of Ryan Bertrand's early dismissal for Southampton, steamrollering the Saints on their way to a slice of Premier League history. 

The margin of victory is the largest by a top-flight side away from home in the 131-year history of league football in England. It was also Southampton's biggest defeat of all time.

Leicester became the second team to have two players score a hat-trick in the same Premier League game (Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy) after Arsenal duo Jermaine Pennant and Robert Pires in May 2003 – also against Southampton.

The breathtaking result means the Foxes have 20 points after 10 games – one more than at the same stage of their 2015-16 title-winning campaign.

SPURS LATEST TO FALL FOUL OF RELENTLESS REDS

Liverpool have now gone 20 Premier League games unbeaten against 'big six' opposition at Anfield following their slender win over Tottenham.

They got off to a terrible start, however, with Harry Kane scoring inside the first minute for Mauricio Pochettino's side. It was the striker's 150th goal involvement (131 goals, 19 assists) in the top flight in what was his 191st appearance in the competition.

Jurgen Klopp's side clawed their way back into the game courtesy of Jordan Henderson's first Premier League home goal since December 2015 before Serge Aurier's foul on Sadio Mane allowed Mohamed Salah to seal the win from the penalty spot.

Aurier has now conceded four penalties in 48 games in all competitions since his Spurs debut in September 2017 – no Premier League player has given away more.

It could have been worse for Tottenham, but Paulo Gazzaniga was in inspired form. The Argentinian made 12 saves, which was the most by a goalkeeper in the Premier League since David de Gea against Arsenal in December 2017 (14).

PULISIC POWERS CHELSEA CLOSER TO CLUB RECORD

Christian Pulisic arrived at Turf Moor with a point to prove and did exactly that with a stellar treble in Chelsea's convincing 4-2 victory over Burnley.

The 21-year-old became the second American – behind Clint Dempsey – to score three times in a Premier League match and the youngest to do so for the Blues.

Willian later buried his third goal in six appearances in all competitions, as many as he netted in his previous 30 outings combined.

Chelsea now need one more away victory to equal their record winning streak on the road of seven in all competitions, set between February and April 1989.

UNITED BACK TO WINNING WAYS DESPITE PENALTY WOES

Manchester United ended a run of eight league games without a win on the road as they saw off Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Scott McTominay's opener saw United become the first team in Premier League history to reach 2,000 goals in the competition.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side could have won by a far greater margin but Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were denied by Tim Krul from the penalty spot.  

The former Newcastle United man became the eighth different goalkeeper in Premier League history to save two spot-kicks in a game, and the first to do so since Maarten Stekelenburg for Everton in October 2016.

Rashford bounced back from his miss, however, to score his 50th goal in all competitions for the club with a cool finish under Krul.

Mauricio Pochettino believes Liverpool were awarded a "soft" penalty in their 2-1 Premier League victory against Tottenham but accepted the referee's decision to point to the spot.

Sunday's clash at Anfield was poised at 1-1 when referee Anthony Taylor adjudged that Spurs full-back Serge Aurier had fouled Sadio Mane inside the box.

Mohamed Salah converted the subsequent spot-kick 15 minutes from time to complete Liverpool's comeback win after Jordan Henderson had cancelled out Harry Kane's 47-second opener.

Tottenham manager Pochettino feels the call was a little harsh on his side, who end the weekend in 11th place following their fourth league defeat of the campaign.

"I don't want to complain - I need to accept the decision of the referee and the VAR," he said at his post-match news conference. "Technically maybe it's a penalty because there's some contact. But to be honest, the ball is going away.

"It's an action that you know is very soft. The penalty was given and we need to accept it's the decision of the referee or the VAR."

Son Heung-min was instrumental in creating Kane's early goal and struck the crossbar early in the second half with Tottenham still in front.

However, Henderson equalised for Liverpool four minutes later and Pochettino was left to rue what could have been.

"This season, we have deserved to get more points in the table," he said. "These things happen and that is the moment to stay stronger. 

"Maybe in different seasons this type of situation results in 2-0 or 3-0 for us in the second half but today it was a different way."

Tottenham find themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League in November for the first time since 2014, but Pochettino is not blaming his players for their disappointing start to the campaign and wants them to stay united.

"I am behind our squad, supporting them fully," he said. "We have 29 players and they will all have the opportunity to play. After five years and a half at Tottenham it is a time to all be together and show our support.

"It was a very competitive game today and we competed well. I am of course a little bit disappointed in that with the ball we didn't have the possession in playing and forcing them to play deeper. In that aspect I'm disappointed but we competed and we need to keep pushing.

"We were playing today against a very good team. I think Liverpool are one of the best teams in Europe and we were very competitive."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp eased concerns match-winner Mohamed Salah suffered an injury setback after the forward limped off against Tottenham.

The Egypt international missed two weeks of action after hurting his ankle at the start of October, forcing him out of last week's 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

Salah was back in the team for Liverpool's 4-1 Champions League win over Genk on Wednesday and started Sunday's meeting with Tottenham, scoring in both games.

However, the 27-year-old experienced further discomfort with his ankle in the 2-1 comeback win and was replaced by Joe Gomez five minutes from time.

Virgil van Dijk also picked up a knock but Klopp allayed fears of a lay-off for either player.

"Virgil has got a dead leg. It's painful but he will be fine," he told Sky Sports. "Mo's problem is his ankle - it got sore the longer the game went on, but it is not a massive issue.

"It makes no sense to try to push it through. We have other players and we had options to change it and we did.

"It's nothing serious. It's not massive - it will disappear one day, but it's still a bit there at the moment."

Harry Kane gave Tottenham the lead inside 47 seconds at Anfield, but Jordan Henderson's strike early in the second half broke the visitors' resistance and Salah secured Liverpool's 12th successive home league win from the penalty spot.

Klopp was pleased with the way his side remained calm after their early setback, with Paulo Gazzaniga producing a number of fine saves prior to their breakthrough moment.

"We started well but the way we conceded was a bit unlucky," he said. "Tottenham then defended well, their counter-attacks were incredible. 

"But we weren't nervous. We just followed the plan, doing everything in the right way.

"Their goalkeeper made some incredible saves, but we stayed calm. At half-time we said this game only had one problem: the score. There were one or two things we could do better and adapt a little bit."

Liverpool caused Tottenham issues with their counter-pressing, especially in the build-up to the incident that saw Serge Aurier foul Sadio Mane for the decisive penalty.

Klopp added at his post-match news conference: "The second goal is a sensational counter-press from Sadio, having the ball, losing it twice, coming on to the opponent and then the defender kicks your calf. That's a super situation.

"We won the game, deserved it and I'm really happy about the performance."

Harry Kane admitted Tottenham missed a chance to build on their midweek Champions League victory when they let slip an early lead in their 2-1 defeat at Liverpool.

After the England striker put the visitors ahead just 47 seconds into the game, he watched as second-half goals from Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah turned the contest in Liverpool's favour.

Spurs went into the game on the back of a 5-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade, with head coach Mauricio Pochettino describing his side's performance in the Champions League as a small step forward.

Kane dismissed the suggestion that Spurs continued their progress at Anfield, where defeat condemned them to a place in the bottom half of the Premier League table after 10 games.

Assessing the defeat, which was Tottenham's third in five league games, the 26-year-old striker told Sky Sports: "You saw the way we started the game: we came out with the intention to press, to play, and it helps that we got an early goal.

"We tried to do everything to win the game and it didn't quite go our way. It hurts, but it's hard to put a finger on it now.

"Whenever you lose a game it's never a step forward. It's disappointing. We want to pick our form up in the Premier League. It's not been good enough.

"All we can do now is look forward to Everton away next week."

Pochettino did not contest the penalty decision that saw Serge Aurier penalised for a foul on Sadio Mane.

Aurier won the ball from Mane but the Senegal international then stepped in front of his leg as he went to strike the ball and drew a foul from the Spurs defender.

Pochettino told BBC Sport: "I've got no complaints about the penalty. You can have your own opinion. It was a fair reaction.

"We tried in the last 10 or 15 minutes [to score an equaliser] and had chances but it was impossible."

Jordan Henderson credited Jurgen Klopp with fostering the "fantastic" mentality at Liverpool that enabled them to come from behind and beat Tottenham 2-1 at Anfield.

Harry Kane scored inside 47 seconds to put the visitors ahead against the league leaders, who struggled to find a way through a determined Spurs defence until Henderson equalised in the 52nd minute.

Sadio Mane drew a foul in the box from Serge Aurier 15 minutes from time and Mohamed Salah scored from the penalty spot to earn the Reds a ninth win in 10 Premier League games this season.

Asked what drives Liverpool to bounce back from difficult situations, Henderson gave a one-word response, telling Sky Sports: "Mentality.

"That's grown over the last few years. The gaffer has changed that so much in us and the mentality's fantastic throughout the squad.

"Whenever we face adversity we bounce back and we need to carry that right through the season because it's not going to go all our own way; it's going to be difficult at times like it was today.

"But it's about going through that, pushing each other and always believing."

Mane admitted he spotted the opportunity to win a penalty and stepped into Aurier's path to win it.

The Senegal international also expressed his desire to dethrone Manchester City and claim the Premier League title.

Describing his emotions at 1-0 down against Spurs, Mane said: "I was thinking, 'We're going to come back.' We try to push each other as a team, create chances and in the end we scored two goals and deserved to win tonight.

"To be honest I thought it was a clear penalty. I knew he [Aurier] was going to go for the ball so I tried to put my legs in between, so unlucky for him, lucky for me.

"Every win is a big moment and it's big for us because of what we need and what we're looking for. I know it's early to speak about but what's wrong? We want to win it."

If games and seasons turn on moments, Son Heung-min's strike against the woodwork at Anfield might prove huge for both Tottenham and Liverpool.

From a tight angle early in the second half, Spurs forward Son went agonisingly close to handing the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Liverpool would have been deflated, Spurs elated. Yet come the final whistle, with that single-goal deficit overturned, it was the Reds chalking up another victory.

They remain bang on target for a first Premier League title, while Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham lurk uncomfortably in mid-table.

Liverpool, then, are back to winning ways in the competition they yearn to capture most of all, chasing another streak of successes after their 17-match sequence came to a halt with the draw against Manchester United in their previous game.

As setbacks go, drawing at the home of your fiercest rivals is more molehill than mountain. But Liverpool would understandably have been disappointed with their display in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

The Reds are winless in their past six Premier League visits to Old Trafford, despite last week facing the poorest United side in decades.

If toiling but getting the job done at home to Leicester City and then taking an eight-point lead into the international break felt significant, so too did seeing that advantage immediately cut to six by a Manchester City outfit determined to respond.

In recent title tilts, Liverpool have made a habit of seizing control, only to swiftly let their firm grasp of the situation slip.

The 2013-14 season saw Liverpool lead City with three games remaining. Brendan Rodgers' men, having won 11 matches in a row, then dropped five points across their next two and even made hard work of nine-man Newcastle United on the final day, falling two points and several goals short.

Last season, City lost three of four games in mid-December and dropped to third, seven points behind Liverpool, but beat the leaders in the first game of 2019 en route to winning 18 of their remaining 19 matches. Liverpool drew four of six games at one stage in that stretch, meanwhile, and were trailing again.

At Anfield, where they are still waiting for a first title of the Premier League era, and where they know pesky City have punished their every error in seasons past, these slumps can feel cataclysmic.

There may have been no disgrace in drawing at United, but a failure to beat Tottenham in Liverpool's final home game before welcoming City in early November really would have really piled on the pressure.

Desperate for a victory, this felt for 45 minutes like a day when fate was conspiring against Jurgen Klopp's side.

Moussa Sissoko, who missed a huge chance at Anfield last season and crucially handled within 30 seconds of the first whistle in the Champions League final, drove Spurs forward to prompt another early goal in this fixture, this time for Harry Kane after just 47 seconds.

Liverpool were gifted victory by Hugo Lloris in the corresponding fixture last season but found Paulo Gazzaniga, the deputy, improbably unbeatable before the break.

"Where's your European Cup," chanted the Kop early on, provoked by the Tottenham supporters, but only after a decisive five-minute second-half spell were Liverpool roared on in pursuit of the trophy they all really want.

Jordan Henderson - talismanic in the European final - lashed beyond Gazzaniga and celebrated in the fashion one might a title-defining effort, before Mohamed Salah thrashed in another penalty against Spurs to settle the contest with 15 minutes to play.

As against Leicester, the scoreline was unconvincing but here the performance was not. Liverpool's momentum is unchecked after that Old Trafford blip.

Tottenham, on the other hand, a threat on the counter but still so flimsy at the back, sit 11th and could not even play the role of spoilers as they had in a draw at Etihad Stadium in August.

They will scarcely be considered interested spectators when Liverpool and City face their next big Premier League tests, against one another, in a fortnight.

Mohamed Salah struck the winner as Premier League leaders Liverpool came from behind to clinch a 2-1 victory over Tottenham.

Harry Kane scored after 47 seconds at Anfield and Jurgen Klopp's men, for all their dominance of the ball, struggled to cope with Tottenham's fast breaks and the irrepressible Son Heung-min.

Son was instrumental in creating the opener for the in-form Kane, who has scored five goals in his last five games for club and country, and Liverpool found Paulo Gazzaniga at his best in the Spurs goal as they pressed hard for an equaliser.

That goal arrived courtesy of a Danny Rose error that let in Jordan Henderson to score, and Salah fired the winner from the penalty spot after Serge Aurier felled Sadio Mane in the box.

The result restored Liverpool's six-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, while mid-table Tottenham are without a league win in their last three attempts.

Moussa Sissoko launched Tottenham into an immediate attack, feeding Son Heung-min who turned inside Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson before crashing a deflected shot onto the post, and Kane was on hand to steer the rebound home with a diving header.

Christian Eriksen went agonisingly close to doubling Tottenham's lead, rolling a shot just wide after Dele Alli's cut-back as the visitors' counter-attacks wrought havoc.

But Liverpool began to dominate and were unfortunate not to equalise as Salah stung Gazzaniga's palms with a pair of powerful drives from the edge of the box and Virgil van Dijk's bullet header was tipped over the bar by the Argentina international.

Gazzaniga saved well from Roberto Firmino before releasing Son who smacked a shot onto the crossbar with Alisson beaten, but Liverpool drew level moments later.

Andy Robertson's high ball into the box was poorly dealt with by Danny Rose whose header played in Henderson, and the England midfielder sent a shot bouncing into the far left corner of the net.

Tottenham defended bravely as Liverpool chased a winner, but Mane was caught by Aurier with 15 minutes left and the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation.

Salah rattled a clinical spot-kick past Gazzaniga and the Reds shut the door thereafter, leaving Spurs with one point from their last three league games.

What does it mean? Spurs on the slide
Tottenham have dropped into the bottom half of the Premier League table after picking up just three wins from their first 10 games of the season, while Liverpool remain unbeaten and seemingly unstoppable at the top.

Son still shines in defeat
Tottenham's best moments all involved the fleet-footed Son, who tormented Dejan Lovren and almost doubled the visitors' lead early in the second half.

Rose wilts under pressure
Liverpool might not have found a way back into the game had Rose not presented Henderson with such a golden chance to equalise, and the Spurs full-back should have done better with his header.

What's next?
Liverpool return to Anfield on Wednesday evening when they face Arsenal in the EFL Cup, while Tottenham have a week to prepare for a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton on Sunday.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino made four changes from the side that beat Red Star Belgrade in midweek for Sunday's visit to Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld, Christian Eriksen and Harry Winks were all recalled to the starting XI as the Spurs boss sought to mastermind a first league win since September 28.

Jan Vertonghen, Tanguy Ndombele and Ben Davies were dropped to the substitutes' bench, while Erik Lamela – who scored in the Champions League win over Red Star – missed out with injury.

"[Lamela] suffered a small problem with his thigh yesterday in training," Pochettino explained. "This morning, he was checked by the doctor and the decision was made that he couldn't be involved. We hope it's not a big issue."

Son Heung-min was making his 200th appearance for Spurs at Anfield, supporting Harry Kane in attack.

Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, made three changes from the Liverpool side that beat Genk 4-1 in the Champions League, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum all returning.

James Milner, Naby Keita and two-goal hero Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all dropped to the bench.

Harry Kane insists Tottenham can prove Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool are fallible when last season's Champions League finalists renew their rivalry on Sunday.

Kane will spearhead the attack at Anfield in his side's first shot at exacting a measure of revenge for June's 2-0 defeat in Madrid.

Reds defender Van Dijk had the striker's measure in that match and kept the England captain goalless in a Nations League win for Netherlands less than a week later.

But the star centre-back and his six fellow Ballon d'Or nominees do not intimidate Tottenham's talisman, even though they have won eight and drawn one of their nine Premier League games this season and are unbeaten in the top flight since January.

"Van Dijk is a great defender but he's not ­invincible and Liverpool are not invincible," said Kane, who battled back from an ankle injury to feature in the Champions League final.

"We just have to concentrate on ourselves. Any team can be beaten on any day and we just have to try to make sure we do that at Anfield.

"As a striker, it's not just ­one-v-one on the pitch; there's a lot that goes into it. Van Dijk is an amazing defender and he has had a fantastic couple of years at Liverpool.

"From my point of view, it's just about playing my game and making my movements, doing my runs and trying to get on the scoresheet, trying to get assists.

"At the end of the day it's a team game, so we all have to be on it with each other and that's the main aim."

Underwhelming for much of this season, Spurs gained a valuable morale boost with a 5-0 midweek win over Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League.

Premier League performances have been far less convincing, but manager Mauricio Pochettino remains enthused about visiting the undefeated leaders.

"For me, it is a joy to go there and the motivation is there is there to play in a stadium like Anfield – it is always amazing," Pochettino told Sky Sports.

"When you have the opportunity to play this kind of game, you are thankful because you never know if you are going to have the opportunity to play it again."

Kevin De Bruyne reminded Premier League leaders Liverpool that there is a long season ahead after his goal in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa helped Manchester City narrow the gap at the top of the table to three points.

Raheem Sterling gave City the lead at Etihad Stadium before De Bruyne sent a curling ball into the Villa box and it drifted past goalkeeper Tom Heaton via an apparent glancing touch from David Silva.

Ilkay Gundogan added a third to put the game beyond Villa, who De Bruyne admitted caused City plenty of problems in a more evenly balanced first 45 minutes.

"In the first half we had some difficulty, a lack of intensity, and the rhythm was not really there," De Bruyne told BT Sport.

"Gabi [Gabriel Jesus] had a couple of chances to put us in front and the second half started really well with Ras' goal. After that, we had a good performance.

"In the first half they had couple of counter-attacks and we didn't cope really well. But it's going to happen, we played on Tuesday and they had the whole week [to prepare] so they're a little bit fresher but, in the end, we deserved to win."

The victory came three weeks after City suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves, handing Liverpool an advantage in the title race.

The Reds can restore a six-point gap over the champions by beating Tottenham on Sunday but De Bruyne is unperturbed by such an advantage.

"It's a long competition," said the Belgium international.

"We answered really well after the international break, won three in a row, so let's keep it going."

Even the sending-off of Fernandinho three minutes from time did not faze De Bruyne, who backed City's squad to cope with a list of defensive absentees that already includes Aymeric Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Asked about the prospect of Fernandinho's suspension, De Bruyne replied: "You guys say the same whatever is happening, whoever gets injured.

"It's part of the game. We have a lot of injuries, but we've been coping really well. It's not nice because you want everyone to be there, but it is what it is."

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