Lionel Messi is seemingly in no rush to extend his Barcelona contract.

Messi's future is regularly talked about after it was revealed earlier this year the superstar can leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of any season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, though it remains to be seen if he wants to stay on beyond his current deal.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI IN NO RUSH OVER BARCELONA CONTRACT

Messi has no intention of discussing a contract extension at Barcelona until next season, according to Marca.

The 32-year-old plans to be at the club next season, the report says, but will not open talks regarding a new deal.

Messi has been at Barcelona during his entire professional career, winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are looking to the future. Sport reports the Ligue 1 giants are seriously considering a move for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been linked with moves away from PSG and the 19-year-old could help the French club going forward.

- Manchester City and Real Madrid could be set for a transfer battle. The clubs are interested in Real Sociedad and Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal, according to CalcioMercato. The 22-year-old has scored 29 LaLiga goals since the start of 2017-18.

- Unai Emery has some time. The Sun reports the under-fire Arsenal head coach will be given until 2020 to turn the club's form around. It also reports Manchester City would allow assistant Mikel Arteta – an ex-Arsenal midfielder – to head to Emirates Stadium, should his former club want to appoint the Spaniard.

- Liverpool could strengthen in January. TalkSPORT reports the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks with Bournemouth over a deal to sign winger Ryan Fraser, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Bournemouth may want Harry Wilson – who is on loan from Liverpool – as part of a deal.

- Struggling in ninth in Serie A, Fiorentina may be ready to move on from Vincenzo Montella. The club are ready to make an approach for former Inter coach Luciano Spalletti, according to Firenze Viola.

Jurgen Klopp is unfazed about potentially leading Liverpool to a first FIFA Club World Cup title, but the manager is excited about the opportunity.

The European champions will be favourites for the tournament in Doha in December.

Liverpool have never won the FIFA Club World Cup, finishing as runners-up in 2005, but leading the Premier League giants to a first success at the tournament is not a focus for Klopp.

"Oh, I didn't think about that. I'm not someone who has to be the first on the moon or the first winning the World Cup with Liverpool, but when we are there then we will try with all we have," he told FIFA.com.

"The very interesting and difficult part as well is that we'll be playing against teams from other continents, which doesn't happen that often – maybe a Mexican team, maybe a Brazilian team – and it will be a tough one for sure.

"We'll prepare for it as we would usually, and we will see if it's right or wrong against the team from another continent.

"We don't have too much information yet, but we will by then for sure, and it will be interesting and difficult as well."

Liverpool will play Monterrey, Al-Sadd or Hienghene Sport in the semi-finals on December 18.

Klopp said there was no additional pressure on Liverpool, urging his team to make the most of the chance ahead of them.

"We will see. So far, I don't feel any pressure. I see it as an absolute opportunity as you don't often have the chance to play for it," he said.

"You have to win the Champions League as the European team, so that already makes it special.

"We knew it'd feel great when we won the Champions League, but then we had no real clue how it'd be around the European Super Cup. So, we played it and it felt really great and really big.

"When we go there, we will be prepared and looking forward to it. The boys want to play it, so it will be very interesting, and it will feel big for us, 100 per cent."

Raheem Sterling admitted emotions got the better of him in a bust up with Joe Gomez, but the England star is moving on after being dropped.

Sterling, 24, was reportedly involved in a physical confrontation with Gomez at England's training base on Monday and has been dropped for Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.

The Manchester City star and Gomez were also involved in an altercation during Liverpool's 3-1 win over the Premier League champions on Sunday.

In a post on Instagram, Sterling said it was time to move on, but admitted he had let his emotions get the better of him.

"First and foremost everyone knows what that game means to me!" he wrote.

"Everyone knows that I am not that way inclined and more to the point ... both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on.

"We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.

"We move [sic] this is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and @joegomez5 are good we both understand it was a 5-10 second thing it's done we move forward and not make this bigger than it is.

"Let's get focus [sic] on our game on Thursday."

England are on the verge of qualifying for next year's tournament and face Kosovo in Pristina on Sunday after their clash with Montenegro.

Raheem Sterling will not be considered for England's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro following a reported bust up between the Manchester City forward and Liverpool defender Joe Gomez.

Manchester City midfielder Rodri is not giving up on retaining the Premier League title after Sunday's 3-1 loss to Liverpool, highlighting the Reds' inability to hold on to their lead last season.

A thrilling encounter at Anfield left Liverpool with a nine-point lead over City, their most likely long-term challengers.

Many feel City now have too much ground to make up if they are to retain their crown, but they found themselves in a similar situation last season.

Although Rodri was not at the club at the time, the Spain international is well aware of how City fought back from being seven points behind the Reds to lift the trophy for a second successive season in 2018-19.

When asked if defeat at Anfield ended City's Premier League chances, Rodri told reporters: "Absolutely not. This team has shown it many times before.

"This team has won the Premier League two seasons in a row and that isn't a coincidence. This team has earned the respect and being considered for the title race.

"Last season, the team was seven points behind - and it could have been ten in case of losing [when the teams met in January] - and they managed to win the league in the end.

"We are in November. There are still a lot [of games] left. They [Liverpool] are very strong at the moment and they are having everything right. Let's see what happens in the future."

Rodri is also adamant Liverpool were fortunate to take all three points on Sunday, convinced City were significantly better on the day.

"They were more clinical than us, I think that was the key factor. I think we were much better overall," he said. "We created more chances than them, but they arrived to our goal three times and scored three goals."

Left-back Angelino, who impressed going forward in a rare Premier League start, was similarly rueful of City's inability to make the most of their chances, insisting the 3-1 defeat was harsh on the champions.

"I think so," he said when asked if City deserved a better result. "We created chances, we had opportunities to get back into the game, but, unluckily, we couldn't make it.

"We played really well, we have created many chances, we have only conceded three chances to Liverpool, but against a team like them, if you give them a chance, they take advantage of it.

"We have had more chances than them but, at the end of the day, we didn't use them. We are happy for the way we played.

"I think the whole team fought until the end, we gave everything and, if we keep playing like at Anfield, we can achieve great things."

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk admitted the win over Manchester City was "a bit special" even as he refused to look too far into the future.

The European champions took an eight-point lead atop the Premier League thanks to goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in a 3-1 victory at Anfield on Sunday.

The top-of-the-table clash was billed as a key fixture in the context of a title race of which Liverpool are now firmly in charge.

Star centre-back Van Dijk, who was at pains to highlight the gruelling schedule that lies ahead of the Reds, acknowledged the match carried extra meaning.

"It's like any other three points, of course, but it was a bit special because you are playing against the champions, your direct rival, and I think it was a very good game to watch," the Netherlands international told reporters.

"Obviously we are very happy to get the three points.

"We all know and we all feel there are so many games left that so many things can happen between now and May.

"The only thing which can happen is for everyone to stay fit and we need everyone to play as well as they can. We are very happy with the position we are in, but we cannot take it for granted. We just have to keep going and take it game by game.

"You can imagine everyone is happy we got three points again, especially before an international break.

"It is not a nice feeling if you go into the international break having dropped points, especially at home, so we were very good, and we had to be if we were going to get the three points."

City roared back from a seven-point deficit at the turn of the year to beat Liverpool to the title last term and Van Dijk expects Pep Guardiola's side to mount another strong challenge.

"They are the champions first of all, so they will definitely be up there again," he said.

"The other teams have been doing well. The only thing we focus on is the game ahead of us, it's pretty boring that I keep saying it, but it is actually a fact. Let's just go for it."

Nine points separate Liverpool and fourth-place City, with Leicester City and Chelsea occupying the spots in between.

Georginio Wijnaldum wants Liverpool to implement the lessons of last season after taking a commanding lead atop the Premier League.

The Reds were clinical in a 3-1 victory over Manchester City that put nine points between the teams after 12 games.

Leicester City and Chelsea are a point closer, but Liverpool appear ready to bury the ghosts of being pipped to the title last term.

Jurgen Klopp's men were 10 points clear of City at the top at the end of last December only to go on to lose the title race by a single point.

"We have confidence because of the results we are getting but also because of the football we are playing. That's what we showed [on Sunday]," Wijnaldum told the Liverpool website.

"It's always good if you have a gap between the teams behind you [but] you can see with last season that it means nothing, because if you don't perform and get the results you need to get, they can close the gap really quick.

"So, what we have to do is just focus game by game and give our all and then at the end of the season we will see where we are.

"But I think we just have to enjoy the moment we are in now, because we worked hard for it, and try to carry on."

Early goals from Fabinho and Mohamed Salah, along with some favourable refereeing decisions, gave Liverpool a comfortable buffer at half-time of the Anfield encounter.

Jordan Henderson crossed for Sadio Mane to add a third after the interval before Bernardo Silva pegged one back for City with just over 10 minutes to play.

Wijnaldum commended the visitors for making life difficult for Liverpool in the second half.

"They just grew in the game and we tried to stop them with all we had," the midfielder said.

"That's what we did but you could still see that they have a lot of quality, so we did everything but sometimes they still came through our press. 

"That's the kind of team we were playing against, but I think overall we did a tremendous job by playing the way we played in there and we can be proud of ourselves."

Ilkay Gundogan insisted the Premier League title race was not over, although the midfielder accepted Manchester City were in an "uncomfortable" position.

The champions suffered a 3-1 loss to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, falling nine points behind Jurgen Klopp's league leaders.

City claimed the title last season despite slipping seven points behind and Gundogan is retaining hope they can again rally.

"We have to accept it, but there is a long way to go. Last season in January we were quite far behind and able to turn it around," the midfielder said, via the Manchester Evening News.

"But we are not independent any more. We have to see how our competitors do, especially Liverpool, and that makes the situation more uncomfortable.

"We have to keep trying to play well and amass as many points as possible. I don't feel the title has already gone, and I don't think the Liverpool players will feel like that, because we are all professionals.

"We all try to do our best on the pitch but sometimes it doesn't work out – we are human beings."

City fell behind in the sixth minute at Anfield, Fabinho's stunning strike giving the hosts the lead after the visitors were denied a penalty for a potential handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold at the other end.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane added goals for Liverpool before Bernardo Silva's 78th-minute strike, but Gundogan felt the opener hurt City.

"It was [a killer], also maybe because of the action just before the goal was scored. I felt like they were a bit positive in the seconds after the hand situation, and Fabinho scored a great goal," he said.

"It's always tough when they score the first, especially at Anfield, and then go straight away for the second one, with the crowd and their emotions.

"It takes a tough mentality to fight against that and unfortunately they scored the second straight after. It's a defeat and we have to take it."

Liverpool's unbeaten Premier League season continued in some style as they turned on the style in a 3-1 win over Manchester City, who they have not lost to at Anfield in the top flight since May 2003.

Meanwhile, it was another tough weekend for Premier League fans across North London, with Arsenal and Tottenham both dropping points as the dark clouds continue to gather around both clubs.

Arsenal's defeat at high-flying Leicester City left the Gunners winless in their last four top-flight outings, while Spurs are without a victory in five attempts after their 1-1 draw at home with Sheffield United.

With Arsenal failing to win, Manchester United had the opportunity to narrow the gap between sixth and seventh to just one point and they did just that, bringing Brighton and Hove Albion's two-game winning streak to an end in a 3-1 victory.

All four games produced a feast of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are brought to light below.

DEFEAT LEAVES GUARDIOLA WITH LOWEST CITY POINTS HAUL

Trips to Liverpool have rarely been kind to Pep Guardiola during his time at Manchester City and Sunday's defeat was his fourth during his time in the Premier League.

City have amassed 25 points this season - Guardiola's lowest return after 12 games of a Premier League season - and he is more than three points behind the league leaders for the first time at this stage of a season.

Liverpool sit eight points clear of second-placed Leicester City and only Manchester United in 1993-94 have been further ahead after 12 games in the Premier League era.

The Reds prospered courtesy of goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, the latter scoring at Anfield in the league for the 22nd time since August 2018.

No other top-flight player has scored more at a single venue in the same period.

RASHFORD REVELS IN UNITED'S HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Marcus Rashford gave the Old Trafford crowd a rare moment to savour in a difficult season when his shot ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar to put Manchester United 3-1 up against Brighton.

It was the 22-year-old's 30th goal on home turf for the Red Devils, six of which have come in 2019-20, and he needs three more to equal his best goal return in home matches (nine in 2017-18).

Rashford's form has been key to United's recent upturn in fortunes at Old Trafford, where they are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches and their last seven across all competitions - their longest run under the same manager since March 2018 (eight unbeaten under Jose Mourinho).

Solskjaer named his youngest Premier League starting line-up of the season, averaging 23 years and 350 days, and his side extended Brighton's miserable run on the road against the top flight's "big six": the Seagulls are winless in 15 such games.

ARSENAL IN WORST START FOR 37 YEARS

Unai Emery might be running out of chances after a 2-0 loss to Leicester City condemned Arsenal to their worst record at this stage of a top-flight season since 1982-83.

The Gunners accumulated 17 points from 12 games in 2014-15, as many as they have now, but could at least lay claim to a positive goal difference of +5 at that time, unlike the -1 that resides next to their disappointing points tally this term.

Saturday's trip to the King Power Stadium marked Emery's 50th Premier League match in charge and his 13th defeat.

He has overseen 25 victories and led the club to 87 points, two fewer than Arsene Wenger accrued over his final 50 matches as manager.

The contrast could not be greater to electrifying Leicester, who have now won five successive Premier League home games and boast one more point (26 in total) than they did at this point of their title-winning 2015-16 campaign.

SON SHINING BUT SPURS STILL STUCK IN DARKNESS

If there is some comfort to be found for Arsenal, it is in the malaise affecting north London rivals Tottenham.

Mauricio Pochettino's men could only draw 1-1 with Sheffield United, who became the third promoted side – after Blackburn Rovers (1992-93) and Nottingham Forest (1994-95) – to go unbeaten through their opening six away games of a Premier League season.

George Baldock's goal earned a share of the spoils and means Spurs have dropped a league-high 12 points from winning positions this season.

Worse still, the Champions League finalists have banked only 14 points, their lowest tally after 12 games since 2008-09, a season that cost Juande Ramos his job.

Son Heung-min, scorer of the opener, is one player pulling his weight. The South Korea star has netted five times in his past five appearances in all competitions.

Pep Guardiola insisted his post-match greeting of referee Michael Oliver was not sarcastic as sought to avoid blaming the match officials for Manchester City's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

City face a tall order to win a third consecutive Premier League title after goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino gave the Reds a resounding 3-1 win on Sunday.

Liverpool are eight points clear of Leicester City and Chelsea at the top of the table and nine better off than Guardiola's City, who lie fourth.

City were aggrieved to see a handball claim against Trent Alexander-Arnold inside the Liverpool box go unpunished immediately before the counter-attack for Fabinho's stunning opener, while further marginal penalty claims during the second half fell on deaf ears.

Raheem Sterling went down following an arm in the back from Sadio Mane before chipping the ball into Alexander-Arnold's hand.

After the full-time whistle, Guardiola was seen saying "thank you very much" to Oliver and his assistants in exaggerated fashion but looked to steer clear of any further controversy in his post-match news conference.

"It would not be nice [to take about the referee] after we lose," City manager Guardiola said.

"Ask Mike Riley [general manager of English referees body PGMOL] and the big bosses about that, don't ask to me.

"It was not sarcastic, it was, 'thank you so much'. I said the same in the Tottenham game at home [when Gabriel Jesus had an injury-time winner ruled out after a VAR review].

"Most of the time when I go to the referees and my colleagues, always I say 'thank you so much, good luck'. It's uncomfortable for me because it looks like 'ah, Pep complains' - congratulations Liverpool, 3-1.

"I don't know what happens in the future, if this or that happens in the game. We never know what happens in the future. But on the decisions, ask the big bosses. The guys who understand everything of that game."

One factor culpable for the loss very much under Guardiola's control is the threadbare composition of City's defence.

Long-serving captain Vincent Kompany left at the end of last season and the decision not to replace him with a specialist centre-back option has been compounded by Aymeric Laporte's meniscus injury.

Holding midfielder Fernandinho again lined up in the heart of defence alongside John Stones at Anfield, whose own fitness struggles have run parallel to Nicolas Otamendi's form dipping considerably.

Angelino made a second Premier League start, with the injury-ravaged Benjamin Mendy deemed unavailable by his manager. The left-back attacked promisingly throughout and hit the post, although he and Fernandinho were both arguably culpable for Salah's 13th-minute goal from Andy Robertson's searching cross.

"Mendy could not train yesterday due to some problems, so I decided for Angelino," Guardiola said. "Mendy is not injured, he goes to his national team now. We played so good.

"Of course we have a young player like Angelino, Fernandinho is helping us playing that position, John Stones comes back after a long injury; their back four is the same all the time but we have to move it for many reasons."

Nevertheless, Guardiola insisted he did not regret an expansive approach that saw his side have more shots, win more corners and enjoy the majority of possession against their victorious opponents.

"We decided to play the way we did because it's the way we won two Premier Leagues in a row, seven titles in three seasons, and sometimes the people say 'oh we like to watch Manchester City play football'," he added.

"The teams who come here to play, they know how difficult it is, the way we do it. Of course, we have to improve in the box and be more solid. Hopefully we can improve in the future."

Jurgen Klopp dismissed any idea that Liverpool opening up an eight-point buffer at the top of the Premier League will crank up the pressure on his unbeaten Reds side.

Liverpool produced a clinical performance to defeat Manchester City 3-1 in front of a delighted Anfield on Sunday, with Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane on target in a pulsating affair.

Pep Guardiola's champions are now nine points adrift of Liverpool, with Chelsea and Leicester City each eight back. 

Such a commanding lead in the table by November has led several pundits to suggest the title is now Liverpool's to lose.

Klopp is uncomfortable with such a suggestion but is adamant his team are prepared for what is to come.

"We don't feel any pressure, to be 100 per cent honest," he said.

"The things that will now come up, we know about. If you are with us, then nine points is a positive. There's a long way to go.

"Other people will 100 per cent say, and have said already, that from now on Liverpool can only lose it.

"That's a very negative approach, but you can see it like this. But we don't care. I can promise you that we don't care.

"Today we were completely focused on this game and not the situation in the table and how many points we are ahead of City in the table.

"That's crazy. Nine points ahead of City, you cannot imagine that something like this would happen. But it's not important because who wants to be first in November? You want to be first in May.

"It's only November. We all know that but don't have to say it as it's clear. We will try and see what happens in the end.

"The pressure or whatever is not there yet. It will come, but at the moment it's just opportunity and go for it and do the work, throw all in what you have and let's see what happens."

Liverpool only lost once last season en route to being pipped to the title by a solitary point and are yet to suffer defeat in the league this term.

Asked if Liverpool are thinking about going through the season unbeaten, Klopp replied: "Not at all.

"We just don't think about it. What I thought after the game was a word I'm not allowed to say and then the boys go now all over the world, play for their countries and hopefully come back healthy and two days after we are back it's Crystal Palace. That's what I am concerned about.

"You saw again today, the hardest work is needed to win any football game but a game like this particularly. I'm really happy for tonight, but that's it."

"THANK YOU SO MUCH! THANK YOU SO MUCH!"

Pep Guardiola's gargantuan sarcasm when he greeted referee Michael Oliver and his officials at full-time certainly matched the magnitude of a ferocious and frenetic Anfield encounter.

The Manchester City manager had long been in a righteous funk at missed chances and rejected penalty appeals as Liverpool closed out a 3-1 victory that puts them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

That's right, eight. Not nine. They're nine points clear of fourth-placed City.

Guardiola probably reached the midway point of his tether as early as the sixth minute. Trent Alexander-Arnold handled in the Liverpool box – the fact Bernardo Silva inadvertently did so just beforehand probably saving the England right-back in the final VAR analysis – and Liverpool played to the whistle to a greater extent than their opponents.

Ilkay Gundogan's clearance was as wretched as Fabinho's strike from outside the box was magnificent.

City picked themselves up off an all-too familiar Merseyside canvas and got back on the front foot. Kevin De Bruyne's deliveries were not to their usual standard but Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero both probably should have scored from them. City's two world-class attacking figureheads are still yet to find the net on this ground.

The 13th minute brought a brutally brilliant second, displaying one the key facets of Liverpool's triumph. Alexander-Arnold toiled under Sterling's examination at times, but his cross-field pass to fellow full-back Andy Robertson was glorious.

Those diagonal balls tested City's makeshift defence all day and Robertson's cross found Mohamed Salah lurking between career midfielder Fernandinho and greenhorn left-back Angelino to head gleefully home.

Guardiola repeated how proud he was of his team's performance after the match and, even if this was primarily a was to avoid an FA ban by giving his own take on Oliver's efforts, it was understandable.

City continued to plug away, Angelino often to the fore in tandem with Sterling down the left and prodding a typically immaculate De Bruyne pass against the post.

But they were vulnerable in the transition as they chased the game and this is Klopp's domain. As in the riotous 4-3 win over City in January last year, Georginio Wijnaldum was magnificent – an indomitable cocktail of power and intelligence, as deft as he was destructive.

Then there was Jordan Henderson, who will surely see this season as a failure if he does not lift the league title Liverpool supporters have pined for over an interminable three decades.

Shifted to the right flank after the break, Henderson's cross for Sadio Mane's third made sure of victory and City's persistent threats during the final half hour, when Bernardo Silva pulled a goal back, were notable for coming after James Milner replaced his captain.

Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might sit on the bench as more technically astute footballers than Henderson, but they will never exceed his worth to Klopp's cause.

Guardiola was left to lament "the boxes" in his post-match interview following Liverpool's clinical clinic. It was something he pondered often during his first season in charge of City, before back-to-back titles, 198 points, five major trophies and all that.

Another relic of that time, Claudio Bravo, was back. The veteran Chile international was helpless when beaten by Liverpool's first two shots on target - even if Klopp's admission that he encouraged his players to shoot from distance felt telling – but his reaction to Henderson's teasing 51st-minute delivery was atrocious.

Selecting such a strong side to face Atalanta in midweek, losing Ederson in the process, damaged City's chances. As did the decision not to reinforce at centre-back after Vincent Kompany's departure, while rushing back Rodri to protect a patched-up backline he is yet to show he can adequately screen since signing from Atletico Madrid was another questionable move.

Calls made before this weekend went a long way to sealing Guardiola's fate as City's wait for an Anfield win goes on. Liverpool's relentlessness is magnified by the fact his side have slipped slightly and significantly from the peerless heights of the past two seasons.

All it takes is a few mis-steps in these circumstances, so maybe this title race isn't over. But if City do make it three in a row, Guardiola should be bellowing thanks all over again. Liverpool faltering decisively from this position would amount to delivering gift-wrapped glory to Manchester.

Jurgen Klopp acknowledged Liverpool's pulsating 3-1 win over title rivlas Manchester City was "pretty wild".

The clash between the warring teams at Anfield lived up to its billing as a match full of thrills, spills and controversy saw Liverpool emerge victorious to open up an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Fabinho's sixth-minute thunderbolt came shortly after City were incensed not to be awarded a penalty for handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane goals put Liverpool in command before Bernardo Silva's 78th-minute effort for City set up a frantic finale.

Liverpool boss Klopp revelled in taking the points at the end of a barnstorming fixture.

"The intensity of the game was incredible. Pretty wild. For us, it's not too unusual that the game is wild," Klopp said. 

"City usually control the game more - it was not possible against us today, but they were good, oh they were good. We had to defend with all we had. And we scored incredible goals. 

"I really have to think about what I say before the game, because today I asked for finishes from outside the box. I should ask that [more often]. It's my fault that it's probably the first goal from outside the box this season. But Fabinho, what a goal. 

"Then what a counter-attack, what a pass from Robbo [Andy Robertson], what a header from Mo. Giving the game this kind of direction is incredible. It was so tough to play - you saw that - of course the intensity of the game kills you. 

"It's a little bit too long, a football game. We put all that in against an opponent like City. But it was all worth it, eh? It was all worth it. Really great."

City, who are now nine points adrift of Liverpool, turned the screw after Silva's strike and threatened more than once to produce a late revival.

Klopp conceded he was concerned by City's threat but says it was always to be expected.

He added: "Look, we saw the City situations they had. They passed the ball from outside, Raheem Sterling, what a player. The thing is how did we defend him until then? How good was that?

"You see the moment we don't defend him anymore what happens immediately. They are great players, that's just how it is. They do so many good things. 

"But the boys were completely focused, concentrated, really composed. It was just so good to see. It's the only way we can beat City. Maybe some teams can do it a different way - I don't think a lot of teams can do it - but this is the way we can. What the boys did today is just incredible."

Pep Guardiola said he was "not a magician" when asked about Manchester City's title chances after his side were beaten 3-1 by Premier League leaders Liverpool.

The defeat was City's second in five top-flight matches and left the champions nine points behind Liverpool, who remain unbeaten after 12 games this season.

Fourth-placed City will entertain third-placed Chelsea in their first game back after the international break and Guardiola said he hoped his side would maintain the level of performance they showed at Anfield.

Asked whether Liverpool could be caught, Guardiola said: "I don't know, I am not a magician. I cannot know the future.

"Hopefully after the national team, people come back and then [we face] Chelsea at home.

"What happened today is we showed why we are the champions. In this stadium we played incredible.

"I am proud of my team more than ever against the strongest team in Europe. I am so proud. We played so good."

Guardiola was incensed on the sidelines as key decisions went against his side, with City's pleas for handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold waved away when they claimed for a penalty.

He refused to discuss the decisions after the game, and insisted - with tongue firmly in cheek - his thanks to officials while shaking hands at the final whistle were genuine.

To the suggestion of sarcasm, Guardiola replied: "No way, I congratulate them. And I didn't say anything here.

"It would not be so nice after a defeat to complain about the referees, so ask the referees. Ask the referees, please not me.

"Ask [referees chief] Mike Riley and the guys in the VAR and the other ones.

"I would like to talk about our performance. As an opponent, with the problems that we have, it was one of the best ways we played.

"We played in the way that is why we are back-to-back champions. We showed that many times.

"There are three teams in front that have more chances to be champions than us but we are going to try.

"In football, you can't always win in here in Anfield. I am so proud of my team."

Trent Alexander-Arnold conceded he feared a VAR intervention for handball prior to Liverpool's opener in their crucial 3-1 over Manchester City at Anfield.

City's players and manager Pep Guardiola were left seething when referee Michael Oliver did not award a penalty against the Reds full-back, who appeared to handle in the area, early in the blockbuster contest at Anfield.

Fabinho rifled Liverpool into a sixth-minute lead shortly after, before Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane goals took the game away from City, who earned a consolation through Bernardo Silva.

Asked by Sky Sports if he feared the worse, Alexander-Arnold replied: "Obviously, yeah you know there's VAR, I think it has hit me arm, but I think it's hit Bernardo Silva's first. 

"It's one of those you have to carry on playing, we went down the other end and punished them. They complained but you have to keep on playing."

Liverpool's win sees them head into the international break with an eight-point lead at the top of the table, while the gap of nine to champions City is potentially more significant.

The Reds earned 97 points last term and were still pipped to the title by City and Alexander-Arnold says Liverpool will need similar levels of astounding consistency to triumph this time around.

"We're on a good run, we are still unbeaten, at home we have the advantage with the fans so every time we are here we want to pick up the three points we feel we should," he added.

"We picked up a lot last season to get to 97 points and it wasn't enough and we know we have to do something similar this time."

The end of the match became a little terse between the rival teams but Alexander-Arnold says that is to be expected in a game of this magnitude.

"It was always going to be a feisty contest," he said. "It was just about desire at the end of the day because both teams wanted to win." 

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