The games injured Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne could miss including Liverpool and Tottenham

Kevin De Bruyne looks set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines (Picture: Getty)Kevin De Bruyne is expected to miss at least eight matches for Manchester City over the coming weeks after suffering a serious knee injury in training.

Belgium playmaker De Bruyne, one of the stars of the Premier League last season, played 30 minutes of Man City’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend.

Pep Guardiola had hoped that De Bruyne would be fit to feature more prominently this weekend with the defending champions welcoming Huddersfield Town to the Etihad.

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But the 27-year-old suffered a knee injury in training on Wednesday which Manchester City fear will rule him out for around two months.

If the initial diagnostics are correct, De Bruyne is likely to return at the end of October, meaning he will miss at least eight Premier League fixtures.

Last season, De Bruyne scored eight goals and made a staggering 16 assists in 37 Premier League appearances as City stormed to the title, amassing 100 points.

THE GAMES KEVIN DE BRUYNE COULD MISS

Huddersfield Town (h) – August 19

Wolves (a) – August 25

Newcastle United (h) – September 1

Fulham (h) – September 15

Cardiff City (a) – September 22

Brighton and Hove Albion (h) – September 29

Liverpool (a) – October 7

Burnley (h) – October 20

Expected return

Tottenham (a) – October 28

Southampton (h) – November 3

Manchester United (h) – November 11

De Bruyne was superb for champions Manchester City last season (Picture: Getty)Speaking to BBC this week, De Bruyne admitted that Manchester City are unlikely to reach the heights of last season as they attempt to defend the title.

‘Last year was almost perfect,’ he said. ‘If we are going to be champions on the last day, the last kick of the season, then I am also going to be happy.

‘The main focus is on us. The other teams are always going to push us, Liverpool did what we did last year. They have spent a lot of money but wisely.

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‘They needed some additions and they have got them in the right places. They saw that they had to up the level to come closer to us and we are trying to maintain what we have done last year. It will be a good battle between the top sides.

‘The top six is always challenging. I don’t make a difference between any team. Liverpool spent the most this year, but last year it was us and Manchester United.

‘Now there are other teams in the Premier League who spend more than us, they have to do what they have to do to be better.’

MORE: Kevin De Bruyne set for up to three months out with ‘serious’ knee injury

When is the Champions League group stage draw and what are the play-off fixtures?

The battle for the Champions League trophy is already underway (Picture: Getty Images)The Champions League group stages are right around the corner as the long and winding qualification process nears its end for another season.

Celtic suffered the heartache of falling at the third qualifying round on Tuesday night, but there is still one more set of fixtures before the group stages finally get underway.

12 teams are still to compete in the play-off round over the next two weeks to determine the final six teams that will enter the groups at the end of August.

Here is what is coming up in the Champions League…

Real Madrid have won the last three Champions Leagues (Picture: Getty Images)When is the play-off round and what are the fixtures?

The first legs are played on either 21 or 22 August and the second legs on 28 or 29 August.

Champions League Play-off round fixtures

Red Star Belgrade vs Red Bull Salzburg
BATE Borisov vss PSV Eindhoven
Young Boys vs Dinamo Zagreb
MOL Vidi vs AEK Athens
Benfica vs PAOK
Ajax vs Dynamo Kyiv

Can Liverpool go one step further than runners-up this season? (Picture: Getty)When is the Champions League group stage draw?

The draw for the group stages will take place on Thursday, 30 August in Monaco.

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What pots are each team in?

The only one confirmed is Pot One which includes the following teams: Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Lokomotiv Moscow.

Manchester United and Tottenham are going to be in Pot Two, but Liverpool are awaiting their fate as they may be Two or Three, depending on which teams qualify.

Confirmed for Pot Two are Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli and Roma, whilst in Pot Three are Schalke, Lyon, Monaco and CSKA Moscow.

In Pot Four are Club Brugge, Galatasaray, Inter Milan and Hoffenheim, whilst Valencia and Viktoria Plzen could be in three or four.

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Simon Mignolet in talks to join Napoli, confirms goalkeeper’s agent

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is in talks to join Napoli (Picture: Getty)The agent of Liverpool misfit Simon Mignolet has confirmed that he is speaking to Napoli about a summer transfer move.

Mignolet, 30, lost his place as Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice goalkeeper towards the end of last season and Loris Karius took over the mantle before the German’s horror show in Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Alisson’s arrival on Merseyside in July, for a then world-record fee of £66.8million, reduced Mignolet’s opportunities further still and the Belgium international is keen to secure a move away from Anfield.

Napoli have been linked with Mignolet for much of the summer and his representative, Nico Vaessen, lifted the lid on his discussions with the Serie A outfit.

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‘We’re talking, but there’s no agreement,’ Vaessen told Belgian outlet La Derniere Heure.

‘It’s in the interest of the club to find a solution.

Alisson completed a move from Roma (Picture: Getty)‘Liverpool want to keep him, but he wants to and must play. He deserves to play in a great team.

‘For them [Napoli], Simon represents the best option in terms of quality, but there’s also the financial aspect.’

Jurgen Klopp praised Alisson after the defeat of West Ham (Picture: Getty)Klopp heaped praise on Alisson following the Brazilian’s Premier League debut against West Ham.

‘The good thing is from the first day he has been very stable and calm, but then again we already knew a few things about his personality when we signed him,’ he said after the 4-0 victory.

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‘And apart from catching balls, that helps massively.

‘You need to have the right personality for that very difficult job and obviously he has that.’

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Sergio Ramos hits back at Jurgen Klopp over Mohamed Salah shoulder injury in Champions League final

Sergio Ramos was described as ‘ruthless and brutal’ by Jurgen Klopp. (AFP/Getty Images)Sergio Ramos has hit back at Jurgen Klopp after the Liverpool manager criticised the Real Madrid captain for injuring Mohamed Salah in the Champions League final.

Klopp described Ramos’ display in Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Madrid as ‘ruthless and brutal’ as Salah was forced off with a shoulder injury in the first half.

Ramos, who wrestled Salah to the ground by holding the Egyptian’s right arm, also gave Loris Karius a concussion after elbowing the Liverpool goalkeeper in the head during the second half.

But Ramos has continued his war of words with Klopp by highlighting the German’s record of just one win in his last seven finals as a manager.

‘I do not want to continue talking about the subject, his opinion is his opinion,’ Ramos said before Madrid’s Super Cup final against Atletico Madrid.

Mohamed Salah suffered a shoulder injury because of Sergio Ramos. (AFP/Getty Images)‘Everyone has a point of view that should be respected.

‘I had no intention of holding Mohamed Salah’s arm, but he grabbed my arm first.

‘If Jurgen Klopp wants to make it a reason to lose, this is not the first final he has lost.

Ramos also gave Loris Karius a concussion after he elbowed the Liverpool goalkeeper. (ZDF)More: Football

‘Let him worry about his own players and leave the rest who have been demonstrating at a very high level for many years.

‘Let’s see if he can say the same thing as a coach.

‘But in the end he is a great coach and I voted for him for the Coach of the Year award.’

Paul Scholes rates Manchester United’s chances of winning the Premier League title

Paul Scholes cannot see Manchester United challenging City and Liverpool (Picture: Getty)Paul Scholes does not expect Manchester United to challenge for the Premier League title this season.

The Red Devils were Manchester City’s closest challengers last term but still finished 19 points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s side.

United started their 2018-19 campaign with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Friday evening, but the general feeling is that the team are a way behind City and possibly even Liverpool.

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Jurgen Klopp signed five key players this summer and the Reds laid down a marker at the weekend, thrashing West Ham 4-0 at Anfield.

Scholes, a 11-time Premier League champion, cannot see Manchester United winning the title as he says they do not have the quality of City and Liverpool.

‘When you look at Manchester City, possibly Liverpool, I don’t think they [United] have the quality of those two teams at the minute,’ the legendary midfielder said.

Jose Mourinho is under pressure to close the gap on Manchester City (Picture: Getty)‘Liverpool have made some really good signings. United finished above them last season. I just don’t see United getting closer to City.

‘City are a really good side, great manager, some great players, a way of playing that they all know about and Manchester United seem to be not too sure what’s going on.

‘You don’t really know the team, you don’t really know the players, you don’t know how they’re going to perform from one week to the next.

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‘So I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see them challenging for the league this year.’

Mourinho’s side are next in action on Sunday when they travel to the south coast to take on Chris Hughton’s Brighton.

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Liverpool new boy Fabinho speaks out after being benched by Jurgen Klopp for West Ham clash

Fabinho did not feature in Liverpool’s routine victory over West Ham (Picture: Getty)Fabinho says he was fully aware of the battle he faced to cement a place in Liverpool’s team after being benched for the Premier League opener.

Brazilian midfielder Fabinho was one of Liverpool’s marquee summer signings but he was left on the bench for the home match against West Ham on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp admitted Fabinho had endured a difficult pre-season and opted to start Naby Keita, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum in his midfield.

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‘When I came to Liverpool I knew this competition would exist in midfield and I think it’s really good for the team,’ Fabinho told Premier League Productions.

‘If anything happens to a player, there’s adequate cover. During pre-season I played alongside a variety of different players and we blended really well.

‘So, overall, I think it’s a good thing for the team.’

Before the West Ham fixture, Fabinho has featured in all nine of Liverpool’s summer friendlies and says he is adapting well to the nuances of playing under Klopp.

Jurgen Klopp opted to bench the Brazilian midfielder (Picture: Getty)‘I think my performances have been good,’ he added.

‘It’s a different playing style than at Monaco; there were two of us in midfield there and here at Liverpool there’s three.

‘My midfield partners have given me guidance and assistance, as have the defence. I knew [my role] would change and I feel I’ve adapted well.

‘You seek guidance and help from the players around you and that has worked really well up until now.’

Liverpool confirmed they had signed Fabinho, a former French title winner, just two days after the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

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And the 24-year-old insists he has settled into life at Anfield well, despite still awaiting his first competitive match for his new club.

‘It has been really good since I arrived here,’ Fabinho said.

‘The players and the coaching staff have been brilliant. I have been able to fit in really well with the club, the training and games we’ve played have been good.’

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Ian Wright hails Liverpool summer signing Naby Keita and Arsenal new-boy Matteo Guendouzi after Premier League debuts

Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright (Picture: Getty)Ian Wright has identified Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita and Arsenal new-boy Matteo Guendouzi as the two summer signings who stood out on the opening weekend of the Premier League.

Liverpool agreed a deal to sign Keita last summer but he spent the 2017-18 campaign at RB Leipzig before arriving at Anfield in July.

The Guinea international became the first player to wear the No.8 shirt since Steven Gerrard and impressed on debut, helping Liverpool beat West Ham 4-0.

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Former Arsenal and England striker Wright says Keita was ‘absolute dynamite’ and believes he will contend for the Player of the Year award this season.

‘Jurgen Klopp was so desperate to sign Naby Keita for Liverpool that he slapped down the deposit 12 months ago and was prepared to wait a year before he had him in a red shirt,’ he told The Sun.

‘On Sunday you could see exactly why, because this guy was absolute dynamite. The positions he took up, his distribution, tackling and strength, everything was top drawer.

Naby Keita helped Liverpool smash West Ham 4-0 on his league debut (Picture: Getty)‘You won’t win Player of the Year on one performance, but as markers go it could hardly have been more impressive.’

Former Premier League winner Wright also heaped praise on Arsenal’s 19-year-old summer signing Guendouzi, who Unai Emery bought from Ligue 1 outfit Lorient.

Guendouzi started Arsenal’s opener against Manchester City in defensive midfield and Wright was impressed by his ‘attitude and effervescence’.

‘Later on Sunday afternoon another less obvious new boy impressed me in Arsenal’s young midfielder Guendouzi,’ Wright added.

Matteo Guendouzi showed promise against champions City (Picture: Getty)More: Football

‘Yes, he found it tough going at times against City but what impressed me was his attitude and effervescence.

‘It would have been easy to hide – let’s face it, others in the Arsenal side did – but he was still demanding the ball, still showing and still battling to the end.

‘Gunners fans left the Emirates desperately looking for positives after an opening loss and Guendouzi was the biggest one of all.’

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Man City fans shout ‘Scouse c**t’ at Jamie Carragher at motorway service station

Jamie Carragher was abused at a motorway service station by Manchester City fans who called him a ‘Scouse c**t’ before he reacted with a rude hand gesture.

The Sky Sports pundit had stopped at a Moto service station following Man City’s 2-0 win over Arsenal in the same shirt he had presented analysis of the game in earlier.

But as he went to walk inside the building, the small group of Man City fans – who remain in their vehicle throughout the verbal attack – shouted ‘Scouse c**t’ and ‘Scouse bastard’ at the former Liverpool defender.

The footage shows Carragher shouting back at the group and swearing with a hand gesture in retaliation, although it is not clear what he is saying.

Twitter fans were quick to jump to his defence, with one saying: ‘Screaming at a grown man, while you are sat in a mini bus about 100 yards away is the most Alpha male thing you could do.’

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Another said: ‘They must have been locked inside the car because they wasn’t in a rush to get out and face him.’

The footage comes five months after Carragher was suspended by Sky over a video of him spitting into a fan’s car after Liverpool lost a match to Manchester United.

The footage comes five months after Carragher was suspended by Sky over a video of him spitting into a car (Picture: PA)

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He had only returned to his job as a pundit for the sports channel for the first time since the incident on Friday.

Carragher was caught spitting at Andy Hughes, whose 14-year-old daughter was sat in the passenger seat next to him, after he mocked him for the loss.

He has apologised repeatedly to the Hughes family and to football fans in general for his ‘moment of madness’.

Liverpool refer Mohamed Salah to police for allegedly being on phone while driving

Mohamed Salah scored against West Ham in Liverpool’s Premier League opener (Picture: Getty)Liverpool have referred footage of Mohamed Salah to the police after the forward was allegedly seen on his phone while behind the wheel of his car.

A clip shared online shows Salah using his phone while sat in traffic and several people can be seen around the vehicle before the 26-year-old Egyptian drives off.

Following Liverpool’s 4-0 victory over West Ham, the club confirmed that the footage had been passed over to the Merseyside police.

The Merseyside outfit also stated that they had spoken to Salah about the incident.

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A Liverpool spokesperson said: ‘The club, after discussion with the player, have made Merseyside Police aware of the footage and the circumstances surrounding its capture.

‘We have spoken to the player also and will deal with any follow-up internally.

‘Neither the club or player will be making any further comment on this matter.’

Liverpool striker Mo Salah has been referred to the police by his club after he was apparently filmed using a mobile phone at the wheel of his car. pic.twitter.com/dLxO0AiLfj
— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) August 13, 2018

Merseyside Police confirmed that they were aware of the footage and were dealing with the incident appropriately.

‘We have been made aware of a video believed to show a footballer using a mobile phone whilst driving,’ a statement read.

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‘This has been passed to the relevant department.

‘Thanks for letting us know.’

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Gary Neville compares Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk to Manchester United legend Jaap Stam

Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool in January for a world-record £75m (Picture: Getty)Gary Neville has compared Virgil van Dijk to Manchester United hero Jaap Stam and says the Liverpool defender is a ‘monster’.

Netherlands international Van Dijk became the most expensive defender in history last winter after joining Liverpool for a fee of £75million from Southampton.

Van Dijk was quick to adjust to his new surroundings at Anfield, playing a key role as Jurgen Klopp’s side reached the Champions League final.

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The 27-year-old also impressed in Liverpool’s Premier League victory over West Ham on Sunday as the Reds started the 2018-19 campaign with a 4-0 thrashing.

Neville says Van Dijk has made a huge impact at Liverpool and says the centre-back is beginning to remind him of Dutch legend Stam, who won three Premier League titles with Manchester United.

Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast for Sky Sports, he said: ‘I thought Van Dijk was a good player at Southampton, but I didn’t think he was worth £75m.

‘I also didn’t think he would have the impact on Liverpool’s defence that he’s had.

Van Dijk helped Liverpool beat West Ham 4-0 on Sunday (Picture: Getty)‘He’s a monster, and is looking a bit like Jaap Stam, which worries me as a Manchester United fan. It looks like he just throws people out of the way.

‘You look at that midfield, with Wijnaldum, Keita and Milner, with Henderson and Fabinho still to come in. There is some strength in depth there.

‘Can Liverpool reproduce that high-intensity football Saturday-Wednesday? And did they need another centre-forward in case Firmino is out?

‘Because I do think there is a big drop in intensity in their play when him or Salah are not playing.’

Gary Neville has heaped praise on Van Dijk and Liverpool (Picture: Getty)Having bolstered Klopp’s squad with five key signings over the summer, Liverpool are expected to challenge Manchester City for the title this season.

They finished fourth during the last campaign, 25 points behind Pep Guardiola’s rampant champions.

‘I think Liverpool are the side [City] will feel threatened by directly,’ Neville added. ‘Certainly in terms of the style of play, Liverpool have certainly got the measure of Manchester City. You can see that.

‘City like to push up the pitch, the centre-backs play high and even push in when they’re attacking. The likes of Mane, Salah, Firmino, if you leave space in-behind, they just cut right through you.

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‘I think directly there is a threat, and I think indirectly in terms of the bigger picture in the league, certainly with the signings they have made, the good feeling of getting into a Champions League final and finishing in the top four consecutive seasons is something where City will feel a threat.

‘People are not feeling that way about Manchester United or Tottenham or Chelsea at this moment in time, because of what has happened in pre-season.

‘But there does seem to be a definite threat from Liverpool at this moment in time, but Liverpool will have to prove that.’

Liverpool travel to south London on Monday evening to face Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.

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