A round-up of sports and football stories from the UK newspapers and websites including news from Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester City, Arsenal, Sheffield and Manchester United.
DAILY EXPRESS: Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City are now officially the worst English team in Europe. Also: Chelsea have finally found something the hapless Fernando Torres is good at - defending corners.
THE SUN: Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson, 33, will demand a transfer from Blackburn if Tottenham’s Brad Friedel, 41, returns to Ewood Park.
DAILY MAIL: Aston Villa, Newcastle and Norwich will have FC Cluj winger Modou Sougou, 27, watched at Manchester United on Wednesday. Also: Pepe Reina’s future at Liverpool is under threat, with manager Brendan Rodgers considering January moves for Birmingham’s Jack Butland or young German prospect Ron-Robert Zieler.
THE INDEPENDENT: The line-up may have changed significantly but Arsenal’s malaise continues. Arsene Wenger made seven changes to the team dispatched by Swansea last weekend but defeat to Olympiacos carried all the hallmarks of his first-choice side. Also: Ronnie O’Sullivan is close to accepting an invitation to make a shock comeback at next year’s world championship at the Crucible in Sheffield, where he will defend his crown after holding a series of secret meetings with the World Snooker chairman, Barry Hearn.
THE TIMES: Rafael Benitez questioned last night whether Chelsea’s players still have the hunger and fighting spirit that helped them to win the Champions League last season. Also: Alastair Cook believes that the addition of Ashley Giles to England’s full-time coaching staff can re-energise the squad without undermining the authority of Andy Flower as team director.
THE GUARDIAN: England have waved aside suggestions their 2015 Rugby World Cup pool qualifier against Wales could be played in Cardiff rather than London, with Australia also expressing concerns about the potential unfairness of facing the Welsh team at their Millennium Stadium home. Also: Another fitful performance, another soulless defeat. When some Premier League cheerleaders predicted that Manchester City might make a statement in Europe this season this, surely, was not what they had in mind.
DAILY STAR: Sir Alex Ferguson is willing to put Wayne Rooney in the firing line against Cluj in tonight’s meaningless Champions League clash at Old Trafford. Also: Juan Mata insists Chelsea will not wilt under the pressure if fans continue their hate campaign against Rafa Benitez.
DAILY MIRROR Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is plotting a £5m bid for Southampton midfielder and captain Adam Lallana, 24.
DAILY TELEGRAPH: The Rugby Football Union moved swiftly yesterday to reassert its authority as host of the 2015 World Cup by firmly declining the offer from its Welsh counterparts for England to play their pool match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Also: Whatever twists might be in store tonight for Celtic, who will progress to the last 16 of the Champions League if they achieve a better result at home to Spartak Moscow on Wednesday night than Benfica manage in Barcelona, it is unlikely they will encounter anything as bizarre as yesterday’s pre-match press conference.