Guardiola questions refs after Liverpool win, injury problems for Connacht and Munster

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Pep Guardiola saw his Man City side beaten 3-1 at Anfield. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Pep Guardiola saw his Man City side beaten 3-1 at Anfield. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Liverpool landed a major blow in the Premier League title race with a controversial and ultimately comfortable 3-1 win over Manchester City at Anfield yesterday. The hosts took an early lead through Fabinho after a Trent Alexander-Arnold handball in his own box went unpunished, before Mohamed Salah doubled the lead. Sadio Mane made it 3-0 in the second half with Bernardo Silva bagging a late consolation, meaning Pep Guardiola’s side are now nine points off the pace in fourth place. Earlier in the day a youthful Manchester United side continued their mini-revival at home to Brighton, with 19-year-old Brandon Williams among the standout performers in a 3-1 win at Old Trafford. There was concern for Ireland ahead of the international break after Aaron Connolly was substituted at half-time with a groin injury - Mick McCarthy confirmed last night he would undergo a scan on Monday before the friendly against New Zealand and the crunch Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Denmark. Elsewhere, Wolverhampton Wanderers claimed West Midlands bragging rights as they beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Molineux.

The Heineken Champions Cup returns this weekend, with all four provinces in action in Europe’s elite club competition. However Connacht head into Sunday’s clash against Montpellier in Galway in the middle of an injury crisis - particularly up front. Andy Friend’s side were hammered 42-11 by Leinster at The Sportsground on Friday night, with Finlay Bealham and Sean O’Brien both being forced off. O’Brien joins Quinn Roux, Gavin Thornbury and Ultan Dillane on the sidelines, leaving the province’s secondrow cupboard looking decidedly bare. Meanwhile Munster have injury problems of their own following Saturday evening’s 22-16 win over Ulster at Thomond Par. An update is expected on the injured Dave Kilcoyne today but Johann van Graan’s main headache comes at outhalf after JJ Hanrahan suffered a suspected hamstring tear. Tyler Bleyendaal is now the province’s only established number 10 ahead of Saturday’s trip to play the Ospreys.

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