That is your lot on Sportsday Live today. We are up and running in our live text commentary on tonight's Europa League action though with Neil Johnston guiding you through the whats and wherefores of Lille v Everton.
Spain's David Ferrer remains on course for a semi-final meeting with Andy Murray at the Valencia Open which may well decide which of them qualifies for the World Tour Finals in London.
Ferrer dispatched compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-2 to book a last-eight meeting with Thomaz Bellucci.
Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes will continue his rehabilitation from a knee injury with Manchester United.
The 32-year-old, who left the Nou Camp in the summer, is a free agent and had been linked with a deal to play for Liverpool.
"Valdes will have his recovery supervised by the United medical staff before training with the first team, as he bids to regain full fitness," stated the United website.
The International Olympic Committee has drawn up 40 recommendations aimed at making the Games more attractive to bidding cities, sports federations and fans.
Among the suggested changes are cutting the seven-year waiting period to be in the Games once approved.
"We want more flexibility for the programme but at the same time we want to address the issue of sustainability. That means that this flexibility can only happen within a certain limitation," said IOC president Bach.
The changes will be put to a vote in December.
George Groves will fight Denis Douglin on the undercard of the Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew on 22 November.
The American has won 17 of his 20 fights.
Groves tells Sky Sports that the fight is a stepping stone towards a shot at WBC champion Andre Dirrell.
Eight-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King says opposition to equal prize money in the majors for men and women is "really sad" Thursday and called for more men to follow Andy Murray's lead by hiring a female coach.
King was speaking at the WTA Finals in Singapore, where the maximum prize money of $2.19m is more than she earned in a career.
"No. It's difficult," she told reporters, when asked if she challenges male players who oppose equal prize money in Grand Slams.
"You know, sports are a microcosm of society, so it teaches you how the world still perceives gender inequality. It's not fun. It's really sad actually.
"I find men who have daughters are much more understanding. If they have a boy and a girl, for instance, they want both of their children to have equal opportunity."
Football autobiographies are typically 10% killer, 90% filler. That's if you are lucky.
After Roy Keane's latest tell-it-like-it volume, the Daily Telegraph have put together 24 of the most unexplosive moments that have flowed from a ghost writer's pen.
Includes details of Rio Ferdinand's commute and Ian Rush's family hand-me-downs.
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Mesut Ozil: I'm relieved about yesterday's victory but nevertheless these weights feel heavy on my shoulders.
Arsenal claimed a very, very late win in Anderlecht in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Mahama Cho is Britain's best bet for taekwondo gold at Rio 2016, but it has been a heck of a journey before he evens boards the plane to the Olympics.
The 25-year-old was brought up in the Ivory Coast, arrived in London at eight, played football semi-professionally, missed out on London 2012 selection, studied international business at a university in Paris, represented France at taekwondo and has now returned to hook back up with Great Britain.
The Rugby Football League rules out the prospect of introducing two referees for every match next season.
It has been considering following the lead set by the NRL in Australia of having two officials in charge of all games, and trialled the system in academy fixtures this summer.
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Spurs winger Nacer Chadli: On my way to the game!
Tottenham play Greek side and Group C leaders Asteras Tripolis at 20:00 BST in the Europa League.
Bury have signed left-back Tom Kennedy from League One neighbours Rochdale on loan until 14 January, with a view to a permanent move.
The 29-year-old made 158 appearances during his first spell with his hometown club between 2002 and 2007.
Liverpool and Arsenal both looked like they could do with a little more up front last night.
That little more is unlikely to consist of Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain according to the Daily Star.
It reports comments from the Argentine's brother Federico, who said that Gonzalo is "calm, and happy to wear the shirt of Napoli".
The Irish Football Association expects to find out on Friday whether Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifier in Romania next month will take place behind closed doors.
Crowd problems in Bucharest during the 1-1 draw against Hungary on 11 October resulted in proceedings being opened against both federations by Uefa's control, ethics and disciplinary committee.
Romania were cited for crowd disturbances, the setting off/throwing of fireworks and missiles and the use of laser pointers as well as improper conduct of the team due to the number of yellow cards issued in a bad-tempered encounter. Five Romanians and seven Hungarians were booked by Scottish referee Willie Collum.
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Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany: Pretty awesome view
Swansea are without a win in five games.
Manager Garry Monk believes the Swans can turn around that run though against Leicester on Saturday teatime.
"We've been playing well, but we just need to be a little bit more clinical in front of goal," he said.
"It's in front of our fans at the Liberty, so we're focused on putting on a performance for them that will hopefully warrant us earning three points."
Scunthorpe United have signed Middlesbrough striker Luke Williams on a one-month loan deal.
The 21-year-old will officially join the Iron on Friday, enabling him to play against Crawley on 22 November.
Barnsley FC: Reds sign striker Mike Phenix from AFC Telford. The forward has signed until 30 June 2016.
Bacup and Rossendale Borough FC have been convinced to change their name back to Bacup Borough FC after ghostly spirits apparently protested over the 2013 change.
"We have had instances where a light bulb has shot out of its socket and narrowly missed a player as he was sitting on the toilet, our phone ringing a number in Ramsbottom in the early hours that has nothing to do with the club and the alarm system sounding when the mains say otherwise," explained club manager Brent Peters.
"The other week, one of the players went through on goal but as he was about to shoot he felt a weight holding back his kicking foot!
"Just last week, I had a text from a player to say he was fine for Saturday's game late on Friday evening, only to be taken to A&E the following morning."
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AS Monaco, who have struggled this season after losing James Rodriguez and Falcao, will be without striker Dimitar Berbatov for three weeks after the Bulgarian picked up a thigh injury.
Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie says his best form is yet to come and has challenged his team-mates to continue their winning run at Birmingham.
Eddie Howe's side have won their last three games in the Championship.
Ritchie, 25, has made 15 appearances for the Cherries this season and has been a key figure in the team, but he is yet to score a goal this term and he says there is more to come from him.
"I've not quite yet (hit top form), the stop start nature of this season has been tough," he told BBC Radio Solent. "I don't think I've been at my best yet, but I'm happy with how I'm playing."
Hartlepool United have named former midfielder Paul Murray as their new first-team manager, succeeding Colin Cooper, who left the club earlier this month.
The 38-year-old had been working as first-team coach at Oldham Athletic.
He will be assisted by former Manchester City and Scotland full-back Willie Donachie, who had a spell as Millwall boss in 2006-07.
Brown sauce or red?
Rice or chips?
North or south of the river?
The great debates of our times, but, with El Clasico round the corner, they all are petty squabbles compared to Messi or Ronaldo?
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has thrown in his two penny's worth.
"I would have said to you a year ago, without any doubt, Messi. At this moment in time I think Ronaldo is making the difference a little bit more for his team," he said.
Bad news for Stoke.
Manager Mark Hughes: "Glenn Whelan has a fracture in his leg. It is a blow for him and us because we are likely to be without him for four to six weeks."
Are Aston Villa going to be the new... er... Manchester United?
The Birmingham Mail reports that manager Paul Lambert will allow his players the freedom to express themselves as Villa look to end a run of four successive defeats.
"I'd like us to be more productive in the end. I know the players have got it in their lockers to go and do it," he said.
"I want them to play with freedom, they need that.
"I don't want them to be robotic. I want them to have freedom and their own ideas at times. I don't have a problem with that."
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman on his side's 8-0 shellacking of Sunderland last week: "It was not a normal result and that has given us a lot of attention. That's nice.
"The great result brings attention but the players are fantastic. After the game they spoke about [Saturday's opponent] Stoke."
Everton on the situation involving their fans in Lille ahead of Thursday's Europa League match:
"We are monitoring the situation, and advising fans to stay away from the main square. We've been told by the French authorities that rubber bullets have not been fired by the police."
Phil Bardsley is the only doubt for Stoke City for their game with Southampton on Saturday. The defender suffered back problems towards the end of their game with Swansea last weekend.
"He locked up a little bit and because of that he hasn't trained with us today," said manager Mark Hughes.
"Hopefully he'll train tomorrow. Apart from him it's as we were."
Stoke manager Mark Hughes has had his say on the news Swansea counterpart Garry Monk has been contacted by the FA for his comments after the game at the Britannia Stadium last weekend.
Monk accused Stoke player Victor Moses for diving to win a penalty and criticised referee Michael Oliver for giving the spot-kick.
"I think it's right the FA ask Garry to clarify his comments. I made my feelings known, it's a fairly strong view," said Hughes.
"It's disappointed me because it's overshadowed a good performance. Second half we deserved to win the game anyway.
"Garry is a very articulate young man but maybe on that occasion used the wrong words.
"That can happen. Victor says he felt body contact and was impeded. Photos have verified that."
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They were picked as relegation candidates in pre-season, but Southampton have defied the critics, sitting pretty in the top three despite a summer sell-off of their 2013-14 stars.
Ronald Koeman, the architect of the Saints rise, is preparing to shoot the press conference breeze....
Four Premier League players - Chelsea duo Willian and Oscar along with Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho and Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho - are included in the Brazil squad to face Turkey and Austria next month.
BBC Match of the Day presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker: Can't see the negative in half time shirt swap. Does it affect result? No. Does it affect performance? No. Is it unsportsmanlike? No. Positives to half-time shirt swap: Is it better than fighting in the tunnel? Yes. Are shirts less sweaty than they are at the end? Yes.
Andy Murray advances to the quarter-finals of the ATP event in Valencia with a 6-2 6-4 win over Italy's Fabio Fognini.
The 2013 Wimbledon champion will play big-serving South African Kevin Anderson in the last eight tomorrow.
Ahead of Saturday's match against Crystal Palace, West Brom manager Alan Irvine reports goalkeeper Ben Foster is back in training after calf injury.
Winger Silvestre Varela (groin) and defender Jonas Olsson (Achilles) are out.
Andy Murray is 5-4 up against Fabio Fognini in the second set. The Briton is set to serve for the match.
The pair were both sent to the stands following a disagreement at half-time.
Yates claimed Money had called him a "non-league manager of a non-league club" but Money insists he was speaking about Yates' attitude towards the U's.
"The reference to non-league was us. He missed two important words: that's us," Money told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
"He showed us no respect - in the way he conducted himself and the way he spoke to us.
Sandeep Rai: All the drama about shirt swap is really over the top. Its not like he went chasing after Pepe to get his shirt. They were talking in a friendly manner and maybe decided to swap the shirt. Who knows. Its not like his performance would have improved if he refused to swap.
Christopher McDonald: After the money Liverpool got from suarez they should have been signing a world class striker not ballotelli he is a waste of money and lambert is passed it I think! Really should have been going for someone like reus? Cavani someone who brings a presence upfront wasted the money big time
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It's stumps on day two of the first Test match between Pakistan and Australia in Dubai.
Pakistan were dismissed for 454 in their first innings earlier.
In reply, Australia have closed on 113-0 thanks to an unbeaten 75 off just 77 balls from David Warner.
Chris Rogers has been rather more watchful at the other end with 31 off a more sedate 110 deliveries.
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Manager Brendan Rodgers on the 3-0 loss to Real Madrid at Anfield:
"As a team we need to be better. We all pride ourselves on clean sheets but we need to be more competitive and more aggressive as a team. That was a disappointment from the Real Madrid game. A large number of the goals we conceded have been soft so it is our job to improve our record.
"Real Madrid have got into last three Champions League semi finals and won one last year - and you saw what they did to Bayern Munich over two legs, who are a top team. So 3-0 at half time you are certainly playing for pride but it was also about performance and about controlling the ball more. The players responded magnificently in the second half. We had a spell of 20 minutes leading into half time where we defended poorly.
"Ludogorets winning leaves it wide open. Our objective is to qualify and that is still within our hands. It is going to be a fight for the top two positions between those three clubs."
British number one Andy Murray has looked very impressive against the world number 19 Fabio Fognini. He eased to the 6-2 first set in the slightly over 30 minutes.
The Italian's second service has cost him dearly - winning just four points from 14.
You could forgive Shrewsbury's players for having one eye on next week's League Cup tie with Premier League leaders Chelsea, but striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro says his sole focus is on beating Portsmouth in League Two this weekend.
After a frustrating start to his Shrewsbury career following his summer move, the French forward scored a hat-trick in Town's 5-0 hammering of Bury in midweek.
"Chelsea would be a dream. Portsmouth is the reality. We have to think about reality first, dream second," he told BBC Shropshire.
"I want to stay in the moment. Portsmouth first - that is the most important game now. Chelsea is a bonus. The league is what matters."
Foxes manager Nigel Pearson speaking ahead of Saturday's Premier League match at Swansea:
"The margins between success and failure are getting smaller these days. You have to take your chances. In the last three games we haven't got what we deserved, but we won't dwell, we'll prepare right for Swansea.
"It's a long season and so far we've acquitted ourselves well. We've only kept one clean sheet, and that shows the quality we're up against this season."
More from Brendan Rodgers about the criticism of Balotelli's performance:
"It'll happen when the team's not playing well - you have to accept that. The boy is trying very very hard. Longer term we'll see how that works out for him. As long as he's doing his best that's all I can ask. Whether that best is good enough remains to be seen."
"Manager Brendan Rodgers says he has spoken to Mario Balotelli and told him about the culture of English football. What is acceptable, what isn't."
Andy Murray has made a good start in Valencia - the British number one is 4-0 up against Italian Fabio Fognini.
The Scot might need to defeat David Ferrer later in the tournament if he is to guarantee a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals.
"Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been released from hospital following treatment for an illness. The Spain striker was admitted with a severe stomach bug in the days after his return from international duty. Costa is also nursing a groin problem, picked up while playing for Spain and is considered a doubt for this weekend's Premier League clash with Manchester United. "
Barry Poslethwaite: Cosying up with ex team mates on the opposite side prior to the game
Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff: Might be the only time I ask the English to support an Aussie team, be great to have you all behind us
Everton: We advise Everton fans in Lille to avoid the main square in the city centre.
Liverpool Echo reporter Greg O'Keefe in Lille: Police have fired rubber bullets at #Everton fans. One man has been hit in the head
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Andy Murray is still scraping around for the ranking points to take him to the season finale ATP World Tour Finals in London ahead of the likes of David Ferrer.
The former Wimbledon champion could really do with a win over Fabio Fognini in the second round at the ATP 500 event in Valencia. The Italian beat Murray in their Davis Cup singles meeting earlier this year.
You can follow the scores on the BBC Sport tennis pages.
Clermont Auvergne player Julien Bardy is suspended for five weeks following an independent disciplinary hearing in Dublin.
Bardy was found guilty for allegedly striking Vunipola with his knee in the European Rugby Champions Cup match against Saracens on Saturday 18 October.
Sheffield Wednesday's Sam Hutchinson will be out of action for two months because of a knee injury.
The former Chelsea midfielder, 23, was hurt just six minutes into Saturday's 3-0 defeat by Watford, his first game since August after recovering from a back problem.
First Adel Taarabt's waistline and then Mario Balotelli's souvenir swapping. Are they fair game for managers to bring up in the wake of defeats?
Times journalist Alyson Rudd thinks not.
"Excuses are part of the game. Referees are often blamed, as is the weather, the scheduling, the pitch, the traffic, injuries and illness. When individuals are singled out, it is an excuse too far," she writes.
"Both Balotelli and Taarabt are gifted players with chequered histories. It is the management of such players that partly defines coaching ability. If they are used as scapegoats, it says more about their bosses than about them."
Her blog, usually behind the Times paywall, is free online until 14:00 BST.
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Rugby union-bound Sam Burgess is the first English player to win the Rugby League International Federation's International Player of the Year award.
Burgess ended his spell in rugby league by helping South Sydney Rabbitohs to a first NRL title since 1971 with victory against Canterbury Bulldogs earlier this month, playing most of the Grand Final with a fractured cheekbone.
The England forward, 25, will link up with Bath later this month.
England duo James Graham and Daryl Clark, plus Australia pair Johnathan Thurston and Jarryd Hayne, were also nominated.
Exeter wing Jack Nowell is delighted by the show of faith in him by England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
The 21-year-old has been named in Lancaster's squad for the Autumn Internationals despite only playing four games since having knee surgery in the summer.
"A big thing for me to get the knee operation in the summer was that he said if I did come back and I am fit and on form, he'd hopefully put me straight back in," Nowell said.
Birmingham City have denied a report in a morning newspaper that Premier League side Liverpool have been offered first refusal on exciting Blues teenage winger Demarai Gray, reports BBC WM. The club have quickly responded by making it clear that the report is incorrect, there is no such clause in place and that there is no obligation to sell.
BBC WM Sport's Birmingham City reporter Richard Wilford: "Birmingham City stress that contrary to press reports there is no clause allowing Liverpool first refusal to sign winger Demarai Gray in January."
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Everton: The banners are on display in the main square.
The Blues play Lille in the Europa League at 18:00 BST today with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.
Play has restarted in the evening session at the WTA Finals in Singapore with Serena Williams attempting to make sure of her place in the semi-finals by beating Canada's Eugenie Bouchard.
Williams suffered her heaviest defeat in 16 years yesterday, getting thumped 6-0 6-2 by Simona Halep.
Bouchard has held serve in the first game and you can check live scores on the BBC Sport website.
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Barcelona have released a suitably hyperbolic video previewing Luis Suarez's probable debut against Real Madrid on Saturday.
The club's website notes that it took the 27-year-old only 11 minutes to score on his Liverpool debut, 42 minutes on his first game for Ajax and 36 at the start of his Groningen career.
England manager Roy Hodgson said he was "gutted" by the furore over Raheem Sterling after the 19-year-old missed the first half of England's meeting with Estonia after telling Hodgson he felt tired.
"It guts me to see that sort of treatment," Hodgson told students at Cambridge University on Wednesday night. 'It's totally unfair and totally wrong.
'It's suiting people's agendas. But, you know, he'll be stronger for it.
You might have noticed there is a huge match at the weekend between two bitter rivals which fans have been looking forward to since the fixture was announced... but enough about Preston v Fleetwood.
Here's midfielder Andres Iniesta looking ahead to his Barcelona team v Real Madrid on Saturday at 17:00 BST (live text on the BBC Sport website).
"The #clasico is always a battle in footballing terms. You have to be the best in everything to win. It'll be a close fought game. Madrid have a lot of potential and it's never easy to go there and win. The 2-6 at the Bernabeu is a unique memory for us."
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Sunderland have just wedged open the transfer window with a screwdriver [they didn't because he arrives on a free ].
Sunderland have confirmed the signing of former France international Anthony Reveillere.
The 34-year-old full-back has signed a deal with the Black Cats until the end of the season and will wear the number 15 shirt. Pending international clearance from the Italian FA, Reveillere could be available to make his Black Cats debut against Arsenal this weekend.
Reveillere began his professional career at French side Rennes where he made over 100 appearances before moving to Lyon, where he spent 10 years gaining a wealth of Uefa Champions League and Europa League experience.
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Pakistan wicket-keeper Safraz Ahmed has put his side in a commanding position on day two of their Test match with Australia in Dubai.
Safraz reached 100 off just 80 balls, but was out stumped just before tea for 109 to Australian spinner Nathan Lyon.
Pakistan are 454 for 8. Mitchell Johnson has figures of 3 for 39.
Two Everton fans have suffered facial injuries after they were attacked with metal chairs in the centre of Lille ahead of the teams' Europa League meeting tonight.
Everton fan Andrew Broughton, who was at the bar with his family, said his father was punched and hit by a chair.
He told BBC Radio Merseyside: "We heard a noise outside and a chair hit the window. The door was getting hit and we could see more than 40 people coming towards the bar.
"My dad had gone outside to call my mum and he looked round and saw men coming towards them. A chair hit him across the face and it cut his eyebrow."
BBC Sport chief F1 writerCopyright: Getty Images
"Chat with Ecclestone re Caterham was ended in a familiar way - sound of his mobile ring tone, the theme from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly."
Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock on responding to claims he told the players to come off in the match against Chelsea without shaking hands with referee Craig Pawson:
"We already had a man sent off, and I don't want another man sent off for saying something to the referee after the game. I wanted to make sure they get in the dressing room without any other red cards."
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Chelsea: Training is underway at Cobham. Here are the Brazilians heading out earlier...
How far can you ride a bike in an hour?
Austria's Matthias Brandle is going to try to over more than 51.110 km at UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland on 30 October. If he does he'll break the world record.
We guess it keeps him off the streets.
Liverpool anchorman Lucas Leiva admits that he is "looking around" for a new club, having grown frustrated with his lack of playing time at Anfield.
"I'm not speaking to anyone at the moment because I'm under contract, but I am looking around, given I am not playing," he said in comments reported by the London Evening Standard.
"There was contact with Napoli last summer, but the parties didn't reach a satisfactory agreement. It's true that Benitez has always held me in high esteem."
Away from the business of an FA charge, Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock confirms in his news conference a new deal has been offered to Damien Delaney, while discussions have begun with fellow defender Joel Ward.
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has shrugged off speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid as Iker Casillas's long-term replacement.
"Those are rumours. I am happy here," he told Kicker.
Reflecting on his difficult early days at Manchester United, he added: "What helped me is that I loved the daily work on the training ground, and used that to get better. But at first it was not easy to cope with all the criticism"
Mo in Manchester: I'm fed up of listening to this shirt swap business. Who cares? Why don't we concentrate on events on the field and the fact Rodgers should be getting scrutinised not Balotelli. 100mil+ spent, and there's been one convincing performance in the whole season. Is he really a good attacking tactician? No! Suarez gave us the early boosts and the team just played off him. He has no plan B and he's had plenty of money to do so. Let's concentrate on the real issue.
Spanish football writer Guillem Balague on Twitter: The percentage of analysis/talk about last night's Anfield game devoted to Balotelli is ridiculous. Minor issue compared to problems of the side.
No, the FA had not forgotten Swansea manager Garry Monk...
The FA: Manager Garry Monk contacted by @FA for his observations on post-match media comments made at Stoke
Monk called Stoke's Victor Moses a cheat and said referee Michael Oliver made an "absolutely disgusting" decision in awarding it.
Liverpool "would be crazy" not to sign Marseille striker Andre Ayew in January according to Andrew Gibney of the French Football Weekly website and podcast.
The 24-year-old Ghana international has entered the last year of his contract with the French league leaders and is rumoured to be one of the options being considered by Brendan Rodgers to strengthen his attack.
"Liverpool have the opportunity to sign an exciting, talented prospect, only 24 years old for what would be a minimal fee," he writes in the Daily Mirror.
"He is very much underrated in the air and loves nothing more than arriving at the back post to out jump unsuspecting full-backs. Quick with the ball at his feet, he is unselfish and loves nothing more than creating chances for others as well as using his strength and pace to burst past opposition back lines."
The Football Association: The FA have charged @CPFC [Crystal Palace] manager Neil Warnock for misconduct following media comments after game.
Warnock criticised referee Craig Pawson. He said he was anticipating a letter from The FA.
England batsman Jonathan Trott has signed a three-year contract extension with Warwickshire.
The 33-year-old, who has not played international cricket since leaving last winter's Ashes tour to Australia with a stress-related illness, has committed himself to the Bears until the end of the 2017 season.
"Jonathan played some of the best cricket of his career in the second half of last season and he showed that he remains one of the leading batsmen in the English game," said director of cricket Dougie Brown.
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Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush thinks it is only a matter of time before London has its own NFL franchise.
"I think that'd be great, I think it's only a matter of time before it happens," he told BBC Surrey.
The Lions play the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley on Sunday in the second of three matches to be staged in London this season.
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Joey Barton on QPR team-mate Adel Taarabt: I am going to do my upmost with Adel. I will give him all the time he needs. Time to get him back to his best @B1ackie [sports psychologist Steve Black]. When you get under @B1ackie 's wing, there is only one direction you can go. We all need a helping hand at times. Never be to proud to admit that. Tough journey especially in such a fickle environment.
BBC Sport's Ben Smith: "One thing to say about Balotelli, he wasn't looking to swap shirts. Pepe sought him out. Story shouldn't detract from #LFC deficiencies. Coutinho swapped shirts with Oscar and Sakho with Eto'o at half-time v #CFC last season. Clearly wrong but Balotelli a convenient scapegoat."
Mohammed on text: "When you lose , you lose as a team. Was it his fault we conceded? No, it was Gerrard's and Johnsons. Was it his fault we didn't score? Maybe. Even then he had no support whatsoever. Its the teams fault not his. This team doesn't even match up to the team that destroyed real in 08/09."
Is Mario Balotelli being made a scapegoat for a Liverpool side that is a pale imitation of last season's side? Send us your views...
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The Daily Telegraph's chief sports writer Paul Hayward has picked apart Mario Balotelli's spiralling Liverpool form.
"Against Queens Park Rangers and again here, he constructed his own private universe, away from toil, away from engagement with his colleagues, free of passion and intensity," he writes.
"Against Real Madrid (against QPR for that matter), a striker simply cannot afford to stand around like Mr Micawber, hoping something will turn up."
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Serena Williams is assured of finishing the year as world number one after Maria Sharapova, the only woman with any chance of overtaking her, lost for a second time at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
The Russian's chances of finishing number one for the first time in her career ended when she was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
It is the fourth season in which Williams has finished at the top of the rankings after doing so last year, in 2009 and 2002.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce ahead of Saturday's match against Manchester City: "We've scored 15 goals in our first eight games and our total last year was 40. It shows what goalscorers can do."
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Alright pop-pickers, welcome to the latest episode of Fifa Top of the Pops....
The big climber this month is Northern Ireland who are up 28 places to 43 in the world on the back of Euro 2016 qualifying wins over Hungary, Faroe Islands and Greece.
Elsewhere England slide two place to 20th while Wales and Scotland have both fallen, despite strong starts to their Euro 2016 campaigns. Both are below the mighty Cape Verde Islands.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "We've got a different team to when we played Man City last season. They're a fabulous side but if we're going to challenge them at any time this season this might be it, coming off a Champions League game. If we can keep their superb attacking force quiet we'll then have to see if we can exploit any weaknesses."
So that's 3-0 to City?
QPR midfielder Joey Barton: Balotelli getting a lot of criticism which is never going to help. What he needs is to get his head down and prove people wrong.
A man never to shy from hot-potato topics
BBC sports editor
"The 650,000 people who have applied for Eng v Aus at Twickenham in RWC 2015 pool stage have a 1 in 32 chance of getting a ticket."
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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce ahead of Saturday's match against Manchester City: "It looks like being the best side since I've been here and the big bonus is the new players hitting the ground running. The rest of the team has been lifted by that increase in quality and energy and we've got over some injury problems too."
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The Liverpool Echo are not sitting on the fence about Mario Balotelli's half-time shirt swap with Real Madrid's Pepe while his side were 3-0 down.
The back page of the paper this morning demands an apology from the Italy international.
"It wasn't simply a massive error of judgement but an alarming lack of professionalism," writes James Pearce.
"With Liverpool trailing 3-0, he should have been hurting, not on the hunt for early souvenirs."
West Ham: Big Sam has arrived for his press conference
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GB Olympic sailing champion and BAR skipper Ben Ainslie: Awesome first day sailing with our new flying machine. Huge credit to our shore team and designers #BringTheCupHome
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West Ham on Twitter: Good morning from Chadwell Heath! We've got live coverage of Big Sam's pre-Man City press conference coming up
That is the Champions League-bound Hammers. Allardyce's side are up in the top four after three wins in their last four.
- Copyright: Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo's scoring stats are legend, but quietly team-mate Karim Benzema is putting together some impressive numbers.
The France international's brace in Real Madrid's 3-0 win over Liverpool last night moved him on to 40 in 67 Champions League appearances.
"I give my all whenever I'm on the field," said Benzema
"It's true that in the Champions League I'm lucky enough to score goals but the other competitions are just as important."
Caterham Formula 1 employees found their factory closed on Thursday but a legal administrator overseeing the property held out hope that the struggling team might still survive.
Finbarr O'Connell has told Reuters various parties had approached him to express interest either in the assets or keeping Caterham racing as an F1 team and negotiations were ongoing.
Here is BBC Formula 1 writer Andrew Benson's take.
Craig in Bradford: Mark Lawrenson's criticism of Balotelli is a bit rich given that, when he was signed, Lawrenson described him as "no risk" at the price paid. I enjoy his punditry but is he admitting he was wrong in a big way on this one?
See 08:10 for Mark Lawrenson's reaction to Balotelli's display against Real Madrid on Wednesday. We do hope Mario isn't reading all this today.
Here is a different view of the Balotelli shirt-swap debate:
Darren Bennett: Firstly, Mario showed respect to his opponent that ASKED to swap shirts. Secondly, Rodgers had NO issues defending his choice to spend 16m on Mario during the transfer window. He knew the risk he was taking, and if it wasn't Mario swapping shirts it wouldn't have even been noticed. To come out and critique the guy is two faced.
I am far from being a fan of either Liverpool OR Mario - but Rodgers is the muppet here, not Mario.
- Copyright: Empics
Our chief football writer Phil McNulty has added some perspective by having the gall to write about the actual manner of Liverpool's 3-0 defeat by Real Madrid at home.
"Liverpool - European Royalty" read the banner on the Kop. Not on this night when Real Madrid reigned supreme and left Liverpool fighting for their survival in the Champions League.
Read more from Phil on the BBC Sport website.
Miss P: Snoods.
That goes in football's Room 101 Miss.P. No doubt. But weren't they very 2011?
Phil Ratcliffe: My biggest bugbear is the constant stream of people who arrive late having spent the previous 2hrs in the pub across the road, need to pee at least twice in each half need a half time pint and arrive late for the second half.
There's a lot of anger there Phil.
Here's a rugby league no-no.
The three Samoan players dropped for Saturday's opening Four Nations Series match against England have each been fined 10,000 Australian dollars (£5,500), the National Rugby League have announced.
Reni Maitua, Tautau Moga and Sauaso Sue have been punished for their part in a nightclub incident in Brisbane last weekend.
Jay Unsworth: Your own surname/nickname on the back of a shirt. And generic Australian beer...
Finlay: Leaving the stadium early to avoid the traffic
Dave Illingworth: Kissing the badge & the non-celebration when a player joins a new club.
We have the feeling that some of these are just things that rile football fans.
Staying on that side of the world, England cricket great Andrew Flintoff, 36, is to play for the Brisbane Heat in the upcoming T20 Big Bash League.
- Copyright: Getty Images
Over in Singapore, they are hosting the WTA Finals.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark has beaten Group B opponent Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 6-3.
Bow and arrow: Fans wearing full kits
A bit like Room 101 we will give a verdict on some of these. In this case, it's straight in Room 101.
BBC Radio 5 live
Some audio to leave you angry/happy/satisfied:*
Balotelli 'only plays for himself': Phil Neville sums up another poor display by the Italian.
Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid: All the goals as Real cruise past Liverpool and more on the controversial shirt swap by Mario Balotelli at HT.
Anderlecht 1-2 Arsenal: All the goals from a dramatic last ten minutes for the gunners (UK only)
*delete as applicable
You just don't swap shirts at half-time in football do you?
It's a big football no-no. Wait. There's an idea for our 'Get involved' topic of the day.
What are your football no-nos?
- Leaving the match before the final whistle?
- Eating anything posher than a burger or pie?
- Players wearing gloves in October?
There are many. So #footballnonos or text in on 81111
- Copyright: Daily Mail
And this from the Daily Mail...
- Copyright: The Sun
BBC Radio 5 live
Here is BBC Football analyst Mark Lawrenson's view on Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli's shirt swap - he does not hold back:
"Balotelli is 24-years-old and a dad. Everybody thought it was time for him to settle down, but, if anything, he is getting worse," he says.
"At Queens Park Rangers on Sunday he gave a non-performance, and then last night, it was sheer madness.
"It is all about Mario Balotelli. He lives in his own little world, but there is no 'I' in team. That sums him up."
Here are a few snippets from today's Gossip Column:
The mystery over Diego Costa's condition has deepened after it emerged the Chelsea striker was forced to spend time in hospital after returning from international duty with Spain. (Daily Telegraph)
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has no intention of selling defender Jan Vertonghen, 27.(Talksport)
Former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt, now at Turkish side Fenerbahce, is a target for Southampton in the January transfer window. (Daily Star)
We've missed Dirk.
- Copyright: EPA
To swap or not to swap, that is the question.
The answer according to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, and others speaking on football etiquette, is that striker Mario Balotelli should not have swapped shirts with Real Madrid's Pepe at half-time. How dare he!
More on that in a bit.
We will also:
- Look back Liverpool's 3-0 home defeat by Real Madrid
- Phil Neville says Balotelli "only plays for himself"
- Review Arsenal's late win at Anderlecht
- Bring the latest quotes from the Premier League news conferences
- Look ahead to Europa League night