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Celtic, Porto make shock Champions League exits

Former European Cup winners had mixed fortunes in Champions League qualifying as Ajax Amsterdam and Red Star Belgrade squeezed into the playoff round while Celtic and Porto were eliminated after a dramatic evening on Tuesday.

Ajax, semifinalists last season, came from behind to beat PAOK 3-2 for a 5-4 aggregate win over the Greeks while Red Star knocked out FC Copenhagen on penalties after a bizarre shootout involving 22 spot kicks.

Krasnodar sprung a major upset with a 3-2 win at Porto to advance...

Man City avoid transfer ban, get £315k fine

The Luck Index shows Manchester City were unlucky not to pass 100 points again, and beat Liverpool to the Premier League by a bigger margin.
Shaka Hislop evaluates the first Saturday of the Premier League season, praising Manchester City and Brighton while rigorously defending VAR.
Man City kicked off their season perfectly with a 5-0 drubbing of West Ham at the Olympic Stadium.
Ilkay Gundogan explains it's always been a huge achievement to play under Pep Guardiola after he extended his Man City contract to 2023.
Defender Joao Cancelo outlines what he expects from the Premier League after securing his move to Manchester City.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop will "always defend VAR" and doesn't understand why people are so resistant to evidence it's a positive.
Shaka Hislop gives full credit to Pep Guardiola and Man City for their 5-0 opening day win vs. West Ham.

Manchester City have avoided a transfer ban despite admitting breaking FIFA rules on signing young players but were fined £315,000 after breaching rules on the transfer and regulation of foreign players under the age of 18.

There was a risk they could be punished with a transfer ban after Chelsea were banned from registering new players for two windows after a similar breach of FIFA regulations. Chelsea cannot sign new players until the end of January 2020.

- ESPN Premier League fantasy: Sign...

The story behind Trent Alexander-Arnold's new Anfield mural

Jurgen Klopp heaps praise on Trent Alexander-Arnold's growth at such a young age, as the Liverpool local receives a mural of himself.
ESPN FC's Ian Darke shares his predictions for the top six, player of the year and top goal scorer for the 2019-20 Premier League season.
ESPN FC's fantasy expert Mark Donaldson returns with his must-have players for the first week of the 2019-20 Premier League season.
Our ESPN FC panel give their Premier League predictions, including some surprising picks for top 6 and player of the year.

LIVERPOOL -- In the shadow of Anfield, there is new light for the community. A blank wall on Sybil Road, a minute's walk away from the stadium, has morphed into a message of inspiration and a call to action.

The faded brown brick is now covered by a giant mural of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, featuring his reaction to winning the Champions League in June: "I'm just a normal lad from Liverpool, whose dream has just come true."

- Reddy: Why Trent Alexander-Arnold won't stop
- Klopp interview:...

Messi, Ronaldo nominated for 18-19 UCL award

Lionel Messi ensures Barcelona fans the club will fight for every trophy in 2019-20 after only winning La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup in 2018-19.
Stewart Robson cites Barcelona's defeats against Liverpool and Roma in response to Cristiano Ronaldo's comments that money cannot buy a UCL title.
Ross Dyer and Shaka Hislop go through the nominees for FIFA's The Best men's player award, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo have been nominated for the UEFA Champions League Forward of the Season award.

UEFA also announced their list of nominees for the best goalkeeper, defender and midfielder from last season's tournament.

Messi scored 12 goals in the tournament as Barcelona reached the semifinals before suffering a comeback defeat to eventual winners Liverpool. Meanwhile, Ronaldo scored six goals -- including a hat trick against Atletico Madrid -- as...

Female official to ref top men's match for first time

Steve Nicol breaks down how the possible absences of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will affect Liverpool early in the season.
The FC crew discuss the root causes of Liverpool's summer struggles and whether they will carry into the start of the season.
Christian Pulisic scored twice and won a penalty for Chelsea as they piled on the goals in their 5-3 victory over FC Salzburg.
Pedro's acrobatics were on full display for Chelsea's fourth goal against FC Salzburg. For more, sign up for ESPN+.

The UEFA Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea in Istanbul on Aug. 14 will be the first major UEFA men's showpiece to have a female referee, with France's Stephanie Frappart selected to officiate the contest.

Champions League winners Liverpool will face Europa League holders Chelsea in the annual clash between the victors of Europe's two main competitions.

- Liverpool vs. Chelsea: All you need to know about the UEFA Super Cup

Frappart was the referee for the FIFA Women's World Cup final between...