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PREMIER LEAGUE

Ederson returns for Manchester City in time for Chelsea visit

Ederson's absence was keenly felt by Manchester City at Anfield where defeat saw them drop nine points behind table toppers Liverpool.

Ederson returns as City look to bounce back against Chelsea

Manchester City will welcome back goalkeeper Ederson for Chelsea's visit on Saturday. The Brazil international suffered a thigh injury during City's 1-1 Champions League draw at Atalanta earlier this month, ruling him out of the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool where understudy Claudio Bravo deputised.

Guardiola relieved at Ederson's return

That result gave Jürgen Klopp's men a nine-point advantage over City at the Premier League summit and the reigning champions lie fourth, a point and a place behind their weekend opponents. Manager Pep Guardiola can therefore be grateful Ederson's brief but keenly felt absence is at an end. Asked whether his number one would be fit at a pre-match news conference, Guardiola replied: "Yep. He trained the last two or three days without pain."

The fallout from City's defeat at Anfield extended to a confrontation between Raheem Sterling and Liverpool defender Joe Gomez while on international duty.

Manchester City's Ederson

Sterling-Gomez matter is water under the bridge - Pep

Manager Gareth Southgate decided to drop Sterling for England's 7-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Montenegro before restoring him to face Kosovo, but Guardiola believes the episode is done and dusted for his star attacker. "I spoke with him. He's fine," he said. "He said Joe is an excellent guy and they have a good relationship. It sometimes happens."

Asked whether such a flashpoint mirrored the widely reported hostility between Barcelona and Real Madrid players on international duty during his time in Spain, Guardiola was somewhat sceptical. "I don't think so. [There is] no comparison," he replied.

Bernardo Silva suspended for Chelsea clash

Guardiola must do without Bernardo Silva against Chelsea, after the Football Association imposed a one-match ban and an education course upon the Portugal playmaker for a racially insensitive tweet he sent to team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

Throughout the affair, Guardiola has staunchly defended Silva's character as opposed to engaging with what offence might have been caused elsewhere, earning criticism in some quarters. Nevertheless, he sounded a similar tone on Friday.

"Under the current situation, the least important thing is the fact we are going to miss him," Guardiola said, adding that the player has been scapegoated. "He has been accused of something he is not. He will be careful using social media from now on. If this can help to make a better society, okay. I'm pretty sure Bernardo accepts the punishment. He is not the kind of person they accuse him of being. They don't know him."

Despite such controversies and long-term injuries to the likes of Leroy Sané and Aymeric Laporte, Guardiola remained bullish over his team's prospects of mounting a credible title defence."A few weeks ago there was just two contenders - for everyone else it was impossible, now it's four and maybe it could be six in a few days," he added. "We're in November, we have a long time left to play and we just try to focus on the next game."