Takeaways and talking points from European football this weekend
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Every week, theScore will handpick the best stories from the top five leagues and beyond, giving bite-sized accounts of the things you need to know from around European football.

UEFA drops bombshell on City

UEFA did what no one thought it would ever do. Banning Manchester City from the Champions League took a lot of guts, not least because of the resistance expected to follow. The club said shortly after the ruling it would challenge UEFA in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Just as they spent hundreds of millions on the very best players money could buy, City will now invest huge sums in the toughest legal team available.

City never really took Financial Fair Play (FFP) seriously. According to leaked documents, a lawyer for the club said during an earlier investigation that City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak would "rather spend €30 million on the 50 best lawyers in the world to sue (UEFA) for the next 10 years" than accept a penalty for any financial wrongdoing. We're about to see that play out.

A lot will be at stake when the highest sports court in the land hears the case. If City's appeal is successful, FFP will lose all meaning after failing in the most crucial moment to hold a club accountable for violating laws and deceiving officials along the way. If City doesn't win, they will face a potential player exodus and, along with it, years on the sidelines.

Liverpool keep grinding

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Liverpool extended their Premier League unbeaten run to 43 matches in typically resourceful fashion. With the rain and wind of Storm Dennis battering them for 90 minutes, the Reds found a moment of clarity when Sadio Mane took down Jordan Henderson's long ball before slotting it into Norwich City's goal.

Norwich threatened on more than one occasion to secure the season's biggest upset, but the runaway Premier League leaders never lost their focus. One of Liverpool's biggest strengths is their patience, and they needed a lot of it on Saturday. Norwich blocked shots and closed passing lanes, leaving Liverpool with the ball often, but with little way through. The Reds continued to play vertically, launching balls over the top and through the middle, and Norwich eventually cracked.

Even when they're not at their sharpest, Liverpool have enough quality in their ranks to turn a half-chance into something meaningful. Mane's excellent skill in close quarters allowed him to beat his man and gain enough space in the area to score.

Like so many of Liverpool's opponents this season, Norwich manager Daniel Farke, who was otherwise proud of his team, had no choice but to accept the loss.

Atalanta love a good comeback

When Atalanta conceded a sloppy goal to Roma in the first half of Saturday's marquee match, there was little reason to believe they'd actually lose the game. As they've done all season, La Dea recovered to win, thanks in no small part to substitute Mario Pasalic's homing missile in the 59th minute.

No other team in Serie A has claimed more points (18) from losing positions. That's partly tied to Atalanta's sheer goal-scoring ability. They can score from virtually anywhere on the pitch, and goals don't always come from the likeliest sources. Fourteen different players have hit the back of the net in Serie A this season, and two of them - Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel - have already reached double digits. Atalanta will likely finish the season with more.

Manager Gian Piero Gasperini should take pride in the way he's organized his team. Besides their style of play - a wonderful combination of pressing, speed, and vertical passing - he's transformed his players into multipurpose professionals who can do more than what their positions ask of them.

More injury issues for Barcelona

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Junior Firpo is about to be thrown into the fire.

The Spaniard, signed last summer from Real Betis for an initial €18 million, was thrust into action when incumbent Jordi Alba limped off with an adductor injury during Saturday's tense 2-1 win over Getafe. The diminutive left-back, arguably the club's most consistent non-Lionel Messi performer in recent seasons, figures to miss the upcoming Champions League clashes with Napoli and, critically, the impending edition of El Clasico against Real Madrid.

The injury is the latest in a recent string of unfortunate ailments that have befallen Quique Setien's side. Luis Suarez is racing against the clock to get back on the pitch after undergoing knee surgery, while a hamstring issue will keep oft-injured winger Ousmane Dembele out for the remainder of the campaign.

Barca is heading into a decisive stretch, as losses to Napoli and Real Madrid would effectively cripple their season. Now the club will once again need Messi to carry the load. Antoine Griezmann needs to chip in, too, and Firpo has to offer the kind of attacking impetus from the left side that Alba has so steadfastly provided throughout his tenure at the Camp Nou.

Get it out of your system, PSG

Boasting a healthy lead atop the Ligue 1 table, Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel used Saturday's match against relegation-threatened Amiens to rotate his side ahead of this week's Champions League last-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund. Star attacker Kylian Mbappe received the day off, while Neymar, who's nursing a rib injury, was once again held out.

Teenage defenders Tanguy Kouassi and Mitchel Bakker were inserted into a makeshift backline that also included Ander Herrera at right-back. The former, a 17-year-old academy product, scored twice in a manic 4-4 draw.

It wasn't exactly ideal preparation for Tuesday's stiff test in Germany. Dortmund, though defensively frail, have scored 22 goals in their last five Bundesliga matches, with the red-hot duo of Erling Braut Haaland and Jadon Sancho leading the way.

Tuchel, one of the game's most astute tacticians, will surely make wholesale changes to the team that took a laissez-faire approach to the weekend's domestic match, and he likely won't put too much stock into Saturday's result given the XI rolled out. However, he'll certainly be hoping the holdovers arrive at the Westfalenstadion with an altogether different mindset from the one they brought to northern France.

Spurs somehow find a way

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Jose Mourinho has taken Tottenham from 14th place to fifth in the Premier League over just a few short months, and yet the Portuguese manager hasn't really improved the team all that much. Spurs have relied on late goals to get themselves out of relative danger and into the Champions League race, and they did that against Aston Villa on Sunday. Heung-Min Son's solo effort in the 94th minute was the difference.

Tottenham won 3-2 for the fourth time since Mourinho took over in November. Have the players lost their defensive instincts? Or maybe Mourinho doesn't care so much about keeping games tight.

When he arrived at the club, Mourinho raved about the attacking players he'd finally get the chance to coach, seeming to have a new perspective on football and life in general. Maybe he's happy letting his team create chances the only way it knows how, regardless of the risks taken, because the club is imperfect.

Spurs are finding ways to win, especially without their talisman, Harry Kane, and that's the main reason why Mourinho is leading them.

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