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Chelsea vs. Liverpool result: Salah, Mane score, but Pulisic caps incredible comeback

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In the much-hyped showdown between Chelsea and Liverpool, the big winner was Manchester City. The Premier League leader and reigning champion saw its lead remain at double digits after the two teams behind it battled to a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in an electric encounter.

A contributing factor in the excitement was the fact that both teams were looking for a win in the hope they could reduce the deficit behind Man City to single digits. As it stands, Chelsea (2nd, 43 points) is 10 points back and Liverpool (3rd, 42 points) is 11 points away though the Reds have a game in hand.

Liverpool looked to be cruising early with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah staking it out to a 2-0 lead after just 16 minutes, exposing the Chelsea defense on both goals. But the home team mounted an improbable comeback with a spectacular Mateo Kovacic volley proving the spark and a Christian Pulisic strike in transition completing the comeback just before the halftime whistle.

MORE: Why Lukaku was axed from the Chelsea squad

The two teams had enough energy to for a handful of incisive attacks to start the second half, but the two goalkeepers were up to the challenge. Chelsea ‘keeper Edouard Mendy was especially busy, denying both Sane and Salah on good opportunities.

Chelsea could have used the help of $135 million star forward Romelu Lukaku, but he was dropped from the squad after his comments to Italian outlet Sky Sports Italia which were critical of manager Thomas Tuchel. The German coach said he axed Lukaku because there was too much noise created by the unauthorized interview. Another discussion between the two is scheduled for Monday.

Tuchel’s couterpart, Jurgen Klopp was not on the sideline for Liverpool due to a positive COVID-19 test, which is also the reason starters Alisson, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino were not available. Liverpool will lose Mane, Salah and Naby Keita for the month of January at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Chelsea will lose Mendy to the same competition.

The fixture schedule doesn’t care: Both Chelsea and Liverpool will be involved in Carabao Cup (League Cup) semifinal action in midweek against Tottenham and Arsenal, respectively. After an FA Cup weekend, Chelsea’s next league match will be away to leader Man City on Jan. 15, while Liverpool is at home to Brentford on Jan. 16.

Chelsea vs. Liverpool final score

  1H 2H Final
Chelsea 2 0 2
Liverpool 2 0 2

Goals:
LIV — Sadio Mane — 9th min.
LIV — Mohamed Salah (Trent Alexander-Arnold) — 16th min.
CHE — Mateo Kovacic — 42nd min.
CHE — Christian Pulisic (N’Golo Kante) — 46th+ min.

(All times Eastern)

Final: Chelsea 2, Liverpool 2

90th min.: Four minutes of stoppage time, but not much happening. Both teams are making sure they’re not conceding anything. Meanwhile, Curtis Jones comes into the match for Sadio Mane.

79th min.: SUB – Callum Hudson-Odoi on for Kai Havertz who was in his first game back after a bout with COVID-19. The game could use a spark from someone like the speedy Hudson-Odoi, who will deploy his fresh legs at forward.

72nd min.: From that right wingback position, Pulisic converges and fires a left-footed host that just misses the top left corner of the goal. The Blues need to keep him involved in the attack.

69th min.: SUBS – Naby Keita on for James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in for Diogo Jota. Chelsea also makes a change with Jorginho coming on for Trevoh Chalobah, which forces Azpilicueta to move to right center back and Pulisic to fill in at right wingback.

62nd min.: Kelleher matching Mendy save for save in this second half. A Pulisic half-volley is right at the Liverpool ‘keeper, and he pulled off the reflex stop.

58th min.: Another save by Mendy! What a move by Liverpool and it’s Mane who gets it in the box and rips a shot at goal, but Mendy parries. Liverpool continues to be the most dangerous between the two teams.

57th min.: What a save by Edouard Mendy on Mo Salah! The Egypt international went for the lob from distance, but Mendy was ready to parry it away for a corner. Great shot, great save.

52nd min.: Liverpool are riding that Chelsea offside line. Diogo Jota blasts a volley that’s saved, but he’s ever so slightly in an offside position and the flag comes up.

51st min.: What a through ball from N’Golo Kante to Marcos Alonso, who puts it on his right foot and fires high. Good play by Chelsea, but play is evenly matched once again.

46th min.: Second half is underway and Sadio Mane immediately gets in behind and Kelleher makes the kick save, but the flag goes up. That’s the sort of danger Liverpool can create at any time.

Halftime: Chelsea 2, Liverpool 2

Halftime: What a half of football. Liverpool was deadly in transition because it had the better quality in attack with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who knew exactly what to do in the penalty area. Chelsea didn’t have that same quality in front of goal and instead needed to break through on a worldie from Mateo Kovacic which came out of nowhere. The Blues then fed off that momentum to find an equalizer before the break on four touches with Pulisic getting off the schneid after missing an earlier chance. Chelsea will need to keep feeding off the energy from its incredible comeback, otherwise Liverpool can strike at any time.

48th min.: Mount nearly gives Chelsea the lead! He shoots the ball into the ground toward the left post and it just misses wide.

46th min.: Pulisic ties it! N’Golo Kante pushes the ball into space on a quick transition and the American takes it in stride and lofts a left-footed shot past Kelleher. He needed that goal in the worst way.

42nd min.: What a goal from Mateo Kovacic! Chelsea pulls one back on the heels of a set piece thanks to a tremendous volley from Kovacic. He was at the top of the box and flicked it into the top corner. He was positioned there to clean up any rebounds and he got one.

32nd min.: There’s a long VAR look at a clash between Mason Mount and Tsimikas on the ground. Mount yanks his leg away from the tangle, but there’s nothing to it. Moments later Diogo Jota sends a ball across the front of the goalmouth, but there are no teammates there to take advantage. Meanwhile, Chelsea has no punch to its attack. You can say the Blues miss Romelu Lukaku. 

26th min.: Goal Salah! He first beats Marcos Alonso on the right side of the box with a stutter step and then from a tight angle he shoots past Edouard Mendy at the near post. Liverpool’s attackers are simply better quality so far. That’s his league-leading 16th of the season.

25th min.: Couple of corners for Liverpool, but nothing comes of them. Still, the Reds look comfortable in this game.

20th min.: Marcos Alonso infuriates his Chelsea teammates and his coach with a volley from a tight angle when he should’ve tried to center the ball. You can sense the tension and nerves in the Chelsea ranks right now.

17th min.: CAUTION — Pulisic gets a yellow for a reckless sliding foul on Diogo Jota. Good call by the referee.

9th min.: Goal Liverpool! Defender Trevoh Chalobah misjudges the ball and attempts a low header, but he fails to clear. Sadio Mane picks it up, rounds Mendy and scores. Mane, who is lucky to be on the field, did what Pulisic failed to do earlier. That ended a streak of nine appearances without a goal for Mane.

7th min.: What a chance for Chelsea! Trent Alexander-Arnold is stripped of the ball in his own box and Pulisic is all alone against Kelleher, but he can’t get past him. What a stop by the back-up ‘keeper who pokes it away.

6th min.: Chelsea ‘keeper Mendy with the first save of the match against Mo Salah. It’s end-to-end so far. Lots of energy from both sides.

1st min.: After just 30 seconds, Sadio Mane could’ve seen red! He led with his forearm/elbow and sized up Cesar Azpilicueta. But the referee lets him off with a yellow. Thomas Tuchel is irate.

11:07 a.m.: What Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders had to say as he takes over from manager Jurgen Klopp for the day:

11:05 a.m.: Here’s how Thomas Tuchel explained his decision to drop Lukaku in his interview before the match:

9:33 a.m.: The match will be notable for what happens on the field, but it will also carry significance for what’s taking place in the stands.

Chelsea vs. Liverpool lineups

The Lukaku absence will hit Chelsea hard since the team has already struggling with significant injury problems. The Blues lost another two important players during the last match against Brighton, as Reece James and Andreas Christensen are now shelved. They join Ben Chilwell  and  Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the sidelines. Thiago Silva makes it back from hamstring trouble.

Edouard Mendy is in his final match for Chelsea before departing for the Africa Cup of Nations, but Hakim Ziyech is available throughout the next month, as he was left off Morocco’s squad. Kai Havertz is back from his bout with COVID-19, meaning Timo Werner is likely not far behind, though he doesn’t make the squad vs. Liverpool.

Chelsea starting lineup (3-4-3, left to right): 16-Edouard Mendy (GK) — 14-Trevoh Chalobah, 6-Thiago Silva, 2-Antonio Rudiger — 3-Marcos Alonso, 8-Mateo Kovacic, 7-N’Golo Kante, 28-Cesar Azpilicueta (capt.) — 10-Christian Pulisic, 29-Kai Havertz, 19-Mason Mount.

Chelsea substitutes (9):  1-Kepa Arrizabalaga (GK), 31-Malang Sarr, 75-Lewis Hall, 5-Jorginho, 17-Saul Niguez, 18-Ross Barkley, 20-Callum Hudson-Odoi, 68-Harvey Vale, 22-Hakim Ziyech

Klopp previously indicated there were three players that would miss the game due to COVID-19 and the club has finally named them: Alisson , Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip .

Thiago is again struggling with a groin problem. Left back Andy Robertson is still out, the final of his three-match ban for picking up a straight red. Takumi Minamino is questionable due to muscle soreness, having missed out against Leicester City. Divock Origi is sidelined with a knee problem.

Liverpool starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 62-Kaoihmin Kelleher (GK) — 21-Konstantinos Tsimikas, 5-Ibrahima Konate, 4-Virgil Van Dijk, 66-Trent Alexander-Arnold — 7-James Milner, 3-Fabinho, 14-Jordan Henderson (capt.) — 10-Sadio Mane, 20-Diogo Jota, 11-Mohamed Salah.

Liverpool substitutes (9): 97-Marcelo (GK), 13-Adrian (GK), 12-Joe Gomez, 76-Neco Williams, 8-Naby Keita, 17-Curtis Jones, 63-Owen Beck, 15-Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 80-Tyler Morton

MORE: Who replaces Klopp on the sidelines against Chelsea

How to watch Chelsea vs. Liverpool

  • Date: Sunday, Jan. 2
  • Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
  • TV channel: USA Network
  • Spanish-language TV: Telemundo
  • Streaming: fuboTV , NBCSports.com (authenticated users)

The Sunday match between Chelsea and Liverpool from Stamford Bridge will be broadcast on USA Network (English) and Telemundo (Spanish) in the USA.

MORE: What happened to NBCSN? Premier League has a new TV home

Both channels can be streamed on fuboTV and new users can take advantage of a free 7-day trial .

Chelsea vs. Liverpool betting tip, pick & prediction

Odds courtesy of DraftKings

The news that Lukaku has been dropped from the squad and that Klopp will not be on the bench for Liverpool has not moved the lines all that much. It’s still very much a toss-up.

The Draw No Bet is at -110 for both sides (a draw is a push). That presents an opportunity for a flyer on Liverpool if you believe the Lukaku-Tuchel controversy surrounding Chelsea will continue to drag down a Blues team that has played poorly of late and is still struggling for fitness and form. Mo Salah and Sadio Mane will also be plenty motivated to leave their fans with a memorable showing.

Pick: Liverpool draw no bet (-110)

Prediction: Chelsea 0, Liverpool 2

  • Moneyline: Chelsea +160 / Draw +245 / Liverpool +165
  • Spread (Asian Handicap): Chelsea pick’em (-110) / Liverpool pick’em (-105)
  • O/U 2.5 total goals: Over -125 / Under +105
  • Both teams to score: Yes -165 / No +125



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Chelsea and Liverpool prove Premier League excitement, even if title is a foregone conclusion

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LONDON — Manchester City have shown themselves to be in a league of their own, so the Premier League should be thankful that Chelsea and Liverpool are still able to keep us all entertained. Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge helped neither team and only consolidated City’s vice-like grip on the top spot, but football is about jeopardy, risk and overcoming flaws, and when it all comes together, you get an unforgettable game like this one.

Even before City moved 11 points clear at the top of table with a 2-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday, this second-versus-third clash was always a case of both sides needing to win to maintain faint hopes of catching Pep Guardiola’s winning machine. City’s win at the Emirates was their 11th successive Premier League victory and they have all been won with such monotonous ease, scoring 33 goals and conceding just seven, that every three points is now met with little more than a shrug of inevitability.

Barring an unlikely collapse in the second half of the season, City will win a fourth league title in five years and you will struggle to count on the fingers of one hand the times they have had to dig deep into their reserves to overcome adversity during that period. Guardiola has built one of the all-time great teams in English football history during his six years at the Etihad, but they may simply be too good to contribute to games like this one.

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Chelsea and Liverpool gave us such a pulsating encounter because they both have weaknesses that can be exploited by their opponents. And as a result, they both had to take risks in an attempt to secure a crucial victory.

And they also had to go into the game with unwanted distractions hovering over both clubs.

Chelsea, with three wins from their past eight in the league, were without £97.5 million striker Romelu Lukaku, dropped by coach Thomas Tuchel because of an outspoken interview about his failure to impress so far at Stamford Bridge since returning to the club from Internazionale in the summer. And Liverpool were without manager Jurgen Klopp, goalkeeper Alisson, defender Joel Matip and forward Roberto Firmino — all isolating because of COVID-19.

City, in contrast, have enjoyed a remarkably serene run of successes since losing to Crystal Palace in October, which is why they are free-rolling to another title. But the Premier League is regarded as the most exciting in world football because of games like this, and teams like Chelsea and Liverpool and the drama they create.

From the first minute, when Sadio Mane was fortunate to escape a red card for appearing to strike Cesar Azpilicueta in the face with an elbow after just 14 seconds, the game was incident-packed. Azpilicueta later said it was a “clear red card” when interviewed after the game.

Christian Pulisic, playing centrally in the absence of Lukaku, wasted a golden chance to open the scoring on seven minutes when, with only stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher to beat, he was indecisive and allowed the youngster to smother the ball. It proved a costly miss when, two minutes later, Mane took advantage of his lucky escape from a sending off by pouncing on a mistake by Trevoh Chalobah to score.

Chelsea were in disarray and Liverpool looked like the team that won the title in 2019. When Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 on 26 minutes with a stunning near-post finish after gliding past Marcos Alonso, it seemed as though Liverpool were about to give Chelsea the kind of hammering they inflicted on Manchester United during a 5-0 rout at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Liverpool were unable to score a third, though, and two Chelsea goals in the space of three minutes at the end of the first half turned the game on its head.

When Kelleher punched Alonso’s in-swinging free kick clear on 42 minutes, the keeper looked to have done well to deny the Chelsea defender. But the ball dropped the Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the penalty area and, as he was backpedaling, the midfielder somehow guided a volley beyond Kelleher and into the net. It was a spectacular display of technique by the former Real Madrid player and it gave Chelsea a foothold back into the game.

And it took them just three minutes to score the equaliser when Pulisic atoned for his earlier miss by latching onto N’Golo Kante‘s pass before beating Kelleher with a precise left-foot shot past the Republic of Ireland international. As the chaos continued on the pitch, Mason Mount almost put Chelsea 3-2 up in first-half stoppage time with a scuffed volley that bounced just wide of the post.

When a game is so eventful in the first half, it rarely delivers a second half of the same quality because of coaches plugging the holes that had led to the earlier excitement. But while the goals stopped flowing, the entertainment didn’t.

Salah forced a crucial save from Edouard Mendy with a 25-yard lob on 57 minutes and Mane was also denied by the Chelsea keeper. Kelleher, not to be outdone, then produced a stunning save to prevent Pulisic from scoring his second of the game.

In total, there were 25 chances over the 90 minutes, with both sides registering six on target. Neither could find a winner, though.

“For the outside world it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn’t get them,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said.

Even if one team had done enough to claim all three points, it’s difficult to imagine they would have been able to close the gap on City, who are destined for another title. And the challenge facing both chasing clubs only grows more daunting in the next month, with Salah (Egypt), Mendy and Mane (both Senegal) now heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

But the Premier League still knows how to excite, even if the title is already a foregone conclusion.

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Michael Scudamore has Do Your Job in mind for Doncaster | Racing News

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Doncaster’s Lightning Novices’ Chase could be next on the agenda for Do Your Job following his creditable effort in defeat at Kempton over the festive period.

Runner-up to My Drogo and Belfast Banter in Grade Two and Grade One novice hurdles in the spring, Michael Scudamore’s stable star made a successful start to his chasing career at Warwick in November.

The eight-year-old fell at the eighth fence when stepped up in class for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, but bounced back to finish second to Edwardstone in the Wayward Lad last week.

With Scudamore keen to avoid a rematch with the winner, who is seemingly bound for the Kingmaker at Warwick, Do Your Job could instead bid for Grade Two honours at Doncaster on January 29.

Reflecting on his Kempton performance, the trainer said: “I was very pleased. He jumped well and travelled well and did everything right, he was just beaten by a better horse on the day.

“The main objective was a clear round really and maybe if we hadn’t fallen at Sandown we might have pressed on a bit more and made it more of a staying race.

“The most important thing was to get a clear round under his belt and get some more experience over fences for him.

“I think we’ll stick to novice races while we can and we might look to the race at Doncaster. That is what we have pencilled in at the moment, anyway.

“It would certainly be Plan A to try and avoid Edwardstone and I was very pleased to read he was going to go for the Kingmaker. Hopefully they stick to that plan!”

While Do Your Job looks set to remain in novice company on his next start, Scudamore admitted is considering a step into the handicap arena for the Grand Annual at Cheltenham – a race he won with Next Sensation in 2015.

He added: “I’m sure he’ll have an entry in that. He also ran very well at Aintree last year, so there’s that to consider as well.

“He looks like a horse that could have the right sort of profile for a Grand Annual and we’ll see nearer the time.

“In some ways it might make more sense to go for a handicap now, but as we saw at Kempton some of these novice events don’t have a lot of runners in them and there’s some decent prize-money on offer, so it seems silly to pass them over when you’ve only got one chance to run in them really.”



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Adiwang hopes to fight Saruta next

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Lito Adiwang was booted out of ONE Championship strawweight rankings after coming up short against Jarred Brooks. ‘The Thunder Kid’ is already itching to step back inside the cage and hopes to fight a ranked fighter next.

Of the fighters in the ONE Championship strawweight division rankings, the 28-year-old Filipino seeks to score a date with No.2-ranked Yosuke Saruta.

“I want a big comeback. I still want a big name. I want to challenge Yosuke Saruta. Maybe if ONE allows it, and he wants it, then I’ll take it. Saruta is someone who I really want to test myself against,” said Adiwang in an interview with ONE Championship.

The 28-year-old admits it is a dangerous fight and a huge risk to take. The high-risk, high-reward scenario is something that Adiwang would like to take as he seeks to put his name back in the rankings again by beating a former champion.

“It’s a big risk for me because I’m coming off a loss, but I want a great comeback and a big name in my return so I don’t fall far off from the rankings.”


Lito Adiwang seeking for a better year in 2022 at ONE Championship

Adiwang now holds a professional record of 13-4 and has been competing in ONE Championship since October 2018. He won his first five fights before receiving his first loss against Koha Minowa via a split decision two years later.

The Benguet-based fighter had three fights in 2021. However, he also suffered his second loss in ONE Championship against Jarred Brooks.

Still in his prime, Adiwang goes back to the drawing board and seeks to polish his MMA skills in 2022.

“I have to check my mistakes inside the Circle, but I also have to check my mistakes outside the Circle. It has to be a balance. Sometimes, I forget other personal obligations and those are the things that I have to work on. I have to balance things out based on last year. I have to correct this in 2022.”




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