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Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool; Reds fail to finish as City climbs second (video)

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Liverpool came close to becoming the first visiting team not named Bayern Munich to win at the Etihad Stadium in months, but suspect finishing and a poor moment of goalkeeping allowed Manchester City to survive with a 2-1 decision at home.

The Reds struck first, and rightly so after having an earlier Raheem Sterling goal wiped out for what seemed to be a dubious offsides call. Sterling would play his part in the tally, as he moved deftly past a sliding Joe Hart before deferring to Phillippe Coutinho. He slotted home into an yawning net from a not-so-easy angle to move ahead 1-0 in the 24th minute.

Kompany came to City’s rescue with a headed-down effort off a corner, this one moving past Mignolet to level the score in the 31st minute. Joe Allen probably should’ve done better to clear the goal off the line.

Coutinho was robbed by Hart in the 40th minute after Liverpool worked its way into prime real estate via Sterling’s chip and Luis Suarez‘s one-touch pass. The Brazilian was on the doorstep but the maligned Hart was brilliant in parrying a right-footed effort aside.

Manchester City continued its streak of scoring two or more goals at home, a feat that traces back to May, when Jesus Navas slid a pass to Negredo. He hit a hard shot with the outside of his left foot that ignored a lackadaisical Simon Mignolet‘s paw and gave City a 2-1 halftime lead.

(MORE: Boxing Day Roundup)

A sublime turn from David Silva was the feature moment of a 55th minute that nearly saw City go up by two goals, but Yaya Toure was foiled by a tough first touch and Hart was wise to the ensuing corner.

It wasn’t in the cards for Raheem Sterling, who made a meal of a prime scoring chance with less than 20 minutes to play. Sterling’s well-timed run became a balloon over the crossbar when he sent the ball aloft from eight yards out.

Liverpool will feel unlucky considering this performance on the road but it’s worth noting that while Mignolet was not at his best on the second goal, he later denied the deficit’s growth on several occasions.

The late goings-on featured a series of yellow cards including a reputation foul on Suarez to go with cautions to Victor Moses and Glen Johnson. Man City’s only yellow went to Pablo Zabaleta.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Nasri (Milner, 72), Silva (Javi Garcia, 87), Negredo (Dzeko, 77), Navas

Goals: Kompany (31), Negredo (45+1)

Liverpool: Mignolet, Cissokho, Skrtel, Sakho, Johnson, Lucas (Aspas, 82), Allen, Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho, Suarez.

Goals: Coutinho (24)

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Swansea City

SWANSEA, WALES - MAY 01:  Jefferson Montero of Swansea City is challenged by Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at The Liberty Stadium on May 1, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images
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  • Liverpool leads all-time 22W-8D-10L
  • Swans lost five-straight at Anfield
  • Reds unbeaten in 7 PL matches

One of the Premier League’s top attacks hosts the division’s leakiest defense, as Liverpool may be licking its chops ahead of a visit from struggling Swansea City on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Liverpool has drawn at Sunderland and Manchester United in its last two Premier League outings, and sits seven points back of leaders Chelsea.

Swansea City has allowed multiple goals in five of six PL matches since beating Sunderland 3-0 on Dec. 10. It’s no surprise that they’ve lost those five (the sixth being a 2-1 win at struggling Crystal Palace).

What they’re saying

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp on the match“We’re really looking forward to this game. I don’t know when it happened but in England every game now is like a final. Swansea are trying to survive. I don’t know when the title run-in will start, maybe now and we’re in the race. I hope for a special atmosphere tomorrow.”

Swansea City back Federico Fernandez on Liverpool“They are a team that is very strong going forward and that is shown by the number of goals they have scored. If you lose a little bit of focus against these teams then they have the players that will punish you every time. But it’s not only defending strongly when they are attacking, it is also how we keep hold of the ball and how we use it when in possession.”

Prediction

Swansea boss Paul Clement has his hands full, and is grabbing reinforcements in the transfer window (Luciano Narsingh, Martin Olsson, Tom Carroll). That won’t be enough to handle what Liverpool will dish out Saturday, as the Reds break free with a 3-0 win.

Saints’ Fonte moves to West Ham for $10 million

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West Ham has been linked with big name strikers since the summer, but the Irons’ big January transfer to date is a center back.

EURO champion and Southampton mainstay Jose Fonte is moving to London.

[ MORE: West Brom finally sells Berahino ]

Fonte, 33, makes an approximately $10 million move from the South Coast, where the Portuguese back will better Slaven Bilic‘s back line while forcing Southampton to find an answer alongside Virgil Van Dijk.

It’s been a strange trip to London for Fonte and Southampton, detailed by our own Joe Prince-Wright here. Fonte joined Saints during the 2009-10 season, and became a cult hero at St. Mary’s in helping the club move from League One to the Europa League in just over a half-decade.

Something won’t feel right about seeing Fonte in claret and blue, and Saints host West Ham on Feb. 4. Should be quite interesting.

Saga over: Saido Berahino finally has a new home (video)

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What in the world is the transfer rumor mill going to do without Saido Berahino?

Linked with a move away from West Brom for the better part of two years, the English striker has been freed from the bad graces of Tony Pulis and has joined Stoke City on a five-and-a-half year deal.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires Steven Gerrard ]

Berahino, 23, was sold for $15 million, a fee that could rise as high as $19 million. West Brom has previously rejected bids from Spurs amongst others that reached as high as $31 million.

It’s a smart, calculated risk for Mark Hughes and Stoke, who have not been able to get over the mid-table hump and encroach on European competition. Berahino scored 14 PL goals in 2014-15, a figure that rose to 20 when including all competitions.

Now could this mean Bojan Krkic is indeed off to Middlesbrough? We’ll wait to see if it’s a domino move for the Potters, and also if we one day yearn for the dulcet tones of Pulis screaming, “Saido!”, again and again, on the West Brom touch line.

Moyes says new Sunderland buys won’t be big difference makers

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: David Moyes, Manager of Sunderland (L) speaks to Jermain Defoe of Sunderland (R) before he comes on during the Emirates FA Cup third round replay between Burnley and Sunderland at Turf Moor on January 17, 2017 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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Sunderland boss David Moyes isn’t expressing the emotions of an optimistic man.

The former Everton, Manchester United, and Real Sociedad manager says his transfer budget is “limited with a big L” and that any names in the transfer market are not the players he’s allowed to pursue.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

Sunderland has been linked with Phil Jagielka, Leonardo Ulloa, Robbie Brady, The Chronicle did report that free agent Joleon Lescott has been training with the team.

Even worse, Sunderland’s two most impactful players, Jermain Defoe and Patrick Van Aanholt, have been reported as targets for other PL sides and may prefer to leave the Northeast.

From The Chronicle:

“I’d be kidding you on if I said the players we are going to bring in in January are going to massively make a big difference because first of all, we probably couldn’t get that level of player and secondly, we probably wouldn’t have the finances to do that.

“To suggest that the player we bring in would be making a big difference, I think, wouldn’t be correct.”

Woof. That’s a tough pill for already beleaguered Sunderland supporters to swallow, and will only cause more unrest from a fan base that has been to know to leave a match early. Sunderland are far from dead in the water, but Swansea, Hull, and Palace are all making moves as it looks more and more like a four team race for 17th. Is Sunderland doomed?