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Danny Williams finally undergoes knee surgery, will miss start of Reading’s season

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Danny Williams was originally expected to have knee surgery this spring, but in a last dash effort to make the United States’ World Cup squad, the midfielder played through his injury, albeit without earning a trip to Brazil. Now, two months after Jurgen Klinsmann picked his final squad, the former Freiburg and Hoffenheim player has finally gone under the knife, undergoing a procedure that will sideline him for the start of Reading’s Championship season.

According to Major League Soccer’s website, Williams underwent the procedure on Monday, after it became clear the problem would not resolve itself without surgery. The delay has left manager Nigel Adkins frustrated at what he intimated was an unnecessary loss.

Adkins, from the Reading Post:

“Obviously losing Danny Williams this week is not ideal.

“He was advised to have an operation in the summer by the club.

“He was planned for surgery but obviously he’s then gone over to his national team and, to be fair to the player, he still harboured aspirations of going to the World Cup.

“He was with the national set-up for a bit and there was a lot of advice sought and given.

“The last thing you want to do is have surgery. The fact of the matter is he’s had it now, he’s going to be out for several weeks and we’ll just have to deal with that.

“We’ve just got to get him back as soon as we can.”

If Adkins’ timeline remains true, Williams’ loss could prove minor. Though the opening to the Championship’s season is 11 days away, the league’s 46-game season is a long one, rendering a few games here or there almost irrelevant.

Williams may miss the opener at Wigan, and the team’s first match at the Madejski against Ipswich could be a stretch, but if the U.S. international can return by the time Reading visits Nottingham Forest (Aug. 23), the effect of his absence should be minimal.

Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City: Lifeline for Garde, Villa

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06:  Joleon Lescott (2nd R) of Aston Villa celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Norwich City at Villa Park on February 6, 2016 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
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  • Villa now 8 points off safety
  • Garde gets 2 win in 5 PL games
  • Norwich lose fifth-straight

Aston Villa beat Norwich City 2-0 at Villa Park on Saturday to breath new life into their fight against relegation.

Goals in each half from Joleon Lescott and Gabriel Agbonlahor were enough to secure Remi Garde his second victory in the last five games and Norwich only mustered a few chances late on as Alex Neil will be a very worried man.

With the three points — just their third victory in 25 PL outings this season — Villa are still eight points from safety but have given themselves a chance as they now sit on 16 points. Norwich’s alarming slide continues as they drop into the bottom three after five-straight defeats.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays

Norwich started brightly but the first big chance of the game fell to Villa as Leandro Bacuna‘s shot went towards Agbonlahor but he couldn’t convert the chance.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Norwich got back into the game before half time as Steven Naismith drove towards the edge of the box but sent his low shot wide of Mark Bunn‘s near post. A great cross from Russell Martin then found Sebastien Bassong but his header went wide when he should have done better.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Villa took the lead right on half time with Lescott heading home Carles Gil‘s looping free kick from the right. 1-0 to Villa and the home side had a lifeline in their battle against the drop.

Six minutes into the second half Villa led 2-0 as a hopeful ball down the left flank found Agbonlahor who dinked the ball over the onrushing Declan Rudd and into the empty. 2-0 to Villa.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Norwich struggled to create chances in the driving rain in Birmingham, and Bacuna should have put Villa 3-0 up but smashed his effort horribly wide.

The Canaries did have two chances late on but Martin’s header was cleared off the line, then Patrick Bamford was denied following a great last-ditch tackle from Jonas Okore. Despite those hairy moments, Villa held on for what could prove to be a priceless three points as they continue their battle against relegation.

Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland: Black Cats rally to undo Firmino heroics

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06:  Patrick van Aanholt of Sunderland is watched by Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield on February 6, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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  • Firmino goal, assist helps Reds to lead
  • Johnson and Defoe counter for Black Cats
  • Reds have five points in six matches
  • LFC manager Klopp misses with illness

Adam Johnson and Jermaine Defoe scored to erase a 2-0 deficit at Anfield, as Sunderland picked up a point at Anfield with a 2-2 draw against Liverpool on Saturday.

Roberto Firmino had a goal and an assist, while Adam Lallana also scored for Liverpool, who did not have Jurgen Klopp thanks to a suspected bout with appendicitis.

Sunderland is 19th, four points back of 17th place Newcastle United, while the Reds fall behind Merseyside rivals Everton and into 8th place on goal differential.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Lallana forced a 20th minute turnover that nearly turned into the opener, as the ex-Saints man slipped in Alberto Moreno down the left side only to see the defender’s shot parried wide.

The Reds were the far bigger threat in the first half, but those 45 minutes didn’t produce a goal.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The second half was another story, and the match hadn’t hit the hour mark when James Milner‘s cross found the head of Firmino to make it 1-0 to the Anfield set.

The Black Cats came close to equalizing through Patrick Van Aanholt, but the shot rocketed free of the frame.

Liverpool doubled its lead in the 70th minute, when Firmino stripped Billy Jones and dribbled toward Vito Mannone before cutting back to Lallana.

The Black Cats pulled one back in the 82nd minute, as Johnson took advantage of a poorly-positioned wall. Sunderland had a sniff at this.

Defoe made it square in the 89th minute when he took Wahbi Khazri‘s pass and turned past Mamadou Sakho to lash a shot behind Simon Mignolet. Remarkably, things were level.

Swansea City 1-1 Crystal Palace: Hennessey helps Eagles keep point

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  • Hennessey stars in net for Palace
  • Sigurdsson nets free kick to open scoring
  • Defender Dann now Eagles joint leading scorer

Scott Dann and Gylfi Sigurdsson traded goals as bottom-half sides Swansea City and Crystal Palace drew 1-1 at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

The point moves 16th place Swansea four points clear of the drop, while Palace’s 32 points have them 9 ahead of the relegation zone.

The bright side for the once-contending Eagles is their first point in six PL matches.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sigurdsson’s free kick traces the outside of the Palace wall, which was set up inside the far post, and Swans had an early lead.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Dann poked in a rebound just after halftime, following Damien Delaney‘s flick-on of a Yohan Cabaye corner kick.

Wayne Hennessey kept it 1-1 thanks to a not-ideal in-tight shot from Ashley Williams, and another late save on Sigurdsson. The Icelandic star was likely the man of the match, but Hennessey can make a good claim.

Stoke City 0-3 Everton: Toffees torment Potters

during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Everton at Britannia Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Stoke on Trentl, England.
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  • Lennon scores in 3rd-straight game
  • Toffees led 3-0 at half time
  • Two wins on spin for Toffees

Everton beat Stoke City 3-0 on Saturday at a drenched Britannia Stadium as Roberto Martinez’s side dominated from start to finish.

First half goals from Romelu Lukaku, Seamus Coleman and Aaron Lennon did the business and if it wasn’t for the heroics of Jack Butland it could have been many more.

With the win Everton leapfrog Stoke and move on to 35 points, while Stoke have now lost three-straight games.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays

After a bright start from Stoke in monsoon-like conditions in Staffordshire they were behind inside the opening 11 minutes. Tom Cleverley broke into the box and as he rounded Jack Butland the Everton midfielder went down under contact and a penalty kick was awarded. Lukaku stepped up and scored his 20th goal of the season in all competitions to put the Toffees 1-0 up.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Just before the half hour mark Everton led 2-0 with Cleverley’s corner headed home by Coleman. 2-0 to the Toffees and all eyes were on Martinez to see if he was dancing to Derulo on the sidelines.

Everton then made it 3-0 before the break as Philpp Wollscheid’s ball was intercepted by Lennon and he raced clear before slotting home his third goal in as many games.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Stoke still looked stunned in the second half and Lukaku had a great chance to grab his second and Everton’s fourth but Butland pushed his header onto the bar and over. Great save after a brilliant cross from Ross Barkley.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It was all Everton in the second half as Lennon turned on the style but taking the ball past three Stoke defenders, then set up Lukaku who was first denied by a block and then by Butland. Glen Johnson had a rasping left-footed shot pushed away by Robles but that was as good as it got for Stoke in the pouring rain.

Butland then denied Arouna Kone with another good save and Ramiro Funes Mori headed wide soon after as Stoke escaped with a smidgen of self respect after they took a battering at the hands of Everton.