Sunderland 2-2 Liverpool: Defoe halts Reds in thriller

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  • Sturridge, Mane score
  • Defoe’s two PKs grab point
  • Liverpool five points behind Chelsea

Liverpool missed a glorious chance to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to three points as they drew 2-2 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Monday.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side led twice through Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane but two penalty kicks from Jermain Defoe meant it was a point each in the north east.

With the point Liverpool now has 44 points and has played a game more than leaders Chelsea, while Sunderland has 15 points as their battle against relegation continues.

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Sunderland had a good chance early on as Patrick Van Aanholt cut inside and teed up Defoe who hit a powerful shot on goal which Simon Mignolet saved.

At the other end Sadio Mane clipped a lovely ball in to Daniel Sturridge and his low shot was saved by Vito Mannone and moments later the Sunderland goalkeeper tipped Georginio Wijnaldum‘s shot over.

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The chances kept coming as a powerful low drive from Jack Rodwell was pushed away by Mignolet in a lively encounter. Sturridge had another effort saved and a cross soon after was nearly turned into the net by a Sunderland defender but went out for a corner.

From that corner Dejan Lovren scuffed an effort towards goal and Sturridge headed home instinctively. 1-0 to Liverpool as Sturridge scored on his first PL start since October.

Sunderland were level before half time as Didier Ndong surged into the box and Ragnar Klavan clipped him and a penalty kick was awarded. Defoe dispatched the PK calmly for his 10th of the season. 1-1.

Mignolet then denied Defoe as he rounded the Belgian goalkeeper and a follow up effort was scuffed wide by Fabio Borini as Sunderland fought back.

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The pace wasn’t as high in the second half as Alberto Moreno replaced James Milner at the break, while Liverpool had a fantastic chance to take the lead with Nathaniel Clyne‘s right-wing cross was glanced wide by Sadio Mane.

At the other end Borini’s shot was blocked and then a moment of real controversy arrived when Adnan Januzaj tried to flick the ball by Emre Can and it appeared to hit his hand. No PK awarded to Sunderland and the home fans were livid.

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Late on a tired looking Liverpool surged forward as Sturridge’s shot was blocked by Mannone and from the resulting corner Mane tapped home at the back post. 2-1 to Liverpool.

Sturridge limped off injured late on which will be a concern for Klopp and then Mane handled a free kick in the box as Sunderland were awarded a second penalty of the game.

Defoe dispatched the spot kick for his 11th of the season in the PL as the Black Cats snatched a point in a pulsating encounter.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea still pursuing Roma duo, and more

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Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.

According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.

[READ: MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker]

With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.

Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.

After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League:

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MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

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Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

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“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]