Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Blues held in gripping clash

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  • Luiz catches Mignolet napping to open scoring
  • Wijnaldum equalizes
  • Mignolet redeems himself, saves Costa’s PK

Liverpool battled back and held on for a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Anfield on Tuesday in a gripping encounter in the pouring rain on Merseyside.

Chelsea took the lead through David Luiz‘s sumptuous free kick which caught Simon Mignolet off guard, but Liverpool equalized in the second half as Georginio Wijnaldum headed home to make it 1-1.

Late on Diego Costa won a penalty kick but his spot kick was then saved by Mignolet as the Blues missed a good chance to grab yet another win but this point keeps them ahead of the chasing pack in the title race.

Chelsea now has 56 points, extending their lead at the top of the table to nine points. Liverpool now has 46 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool had all the play early on as Georginio Wijnaldum hammered an effort in on goal which Thibaut Courtois saved well.

Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino linked up well in the final third early on but then Chelsea grew into the game.

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First Eden Hazard raced clear and set up Victor Moses but his shot was blocked and then came a moment of magic to put the Blues 1-0 up.

Chelsea won a free kick 25 yards out and Luiz strode up to the ball and hammered home a free kick in off the post. 1-0 to Chelsea but replays showed that Liverpool’s goalkeeper Mignolet was looking the wrong way and wasn’t ready for the effort.

After that Luiz almost got on the end of a Willian free kick at the back post to make it 2-0 and Chelsea looked far more dangerous as the first half came to a close.

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Liverpool looked brighter in the second half and Firmino missed a sitter in the 49th minute. A surge forward from Liverpool saw Marcos Alonso slid in to make a challenge but the ball inadvertently played in Firmino but he panicked and shanked an effort over from eight yards out.

At the other end Moses then bundled his way through and his shot hit the near post before going wide. A let off for Liverpool after yet another sloppy defensive mistake.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Just before the hour mark Liverpool were level as Jordan Henderson‘s cross found James Milner at the back post and he nodded the ball back across goal and Wijnladum reacted first to a deflection to head home. 1-1. Game on.

Drama ensued late on as Joel Matip brought down Costa in the box but Chelsea’s striker saw his spot kick saved brilliantly by Mignolet in front of the Kop.

Late on Pedro went close twice as Henderson blocked his first effort and then the Spaniard curled another just wide, while at the other end Firmino headed straight at Courtois as he spurned another golden chance.

Chelsea were the happier team with the draw as Conte punched the air with delight at the final whistle. Combined with Arsenal and Tottenham both slipping up on Tuesday, this was another big point for the Blues.

Another American heads to Schalke: Zyen Jones

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Schalkamerica?

Bundesliga mainstays Schalke have added yet another American, this one 17-year-old Zyen Jones of Atlanta United. Jones is a forward with the U.S. U-17 national team.

Like Josh Sargent, who signed his deal with Werder Bremen on Tuesday, he’ll head overseas and sign a pro contract on Aug. 25, his 18th birthday.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Jones will join several potential USMNT teammates in Gelsenkirchen, including injured senior team midfielder Weston McKennie and youngster Nick Taitague (19). Forward Haji Wright is on loan at Sandhausen.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”

Villarreal opens probe into Semedo’s reported arrest

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MADRID (AP) Spanish club Villarreal says it is investigating the actions of defender Ruben Semedo after reports that he was arrested for a violent incident.

The club said it is “highly concerned” about the issue and “will take the appropriate disciplinary actions with utmost rigor based on the seriousness of the events.”

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The statement was released after Spanish media reported that the Portuguese player was taken into custody early Tuesday for allegedly being involved in a hostile confrontation with another man last week.

Police did not immediately confirm Semedo’s arrest.