AT HALF: Man City answers Liverpool’s early goal (video)

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Sunday’s tilt between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield is living up to the hype.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s early goal gave Liverpool a lead, but the visitors responded through a truly venomous Leroy Sane strike before halftime.

[ MORE: Stream live | Tactical cam ]

Jurgen Klopp‘s plan had been compact high-pressure, his formation moving with and without the ball, and the Reds have allowed precious few chances to the unbeaten PL leaders.

And it was a low hard drive from Oxlade-Chamberlain (above) which opened up his options before the match was 10 minutes old, the ex-Arsenal man lacing a shot past a diving Ederson.

Man City, to the surprise of few, had an answer before the break. An overeager Joe Gomez let Sane’s chest trap befuddle him, and the German then cooked Joel Matip before blasting an effort past Loris Karius to make it 1-1.

Pogba: Manchester United needed “to wake up” (video)

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Paul Pogba joined NBC crew Arlo White and Lee Dixon on the Goodison Park pitch after he starred in Manchester United’s 2-0 win at Everton on Saturday, and admitted it feels good when Jose Mourinho takes the leash off the creative midfielder.

“I feel more comfortably offensively,” Pogba said. “It’s always better to be next to the strikers, to help them, to make an assist, or to shoot, but I’m happy to help them going backward with pleasure.”

Pogba added that wherever he plays on the pitch, “I’m playing for Manchester United, and that gives me a smile.”

[ MORE: Match recap | Mourinho reacts ]

The Frenchman is clearly pleased to be back with the club he originally joined as a teenager in 2009 before really raising his profile after Alex Ferguson let him walk on a free transfer to Juventus.

And he’s loving the response after United struggled to find complete performances in a trio of PL draws during the festive season.

“When you draw three games in a row when you should win, you have to wake up,” Pogba said. “You have to come back, bounce back and come to the victory mentality. It just naturally came straight away to all the players. … We need to carry on like this, keep it up. It’s easy to get overconfident in our head but we need to keep focus and keep working hard.”

United has Derby County in the FA Cup on Saturday before a visit from Stoke City and a trip to Burnley. Can the Red Devils stack three wins before a Jan. 31 trip to Tottenham Hotspur?

Academy kid Cutrone wins Milan Derby in extra time (video)

AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
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A Milan Derby heading to extra time? That’s what we saw Wednesday in the Italian Cup, and Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan was the happier for it.

Patrick Cutrone knifed home Suso’s pass in the 104th minute, and Gianluigi Donnarumma made a number of fine saves as AC Milan advanced with a 1-0 quarterfinal win.

[ MORE: Man City survives Newcastle surge ]

The goal meant everything to the soon-to-be 20-year-old, who couldn’t hold in his emotions. Cutrone joined the Milan academy at age 8, so this one’s special for him.

“I can’t believe it because it feels like I was playing with the primavera yesterday, scoring in the derbies and celebrating in the same way. Tonight I do it in front of a full San Siro”

Milan spent a lot this summer and has muddled its way through the Serie A season. Could this win transform their league form, too?

Bayern holds off BVB to maintain Der Klassiker mastery

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Bayern Munich is 3-for-3 in Der Klassiker matches with Borussia Dortmund this season after knocking BVB out of the German Cup on Wednesday.

They had to work for it despite going up 2-0 against the holders.

Jerome Boateng’s header opened the scoring with the first quarter hour, and Thomas Muller scored a cute dink before halftime to give Jupp Heynckes men a two-goal advantage.

[ MORE: Wild finish at Chelsea ]

Andriy Yarmolenko scored in the second half for BVB, who had 52 percent possession and took just four fewer shots than the hosts.

Christian Pulisic went 90 minutes for BVB, and came close to a first half assist.

Bayern won the German Super Cup in penalties and then claimed the clubs’ first league meeting of the season.

Lukaku dodges kicking ban (video)

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Intent versus result could decide Romelu Lukaku‘s status for a series of big games.

Reports say Lukaku is under investigation for aiming a pair of kicks at Brighton and Hove Albion’s Gaetan Bong on Saturday.

UPDATE: Lukaku won’t be suspended, according to Simon Peach of the Press Association.

Manchester United scored the lone goal of the match on the play in question, after Lukaku did battle with Cameroon defender Bong in front of the goal on a corner kick.

[ MORE: Man City sets points record ]

The ball made its way outside the 18 as Lukaku maneuvered toward an onside position after swinging his right and then left leg at Bong, who appears to block a very sensitive region with his hand.

Ashley Young‘s shot then turned hard off Lewis Dunk to give United its only goal.

Lukaku could’ve received a three-match ban for violent conduct, putting a lot of pressure on new-old striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford for matches against Watford, Arsenal, and Manchester City, with an important UEFA Champions League match against CSKA Moscow mixed into the fray.

Did Lukaku’s failure to significantly land either of his kicks make a difference? It shouldn’t, but results are prioritized over intent often in sports discipline.