Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea: Costa seals comeback win for leaders

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LIVERPOOL — Premier League leaders Chelsea fell behind early on to Liverpool but surged  back to secure an impressive 2-1 win at Anfield on Saturday.

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Liverpool took the lead less than 10 minutes in as Emre Can’s deflected effort found the back of the net. However Chelsea stayed calm and equalized in the first half through Gary Cahill, as his effort was adjudged to have crossed the line by the goal-decision system.

After the break Chelsea dominated the play and took the lead with just over 20 minutes left as Diego Costa bagged the game-winner after good work from Cesar Azpilicueta.

With their victory Chelsea remain top of the PL, unbeaten and on 29 points. Liverpool are on 14 points, as they are now five games without a win in all competitions.

[VIDEO: Premier League highlights]

The home side started brightly and inside the first minute Can broke up the play in midfield and drove forward before hitting a deflected effort which looped just wide.

In the ninth minute Can’s next deflected effort flew in as the German international moved into acres of space and his powerful drive deflected off Gary Cahill and in. Anfield erupted as Liverpool took a deserved 1-0 lead early on.

Chelsea were level after 14 minutes as Cesc Fabregas’s corner was headed towards goal by John Terry and despite Simon Mignolet making a great save, Cahill bundled home the rebound as the goal-decision system was used by referee Anthony Taylor. 1-1.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

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Can gave Liverpool an early lead but they collapsed.

The Blues got plenty of confidence from that equalizer as Eden Hazard surged forward from the right but dragged his effort just wide. Midway through the half Liverpool almost went back ahead as Coutinho raced clear from inside his own half and forced Courtois into a smart stop down low which Branislav Ivanovic hacked clear. Before half time Liverpool were slack in possession on several occasions and Chelsea failed to make them pay as Hazard was twice played in at the back post but saw efforts blocked by Glen Johnson on both occasions, as the score was level at the break.

After the break Chelsea looked the more dangerous team as Hazard clipped a ball in to Costa which the Spanish international acrobatically volleyed over the bar. In the 52nd minute there was a rare break forward for Liverpool as Sterling cut inside but his shot was well-saved by Courtois.

Apart from that Chelsea bossed possession as the game threatened to boil over after several rash challenges. In the 67th minute the Blues went ahead as Azpilicueta surged down the left, withsome debate over whether or not he kept the ball in play, skipped passed Coutinho and his cross was tipped away by Mignolet but the ball deflected off Moreno and straight to Costa who drilled home his 10th PL goal of the season.

Rodgers was lambasted by large sections of the home crowd for taking off Can and Coutinho for the final 20 minutes. Late on the Liverpool pushed for an equalizer but Chelsea’s players chucked themselves in front of everything — including Cahill with what looked like a handball in the box — as Mourinho’s men extended their lead at the top.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Lovren Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard, Can (Allen, 70′), Henderson; Sterling, Coutinho (Borini, 70′), Balotelli (Lambert, 79′)

Goal: Can (9′)

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Ramires (Willian, 54′), Oscar, Hazard (Filipe Luis, 90′); Diego Costa (Drogba, 89′)

Goals: Cahill, (14′), Costa (67′)

Watford chasing Rennes, Senegal star Sarr

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Watford may capture one of the rising stars of the game.

Ismaila Sarr would cost the Hornets a club transfer record fee, and Sky Sports says that Watford and Rennes are about $10 million apart.

The Ligue 1 side reportedly wants $34 million for the Senegal national team right wing.

[ VIDEO: Nketiah leads Arsenal win ]

Sarr, 21, scored a goal and an assist in Senegal’s run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, playing opposite Sadio Mane of Liverpool.

He posted 13 goals with 14 assists last season between Ligue 1, the French Cup, and the Europa League. He was the lone Rennes player to score against Arsenal in the UEL Round of 16.

Watford has held onto Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dodi Lukebakio this offseason. Lukebakio is also a 21-year-old right wing, and had a sensational loan season with Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2019-20.

Nketiah leads Arsenal past Fiorentina (video)

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Eddie Nketiah scored twice as Arsenal beat Fiorentina 3-0 in Charlotte on Saturday.

Joe Willock also scored for the Gunners, which beat Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich in their first two matches of the preseason and meet Real Madrid in Maryland on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]

Fiorentina took 18 of the match’s 30 shots, though Arsenal had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

Nketiah, 20, scored against Burnley in last season’s Premier League finale and then late against Bayern Munich earlier this week.

He was deft in a high-pressure spot for this one.

Premier League friendlies: Watford beats Bayer, Man Utd over Inter

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Arsenal and Fiorentina are set to kickoff in Charlotte tonight, with the Gunners the last of a bevy of Premier League sides to engage in preseason friendlies this muggy Saturday.

[ MORE: Guardiola hails KDB ]


Girona 1-2 Bournemouth

Juanpe’s late header pushed La Liga’s hosts past Eddie Howe and his 10-man Cherries, playing down after VAR deemed Jack Simpson‘s foul worthy of a sending off. Ryan Fraser scored Bournemouth’s goal, assisted by Jordon Ibe.

Northampton Town 0-4 Sheffield United

Oliver Norwood converted two penalties in an easy win for Chris Wilder in his return to a club he played for and managed.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

Pascal Gross scored with an early free kick — a Megan Rapinoe special — but Tom Cairney scored twice after halftime for the Championship side.

Cheltenham Town 1-2 Leicester City

The Foxes collected a second win over a lower league side this week, with Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton on the board.

Newcastle United 1-0 West Ham United (Shanghai)

New manager Steve Bruce watched from the crowd as the Magpies made amends for a 4-0 loss to Wolves by blanking West Ham. Jamie Sterry‘s cross for Yoshinori Muto was delightful, and the Japanese striker’s finish was well-taken.

Port Vale 1-3 Burnley; Crewe Alexandra 0-1 Burnley

Chris Wood, Matej Vydra and Robbie Brady scored as the Clarets overcame an early Nick Pope goal to beat Port Vale, but the Premier League side couldn’t do much in a simultaneous friendly at Crewe.

Inter Milan 0-1 Manchester United (Singapore)

Substitute forward Mason Greenwood, just 17, scored the late goal in a match United controlled, outshooting Inter 21-8.

Preston North End 1-3 Southampton

Brace-bagging Danny Ings doesn’t usually have a problem with finish, so passing the ball directly to him is not something we’d recommend to goalkeepers. Jake Vokins also scored for Saints at Deepdale.

Watford 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (Austria)

Will Hughes and Andre Gray scored as the Hornets collected a win over Champions League competition.

Man City (0-0, 2-3 pens) Wolves (Shanghai)

Rui Patricio was very good over 90 minutes, and stopped City’s first two penalty attempts as Wolves continue to perplex the PL champions.

WATCH: Marco Fabian smashes set piece goal

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Marco Fabian sent a missile toward goal, and perhaps it’s good the goalkeeper didn’t get to the hand-breaking shot.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead over Chicago on Saturday in Chester, Pennsylvania, thanks to the Mexican midfielder.

[ REPORT: Man Utd locks up De Gea ]

It was a pretty set piece from Jim Curtin’s men, a backwards played free kick was laid off to Fabian for his audacious rip.

Fabian hasn’t had a wonderful 2019 season, but his fourth goal of the season will give Union supporters hope that he’ll pick up his form and make the already East-leading side all the more dangerous.