Mateo Kovačić

Sturridge nabs point for Liverpool at Chelsea

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  • WATCH: Hazard puts Blues ahead
  • Reds have more possession, shots
  • Kovacic with assist
  • Sturridge scores 50th LFC goal

Daniel Sturridge‘s amazing 89th minute goal helped Liverpool rescue a point against Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Eden Hazard scored for Chelsea in the first half, and Liverpool had chances cleared off the line by both Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz, once in each half.

Liverpool joins Man City on a league-best 19 points, two better than Chelsea

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Chelsea had wealth of possession in the first 20 minutes aside from a Roberto Firmino half-chance that went out for a Liverpool corner.

The best chance of the early throes deservedly went to Chelsea, with Alisson Becker racing off his line to thwart Willian‘s left-footed plan.

The Blues’ well-earned lead came when Hazard met a terrific ball from Mateo Kovacic and beat Alisson with a low left-footed shot.

The play began with Hazard deep in the midfield, working a quick exchange and then flying down field to meet Kovacic’s invitation.

Amazing work from Mohamed Salah nearly leveled the score line in the 32nd minute, as he out-battled David Luiz and Kepa Arrizabalaga only to see his sharp-angled effort cleared off the goal line by Antonio Rudiger.

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The break ended and Chelsea came out of the gate with energy, Willian especially dangerous down the left.

N'Golo Kante spied Hazard with a magnificent cross field pass, but the Belgian’s hopeful cross did not yield a proper shot on goal.

Arrizabalaga made an outstanding slap save on Mane in the 58th minute, leading to a series of corner kicks.

A quick restart gave Hazard a 1v1 with Becker, but the Belgian’s nutmeg effort caught the Brazilian’s dragged foot and popped over the bar.

Klopp removed Salah for Xherdan Shaqiri, and the Swiss attacker left David Luiz behind before missing a far post sitter of sorts.

But it was another sub who would find Liverpool’s goal, as Sturridge dipped an effort from distance over Arrizabalaga.

WATCH: Kovacic cues up Hazard, Chelsea leads Liverpool at half

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Jurgen Klopp has probably seen enough of Mateo Kovacic and Eden Hazard this week.

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The Chelsea midfielders have entertained neutrals and bamboozled Liverpool twice in four days, this time connecting for the lone goal of Saturday’s Premier League duel at Stamford Bridge.

After Chelsea handed Liverpool a 2-1 loss and League Cup exit on Wednesday, both teams put their Best XIs forward at the Bridge.

Kovacic threaded a near-perfect pass into the path of Hazard, who curled a hard, low finish past the reach of Alisson Becker.

Chelsea will go atop the table with a win on Saturday.

Transfer rumor roundup: Kovacic to London, Rabiot to Manchester

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Newcastle United, Fulham, and West Ham United have reportedly made offers for Nice striker Alassane Plea.

Nice reportedly wants $36 million for the 25-year-old, who is coming off a career-best 16 goals in league play and added four more in Europe.

[ MORE: Real denies Neymar offer ]

The Chronicle says Newcastle’s offer was below the asking price, while Sky Sports says West Ham met the fee with its bid.

Plea and Mario Balotelli missed the first day of training under new Nice manager Patrick Vieira, but…

Tutto Mercato says West Ham United has made an offer for Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who wants to leave the Spanish superpowers.

The 24-year-old has logged 151 minutes at the World Cup, grabbing an assist, and made 36 appearances with three assists for Real this season.

Going back to Newcastle, the Magpies have also been linked with a trio of players, two of whom have worn the black and white stripes in their careers.

Rafa Benitez reportedly wants to bring Andros Townsend back to St. James’ Park from Crystal Palace in addition to bringing last season’s on loan star, Kenedy, to Newcastle on a full-time basis.

He also apparently wants West Brom’s Venezuelan big man, Salomon Rondon, to feast off the playmaking skills of the aforementioned wide men.

A report out of France says Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot is considering his future with the Parisian outfit.

His mother, 23, represents him and has met with Barcelona, Juventus, and both big Manchester clubs: United and City.

Still, the report says that Rabiot wants to play a big role for new boss Thomas Tuchel at PSG. Stay tuned.

Kovacic: Real Madrid “born to play in the Champions League.”

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Mateo Kovacic and Real Madrid may be out of the running in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, but their status as a potential UEFA Champions League history maker is very much alive.

[ MORE: UCL recap | Klopp reacts ]

Real moved to within three rounds of a third-straight UEFA Champions League title, which has only been done by three clubs and not since 1976, by controlling Neymar-less Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

One of those three clubs, by the way, is Real. They won the first five European Cups, although the tournament was far less challenging in 1960.

“They had the ball more than us but we were very aggressive. It’s difficult to beat us when we play like that. It’s amazing how it’s changed when we play in the Champions League.

“This club is born to play in the Champions League.”

This “threepeat,” however, would be next level, with the world as competitive as ever. Real has a big advantage, however, in that it will it merely needs to avoid a horrendous league finish to qualify for another UCL and can focus on the tournament proper.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane was pleased to come through the encounter in Paris.

“It was a tough match,” he said. “I’m pleased. I must congratulate the players as they’re the ones on the pitch. Bravo to them. This is a tough ground to come to, the atmosphere is fantastic. We deserved to get through the tie.”

Barcelona top Real Madrid, 3-2, in Miami’s El Clasico (video)

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Round 1 of the 2017-18 El Clasico rivalry favored Barcelona, courtesy of goals scored by Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique, who knocked off Real Madrid in the two sides’ preseason friendly in Miami, Fla., on Saturday.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Messi opened the scoring with fewer than three minutes on the clock, finishing a quick counter-attack down the right side of the box with a quick cut inside and a fortuitous deflection.

Just as quickly as Messi made it 1-0, Rakitic made it 2-0, in the 7th minute. Luis Suarez touched Neymar’s cross past himself to the waiting Croatian, whose first-time, perfectly placed shot beat Keylor Navas with ease.

[ MORE: Pique says Neymar “does not know what to do” ]

Seven minutes later, Mateo Kovacic pulled Madrid back to within a goal. The 23-year-old Croatian slalomed past three defenders 25 yards out, squared himself to the goal and fired past Jasper Cillessen, who had no chance at making the save.

Nine minutes before halftime, Marco Asensio drew Madrid back onto level terms with a confident finish to complete a lightning-quick, three-on-two counter. Karim Benzema played the decoy as Asensio and Kovacic played the ball back and forth before Asensio slammed it home with Cillessen sent to his right and the shot to his left.

[ MORE: Puyol tells Neymar it’s time to clarify his future ]

Barca’s winner came five minutes into the second half, when Neymar’s free kick found a completely unmarked Pique at the top of the six-yard box. The finish was textbook as the 10,000 times he’s done it in training, and that was that — a 3-2 victory for Barca in the first “Clasico” played on foreign soil in 35 years.