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Declan Rice to submit request to switch to England from Republic of Ireland

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West Ham United defensive midfielder Declan Rice has made a decision on his international future, saying it was very difficult but his “heart and his head” say to file a one-time switch to represent England over the Republic of Ireland.

The 20-year-old was capped thrice for the Republic of Ireland, but his rise to a fixture under two managers at West Ham catapulted the possibilities of his representing the country of his birth, England.

[ MORE: Montreal adds Serie A striker ]

He was capped by Ireland at the U-16, U-17, U-19, and U-21 levels by Ireland before playing the full-90 for the senior team in a trio of 2018 friendlies against France, Turkey, and the U.S.

“I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London. However, I am just as proud of my family’s Irish heritage and my affinity and connection with the country.”

Read the full statement below. It’s a hammer blow to what could’ve been a decade-long answer to Ireland’s midfield, and a risk for Rice. That said, his promise is nearly immeasurable.

Crystal Palace, West Ham battle to draw (video)

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  • Eagles equalize through Zaha
  • West Ham opened scoring through Noble
  • Second-straight 1-1 draw for Hammers

Crystal Palace fought back to draw 1-1 at home against West Ham United, with the Eagles almost snatching a win late on.

Mark Noble put West Ham 1-0 up early on from the penalty spot, but Palace improved drastically in the second half and Wilfried Zaha returned from his ban to score his second goal in as many games.

With the draw Palace are in 13th place on 27 points, while West Ham are in 10th on 33 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first big chance of the game saw Ryan Fredericks played in by Michail Antonio but Vicente Guaita made a fine low stop.

Despite Palace having more of the ball, West Ham had the better chances as Guaita then denied Robert Snodgrass.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Javier Hernandez’s shot was then deflected wide as the Hammers continued to threaten. Michail Antonio then won a penalty kick as Declan Rice‘s wonderful pass found the winger and Vicente Guaita clattered into Antonio. Noble sent Guaita the wrong way with his penalty kick to give West Ham the lead.

Palace should have been level before the break as Christian Benteke was played in but Lukasz Fabianski made a fine stop to his right.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The home side started the second half well, as Wilfried Zaha fired the ball across goal then James McArthur somehow missed a glorious chance as he was put clean through. The Palace midfielder took an age to sort his feet out but then sent his effort against the post.

Palace sent Michy Batshuayi on to try and drag themselves back into the game. And he should have made it 1-1.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Patrick Van Aanholt‘s cross found Batshuayi and he somehow missed. Palace’s equalizer did arrived as Zaha smashed home at the near post. 1-1.

Zaha almost won it late on as he linked up with Max Meyer and curled a shot towards the far post which Fabianski saved.

AT HALF: Exquisite Wijnaldum goal paces relieved Liverpool

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Sadio Mane‘s goal helped Anfield explode in collective relief, but Georginio Wijnaldum‘s artistic follow-up was the one for the highlight reels.

Watford 0-0 Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

An energetic if sloppy tangle between top half hopefuls is scoreless.

Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth – NBCSN [STREAM]

Sadio Mane’s header opener allowed Anfield to breathe, and Georginio Wijnaldum’s goal gave it the chance to celebrate true beauty (above).

Southampton 0-0 Cardiff City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Saints with the loan shot on target of the half.

Crystal Palace 0-1 West Ham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Mark Noble has converted a penalty in this week’s London Derby.

Huddersfield 0-2 Arsenal – CNBC [STREAM]

Playing without a handful of stars, Arsenal still has a first-half lead through Sead Kolasinac‘s cross to Alex Iwobi. Ainsley Maitland-Niles cued up Alexandre Lacazette for the second goal, just before halftime.

Police investigating alleged Islamophobic abuse of Salah

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The Metropolitan Police are investigating a video in which a West Ham United supporter can allegedly be heard shouting Islamophobic abuse at Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah at the London Stadium on Monday.

[ MORE: Liverpool suffer PL title slip-up in draw at West Ham ]

The incident was captured on video and later posted to Twitter. The alleged abuse occurred as Salah took a corner kick for Liverpool during the first half of the Reds’ 1-1 draw away to West Ham.

In the footage, one fan, sat in a section of home fans, can be heard shouting, “Salah, you f—ing Muslim, f—ing Muslim c–t.”

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Liverpool’s draw with West Ham ]

The police department released a brief statement regarding their investigation on Wednesday: “No arrests have been made and inquiries continue. Anyone who witnesses inappropriate behavior during a match is urged to bring it to the attention of a steward or police officer.”

West Ham are examining the stadium’s in-house security footage and assisting the police in their efforts to identify the perpetrator.

The club has vowed to take the strongest possible action against engaging in discriminatory behavior of any kind:

“At West Ham United, we have a zero tolerance policy to any form of violent or abusive behavior. We are an inclusive football club. Regardless of age, race, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or disability, everyone is warmly welcomed at London Stadium.

“Anyone identified committing an offense will have their details passed to the police and will face a lifetime ban from London Stadium. There is no place for this kind of behavior at our stadium.”

Klopp defends ‘scared’ Liverpool after wobble at West Ham

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LONDON — Whether he admits it or not, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool were rattled by West Ham United on Monday.

The Premier League leaders drew 1-1 at the London Stadium but were lucky to not succumb to a damaging defeat at the hands of the fired-up Hammers.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Sadio Mane‘s goal to give Liverpool the lead was clearly offside but stood, while West Ham spurned several glorious chances to leave their manager Manuel Pellegrini “disappointed” they couldn’t secure a huge win.

Liverpool are now just three points ahead of second-place Manchester City and five points clear of third-place Tottenham, who Klopp said are “100 percent” in the title race. He added that “if you want to win big things you have to be ready for these tight races. That is how it is.”

Speaking to reporters after the game, Klopp pointed to a raft of injuries unsettling his team on the eve of the trip to east London as Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and Georginio Wijnaldum all missed out.

With those injuries adding to the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, Klopp’s side struggled to cope and were all over the place defensively, especially in the first half from set piece situations.

“Because of our situation, last night we trained and had to change three positions. That is of course not perfect,” Klopp explained. “You saw that with the set pieces, you saw that with the organization. That is where we struggled a bit, but apart from that it is a game where I think if Divock [Origi] scores the late goal it will be a lucky moment, but the point is absolutely deserved.”

Whether or not his team deserved that point is a massive point of contention.

Mane’s goal should have been ruled out, West Ham missed several big chances and Origi was clearly offside (although the linesman didn’t flag) as he missed a huge chance to win the game in stoppage time.

Liverpool weren’t at it, and West Ham captain Mark Noble said he knew why when speaking to Sky Sports after the game: “We scared them. You have to do that against the top teams. I’m just gutted we didn’t come away with the three points.”

Klopp took exception to those comments, as he perhaps showed that the ups and downs of a title race are starting to show.

“I like that really. I wish for all West Ham fans that Mark Noble and his team would scare more teams and not only us tonight,” Klopp said. “I don’t know him really well, so I don’t know why he speaks about us like that. They defended well, that is true. They didn’t scare us. It is just a normal away game.”

But this wasn’t a normal Liverpool display. In midfield the trio of Fabinho, Naby Keita and Adam Lallana were overrun and although Liverpool had more of the ball West Ham looked quite capable of slicing them open on the counter whenever they had the chance.

Klopp was almost trying to reassure himself that everything was fine after Liverpool have now dropped points in back-to-back games against Leicester and West Ham to almost see their lead atop the table evaporate.

“We had a difficult situation, it is a long season. I don’t want to think about it, but in general we’ve lost one game in the whole season. The team is doing well. We have a tough situation at the moment,” Klopp said. “The injuries, I don’t know where they come from, Millie [James Milner] was ill and Virgil had three, four days out where he lost four kilos, obviously they doesn’t help as well. It is a difficult situation with the center half and right back positions but the boys still fight. Could we have played better, even in that situation? 100 percent. That is what we expect from ourselves. These games are difficult. You have to accept the quality of the opponents and then use their weaknesses they have.”

The Liverpool manager perhaps showed some his weakness at the end of the game as he and West Ham boss Pellegrini had a heated exchange at the final whistle. Pellegrini smiled when asked about that afterwards and pointed back to a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal in 2013 when his Malaga side lost to Klopp’s Dortmund on an offside goal in stoppage time.

“Klopp is used to win because of offside, because he beat me and Malaga with Borussia Dortmund with a goal that was seven meters offside. So he cannot complain about nothing,” Pellegrini said.

Pellegrini added that he was pleased to do his old club Man City a favor, and that could have riled Klopp further.

“I said during the week we need to win this game for our fans, and if we are going to give a hand to Manchester City, that was also my club,” Pellegrini said. “Maybe that is why the manager of Liverpool didn’t like it.”

The manager of Liverpool, once again, said that the preparation for the game was “far away from being perfect” but they still got a point, even if he couldn’t explain to his players how to defend well enough in certain set-piece situations.

Is Klopp confident that his boys will not crack under the intense pressure in situations coming up?

His answer, again, seemed more about reassuring himself and those around him that everything was fine, despite a wobble at West Ham which was clear for all to see.

“I am confident about this. I think since five, six, seven, eight weeks now we have talked about a two horse race and now Tottenham have come from behind. They have a difficult situation and dealt with it brilliantly well, all credit to Poch [Mauricio Pochettino] and his team for how they did it, winning games very late and a lot of injury problems as well. That is great. For me, they [Tottenham] are 100 percent in the race. If you want to be top of the table at the end of the season, you have to deal with much tougher situations than we had today. That is the truth. It is clear.

“Of course, you need players fit and available, that helps. Midfield players tonight apart from Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri], would have been 18 years old. Brilliant boys and if needed we would have played them tonight, of course. That is not perfect in the moment. We have to fight. It is not about pressure. It is about enjoying the situation you are in. We have 62 points, we lost one game in a full season so far and that is very positive. I see your faces already, you feel a bit sorry with us. You don’t have to. We are fine. Everything is good. Of course, tonight was just a tough game. If you have a day like that, the things that happened yesterday and you get a point at West Ham, for me that is absolutely fine.”

This is fine. Absolutely fine…