Liverpool 2 – 3 Swansea City

Swansea lifted themselves off the bottom of the Premier League table and dealt a huge blow to Liverpool’s title hopes with a thrilling win at Anfield. Gylfi Sigurdsson scored from close range with 16 minutes left to give Paul Clement his first win as Swans boss and the club their first away league victory over the Reds.

Roberto Firmino had struck twice to draw the hosts level after Fernando Llorente’s two goals in four minutes after the break. The defeat leaves Liverpool seven points behind leaders Chelsea, who now have a game in hand, at home against Hull on Sunday. The Tigers are one of three teams, along with Sunderland and Crystal Palace, leapfrogged by Swansea, who move up to 17th after only their second win in eight league games.

Swansea looking up

In the wake of last weekend’s demoralising 4-0 defeat by Arsenal, Clement said Swansea would be “naive” to ignore the possibility of Premier League relegation this season.

On the evidence of their performance at Anfield, it would be equally naive of anyone to write them off. In the space of seven days they have gone from a side who collapsed at the first setback to one capable of rallying under extreme pressure. Their first-half defensive display – which saw them restrict Liverpool to a couple of half-chances – belied their status as the club with the division’s most porous defence.

Their second-half performance was clinical, epitomised by Llorente’s two strikes – a close-range finish following Federico Fernandez’s header from a corner, followed by a header from Tom Carroll’s cross – and Sigurdsson’s decisive, well-placed finish. These were their only three efforts on target.

It was also gutsy. They had to dig very deep against a side who, before Saturday, were unbeaten in the league in over a year at home and who had scored 26 goals in their previous nine league games.

Liverpool stumble again

In the programme for this match, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp described October’s encounter with Swansea in Wales – a 2-1 win sealed by a late James Milner penalty – as “one of the toughest we have had all season.” The German may feel the need to revise that after Saturday’s game.

Despite having Philippe Coutinho back in the side – and ending the game with Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge on the pitch – the Reds were short of attacking invention and strength in the absence of Sadio Mane, who is at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal. Their failure to move the ball quickly enough in the first half meant they did not properly test Swansea’s packed defence.

And while Firmino scored his first goals in six games – the first a header from Milner’s cross, the second a fierce finish after he had chested down Georginio Wijnaldum’s delivery – a total of five shots on target and an Adam Lallana deflected effort against the bar is scant product from nearly 75% possession.

With this result coming after successive away draws at Sunderland and Manchester United, the Reds are in danger of allowing a title challenge to slip away before February has even begun. Their next game, at home to the league leaders, is now surely a must win.

Man of the match – Fernando Llorente (Swansea City)

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Real Madrid 2 – 1 Malaga

Skipper Sergio Ramos scored twice as Real Madrid recovered from back-to-back defeats by edging past mid-table La Liga rivals Malaga at the Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both missed clear chances, while Malaga’s Chory Castro hit the post, before centre-back Ramos planted in a free header from Luka Modric’s corner. Ramos netted again shortly before half-time when he slid in another set-piece – despite appearing to stray offside following Toni Kroos’ delivery.

Malaga replied through Juanpi’s thumping 15-yard drive, but it was not enough to avoid a fifth straight defeat. The 13th-placed visitors, who have now not won in eight, failed to build on their foothold in the game and rarely looked like stunning the home crowd with an equaliser.

Madrid looked likelier to kill the game off in the closing stages, Ronaldo hitting the base of the post with an angled drive. However, they more than deserved to move four points clear of second-placed Sevilla, despite not adding a third. Sevilla travel to bottom club Osasuna on Sunday (11:00 GMT) while Barcelona, a point further back in third place, go to ninth-placed Eibar (19:45).

We need more affection – Zidane

Zinedine Zidane’s side were looking to avoid a third straight defeat after seeing their 40-match unbeaten run ended by successive losses at Sevilla and Celta Vigo.

And they produced a functional, if far from vintage, display against a struggling away side expected to offer little resistance. A nervy atmosphere engulfed the Bernabeu at various stages of Saturday’s match, with home fans heard jeering their players – notably Ronaldo and Benzema – as they failed to hit their usual high standards.

Club legend Zidane, who has lost just two of 38 league games since replacing Rafa Benitez last January, urged supporters to show more understanding with his players. “Our fans are always very demanding, but sometimes the players and coaches need more affection,” said the Frenchman. “When we have difficulties, we need the fans to be calm and support the team.”

Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo has struggled to make an impact in the past three matches, in which France striker Benzema has failed to score.

Zidane also saw left-back Marcelo limp off in the first half, joining a growing injury list that also includes Wales forward Gareth Bale, centre-back Pepe and right-back Dani Carvajal. “Karim and Cristiano might not have scored in recent games, but I’m not worried,” he added. “It’s not the form of the attackers which worries me at the moment, it’s the injuries.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo: Chinese club offered Real Madrid £250m move, says agent

Real Madrid were offered about £250m by an unnamed Chinese club for Cristiano Ronaldo, according to the Portuguese player’s agent Jorge Mendes. He said the 31-year-old forward had no interest in the deal, which included an £85m annual salary.

Mendes told Sky Italia: “From China, they’ve offered 300m euros (£257m) to Real Madrid and more than 100m per year to the player.

“But money is not everything. The Spanish club [Real] is his life.” The revelation comes after Carlos Tevez was reportedly made the world’s highest-paid footballer by Shanghai Shenua. Shanghai, coached by ex-Brighton boss Gus Poyet, are reported to have agreed a deal worth £40m for Tevez, including a salary in excess of £310,000 a week.

Under the offer claimed by Mendes, Ronaldo would have earned £1.6m a week in a deal worth almost treble the world record transfer fee of £89m paid by Manchester United to Juventus for midfielder Paul Pogba.

“The Chinese market is a new market. They can buy a lot of players, but then again it is impossible to go for Ronaldo. Cristiano is the best player in the world and best ever. It is normal to have some offers,” said Mendes.

The Portugal captain said he could play for another 10 years after signing a new deal, which ties him to Madrid until June 2021, last month.

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Antonio Conte: Chelsea boss laughs off points deduction claim

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has laughed off suggestions his side could face a Premier League points deduction.

The Blues and Manchester City have been charged with failing to control their players during their 3 December game.

After previous incidents, a Football Association appeals board warned Chelsea in July that “the time cannot be too far distant when… the only proper sanction is a points deduction”.

Asked about the possibility, Conte said: “Are you joking? Are you joking?”

Chelsea have been fined five times by the FA for failing to control their players since February 2015.

The Premier League leaders were originally fined a record £375,000 following three charges resulting from the 2-2 draw with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in May.

An appeal board reduced Chelsea’s fine to £290,000 but referenced the club’s “lamentable recent record for failing properly to control its players”.

The last top-flight teams to be docked points for disciplinary issues were Manchester United and Arsenal following a brawl at Old Trafford in October 1990.

The charges for Chelsea and Manchester City follow the mass fracas in the 95th minute of the game at Etihad Stadium, which Chelsea won 3-1.

City had forward Sergio Aguero and midfielder Fernandinho sent off.

“Manchester City and Chelsea, at the end of the game, my players tried to keep their calm. I don’t understand this. I repeat, I don’t understand this,” added Conte after his side’s 1-0 win over West Brom on Sunday, which took them back to the top of the Premier League.

“We are trying to improve in all aspects. For this reason, I reply: you must be joking. You must be honest and understand which team is at fault.

“We had a bad record in the past, but now we are different.”

The FA commission which ruled on the charges that followed the Tottenham game said Chelsea’s record of failing to control their players was “abysmal” and that “there is a recidivist nature to the club’s offending”.

The commission said it considered imposing a points deduction then but decided not to, with one of the reasons given that Chelsea have yet to receive “a final warning that such transgressions simply cannot continue if a future regulatory commission is not to resort to other more draconian penalties”.

Chelsea, along with Tottenham, were warned as to their future conduct but there was no mention in the commission’s report of a “final warning” for the Blues.

Costa ‘showing passion in the right way’

Meanwhile, Conte said Chelsea striker Diego Costa “is showing his passion in the right way” after scoring his 12th league goal of the season to see off a stubborn West Brom side at Stamford Bridge.

Costa was booked four times in his first seven games of the season but has not been shown a yellow card in his past 10 league and cup appearances for the Blues.

If he is cautioned in Chelsea’s next four games he will receive a one-match ban, as the cut-off date for a suspension after accumulating five bookings is 31 December.

“January is arriving, no? It’s incredible,” said Conte of Costa’s run without any bookings.

“If you ask my why in the past I don’t know. But now if you ask me about Diego I can talk well about his work-rate, commitment and behaviour.

“For me, it’s fantastic. I always say to my players, ‘stay focused on the pitch’. I don’t like the provocation. I want to have players with great behaviours.”

Costa was booked nine times in domestic matches in 2014-15, his first season at Chelsea, and was shown eight more last season, plus a red card in the FA Cup defeat against Everton in March.

His punishment for that dismissal at Goodison Park was a two-game ban, with an additional one-match suspension for his reaction to the red card.

Costa has also served retrospectively awarded three-match bans for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can in a League Cup semi-final in January 2015, and violent conduct in altercations with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel in September 2015.

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Real Madrid vs Deportivo La Coruna highlights: Watch all goals as Ramos’ late goal seals three points for Zidane’s team

There is something special about defender Sergio Ramos, who has the knack of scoring goals when his club Real Madrid are in serious need. The same was witnessed as the defender scored the winning goal in the 92nd minute against Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

Manager Zinedine Zidane decided to rest his star players including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. They were without Gareth Bale, who was out with an ankle injury. With such stars missing from the game, Real players on the field had to step it up to earn three points. The first half, despite some chances for both the teams, finished goalless.

All the major action was reserved for the second half, as there was some quality football from both the teams. Five minutes after the restart, Alvaro Morata found the back of the net to hand Real the lead, but the home side were stunned by Mato Joselu, who scored two goals in a space of three minutes to hand Deportivo a lead.

From there on, there was pressure on Real, who were on search for that equaliser, which they finally attained in the 84th minute. Diaz Mariano slotted the ball home.

Real were then pressing for the winner, but the game was in fact heading towards a 2-2 draw. But the spirited captain Ramos, like the way he did against Barcelona in the El Classico scored a goal in the last minute, and this time it served as a winning goal against Deportivo.

Zidane praised his players, and especially Ramos for staying in the game till the last minute to pick up three points. Real, with this win, have a six-point lead in the La Liga table over Barcelona.

“My players have incredible belief. We know that we can achieve great things together.Ramos is special. He is our captain; he’s the soul of this team. Ramos has this undying belief that he can change things even in the last minute. He’s incredible,” Zidane told reporters.

“There are certain expectations placed upon us – they come with the shirt. The players gave their soul until the very end. We suffered, but we believed; it’s amazing.”

Click HERE to watch the HighLights

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[VIDEO] Barcelona vs. Osasuna goal highlights: Delightful goal for Messi with slick touch

It took a little while to get going, but once they did, it was typical Barcelona.

The club went to Osasuna on Saturday in La Liga and failed to score in the first half, but the Catalan giants got it together in the second half, with Lionel Messi a big reason why.

After setting up the run of play that saw Luis Suarez score the opener on 59 minutes, Messi scored in the 72nd with a nice little effort at the front post in the 3-0 win. Take a look.

That ball didn’t get to Messi on the ground, so he reads it perfectly and redirects it over the goalkeeper and in, as he has done so many times before.

There was no doubting him from there.

Messi would add another in added time, and Barca gets back on track after drawing Real Madrid last weekend.

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Manchester United vs Tottenham, Early News

Man Utd will line-up vs Tottenham in their latest Premier League fixture at Old Trafford on Sunday and there is some early team news. Manchester United have arrived at The Lowry Hotel ahead of their Premier League fixture against Tottenham on Sunday. Jose Mourinho and his players continued pre-match preparations ahead of their second domestic match of a busy month.

Aubameyang drops massive Real Madrid transfer hint

The striker teased fans at the Bernabeu with a stellar showing against them and revealed that he made a promise. Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has revealed he “made a promise” to his grandfather that he would play for Real Madrid after dazzling at the Santiago Bernabeu.

His mother talked up a move to the Spanish capital pre-match and Aubameyang offered a glimpse of what Madrid fans could be in for in the future. He scored a goal and assisted another in the 2-2 Champions League draw on Wednesday. Aubameyang is under contract at Signal Iduna Park until 2020 and, while the Gabon international remains happy at the Bundesliga outfit, he intends on fulfilling a promise made to his family.

“Yes [I still want to play for Real], it’s a promise I made to my grandfather,” he told beIN Sports. “Right now I feel very good at Dortmund but in the future we’ll see.” Aubameyang was at his best as Dortmund came from 2-0 down to earn a point and top spot in Group F on matchday six. “We don’t mind who we play,” Aubameyang said. “At half-time we talked about how we all knew we could do something and we did very well in the second-half.” Trailing to Karim Benzema’s brace, Aubameyang sparked Dortmund’s comeback with a goal on the hour-mark – his 19th of the season.

Aubameyang then turned provider with two minutes remaining, teeing up Marco Reus for the equaliser as Dortmund enter the last 16 as group winners. Reus says that the performance from Aubameyang shows exactly how important he is to Dortmund – who showed great charachter to come from behind twice against the Spanish giants. “The 2-2 belongs to 99 per cent to Aubameyang and only 1% to me.”

Reus continued: “It was very important to stand up to Real Madrid twice.

“I was not at a level of 100%. This is why I did not start. The risk to absolve 90 minutes was too high. Our start was a little bit chaotic. The order was not that good. “We did not play some actions very well when we had the chance to counter against two or three Real players. Real had some good chances, so it was a little bit lucky not to get a third goal. We hoped for a lucky punch and reached it.

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Zinedine Zidane ‘angry’ after Real Madrid throw away victory

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admits he was “a bit angry” his side conceded a 2-0 second-half lead to draw with Borussia Dortmund. Two goals from Karim Benzema, the second his 50th in his 88th Champions League appearance, appeared to put the home side in control.

But Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s 19th goal in as many games this season was followed by an 88th-minute equaliser from substitute Marco Reus which meant Dortmund finished top of Group F. “When you see how the second half went you get a bit angry,” Zidane said. “We had the game in our hands but this is football. You need to carry on right to the end. “There were a lot of chances to score the third goal. Instead, we got Dortmund back into the game. Dortmund deserved first place. They demonstrated how strong they are.

“They’re a strong side who make life difficult and at the end of the day we needed to be a bit more on it, but it’s in the past now. I’m very proud of the players, their hard work, the things they did. The group is probably fair with us second and them first.”

While Zidane confessed to mixed emotions, Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel enjoyed the experience.

“Matches with Dortmund are something special but unnerving,” he said. “We did pretty well at the beginning. After that there were a lot of mistakes and wrong decisions.

“For the decisive goal it looked like Aubameyang had crossed it one touch too late but luckily he did not and Reus was able to arrive at full speed and bury it. Finally it was a happy outcome for us.”

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Barcelona boss Luis Enrique braced for ‘explosive’ Champions League draw

Barcelona mentor Luis Enrique is preparing himself for another “touchy” attract the knockout period of the Champions League after his side finished their gathering stage crusade with a 4-0 destroying of Borussia Monchengladbach.

Arda Turan’s second-half cap trap, taking after Lionel Messi’s initial opener, secured an agreeable win for Barca and saw them complete top of Group C with 15 focuses from a conceivable 18.

In principle, an ahead of everyone else complete in the gathering stages ought to offer that group a conceivably less demanding rival in the last 16, yet that has not generally been the situation and this year is looking like being a comparative story.

Any semblance of Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have every single completed runner up in their gatherings, while ruling European champions Real Madrid and Europa League holders Sevilla presently possess second place in their pools heading into Wednesday’s installations.

Not those groups are conceivable rivals for Barca in the following round however, having needed to face clubs, for example, Arsenal, Manchester City and AC Milan in the last 16 as of late, Enrique realizes what is probably going to anticipate his side in Monday’s draw.

He told TV3: “We have to sit tight for the attract to see which ball turns out. We’ve gotten our work done and yes, there are astonishments with groups who have completed second when you anticipated that them would complete first. [But] we’re utilized to these touchy draws. We’re expecting a little diamond.

“Of the considerable number of groups who will complete second in their gathering, I’m certain that we’ll get the best or those with the most focuses.”

Against Monchengladbach, Turan was the star of a Barca side that was abundantly transformed from the one that drew 1-1 with Real Madrid at the end of the week.

The Turkey worldwide set up Messi for Barca’s opener before scoring a 17-minute cap trap in the second half.

Enrique said: “This season he’s been setting up a considerable measure of objectives. He’s exceptionally valuable when he plays on the left. I likewise like him when he plays inside. I’m upbeat for him.”

The Barca supervisor was additionally satisfied with his side’s general execution, including: “I’m extremely content with the speed we circled the ball. It was a diversion with more to lose than pick up, however the group have done extremely well all through, despite the fact that our adversaries were exceptionally pulled back.”

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