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Still unbeaten! Lallana rescues Liverpool after another sloppy Old Trafford display

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Adam Lallana preserved Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season with a late equaliser after a disappointing team performance against their rivals

Even the best things have to come to an end sometime.

Liverpool’s Premier League winning run is over, their perfect start to the new season finished by this attritional, controversial, 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

No record-equalling 18th straight victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side, whose unbeaten run is nonetheless maintained thanks to substitute Adam Lallana’s 85th-minute equaliser. Their lead at the top of the table is now six points though, with another difficult away fixture negotiated. They remain in a great position.

What a time for Lallana to deliver. The England midfielder had not scored a competitive goal since the final day of the 2016-17 season, but he was perfectly placed to tap home at the far post after Andy Robertson’s cross had somehow evaded everyone else. He may not be first choice at Anfield anymore, but this was a big contribution from a player who has been desperate to make one.

“Just make an impact,” Klopp had told him as he prepared to come on for Jordan Henderson in the 71st minute. Job done.

It got the Reds out of jail, too. Klopp’s team, as has been the case in recent seasons, saved some of their worst football for this grandest of stages.

Just as they had been on their last two visits here, Liverpool were meek and subdued, unable to build up any sort of rhythm in an attacking sense, and driven to distraction by an average United side who played, predictably, as if their lives depended on it. “We know that we have to do better,” admitted Klopp.

Without Mohamed Salah, absent due to the ankle injury sustained before the international break, the Reds struggled to create anything of note. Roberto Firmino’s tame first-half shot, and another that substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dragged wide after the interval, was the sum total of their output until Lallana’s late intervention brought about a late surge.

“We did predictable things,” said Klopp afterwards. “And it was easy for them to defend the predictable things.”

It all made a mockery of the pre-game predictions, where the world seemingly waited for an away win. “I’m getting out before the massacre starts,” joked one Manchester United legend prior to kick off. “Everything points towards a Liverpool victory,” admitted Roy Keane in the Sky Sports studio.

Jurgen Klopp Man Utd vs Liverpool 2019-20

They were right to be concerned, in fairness. Liverpool’s last 17 games had brought 17 wins, while United’s had brought 17 points. But anybody expecting a stroll for the visitors clearly doesn’t know this fixture. United, written off repeatedly, were always going to deliver more than they had so far this season. They had to.

Klopp was bemused by the failure of VAR to intervene after Marcus Rashford had converted Daniel James’ cross, nine minutes before the break, to give United the lead. Liverpool screamed foul after Victor Lindelof caught Divock Origi in the build-up.

The goal was checked. No “clear and obvious” error from referee Martin Atkinson was the verdict. Plenty will beg to differ. Klopp certainly did. “It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Mr Atkinson would have whistled [for the foul] but let the game run because he has VAR, then VAR says there was no error. For me it was so clear.”

Liverpool’s annoyance was compounded a few minutes later when Sadio Mane clipped in an equaliser, only for VAR to confirm the ball had struck his hand moment earlier. Unlucky for the Senegal star, even if the decision this time was, technically, the correct one.

Liverpool dominated the ball after the interval – this was the second-lowest possession (32.1 per cent) United had recorded in a home league game since records began in 2003 – though the visitors were unable to fashion clear-cut chances, instead resorting to a series of hopeful crosses from their full-backs as time ran out.

In the end, one paid off. “I think we can all agree we deserved the goal,” said Klopp. Solskjar, predictably, disagreed.

For United, there will be heart in the way they were able, at times, to ruffle and to threaten their rivals, in particular through the pace of James and Rashord. They are not a good side, by any stretch, but they at least gave their fans something here. Some would argue that’s how far they’ve fallen, taking home draws as victories. “We deserved the three points,” suggested Rashford.

As for Liverpool, their sights are set much higher. They are still in the box seat, of course, but will know that they can’t afford too many days like this.

In the end, they owed a debt of gratitude to Lallana, their unlikely hero.

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Football

Carlo Ancelotti left Everton to become head coach of Real Madrid for a second time

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The 61-year-old Italian, who oversaw Real Madrid for a very long time somewhere in the range of 2013 and 2015, has left Everton following year and a half in control at Goodison Park.

He succeeds Zinedine Zidane at Real and the move leaves Everton looking for a 6th perpetual supervisor in five years.

Ancelotti has marked a three-year bargain at Real and said the move addressed “an unforeseen chance”.

He added: “I have total regard for everybody related with Everton and expectation they can accomplish the energizing chances they have before them.

“While I have appreciated being at Everton I have been given a startling chance which I accept is the correct move for me and my family as of now.”

Genuine will introduce Ancelotti to the media on Wednesday, while Everton said they “will start the way toward selecting another supervisor right away”.

Everton will have been left paralyzed by the speed of advancements just now as proprietor Farhad Moshiri’s “Hollywood” chief leaves.

Ancelotti’s appearance was viewed as a genuine upset by Moshiri, convincing one of the game’s generally enriched and regarded figures to come to Merseyside to reestablish Everton to previous wonders.

The 61-year-old’s rule has been a mishmash with loathsome home structure offset by results like their first success over Liverpool at Anfield since 1999 – in any case a tenth spot finish in his first full season was a failure.

Ancelotti, in any case, was as yet held in immense respect by Everton allies, who have been left sharply disillusioned by his choice to withdraw.

The fierce truth is that for all Moshiri’s money and aspiration, Everton actually can’t view themselves as anyplace close to the first class, which consistently makes them helpless against clubs, for example, Real Madrid setting sights on their prize resources.

The typical suspects are being connected, for example, Eddie Howe after he turned down Celtic, previous Wolves supervisor Nuno Espirito Santo and ex-Everton manager David Moyes – albeit that is probably not going to occur after he verbally concurred a three-year bargain at West Ham in the wake of bringing them into Europe. Moshiri, however, is something of a special case and may have thoughts of his own.

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Football

Ahmed Musa to play without monthly salary at Kano Pillars

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Ahmed Musa won’t be paid in his short stretch at Kano Pillars in the Nigeria Premier Football League.

Musa, 28, finished paperwork for the four-time Nigerian heroes under the Elite Players Program of the League Management Company, which urges top Nigerian internationals to play for neighborhood clubs.

As indicated by LMC manager Shehu Dikko, the program works twoly.

A club can distinguish and sign such players, or the LMC itself can sign the player and appoint them to a club of their decision.

It was the last for Musa.

“We addressed him about returning home to play, and as somebody who is consistently prepared to offer in return, he didn’t stop for a second,” Dikko told ESPN.

“When the arrangement was marked, the decision of which club to play for was up to him. Various clubs needed him. We put everything before him and he settled on the choice to go to Kano Pillars.”

Musa has been a free specialist since October 2020, when he left Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, with whom he won the Saudi Pro League title and Super Cup in the wake of going along with them from Leicester City in 2018.

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AFCON

Super Eagle Teslim Balogun Stadium Training Camp Adhere To COVID-19 Protocols Ahead Of Lesotho Clash

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The Super Eagles will hold their last exercise at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos on Monday evening, beginning from 1800 hours.

Their last instructional meeting which will be administered by director Gernot Rohr is available to the media for just the initial fifteen minutes, at that point everybody will be compelled to leave the arena.

No columnist will be permitted into the arena when the Lesotho public group have a vibe of the Teslim Balogun Stadium turf because of COVID-19 conventions set up.

Besides, there will be no authority pre-match public interview because of the Covid pandemic.

The Super Eagles players and authorities were up toward the end of last night since they had to go to an occasion out of appreciation for Nigerian Federation president Amaju Pinnick following his political decision into the esteemed FIFA board.

Nigeria are ensured to top Group L of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers paying little heed to the result of their last match against Lesotho as they are as of now on 11 focuses, four more than the Republic of Benin, who are second in the standings.

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