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Liverpool 1-1 Crystal Palace: Luis Diaz equaliser after Darwin Nunez is sent off for a headbutt salvages point for Reds




Luis Diaz salvaged a 1-1 draw for Liverpool against Crystal Palace at Anfield despite Darwin Nunez having been sensationally sent off for a headbutt on his full debut.

Wilfried Zaha’s first-half goal had given Palace the lead against the run of play and when Nunez reacted foolishly to a push from Joachim Andersen, Jurgen Klopp’s side looked set for a miserable defeat in their first home game of the Premier League season.

With his team needing something special, Diaz provided it with a fine solo goal that completely altered the mood at Anfield. It was the impressive Palace who came closest to a winner when Zaha struck the post but the draw means both sides remain winless this season.

But the Reds could have done without Nunez’s forthcoming three-game ban as the injury crisis continues to grow with Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino missing against Palace.


Meanwhile midfielders Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, defenders Ibrahima Konate and Calvin Ramsay and forward Diogo Jota and back-up goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher are all likely to be unavailable for Monday’s trip to Manchester United, live on Sky Sports.

Speaking about the injury situation, Klopp said: “The week was crazy; I have experienced a lot of weeks but that was like we had a witch in the building.

“It’s not the start we wanted but that’s the least of my problems because it’s really tricky at the moment with injuries. We have to use the next week to maybe bring one or two back. We lost Darwin today which doesn’t help but Bobby (Firmino) might be ready for next week. It’s not a concern, it’s just a start.”

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How the drama at Anfield unfolded

Liverpool had dominated the first half an hour but Zaha’s breakaway strike after excellent work by Eberechi Eze shocked them. Nat Phillips, the defender making his first Premier League start for 16 months, struggled to cope with the Palace counter-attacks.


Zaha might even have doubled the advantage soon after when eluding Phillips once more but his heavy touch allowed Alisson to smother. Liverpool had to wait for stoppage time until their best chance of the first half when Nunez hit the post with a mistimed shot.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen baited Darwin Nunez into getting sent off, but admitted Nunez’s reaction was wrong

The Uruguayan’s fortunes did not improve. Whether inexperience, frustration, or both, his red card was so rash and though the supporters in the Kop chanted his name, it was a costly error. The only consolation was that his team-mates responded in adversity.

None more so than Diaz.

His goal was brilliant, collecting the ball out wide on the left before cutting inside beyond three Palace defenders and curling his shot into the far corner of the net. But it was more than the goal. His appetite to win the ball back lifted the crowd.

Liverpool pushed for the winner, Mohamed Salah and substitute Fabio Carvalho both going close. But, down to 10 men, there were gaps for Palace to exploit. Had Zaha found the other side of the post late on, Patrick Vieira would have felt it was a deserved win.

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For Liverpool, the gap to Manchester City is four points already.

“It’s been a terrible start points-wise, but I thought they were outstanding tonight with the way they reacted with 10 men. Draws are defeats now as Manchester City set the bar so high.

“To give City a four-point head start, yes there is a long way to go, it’s a tough act to catch one of the greatest teams in the Premier League.”

Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez was shown a straight red card for a headbutt

“The story tonight is Nunez, not only the first headbutt, but to then go again.

“He’s properly gone for Andersen. There has been no history of that at Benfica, he didn’t get sent off there. That’s the stupidity tonight. It will be a steep learning curve for him. It’s a moment of madness. It’s a proper butt, Andersen will feel that.


“We don’t know why he’s done it. I’ve done two or three things like this in my career. We don’t know why we react. We have no idea. We go off and think ‘what did I just do’ – honestly. I kicked a ball at a fan at Everton and did a similar thing in a game against Steve McManaman. It’s that red mist. It comes over you.”

Jurgen Klopp talked of witchcraft given the number of injuries at Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on injury crisis:

“The real feeling I have at the moment is I’m proud because everything went against us during the week. It was crazy, it was like there was a witch in the building. Putting in a performance in the circumstances, I’m really proud of that.

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“It’s not the start we wanted but that’s the least of my problems because it’s really tricky at the moment with injuries. We have to use the next week to maybe bring one or two back. We lost Darwin today which doesn’t help but Bobby (Firmino) might be ready for next week. It’s not a concern, it’s just a start.”

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira discussed his team’s performance against Liverpool

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira on the point:


“There are a lot of teams coming to Liverpool that would be happy with a point, but today we played a really good game collectively and I’m pleased with the point.

“Overall we kept our organisation and discipline. It’s a really tough place to come and perform. We created some really good chances, in a difficult period we stuck together and defended well. It was a really good team performance, I’m really happy with the team.”

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2024 WAFCON qualifier: Super Falcons arrive Praia for Cape Verde clash



Ahead of Tuesday’s second leg of the 2024 Women’s African Cup of Nations qualifier, Nigeria’s Super Falcons have landed in Praia for the game.

The Nigerian side dominated and won the first leg 5-0 at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja on Thursday and the result gave them hope to scaling the hurdle to the competition.

Super Falcons departed the shore of the country on Saturday and safely arrived at the Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde in the early hours of Sunday.

Falcons are willing to qualify and do better in the competition next year after they finished in the 4th position in the last edition that was held in Morocco.


The game against the Blue Shark of Cape Verde is scheduled to take place on Tuesday with the winner over the two legs reaching the competition slated for Morocco.

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Osimhen won’t renew Napoli contract



Nigeria international Victor Osimhen’s departure from Napoli is almost looking certain after Italian football transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said the striker was unlikely to renew his contract with the Italian champions,

Osimhen has been linked with several European clubs with English Premier League duo, Chelsea and Arsenal, leading the race for the Nigerians.

Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, had on several occasions said that the club’s most prized asset would not be sold this summer even if their valuation of €200m was met.

“Osimhen will stay here. He won’t leave,” he told Sky in August.


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Super Eagles drop two places in latest FIFA rankings



The Super Eagles of Nigeria have dropped by two spots in the latest FIFA ranking to place 42nd in the world.

In the ranking table on the website of the world football governing body, on Thursday, the Eagles dropped 16.04 points to rank 1474.44 points as against 1490.48 in October.

However, the drop did not affect the team’s placement on the continent, as it still remained the 6th team on the continent, behind Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt, respectively.

The drop in ranking comes after the Super Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw in their two 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Lesotho on Nov. 16 and Zimbabwe on Nov. 19.


Although Argentina (1st) still leads the way ahead of France (2nd), England (3rd, up 1) is now in the trio of teams at the front of the pack, followed by Belgium (4th, up 1), who have also climbed one place.

Although Brazil (5th, down 2) have lost ground following back-to-back defeats by Colombia and Argentina, they have clung on to their place in the top 5.

The Netherlands (6th, up 1) and Portugal (7th, down 1) have traded places in the top 10, which is once again completed by Spain (8th), Italy (9th) and Croatia (10th).

Uruguay (11th, up 4) have made solid progress, but they have to be content with a place just outside the top 10.

The Comoros Islands (119th, up 9), meanwhile, enjoyed an even better month with wins against the Central African Republic and Ghana, and have two reasons to celebrate as they are now in 119th place, their highest-ever position.

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Kosovo (101st, up 4) may not have climbed as many positions as the Comorans, but the Kosovans are also now higher in the ranking than ever before.

Guinea-Bissau (103rd, up 7), Azerbaijan (114th, up 6), Libya (120th, up 6), Malaysia (130th, up 7) and Rwanda (133rd, up 7) are the other big movers in the November ranking.

The ranking also had the re-entry of Samoa (187th), American Samoa (188th) and Tonga (196th), who were all playing international football again following months of inactivity.

The ranking took into consideration FIFA World Cup qualifiers that took place in African countries as well as in Asia and South America.

The other confederations’ schedules considered included UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying matches, Concacaf Nations League 2023-24 encounters and the Pacific Games 2023.


These matches all had a significant effect on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, including on the make-up of the podium.

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