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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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:

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“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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EPL: Bacary Sagna predicts scorelines for Man City vs Utd, Arsenal vs Tottenham fixtures

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Former Arsenal defender, Bacary Sagna, has predicted the scoreline for Manchester City’s Premier League clash against Manchester United.

Sagna also predicted the outcome of Arsenal’s Premier League tie against Tottenham Hotspur.

Man City will host Man United in a Premier League derby at Etihad on Sunday, while Arsenal will take on Tottenham in a London derby at Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

Providing his predictions, Sagna said Man City would beat Man United by three goals to nil, while Arsenal will defeat Tottenham 2-0.

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“I can’t see anyone other than City winning this match. I think City will win 3-0,” Sagna told Lord Ping.

He added, “Arsenal will win. Arsenal 2-0.”

“Listen, make no mistake, this will be a tough game for Arsenal. Tottenham has quality players, dangerous players. Son [Heung-min] has come into a bit of form. [Harry] Kane, we all know what he can do.”

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Volleyball: Offa, Customs win Premier League

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Offa Volleyball Club (male) and the Nigeria Customs Service (female) have emerged the champions of the 2022 Nigeria Volleyball Premier League competition.

In the men’s final match at the indoor hall of the Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure, Offa defeated Nigeria Correctional Service 3-2 (25-16, 23-25, 25-17, 17-25, 15-11), while in the women’s category, Customs emerged champions, beating Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-21) on the final day of the league.

Offa coach, Suleiman Ajeigbe, expressed delight over the victory, saying the trophy would be going to Offa community for the first time.

Ajeigbe also commended his players for properly executing their game plan and playing to instruction.

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He said, “I feel so proud, I feel so excited and I give all glory to God almighty. It has been a very challenging one, but to the glory of God. In the history of the Nigeria Volleyball Premier League, Offa, a local government in Kwara State will be lifting the trophy, this is historical, this has never happened before.

“Offa Volleyball Club came into being to help the youths in my community. I started the club to ensure that every member of my team is Kwara-born, majority of them are born in Offa. It is to the glory of God that I was able to start it, most of my players are playing outside the country now. I started the club in 2010, so it’s been a long time actually.”

Customs coach, Sunny Akapson, said his side’s victory was as a result of hard work, determination and dedication.

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EPL: Glen Johnson predicts result of Arsenal vs Tottenham derby clash

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Former Chelsea star, Glenn Johnson has provided his prediction for Saturday’s North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham.

Mikel Arteta’s side will receive Antonio Conte’s Spurs at the Emirates on Saturday.

The Gunners would be leapfrogged by Tottenham at the top of the Premier League table if they hand Arteta’s side their second defeat of the season.

Arsenal has won six out of seven of their opening games, losing once to Manchester United.

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Spurs are unbeaten and just a point behind them in third, with Tottenham able to leapfrog their rivals with a victory.

Johnson told SafeBettingSites: “It’s going to be a tough one to call, to be honest.

“Tottenham looks great, Arsenal looks great. Finally, we’ve got two good teams going into the north London derby!.

‘This is their first big test, for both teams. [I’m going] 2-1 to Arsenal.’

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