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Liverpool-Chelsea Stalemate Dents Top Four Hopes, Everton Beaten Again

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Liverpool and Chelsea did little for their chances of climbing into the Premier League’s top four with an uninspiring 0-0 draw as a 2-0 defeat at West Ham pushed Everton closer to relegation on Saturday.

In a repeat of last season’s League and FA Cup finals, which Liverpool won on penalties after goalless draws, neither side could break the deadlock at Anfield to remain rooted in mid-table.

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Both sides are nine points off the top four and could slip further behind should Newcastle win at Crystal Palace later.

Chelsea did have the ball in the net early on, but Kai Havertz’s strike was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

The visitors introduced new 100 million euro ($108 million) signing Mykhailo Mudryk off the bench in the second half and the Ukrainian came as close as anyone to a winner when he fired into the side-netting.

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Jurgen Klopp admitted he might not have made it to 1,000 games in his managerial career if there had been too many similar matches in the previous 999.

But he was satisfied with a first Premier League clean sheet since October.

“I’m okay with 0-0 because you have to accept these steps,” said Klopp.

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– Everton in danger –
Things look even bleaker across Merseyside as Everton’s 69-year stay in the top flight looks ever more precarious.

Jarrod Bowen struck twice in the first half as West Ham won 2-0 at the London Stadium to move out of the bottom three thanks to their first win in eight league games.

Leicester eased the pressure on Brendan Rodgers with their first point since the World Cup break but were denied a vital win by a late Brighton equaliser in a 2-2 draw at the King Power.

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Kaoru Mitoma’s sumptuous strike gave the in-form visitors the lead, but Marc Albrighton quickly levelled and Harvey Barnes put Leicester in front just after the hour mark.

Teenage striker Evan Ferguson came off the bench to head in off the post in the 88th minute and snatch a point that moves Brighton into the top six.

Bournemouth dropped into the bottom three despite ending a run of six consecutive defeats with a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest.

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Jaidon Anthony put the hosts in front, but Sam Surridge came back to haunt his former club seven minutes from time.

Southampton remain rooted to the foot of the table after a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa that was disrupted by a drone flying above the stadium.

Play was temporarily halted and players taken off the pitch at St. Mary’s for their own safety towards the end of the first half.

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Once the action got back underway, Villa maintained their upward momentum under Unai Emery as Ollie Watkins headed in Douglas Luiz’s free-kick 13 minutes from time. (AFP)

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UCL: PSG suffer major blow ahead Bayern Munich clash

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Paris Saint-Germain have suffered a major injury blow ahead of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie with Bayern Munich on February 14.

PSG on Thursday confirmed that their key player Kylian Mbappé is set to miss three weeks of action, meaning that the forward will miss their Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, which takes place in just 12 days’ time.

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Mbappe suffered a thigh injury during PSG’s 3-1 victory over Montpellier on Wednesday.

The France international was seen hobbling through the mixed zone after the match.

“After undergoing tests, Kylian Mbappé suffered an injury to the left thigh at the level of the femoral biceps.

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“He is expected to be out of action for three weeks,” PSG’s statement read.

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U-20 AFCON: Flying Eagles tackles Zambia in friendly match

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Egypt-bound Nigeria and Zambia U20 teams have been scheduled to clash in a prestige encounter at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium on Friday evening, in what promises to be a fierce encounter with both gearing up for the Africa U20 Cup of Nations starting in the North African nation in a fortnight.

Zambian U20 team, Junior Chipolopolo arrive at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja…on Thursday (2/2/2023)
A 35-man delegation of the Zambian 2017 Africa U20 Cup of Nations champions landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Thursday afternoon, aboard an Ethiopian Airline flight from Addis Ababa. The delegation included 23 players and 12 officials.

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They will confront the Flying Eagles, seven-time champions of Africa, at the main bowl of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium from 4pm on Friday.

Champions of the WAFU B U20 Championship held in Niger Republic in May 2022, the Flying Eagles have been drawn to play hosts Egypt, Senegal and Mozambique in Group A of the Africa U20 Cup of Nations taking place 18th February – 12th March this year.

Zambia won the 2017 Africa U20 Cup of Nations which they hosted, and then reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA U20 World Cup in Korea Republic the same year, before losing to Italy after extra time in Suwon.

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In Egypt, Zambia will be up against Tunisia, Benin Republic and The Gambia in Group C, while Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo battle things out in Group B.

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Police in UK drop attempted rape charge against Man Utd star Greenwood

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By Francesca Iwambe

Charges of attempted rape and assault against Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood have been dropped by prosecutors, British police said on Thursday.

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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material coming to light were factors in their decision to stop the case against the 21-year-old.

Greater Manchester Police said it was “only fair” that they announce that Greenwood, who was arrested in January last year, would no longer face criminal proceedings “given the significant media coverage of this case”.

The striker originally faced one count of attempted rape, one count of controlling and coercive behaviour and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, all against the same complainant.

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“In this case a combination of the withdrawal of key witnesses and new material that came to light meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.

“In these circumstances, we are under a duty to stop the case.”
Greenwood, who has played 129 times for United, scoring 35 goals, last played for United against West Ham in January last year.

“Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this,” said chief superintendent Michaela Kerr.

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“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.

“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.

Greenwood, a product of United’s academy, and once considered one of English football’s brightest prospects, made his senior debut for the Red Devils in a Champions League victory at Paris Saint-Germain in March 2019.

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He signed a new contract at United in February 2021 that runs until at least 2025.

The forward made his England debut against Iceland in September 2020, but he and Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden were sent home after breaching the team’s coronavirus guidelines.

Nike suspended and later terminated its sponsorship deal with the player, while Electronic Arts confirmed his removal from active squads on its FIFA 22 game following his arrest.

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