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Dalglish Backs Carroll as Newcastle Loom

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has defended striker Andy Carroll as the player prepares to face former club Newcastle.

Carroll, 22, made a 20-minute substitute appearance in Liverpool's 3-0 victory over the Magpies in May.

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Suarez Given One-Match Ban for Obscene Gesture

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has accepted a charge of improper conduct for making an obscene gesture toward Fulham fans during a Premier League match and will serve an immediate one-match ban.

The club has also been fined 20,000 pounds ($31,000) and warned about its future conduct after its players harangued referee Kevin Friend over his decision to send off midfielder Jay Spearing during the same match on December 5.

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Spain Captain Corretja Hopeful on Nadal for Davis

New Spain captain Alex Corretja remains hopeful that Rafael Nadal will be available to the Davis Cup champions despite the second-ranked Spaniard announcing he won't compete in the event in 2012.

Corretja says neither Nadal nor David Ferrer have told him personally that they will be unavailable for the five-time winners. Corretja plans to speak to the pair at the Australian Open to see "if they can or want to play, or if they can play certain series'."

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Rookie Cole Shines as Heat Hold Off Celtics

Miami Heat held off a late challenge by the Boston Celtics on Tuesday to win a 115-107 NBA victory, with LeBron James scoring 26 points, Dwyane Wade adding 24 and rookie Norris Cole racking up 14 fourth-quarter points.

The star-studded Heat dominated most of the match, leading by as many as 20 points before the determined Celtics twice narrowed the deficit to three points in the closing minutes.

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Wenger Expects More Title Twists in Premier League

Arsene Wenger expects more twists at the top of the Premier League this season after blaming his players for dropping points in a 1-1 against Wolves.

Arsenal were left frustrated at the Emirates Stadium after Gervinho's opener was cancelled out by Steven Fletcher, with the visitors holding on despite Nenad Milijas' dismissal.

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Lakers Rout Jazz, Easily Avoid 0-3 Season Start

After finishing three games in roughly 56 hours with their best effort yet, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers demonstrated why their demise might not be as imminent as many thought.

Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 22 points and nine rebounds, and the Lakers avoided just the fourth 0-3 start in franchise history with a 96-71 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

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Coe Vows Olympics London Will Not Be 'Siege City'

London Olympics chief Sebastian Coe has vowed the British capital will not become a "siege city" in 2012 despite plans to deploy large numbers of weapons and soldiers, in comments published in the UK's Guardian newspaper.

The British government announced this month it would have 13,500 troops on duty for the 2012 Games, more than the 7,000 widely expected.

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Malouda Drops Chelsea Exit Hint

Unsettled Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda has hinted he could look to quit the club during the winter transfer market.

Malouda's bid to cement his place in the France team ahead of next summer's Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine has been compounded by his lack of playing time under Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea.

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Berbatov Treble Puts United Level with City

Dimitar Berbatov fired Manchester United level on points with Manchester City as his hat-trick inspired a 5-0 win over 10-man Wigan, while the Premier League leaders were held to a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

Berbatov has been a bit-part player for long periods this season but the Bulgarian striker seized a chance to replace the rested Wayne Rooney with a clinical treble and further goals from Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Valencia destroyed third bottom Wigan.

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Mancini Rues Festive Fixtures after City Slip

Roberto Mancini bemoaned Manchester City's Christmas fixture schedule after watching his team surrender their lead at the top of the Premier League.

City were held to a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day and are now top by virtue of goal difference alone after rivals Manchester United thrashed Wigan 5-0.

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