EPL: Liverpool thrash Newcastle to stretch lead at top

EPL: Liverpool thrash Newcastle to stretch lead at top
Shaqiri, one of three players brought into the team on Wednesday, looks to hold off Paul Dummett during the first half.
London, Dec 27 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 12/27/2018 10:59:54 AM IST

Mohamed Salah scored again to help stretch Liverpool’s Premier League lead to six points, as a 4-0 home win over Newcastle United gave Jurgen Klopp his 100th Reds victory.

Klopp’s 181st game in charge saw Liverpool take an early Boxing Day lead at Anfield, Dejan Lovren smashing in a superb half-volley to set up their eighth straight Premier League win.

And when Salah stepped up to convert a penalty he won himself immediately after the restart, Rafael Benitez’s side were heading to defeat on his Anfield return.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho added late goals for the rampant hosts and Manchester City’s 2-1 loss at Leicester City means the 2017-18 champions fall further behind Klopp’s men ahead of their clash at the Etihad Stadium on January 3, with Tottenham moving up to second after thrashing Bournemouth.

Joselu and Shaqiri missed clear chances in an open start at Anfield, with Liverpool taking the lead in the 11th minute.

A diabolical clearing header from Jamaal Lascelles fell straight to Lovren, who smashed a wonderful half-volleyed finish high into the roof of the net.

Martin Dubravka denied Sadio Mane and then made a fine save to keep out a deflected Shaqiri free-kick before the interval.

But Liverpool extended their advantage two minutes after the restart, Salah beating Dubravka from the penalty spot after he was tugged on the arm by Paul Dummett.

And with City dropping points again, Liverpool gave their fans an ideal late Christmas present when Shaqiri tapped in a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross and Fabinho headed in Salah’s corner for a close-range fourth.

Meanwhile, Manchester City dropped to third place after suffering a 1-2 defeat to Leicester City in the English Premier League.

Pep Guardiola’s men on Wednesday took an early lead through a Bernardo Silva goal at Leicester’s King Power Stadium but the 2015 English champions fought back with goals from Marc Albrighton and Ricardo Pereira, reports Xinhua news agency.

The champions also ended with just ten men following Fabian Delph’s straight red card in the 89th minute.

City have lost four of their last three league matches and have now slipped seven points behind leaders Liverpool and one point behind Tottenham Hotspur.

City dominated the game and in the 14th minute, Sergio Aguero spotted Silva’s clever run and fed the ball to the Portuguese who calmly flicked it past Kapser Schmeichel.

The lead lasted just five minutes as Albrighton received a pass from Jamie Vardy inside the box and made no mistake from close range to level the scores. City continued to control the game in the second half but Leroy Sane’s poor header in the 81st minute was punished with a spectacular finish from Ricardo.

Manchester City will play Southampton on December 30, before a home game against league leaders Liverpool on January 3.

Chelsea edge past watford 2-1
Eden Hazard scored a brace to give Chelsea a 2-1 victory against Watford and lift the former champions back into the top four of the English Premier League (EPL) at the mid-point of the 2018-2019 season.
The sides looked set to head to the dressing rooms 0-0 until a minute into first-half stoppage time, when Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic stole the ball in midfield and found Hazard in scoring position for the 1-0.
But the advantage lasted barely two minutes, as Roberto Pereyra beat Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with a low blast from outside the area to level the score at 1-1. The deadlock continued until Watford keeper Ben Foster tackled Hazard in the box in the 58th minute and the Belgian international converted the penalty to put Chelsea up 2-1.
Despite the loss, Watford remain in the top half of the table with 27 points, while Chelsea find themselves just 4 points behind defending champions Manchester City in third place.
For Hazard, the double increased his goal total with Chelsea to 101.

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