Liverpool beat Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City record narrow wins
Liverpool beat local rivals Everton 4-1 on Wednesday to put pressure on former Reds boss Rafael Benitez, while wins for Chelsea and Manchester City kept the Premier League’s top three apart by just two points.
Chelsea managers had to work hard for a 2-1 win at Watford in one of two games delayed by long delays to allow treatment for a sick supporter in the crowd.
Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been unable to do his former club a favor as his 100% departure as Aston Villa manager ended in a 2-1 loss to City.
Liverpool had won only once in their last nine visits to Goodison Park but the rift between the two teams was currently evident as Mohamed Salah produced two more stunning finishes to bring his season tally to 19 goals in 19 games.
Jordan Henderson opened the scoring before Salah rolled the first of his brace into the top corner.
Demarai Gray’s strike briefly gave Everton hope ahead of half-time, but further strikes from Salah and Diogo Jota gave the score the reflection it deserved of a one-sided contest.
“It was for sure the best performance at Goodison since I’ve been at Liverpool,” Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said. “We had some good games here, but never as good or convincing as tonight.”
Chelsea needed Hakim Ziyech to come off the bench and score the winner 18 minutes off Vicarage Road to hold City and Liverpool top of the table.
After half an hour of waiting at the start of the match while a fan was taken care of by emergency services, Mason Mount gave the European champions the advantage.
Emmanuel Dennis hit back for Watford on the stroke of halftime and for a while it looked like Chelsea could drop points for the third time in four league appearances.
But Ziyech’s powerful finish over Mount’s cross maintained their slim one-point advantage over City.
“The two situations we had, we scored,” said Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel. “We were very lucky to come out with the win. “
Gerrard had got off to a good start as Villa boss with back-to-back wins over Brighton and Crystal Palace to allay fears of being dragged into a relegation battle, but admitted ahead of the game that the Champions were posing a very different test and so he proved.
An injured City dominated the first half and led 2-0 at the break thanks to brilliant finishes from Portuguese international duo Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva.
Ollie Watkins netted a goal two minutes into the second half, but City held on for three vital points as Jack Grealish celebrated a victorious comeback at Villa Park.
“The game we played was fantastic,” said City manager Pep Guardiola.
“Difficult game. We knew it. I understand why. Especially after having conceded at the start of the second half, the way we reacted, we played very well.
West Ham’s hopes of a top-four finish took another blow as Brighton struck late to snatch a 1-1 draw at London Stadium.
Tomas Soucek opened the scoring for the Hammers after just five minutes, but after a second for David Moyes’ men was controversial on a VAR exam, Neal Maupay scored a point for Brighton with one minute remaining.
In the other game hit by a long delay in dealing with a sick fan in the crowd, Leicester came back twice from behind to save a 2-2 draw at Southampton.
Jan Bednarek and Che Adams put the locals ahead in the first half, but Jonny Evans and James Maddison equalized to keep Leicester just five points from the top four.
Burnley has come close to a point of survival but has only won just once this season after a 0-0 draw against Wolves.