LONDON: Liverpool’s bandwagon rolled on as they crushed Merseyside rivals Everton 5-2 at Anfield but Leicester City’s pursuit continued with a seventh successive Premier League victory to stay eight points behind on Wednesday.
Even with strikers Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino warming the bench, Juergen Klopp’s side had far too much firepower with Divock Origi scoring twice as Liverpool set a new club record of 32 league games undefeated.
While a first title for 30 years is beckoning Liverpool, pressure is piling up on Everton boss Marco Silva as his side dropped into the relegation zone, below Southampton who beat fellow strugglers Norwich City 2-1.
Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford was not a happy one as Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford’s double earned his side a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Leicester beat bottom club Watford 2-0 as they equalled a club record winning streak dating back to 1963 — Jamie Vardy and James Maddison scoring after the break to lift Brendan Rodgers’s side three points above champions Manchester City.
“Seven wins on the spin in the Premier League is a great achievement, we have a winning mentality,” Rodgers said. “We fight and work and see where it takes us.”
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard got the better of former team-mate John Terry, assistant manager at Aston Villa, as his side shrugged off back-to-back league defeats with a 2-1 victory to consolidate fourth spot.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are now unbeaten in 10 league games — their best run in the top flight for 40 years — as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over West Ham United. Wolves jumped to fifth spot, six behind Chelsea.
With Adam Lallana also given a start as Klopp rotated his squad at the start of a hectic month, Liverpool underlined their depth as they blew Everton away in the highest-scoring Mersey derby since 1933.
A mesmerising attacking display saw them net four goals before halftime with Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri scoring to make the most of rare starts. Sadio Mane was also on target although Everton played their part with Michael Keane and Richarlison keeping them in the contest.
A calmer second half brought only a late goal for Georginio Wijnaldum as Liverpool moved to 43 points from 15 games.
“All the goals were incredible, outstanding,” said Liverpool manager Klopp. “Wonderful goals, sensational passes, super pieces of football. I loved it a lot. We needed fresh legs and I had to show my respect to the boys in the squad, that’s all. They proved it. It is much more fun making changes, all of the boys are ready to deliver performances like this.”
Leicester striker Vardy scored for the seventh straight game in the Premier League and is closing in on his record of netting in 11 in a row, set in the team’s improbable title-winning season in 2015-16.
He set Leicester on its way against Watford by converting a 55th-minute penalty before Maddison added the second goal in injury time.
MOURINHO LOSES IN OLD TRAFFORD RETURN
Mourinho was standing on the edge of his technical area near the halfway line when United midfielder Daniel James came sliding off the field and clattered head-first into the right knee of the Portuguese coach. Mourinho just about stayed on his feet but grimaced as he clutched his knee before hobbling away.
It was a rough return to Old Trafford for the former United manager. Two weeks into his time at Tottenham and Mourinho has finally lost a game and it just had to be against the club that fired him a year ago.
United produced the kind of vibrant display that has been a rarity this season and Rashford was superb. He opened the scoring early and tucked away a penalty in the second half after Dele Alli had equalised for Tottenham.
“Doubters just spur me on,” Rashford wrote on Twitter after the match, potentially a reference to Mourinho who, in one standout incident during his time at United, turned his back to Rashford and folded his arms in disgust after the striker missed an easy chance in a Champions League match against Young Boys in November last year. Less than a month later, Mourinho was fired.
Tottenham, who slipped to eighth place and behind United in the standings, have now conceded two goals in each of the four games Mourinho has been in charge — a statistic that must concern a coach who usually sets his teams up to defend resolutely.
Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham, who was prolific during a loan spell at Aston Villa last season, proved the difference against Villa, heading in Reece James’s cross to open the scoring.
Trezeguet bundled home to bring the visitors level before the break, but Abraham then turned provider by chesting down for Mason Mount to brilliant volley high past Tom Heaton.
Wolves remain unbeaten in the league since September and goals from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone either side of half-time gave them victory against a disappointing West Ham at Molineux. Southampton moved out of the bottom three by beating next-to-last Norwich.
Danny Ings gave Southampton the lead with his eighth goal of the season and Ryan Bertrand also scored before Teemu Pukki’s second-half reply for Norwich.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2019