Liver­pool flex their mus­cles

Reds beat Tottenham 2­1; Chelsea lead on goal dif­fer­ence

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTSPORTSMAX - Reuters

LON­DON: Liver­pool con­tin­ued their per­fect start to the season af­ter a goal in each half gave them a 2-1 vic­tory over Tottenham Hot­spur at Wembley on Satur­day.

Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum picked the per­fect time to score his first away goal in the Premier League when he headed Liver­pool into a 39th-minute lead, be­fore Roberto Firmino steered home a sec­ond soon af­ter half­time to en­sure Liver­pool made it five wins from five.

Since Oc­to­ber last year they have had the best de­fen­sive record in the Premier League, keep­ing more clean sheets than any other team, but they were de­nied an­other by Erik Lamela in stop­page time.

Lamela’s goal from a tight an­gle was deemed a mere con­so­la­tion, though, as Spurs slipped to con­sec­u­tive league de­feats for the first time since the fi­nal two games of the 2015-16 season, mean­ing they re­main out­side the top four.

“We were that good it was dif­fi­cult for Tottenham,” Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp said. “The per­for­mance to­day was bet­ter than the re­sult. It was the best game of the season for us.”

De­ter­mined to write the wrongs of their 4-1 de­feat by Tottenham last season, Liver­pool started quickly and Firmino had the ball in his net in­side the first minute, only to be de­nied by the off­side flag.

Harry Winks, mak­ing his first Premier League start since De­cem­ber, helped Spurs to calm the storm ini­tially but de­fen­sive mis­takes al­lowed Liver­pool to cre­ate open­ings.

Soon enough, Wi­j­nal­dum headed Liver­pool in front from a cor­ner, cap­i­tal­is­ing on a poor punch from goal­keeper Michel Vorm.

Spurs’ best chance to get back into the con­test came when Lu­cas Moura drove at the Liver­pool de­fence, drilling against the foot of the post and giv­ing Wembley hope that the tide had turned.

“When Lu­cas Moura hit the post that was the key mo­ment,”

Spurs man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino said. “Mo­ments like this are when you can get con­fi­dence. This type of game shows we need to im­prove if we are

go­ing to be con­tenders.”

Hope of a re­cov­ery van­ished min­utes later when Firmino was on hand to tap the ball home al­most on the goal line.

HAZ­ARD SHINES IN CHELSEA VIC­TORY

A hat-trick from Bel­gian ma­gi­cian Eden Haz­ard en­sured Chelsea kept their 100 per­cent record this season with a 4-1 win over pro­moted Cardiff City that sent the Lon­don­ers to the top of the Premier League on Satur­day.

Chelsea, who have won their first five games of the season, were stunned when an un­marked Sol Bamba flicked home to put Cardiff ahead in the 16th minute, but Haz­ard replied twice be­fore half­time as the home side upped the tempo.

He hit the bot­tom cor­ner af­ter danc­ing round two de­fend­ers to shoot low in the 37th minute, then latched on to an­other Olivier Giroud lay­off with the French­man at full stretch in the

44th. The Bel­gian scored a cool penalty in the 81st minute.

Wil­lian rounded off it off for the Lon­don side, who moved top on goal dif­fer­ence, with a dip­ping shot from out­side the area.

AFP PHOTO

With three goals against Cardiff City, Eden Haz­ard be­came the fourth player to score mul­ti­ple Premier League hat­tricks for Chelsea.

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