LONDON: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has encouraged his team to relish the battle for Champions League qualification as they look to preserve their top-four place at Watford today.
Liverpool topped the Premier League table in November and looked poised to mount a title tilt, but a top-four finish is now the only thing they can now hope to salvage from their season.
“When we were first or second in the table and all that stuff, I said the only thing we can do is to be in the battle for the interesting positions at the end of the season,” he said.
“The end of the season is now, of course. It is the last month of their belief and their quality. They will be champions,” he said.
Pedro broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion, making some space for himself and then beating Maarten Stekelenburg with a left-foot drive from 25 metres out that flew into the top corner.
The visitors doubled their advantage when Stekelenburg could only parry out a low, diagonal free kick from Eden Hazard and captain Cahill pounced to fire home the loose ball.
Two Chelsea substitutes combined for the third goal, four minutes from the end, when, after a clever exchange with Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas slipped the ball to Willian for a simple closerange conversion.
The visiting fans applauded their team off the field at the end, confident that there will be more celebrations to come in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus headed the decisive equaliser as Manchester City twice came from behind to draw 2-2 away to a Middlesbrough side battling for Premier League survival.
Former City striker Alvaro Negredo put Middlesbrough ahead seven minutes before halftime with a shot from the centre of the box that went in off the inside of the post.
Sergio Aguero pulled City level in the 69th with a penalty hotly disputed by Boro after Marten de Roon was ruled to have brought down substitute Leroy Sane.
Eight minutes later Boro went ahead again when Calum Chambers shot high into the net in a goalmouth melee after efforts from Stewart Downing and Negredo were kept out.
But Brazilian teenager Gabriel Jesus, in his first start since returning from an injury layoff, had the last word with a fine header from Aguero's cross five minutes from time to keep City in the Champions League berths.
Earlier, Manchester United’s hopes of a top four finish suffered a blow as relegation-threatened Swansea City came back for a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
It was United’s 10th home draw— the highest number in the Premier League this season — and the team's injury woes continued to mount with defenders Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly both taken off during the game.
“We lost players and we lost points, so yes today was a bad day,” said manager Jose Mourinho.
For Swansea though, the point could prove to be precious as they bid to get out of the bottom three — they are now two points behind 17th placed Hull City with three games remaining for both clubs. Reuters
Chelsea’s Pedro (right) scores their opening goal against Everton in a Premier League match at Goodison Park yesterday.