Liver­pool inches in on Arse­nal’s lead

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AN 81st-minute Gareth McAu­ley goal pre­vented Liver­pool from pro­vi­sion­ally go­ing top in the Premier League as they de­feated West Bromwich Al­bion 2-1 on Oc­to­ber 22.

Need­ing a two-goal win to move above lead­ers Arse­nal, Liver­pool took a 2-0 lead through Sa­dio Mane and Philippe Coutinho, but McAu­ley’s strike left them in sec­ond place on goal dif­fer­ence.

Arse­nal had ear­lier been held to a 0-0 draw by Mid­dles­brough, while fourth-place Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur played out a goal­less stale­mate at Bournemouth.

“I’m re­ally pleased with the per­for­mance,” Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp told Sky Sports.

“It was un­be­liev­ably dif­fi­cult against West Brom. You have to al­ways con­cen­trate. They are so dan­ger­ous at set-pieces.

“But I think it would have been kind of a joke if we hadn’t won to­day. It was un­be­liev­able, how we played.”

Klopp made one change to the Liver­pool team held 0-0 by United last week, with the fit-again Adam Lal­lana re­turn­ing to the start­ing XI at the ex­pense of Daniel Stur­ridge.

Roberto Firmino took over from Stur­ridge up front and played a key role in Liver­pool’s neat 20th-minute opener, cross­ing for Mane to vol­ley home af­ter Coutinho’s dummy had freed Emre Can.

Mane turned provider 15 min­utes later af­ter a sliced clear­ance by vis­it­ing goal­keeper Ben Foster, slip­ping in Coutinho, who cut in­side two defenders and scored at the near post.

West Brom cen­tre-back McAu­ley halved the deficit late on, vol­ley­ing in from close range at a cor­ner.

Arse­nal, 6-0 win­ners over Lu­do­gorets Raz­grad in the Cham­pi­ons League in mid-week, were seek­ing an eighth suc­ces­sive win in all com­pe­ti­tions.

But Mid­dles­brough came clos­est to breaking the dead­lock in the first half at the Emi­rates Sta­dium when Gas­ton Ramirez curled a 21st-minute free-kick against the post.

Arse­nal dom­i­nated the sec­ond half, but had goal­keeper Petr Cech to thank for en­sur­ing the vis­i­tors’ counter -at­tacks came to nought.

“It is a game where you had a lot of pos­ses­sion, but there were tired legs and you are prone to counter-at­tacks,” said Arse­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger, who was cel­e­brat­ing his 67th birth­day.

“You make it dif­fi­cult for your­self. Sev­enty-five per­cent pos­ses­sion, but you could have lost the game. That is modern foot­ball.”

Tot­ten­ham ex­tended their un­beaten start to the sea­son to nine games – some­thing they last achieved in 1990 – but squan­dered an op­por­tu­nity to go top in a 0-0 draw at Bournemouth.

Both teams hit the wood­work in the early stages, Spurs goal­keeper Hugo Lloris di­vert­ing Char­lie Daniels’s shot onto the bar and Erik Lamela clip­ping the post from dis­tance.

“We had con­trol, but we didn’t cre­ate enough chances to score,” said Spurs man­ager Mauricio Pochettino.

“I think we need to be pleased in the end be­cause it’s one point more, one clean sheet, but it’s true for us to be con­tenders we should be win­ning the games like to­day.”

Cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City did not need Jamie Vardy as they won 3-1 at home to Crys­tal Palace to climb to 12th place.

With Vardy start­ing on the bench af­ter a groin prob­lem, strik­ers Ahmed Musa and Shinji Okazaki struck ei­ther side of half-time at King Power Sta­dium.

Chris­tian Fuchs sealed vic­tory in the 79th minute, the Aus­trian left­back net­ting from dis­tance with a sen­sa­tional strike to reg­is­ter his first Le­ices­ter goal.

Yo­han Cabaye replied five min­utes from time for Palace.

“That was our best per­for­mance so far this sea­son,” said Le­ices­ter man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri. “It was the shape and model of last sea­son and we con­cen­trated on do­ing our job.”

Sixth-place Ever­ton spurned a chance to make ground on the leading sides in a 2-1 de­feat at Burn­ley, who took a 39th-minute lead when goal­keeper Maarten Steke­len­burg’s blun­der gifted Sam Vokes a tap-in.

Yan­nick Bo­lasie equalised just be­fore the hour with his first Ever­ton goal, but Scott Ar­field struck at the death to con­demn Ron­ald Koe­man’s men to a fourth league game with­out vic­tory.

Xher­dan Shaqiri scored two stun­ning goals – the sec­ond a free-kick – as Stoke City won 2-0 at Hull City to climb out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone at their hosts’ ex­pense.

Sun­der­land re­main rock-bot­tom af­ter Win­ston Reid’s goal deep into stop­page time earned mis­fir­ing West Ham United a 1-0 win at their Lon­don Sta­dium.

Swansea City stayed sec­ond from bot­tom af­ter Bob Bradley’s first home game as man­ager con­cluded in a 0-0 draw with Wat­ford. –

Photo: AFP

West Bromwich Al­bion’s North­ern Ir­ish de­fender Gareth McAu­ley (third from left) turns to cel­e­brate a goal dur­ing the English Premier League foot­ball match be­tween Liver­pool and West Bromwich Al­bion at An­field in Liver­pool on Oc­to­ber 22.

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