EPL Round-up: Gerrard helps Liverpool win, van Gaal can thank De Gea for Man Utd's 3 points
Steven Gerrard’s future at Liverpool may be in doubt but the captain made his presence count in the 3-1 victory at bottom side Leicester City on Wednesday (Dec 3, Singapore time).
Gerrard, 34, was left out of the starting line-up on Saturday (Nov 29).
But he was back in the visiting team facing Leicester and rifled home a poor clearance from his opposite - Leicester City captain Wes Morgan - to turn the match the Merseysiders’ way in the 54th minute.
They had fallen behind when Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet conceded an own goal after 22 minutes before a 26th minute Adam Lallana equaliser for 'Pool.
Leicester City players celebrating after an own goal by Liverpool's Simon Mignolet. Photo: Reuters
Leicester were reduced to 10 men when Morgan, who scored an own goal against QPR on Saturday, was sent off for a foul on Rickie Lambert after 63 minutes. They conceded a third when Jordan Henderson scored after 83 minutes.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Monday that Gerrard, who made his debut for the club 16 years ago last weekend, had been offered a new contract.
He was full of praise for his captain after the three points were secured.
“He was rested at the weekend with tonight in mind.
When you rest players people ask why, when you play them, you are asked why aren’t you resting them? The energy from being rested at the weekend gave him the energy to play tonight.” - Brendan Rodgers, speaking to BT Sport
Gerrard declined to answer questions about the contract renewal but said: “I will decide when I am ready.
“There is nothing to say, when there is, the fans know I will come out and say it. It was a great team performance, the headlines should be about that, not me.
“I am happy with the goal, even more pleased with the win. We are on the way up. We are a lot harder to beat. Come the end of the season we will be fighting for fourth.”
Meanwhile the club currently in fourth place, Manchester United, continued their good form by making it four wins on the trot.
Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini heads the opening goal. Photo: Reuters
A knee injury forced a resurgent Wayne Rooney to sit out the match, which meant 19-year-old James Wilson was handed a surprise start.
The Red Devils took a 21st-minute lead when Marouane Fellaini headed in Ander Herrera’s inviting left-wing cross.
Steven Nzonzi equalised for Stoke six minutes before half-time, lashing home from outside the box after a dart by Bojan Krkic.
But Mata’s goal gave United a fourth straight victory, with Marcos Rojo’s leap distracting visiting goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and allowing the former Chelsea playmaker’s free-kick to nestle inside the left post.
Stoke City's Steven N'Zonzi (C) shoots to score their equaliser. Photo: Reuters.
Goalkeeper David de Gea pulled off a pair of stunning late saves to save United.
“The last few moments were not necessary, but it is always like that.
“We have struggled until the end in the Premier League. It is common. I’m happy with the result. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we have a Christmas party and it’s important we can enjoy that.” - Louis van Gaal
West Ham United remain a point behind Van Gaal’s side in fifth place after coming from behind to win 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion.
Craig Dawson’s 10th-minute header put the home team in front, but Kevin Nolan equalised 15 minutes later and James Tomkins gave West Ham victory with a header in first-half injury time.
Swansea City climbed to sixth place, two points behind West Ham United, after well-taken late goals from Ki Sung-yueng and Wayne Routledge secured a 2-0 success at home to second-bottom Queens Park Rangers.
Other results: Burnley 1-1 Newcastle
Aston Villa 1 - 0 Crystal Palace
Sources: Reuters, AFP