Liverpool thrash Newcastle to go six points clear at the top
Man City slump to third after losing 2-1 to Leicester, Spurs move second with 5-0 trouncing of Bournemouth
Liverpool treated their fans to some Christmas cheer with a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle United at Anfield on Wednesday (Dec 26), extending their lead at the top of the table.
The win put Liverpool on 51 points at the halfway point in the season, six ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who hammered Bournemouth 5-0, and seven ahead of champions Manchester City who lost 2-1 at Leicester City.
Returning to the club he led to the Champions League title in 2005, Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez picked his team with defence in mind, stringing five players across the back.
|(Dejan Lovren 11, Mohamed Salah 47-pen, Xherdan Shaqiri 79, Fabinho 85)|
But defender Jamaal Lascelles inadvertently teed Dejan Lovren up for the opening goal, carelessly heading an attempted clearance into the path of the Liverpool centre-back, who cracked home a fine half-volley in the 11th minute.
Newcastle managed to hold firm until half-time but, within minutes of the restart, they were two down as Mohamed Salah scored his 13th league goal of the season from the penalty spot following an innocuous foul on him by Paul Dummett.
Liverpool’s enormous pressure threatened to give them a third goal at any moment, and it came when Xherdan Shaqiri stabbed home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross from close range in the 79th minute. Fabinho made it 4-0 by heading home Salah’s corner.
Liverpool’s fans burst into song as news reached the Anfield stands that Manchester City had lost at Leicester, giving the Merseysiders the Christmas gift they wanted as they chase a first league title since 1990.
It was City's second straight EPL defeat as they were stunned by a late strike from Leicester City’s Ricardo Pereira in a 2-1 loss.
City were looking to bounce back from their 3-2 defeat by Crystal Palace and were in front after 14 minutes when Bernardo Silva finished with his left foot after being played through by Sergio Aguero.
But four minutes later, Leicester were back on level terms after Marc Albrighton met Jamie Vardy’s cross with his head from close range.
Leicester’s defence held tight despite an onslaught from City, with Fabian Delph and Aguero both missing good chances.
Pep Guardiola’s team were made to pay for those spurned opportunities as Ricardo unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top left corner beyond Ederson with less than 10 minutes from the end.
Things went from bad to worse as Delph was shown a straight red for following through in a challenge on Ricardo, capping a miserable afternoon for City who slipped to third in the league, behind Tottenham Hotspur who trashed Bournemouth 5-0 to move to second. – REUTERS