(Football news) Liverpool sealed a 3-1 victory over relegation threatened Newcastle United at Anfield to move within one point of reigning Premier League champions and league leaders Manchester City. The Magpies were surprisingly ahead in the 7th minute when Jonjo Shelvey’s shot from range found the back of the net against his former club. However, the hosts equalized in the 21st minute under controversial circumstances when Diogo Jota scored while Isaac Hayden was down in the area, clutching his head after defending Liverpool’s corner. The goal stood despite Newcastle’s protests with Magpies manager Eddie Howe saying after the match “It was clear to me that Isaac went down holding his head immediately, In my opinion the game should have been stopped. It's had a huge bearing on the game. We had the lead. It feels unjust and I feel it was doubly hard on our players."
In-form Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s second four minutes later and the Egyptian matched Jamie Vardy’s record from 2015 for 24 goal involvements (15 goals and 9 assists) in 15 consecutive Premier League games. Only Alan Shearer with 16 goals and 9 assists has registered more goal involvements in the 1994-95 season. The game was more even between the two sides in the second half but Trent Alexander-Arnold’s stunning strike in the 87th minute was enough to give Liverpool a two goal cushion and secure a valuable three points to remain within touching distance of Manchester City. With this result, Liverpool became the first side to win 2000 English top flight games and are three points ahead of 3rd place Chelsea while Newcastle remain 19th in the league table with 10 points.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw against Everton with in-form Jordan Pickford ensuring that the Toffees managed to secure a much needed point. The England international made 9 saves in the match as Chelsea had a total of 23 shots on goal but managed to convert only one of them through Mason Mount in the 70th minute. Thomas Tuchel’s side was in the lead for only four minutes as Jarrad Branthwaite found the back of the net from Anthony Gordon’s set piece. The draw resulted in Chelsea being four points behind league leaders Manchester City and three points behind second place Liverpool in what is undoubtedly a blow for their title ambitions.
Few would have predicted Everton would get anything from the fixture, especially considering that Rafa Benitez’s team was missing the likes of Richarlison, Demarai Gray, Salomon Rondon, Lucas Digne, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Andros Townsend. With such a depleted squad, Benitez gave 20 year old Ellis Simms a debut while Chelsea missed Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi due to positive COVID-19 results, forcing Tuchel to name two goalkeepers on the bench and a total of eight substitutes.
Meanwhile, five Premier League games have been postponed this weekend due to COVID-19 with Manchester United’s match against Brighton on Saturday being called off alongside Southampton vs Brentford, Watford v Crystal Palace, West Ham United vs Norwich City and Everton vs Leicester City. As things stand, only Aston Villa vs Burnley and Leeds vs Arsenal will take place on Saturday. In a statement released by the Premier League, they said “All other fixtures due to be played this weekend are currently scheduled to proceed as planned."