Liverpool and Tottenham wins turn up heat on Chelsea in EPL
LONDON (AP) — Liverpool and Tottenham put the squeeze on Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification next season after chalking up 2-0 victories in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah struck his 32nd goal in all competitions and Sadio Mane made sure of victory as second-place Liverpool breezed past Newcastle to make it an unhappy Anfield return for former manager Rafael Benitez.
Son Heung-min, vying for league player of the year honors with Salah, took his goal tally for the campaign to 15 with a double blast in Tottenham’s triumph over Huddersfield at Wembley Stadium.
They moved the pressure firmly on to fifth-place Chelsea, which is five points adrift of Tottenham, when Antonio Conte’s team visits champion-elect Manchester City on Sunday.
Manchester United is third but can leapfrog Liverpool by winning at Crystal Palace on Monday.
Arsenal, whose Champions League hopes are receding by the week, visits Brighton on Sunday.
Also on Saturday, Swansea continued its revival under new manager Carlos Carvalhal by thrashing West Ham 4-1, and Burnley came from behind to defeat Everton 2-1 and reach 40 points in the league for the first time.
Cenk Tosun put the visitors in front with his first goal for the club but Burnley fought back through Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. Everton defender Ashley Williams was sent off in the 86th minute for elbowing Barnes.
Watford piled on the misery for West Bromwich Albion by beating the bottom club 1-0 with a goal from captain Troy Deeney. Riyad Mahrez scored seven minutes into stoppage time to earn Leicester a 1-1 home draw with Bournemouth, and Stoke drew at Southampton 0-0.
Liverpool has lost once in 19 league games and didn’t look like losing twice in 20 despite a stubborn Newcastle rearguard at Anfield.
The breakthrough came just before halftime. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain drove his way through the heart of the defense before sliding the ball to the unmarked Salah, who beat goalkeeper Martin Dubravka from eight yards.
Loris Karius denied Newcastle a first-half equalizer when he produced a flying save to tip a Mohamed Diame effort over the crossbar.
Liverpool secured maximum points in the 56th minute when, after a series of passes in the opposition half, Roberto Firmino released Mane and he sidefooted the ball beyond Dubravka.
“There were two wonderful goals, a few more were possible, and it was a world-class save from Loris,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said.
Liverpool host Porto in a Champions League last-16 second leg on Tuesday, having won the opening match 5-0 in Portugal last month.
TWO FOR SON
Huddersfield’s chances of defeating Tottenham for the first time since 1956 were dealt a blow when Dele Alli sent Son racing clear of the defense to round goalkeeper Jonas Lossl for the opening goal in the 27th minute.
Son made it 2-0 in the 54th when he finished off a fine move by Tottenham, just moments after goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saved well from Tom Ince at the other end.
Harry Kane found his teammate with an excellent pass and the unmarked Son planted his header into the corner of the net.
Tottenham has gone 17 matches in all competitions without a loss, its longest undefeated sequence for 51 years.
“We don’t think too much about the past,” manager Mauricio Pochettino said. “Of course that is a very good stat but for me football is tomorrow - it’s not yesterday.”
Next up for Tottenham is the Champions League second leg at home to Juventus on Wednesday. They go in at 2-2.