Liverpool rode their luck in a 1-0 victory over West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday to turn up the heat on leaders Manchester City, who face a derby showdown on Sunday.
Sadio Mane’s 12th league goal of the season, tucked away midway through the first half, proved just about enough to secure the win as Liverpool narrowed City’s lead at the top to three points with both teams having 11 games left to play.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, asked if he would be taking a close interest in City’s game with fourth-placed Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, said: “Of course we are interested in it, but we have no influence on it.
“We have to win the games we play. Those we do not play in we have no hand in it. We don’t think about it or talk about it, we just try to win our games.”
Earlier, Chelsea put aside their ownership issues to solidify their grip on third place with a 4-0 win at Burnley.
Leeds United slipped further into trouble with a 1-0 loss at Leicester City under new manager Jesse Marsch, but Newcastle United’s resurgence continued with a 2-1 home win against Brighton & Hove Albion to move further away from trouble.
Ryan Fraser and Fabian Schar scored in the space of two minutes for Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side who then dug deep to extend their unbeaten run to eight games after Lewis Dunk pulled one back for Brighton in the 55th minute.
Brentford dealt a hammer blow to bottom side Norwich City’s hopes of escaping the drop zone and eased their own fears as Ivan Toney scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 victory at Carrow Road.
Aston Villa’s Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho scored one goal and made another as they thrashed visiting Southampton 4-0, while Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha created the opener and netted a penalty in a 2-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Liverpool’s seventh successive league victory and 12th in all competitions was hard-earned.
Mane poked in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s volleyed cross after 27 minutes and the hosts had plenty of chances to give themselves some breathing space.
But West Ham, who remain fifth, squandered gild-edged chances as Pablo Fornals messed up an attempted lob after being played through, Manuel Lanzini sliced over the bar and Michail Antonio failed to convert a clear chance.
“In the end it was open, we needed a bit of luck, but you cannot win as many games in a row as we have without a bit of luck, you can’t do this by only winning when you are flying,” Klopp said.
Chelsea, whose Russian owner Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale this week amid calls for sanctions against him following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, scored four times after the break at Turf Moor.
Burnley wasted a series of first half chances but fell to pieces after Reece James opened the scoring in the 47th minute.
German forward Kai Havertz headed home a Christian Pulisic cross and then converted a James cross for his second before American Pulisic completed the scoring.
“It shows the guys have what it takes to play for Chelsea, it shows obviously (they have) the environment to focus on football because we believe we are allowed to focus on football as good as possible,” manager Thomas Tuchel said.
Chelsea are third on 53 points, 13 behind Manchester City, while third-bottom Burnley remain on 21, a point off Everton in the safety zone but having played two more games.
Basement side Norwich have 17 points after a desperately disappointing defeat by Brentford. Watford, who host sixth-placed Arsenal on Sunday, are on 19 points.
Leeds, who sacked Marcelo Bielsa last week, suffered a fifth straight loss as Harvey Barnes won the game for Leicester. They are 16th, two points above the relegation zone but having played more games than all the teams below them except Norwich.
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