Defoe frustrates Liverpool, Aguero helps Manchester City win
LONDON – Liverpool squandered a chance to exert some pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea as Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe converted two penalties to earn the Premier League strugglers a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light on Monday.
Sadio Mane’s goal looked to have earned Liverpool a win that would have moved them within three points of Chelsea but the forward later handled the ball in the area to give in-form striker Defoe the chance to salvage a draw for his side.
Ten-man Manchester City moved up to third place, two points behind Liverpool, as they beat Burnley 2-1 at home with Gael Clichy and substitute Sergio Aguero scoring second-half goals after Fernandinho was shown a red card before the interval.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck his 13th league goal of the season as Manchester United won 2-0 at West Ham United to stretch their winning league run to six games, although they were helped by a 15th-minute red card for the home side’s Sofiane Feghouli.
Juan Mata’s superb finish from Marcus Rashford’s cross had given sixth-placed United the lead as Jose Mourinho’s side moved level on 39 points with fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and 10 behind leaders Chelsea who visit rivals Spurs on Wednesday.
Hull City’s relegation worries intensified when they lost 3-1 at West Bromwich Albion despite taking the lead, while Middlesbrough eeked out a point against champions Leicester City in a drab 0-0 draw at the Riverside Stadium.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman enjoyed a 3-0 victory over his former club Southampton, although the goals scored by Enner Valencia, Leighton Baines and Romelu Lukaku all came late on.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was left to rue two dropped points as his side’s four-match winning run came to a halt. “I must be honest, it doesn’t feel good. It’s not because of the point. It’s because of two penalties in the game. That was harsh and really hard to accept,” Klopp said.
Daniel Sturridge’s flicked header gave second-placed Liverpool a 19th-minute lead but Defoe levelled six minutes later after Ragnar Klavan tripped Didier Ndong.
Mane’s close-range finish put Liverpool back in front but he was penalised for handball six minutes from time and Defoe kept his cool to dispatch another penalty and take his league goal tally to 11 out of third-bottom Sunderland’s 19 this season.
Manchester City captain Fernandinho’s 32nd-minute lunge on Burnley’s Iceland midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson was deemed two-footed by referee Lee Mason and he red-carded the Brazilian who has now been sent off three times in his last six games.
Burnley were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage though and City actually improved after the break when David Silva and Aguero were introduced off the bench.
Clichy, who had managed only one league goal in more than 100 Premier League games for City, gave his side the lead in the 58th minute with a precise shot past Burnley keeper Tom Heaton.
Four minutes later Aguero grabbed his 11th league goal of the season with a superb finish from a tight angle. Ben Mee halved the deficit 20 minutes from time and there were a few late jitters but City held on.
They have 42 points, seven behind Chelsea, but their tetchy manager Pep Guardiola was not in the mood to talk up his inconsistent side’s chances of challenging for the title. “Yesterday no. Why today are we in the title race?” the Spaniard said in a BBC interview.
United are unbeaten in the league since a 4-0 hammering by Chelsea on Oct. 23. They were not at their best against West Ham at the London Stadium but enjoyed a numerical advantage after Feghouli was harshly sent off for a tackle on Phil Jones. “I don’t feel sorry for West Ham – I didn’t watch the decisions. I think if you talk about decisions, we are the champions of bad decisions,” Mourinho said. -Reuters