Liverpool stop Leicester 1-0


Liverpool ended a run of four matches without a win as Christian Benteke’s second-half strike handed Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester City a 1-0 defeat, their first away from home in the league this season.

Claudio Ranieri’s side struggled to make an impact against their Merseyside rivals at Anfield on Boxing Day and failed to score for the first time in the Barclays Premier League this season.

Divock Origi came close twice in the first half before he was forced off with a hamstring injury, but his replacement Benteke fired in Roberto Firmino’s cross with 63 minutes played to clinch a much-needed victory for Jurgen Klopp and condemn Leicester to just a second league defeat of the season.

Manchester City recovered from their defeat by Arsenal with a ruthless 4-1 victory over Sunderland, but there were concerns as captain Vincent Kompany limped off on his comeback from injury.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side turned on the style at the Etihad Stadium with the recalled Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Bony part of an excellent attacking unit alongside Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva.

Sterling opened the scoring with a header and Yaya Toure quickly doubled the lead in superb fashion from long range.

Bony headed in his fourth goal in his last six appearances, De Bruyne got on the scoresheet with his 10th goal in all competitions this season and, after Fabio Borini scored a consolation for Sunderland, Bony blazed a penalty over the crossbar.

It mattered little and City are three points adrift of Leicester, while Sunderland remain in 19th.

Harry Kane scored twice in the first half as Tottenham Hotspur boosted their hopes of a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League with a 3-0 win over Norwich City.

Kane broke the deadlock from the penalty spot after 26 minutes before doubling both his and Spurs’ tally just before the interval with a low drive from a tight angle. Substitute Tom Carroll added a third in the 80th minute, his first league goal with a well-struck shot from outside the area.

The result means Mauricio Pochettino’s side sit two points clear of Crystal Palace in fourth place. Norwich remain 17th, a place above Newcastle United on goal difference ahead of the Magpies’ evening match with Everton.

Oscar missed a late penalty to deny Guus Hiddink a winning start to his second spell in charge of Chelsea as Watford claimed a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

The defending Barclays Premier League champions beat Sunderland 3-1 last weekend and looked set to maintain that momentum when Diego Costa put them ahead.

However, Quique Sanchez Flores’ side drew level before the break when Troy Deeney converted a penalty following a handball from Nemanja Matic.

Watford continued to look dangerous after the interval and moved ahead in the 56th minute, Odion Ighalo setting a club record by scoring in his fifth successive BPL match.

But they were denied a historic away win when Costa equalised.

Oscar missed the chance to secure three points and successive league wins for the first time this season when he sent his spot-kick over the bar with 10 minutes remaining after Eden Hazard was fouled.

Chelsea were handed a further blow when Costa was shown a fifth yellow card, ruling him out of their next match against Manchester United.

Ki Sung-yueng’s early goal earned Swansea City an important 1-0 victory at home to West Bromwich Albion, their first victory in eight matches.

The Swans came into the match winless since 24 October, with their poor run of form leaving them in relegation trouble and prompting the exit of Garry Monk, the manager.

The win for caretaker manager Alan Curtis guided his team out of the bottom three to 18th place, two points below West Brom.

The goal came after Angel Rangel’s shot hit a post and ricocheted off Boaz Myhill, who could not gather, allowing Ki to race in and stab the ball over the line from close range.

Jordan Ayew continued his impressive form to earn Aston Villa a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham United.

The Aston Villa forward converted a spot-kick for his fifth goal of the season after Angelo Ogbonna had brought down Rudy Gestede. This cancelled out a goal from Aaron Cresswell, who had opened the scoring seconds before the half-time whistle.

Despite the point for Villa that closes to four the gap on Sunderland at the bottom, Remi Garde, the manager, remains without a win since replacing Tim Sherwood, while West Ham have not tasted victory in eight matches, drawing their last five.

AFC Bournemouth were denied a fourth consecutive victory as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Crystal Palace at the Vitality Stadium.
Some of the best chances fell to AFC Bournemouth’s former Palace striker Glenn Murray, but he failed to score as both sides felt the absence of key players who might have made the difference.

Without Connor Wickham in attack, Palace laboured in front of goal and AFC Bournemouth became the first team to keep a clean sheet at home against Alan Pardew’s men since Leicester City two months earlier.

The draw took AFC Bournemouth to 20 points before the halfway point in the season. Palace, meanwhile, sit fifth, two points shy of the top four.

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