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The night that could land Liverpool the title

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Premier League: Bobby Firmino gives Liverpool a 1-0 lead away to Leicester City, in their Boxing Day top of the table clash at King Power Stadium.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is mobbed by teammates after scoring against Leicester. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Liverpool tightened its grip on the English Premier League with a thumping 4-0 win at second-place Leicester City on Boxing Day.

The Reds took the lead in the 31st minute, when Roberto Firmino headed home a Trent Alexander-Arnold delivery, before a burst of three goals in seven second- half minutes lifted Liverpool 13 points clear at the top of the table. Liverpool were awarded a 71st-minute penalty after the ball struck Caglar Soyuncu’s arm in the six-yard box.

Substitute James Milner, introduced to the action moments earlier, stepped up to stroke home the spot-kick, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Firmino doubled his personal tally to make it 3-0 four minutes later, a sweet passing movement culminating in Alexander-Arnold squaring the ball for the Brazilian to find the net.

Alexander-Arnold put the result beyond doubt when he sent a low drive across Schmeichel on 78 minutes.

MANCHESTER UNITED 4 NEWCASTLE 1

Anthony Martial’s double helped Manchester United come from behind to beat Newcastle 4-1 in the English Premier League on Thursday.

United was stunned when Matty Longstaff netted the opener for Newcastle. Martial equalised in the 24th minute.

Mason Greenwood’s strike and Marcus Rashford’s header sent United into the lead before halftime and Martial sealed the victory six minutes after the break.

United rose to seventh place, while Newcastle is 10th in the standings.

United defender Harry Maguire said it was the perfect response to their defeat by Watford last time out.

“Against Watford we were not good enough for our standard but the boys showed a great intensity today and we thoroughly deserved the three points,” Maguire said.

Dom delivers for Don Carlo

Premier League: The lone goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin was enough for Carlo Ancelotti to secure the win in his Everton debut against Burnley.

EVERTON 1 BURNLEY 0

Carlo Ancelotti has made a winning start to his reign as Everton manager as his side beat Burnley 1-0 on Boxing Day.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal 10 minutes from time to move Everton up to 13th, four points above the English Premier League’s relegation zone.

Everton was good value for their win over Burnley in Ancelotti’s first match in charge but it took until the 80th minute for Calvert-Lewin to score with a diving header and pull them away from trouble.

Ancelotti was given a special introduction to the crowd at Goodison Park and saw his side put in “a good performance and a good result”.

“Today was a perfect day,” he said.

“I’m happy because we need points to move up the table. It was a difficult game because Burnley played a strong game but we deserved the result.

Aubameyang saves Gunners blushes

Premier League: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saves the Gunners' blushes with an equaliser against Bournemouth, in Mikel Arteta first game as manager.

BOURNEMOUTH 1 ARSENAL 1

New Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had to settle for a draw in his first match as his side were held 1-1 at Bournemouth.

Arsenal needed an equaliser from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to earn a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth, after Dan Gosling had given Bournemouth an early lead.

“I am pleased with a lot of things I have seen and a lot of things we practised that happened,” Arteta said.

“I am not happy we have not won the game but happy overall. In terms of attitude, desire and commitment it was better than I expected.”

Dan Gosling opened the scoring for Bournemouth in the 35th, punishing slack defending when he turned in Jack Stacey’s cross from the right.

The Gunners could have been 2-0 down at the break against Eddie Howe’s spirited Bournemouth side.

Arsenal substitute Joe Willock, who came on for the recalled Mesut Ozil, had a chance to win the game right at the end, but his injury-time shot was too close to the goalkeeper.

Saints jump clear of drop

Premier League: Goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond were more than enough from the Saints to beat Chelsea at the Bridge.

CHELSEA 0 SOUTHAMPTON 2

Chelsea’s inconsistent run continued as they were beaten 2-0 at home by Southampton, with goals from Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond putting the visitors one point behind Everton.

Frank Lampard blamed the pressure of expectation at Stamford Bridge which saw his side lose its third home match in the past four.

Chelsea had not lost consecutive league games at home since 2011.

“We have to mix up our game and break defensive lines, because teams aren’t stupid,” Lampard said.

“You can’t have near on 70 per cent possession and not do more, not hit better crosses and final passes and create more shots on goal.”

By contrast, it was a second consecutive away win for coach Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton, and his selection of Michael Obafemi ahead of striker Danny Ings paid off in spectacular style in the 31st minute.

Collecting a pass from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg some 30ms out with his back to goal toward the right of the penalty area, Obafemi turned in one smooth motion, dropped his shoulder as he shifted onto his left foot, and curled the ball into the top left corner.

Midfielder Nathan Redmond finished off a fine team move in the 73rd as Southampton continued its revival under Hasenhuttl.

Alli's top shelf volley finishes glorious Spurs move

Premier League: Dele Alli seals a 2-1 win for Tottenham over Brighton, with a beautiful vollet off the back of a lovely play by Jose Mourinho's men.

TOTTENHAM 2 BRIGHTON 1

Tottenham Hotspur moved back into the top five with a 2-1 comeback win over Brighton.

Harry Kane and Dele Alli scored in the second half to win the match after Adam Webster had given Brighton a first-half lead.

The result lifted Spurs up to fifth, while Brighton are just two points above the bottom three.

Alli produced a first-time finish into the top corner on Thursday after Harry Kane had earlier cancelled out Adam Webster’s opener.

It was Alli’s fifth goal in eight games under Mourinho and it will have provided some comfort to the Portuguese, who revealed before the match that his Christmas Day had been ruined by his dog dying.

Lucas Moura and Kane linked up with Christian Eriksen, the Dane’s inspired diagonal ball finding Serge Aurier for him to tee up Alli. Kane’s equaliser continued a Boxing Day record of his own.

He has now scored on this day in each of the last six years apart from 2016, when he did not play.

Villa see Norwich off at home

Premier League: Aston Villa received a much-needed three points in their fight for relegation against fellow strugglers Norwich City.

ASTON VILLA 1 NORWICH CITY 0

Conor Hourihane helped Aston Villa’s English Premier League survival hopes by sealing a 1-0 victory over Norwich on Thursday.

The substitute swept the winner into the top corner in the 82nd minute after being picked out by Jack Grealish.

Having lost seven of its previous nine league games, Villa is now one point away from safety with the victory.

But Norwich slumped to the bottom of the standings after a 10th defeat in 14 games.

Eagles pip Hammers to points

Premier League: West Ham's visit to Selhurst Park ended in defeat as Crystal Palace scored twice to beat the Hammers on Boxing Day.

CRYSTAL PALACE 2 WEST HAM 1

Jordan Ayew produced a wonder goal in the 90th minute to earn Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over West Ham in the English Premier League on Thursday and pile the pressure back on visiting manager Manuel Pellegrini.

After Robert Snodgrass’ opener for Palace, Cheikhou Kouyate levelled against his old club in the 68th minute.

The game was heading to a draw until Ayew spun away from two defenders and chipped goalkeeper Roberto.

While Palace climbed to ninth place, West Ham is only a point above the relegation zone.

For Pellegrini, it compounded another day to forget with his captain Mark Noble and teammate Angelo Ogbonna almost coming to blows in the 53rd to highlight the problems at the East London club.

WATFORD 1 SHEFFIELD UNITED 1

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster produced one of the saves of the season as his team’s revival continued with a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United in the English Premier League on Thursday.

Foster kept his team in the match with a superb stop from point-blank range to deny John Fleck just after the hour at Bramall Lane.

Lys Mousset traded passes with David McGoldrick before delivering a pinpoint cross into the area for Fleck, who connected with the ball sweetly. It seemed a certain goal, but Foster somehow clawed the shot away from on his line to keep the score at 1-1.

It remained that way and the points were shared after Oliver Norwood’s penalty cancelled out Gerard Deulofeu’s opener for Watford, which climbed off the bottom of the table with the point in South Yorkshire.

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