BURNLEY, England: Liverpool moved clear at the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought 2-1 win over West Ham United, while Chelsea and Manchester City also enjoyed victories on Saturday.
Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 scoreline at winless Burnley while City edged Sheffield United 1-0 away with full-back Kyle Walker scoring against his former club.
Liverpool are top on 16 points, three more than local rivals Everton who visit Newcastle United on Sunday. Wolverhampton Wanderers, who beat Crystal Place 2-0 on Friday, are third, also on 13 points, while Chelsea have moved up to fourth, level with Aston Villa and Leicester City on 12.
Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool side still look far from their best but will be encouraged that they extended their unbeaten home tally to a club record-equalling 63 games despite being below par and missing several regular starters.
Pablo Fornals took advantage of a poor header from Joe Gomez to fire West Ham ahead in the 10th minute but the champions drew level just before the break when Mohamed Salah was fouled in the area by Arthur Masuaku and the Egyptian converted from the spot.
Diogo Jota had an effort ruled out but then grabbed the winner when fellow substitute Xherdan Shaqiri found him with a perfect pass and the Portuguese made no mistake with his third goal in as many home games for the Merseyside club.
“It’s so difficult with the number of games we have. Seeing the determination and desire of the boys, the will to play football, to deal with setbacks is really exceptional,” said Klopp.
Chelsea showed no signs of tiredness from their successful midweek Champions League trip to Krasnodar in Russia as they added to bottom club Burnley’s growing troubles.
Hakim Ziyech, the Morocco winger, finished off a smart move with a low drive in the 26th minute to put Frank Lampard’s side ahead before Kurt Zouma’s powerful header from a Mason Mount corner made it 2-0 just after the hour mark.
Ziyech turned provider by setting up Timo Werner for the third in the 70th as Chelsea kept a fourth straight clean sheet in all competitions. “It was a very complete performance from us,” said Lampard, whose new signings appear to be settling quickly into an impressive side.
“Performances like this show that we’re doing something positive. We need to get our heads down and keep working hard,” he said.
Like Burnley, Sheffield United remain winless and their latest defeat came with the added sting of former player and local lad Walker delivering the decisive blow.
The right back marked his 100th league appearance for City with a goal in the first half and refused to celebrate. The England international collected the ball outside the box and drilled it into the bottom corner.
“My mum and dad live here, so if I celebrated I’d probably get a lot of stick. I’m a Sheffield United fan, so I couldn’t,” said Walker. City had plenty of opportunities to put the game to bed but, as manager Pep Guardiola noted afterwards, lacked the killer touch in front of goal.
“They had one clear chance in 90 minutes, so that is so good for us and how we defended,” said the Spaniard. “But when we arrive in the final third, we are not clinical enough. Nine goals in five games is not enough but I understand completely why for many reasons,” he added.
Sunday’s games feature Manchester United at home to Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur hosting Brighton & Hove Albion. -- Reuters