Sadio Mane helped Liverpool keep alive their bid to set a new Premier League points record as the champions beat Aston Villa 2-0 to restore a 23-point lead over Manchester City, who were beaten at Southampton on Sunday.
On Monday, an own goal by Michael Keane proved the difference as Tottenham Hotspur beat visitors Everton 1-0 in a dour clash to move up to eighth in the standings and hand manager Jose Mourinho a 200th Premier League win.
Defeat would have dropped Spurs below the visitors into the bottom half of the table but they won fairly comfortably to stretch their unbeaten league run versus Everton to 15 games.
Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso thought he had scored his first Premier League goal for Tottenham in the 23rd minute but his shot on the turn took a decisive deflection off Keane to leave keeper Jordan Pickford with no chance.
Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris was hardly tested although he was involved in the night’s flashpoint, having a furious row with teammate Son Heung-min as the players walked off at halftime.
Tottenham have 48 points from 33 games, one behind Arsenal and nine adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea. Everton’s first defeat since the resumption of the season left them 11th.
At Anfield, Mane broke struggling Villa’s stubborn resistance by smashing Naby Keita’s pass in off the underside of the crossbar from close range for his 20th goal of the season before substitute Curtis Jones rounded off a big weekend for the 19-year-old after signing a new five-year contract on Saturday.
Victory moved Liverpool onto 89 points and they need four wins from their remaining five games to surpass City’s record 100-point total from 2017-18.
“We are where we are because we win difficult games,” Klopp said.
“It was not a brilliant performance but it was a good performance that got us three points.”
Villa remain in the relegation zone, one point from safety as they battle to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
City, by contrast, saw another dominant display go unrewarded as Che Adams’s spectacular first goal for Southampton claimed a 1-0 win for the Saints.
West Ham blow leads
At the other end of the table, West Ham edged closer to survival despite twice blowing a lead to draw 2-2 at Newcastle.
Shock winners against Chelsea in midweek, West Ham were ahead within four minutes at St James’ Park when Michail Antonio pounced after Jamaal Lascelles failed to cut out Jarrod Bowen’s cross.
Newcastle were level after 17 minutes as the influential Allan Saint-Maximin slipped in Emil Krafth and his cross was converted by Miguel Almiron.
Tomas Soucek restored West Ham’s lead when he lashed home after Declan Rice headed Ryan Fredericks’ corner against the crossbar.
But Newcastle equalised 92 seconds later as Jonjo Shelvey beat the West Ham offside trap, took Dwight Gayle’s pass and beat Fabianski from close range.
After earning their first away point since December, West Ham are four points clear of the relegation zone with five games left to guarantee their top-tier status. — AFP
English Premier League results
Tottenham 1 (Michael Keane 23 og) Everton 0
Burnley 1 (Tarkowski 43) Sheffield United 1 (Egan 80)
Newcastle 2 (Almiron 17, Shelvey 67) West Ham 2 (Antonio 4, Soucek 65)
Liverpool 2 (Mane 71, Jones 89) Aston Villa 0
Southampton 1 (Adams 16) Manchester City 0
Leicester 3 (Iheanacho 49, Vardy 77, 90) Crystal Palace 0
Manchester United 5 (Greenwood 29, 54, Rashford 35-pen, Martial 45, Fernandes 59) Bournemouth 2 (Stanislas 16, King 49-pen)
Norwich 0 Brighton 1 (Trossard 25)
Wolves 0 Arsenal 2 (Saka 43, Lacazette 86)
Chelsea 3 (Giroud 28, Willian 43-pen, Barkley 90+1) Watford 0