Liverpool regain Premier League top position as Chelsea survive Cardiff

Chelsea’s English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek (2nd R) heads home their second goal during the English Premier League football match between between Cardiff City and Chelsea at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales on March 31, 2019. Chelsea won the game 2-1.Geoff CADDICK / AFP


Toby Alderweireld’s late own goal gave Liverpool a priceless victory and put them back on top of the Premier League.Visitors Tottenham looked on course to earn a point – and even wasted chances to go in front – after Lucas Moura deservedly equalised Roberto Firmino’s first-half header for the home side.

Liverpool were on the brink of losing ground to Manchester City – 2-0 winners at Fulham on Saturday – until the title race took another dramatic twist in the closing moments in front of the Kop. Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris failed to hold Mohamed Salah’s routine far-post header and the ball ricocheted into the net off Alderweireld.

It was sheer elation for Liverpool, who are now two points clear of City having played a game more, but misery for Spurs, who are in a real fight for a top-four place and were left to regret Moussa Sissoko’s glaring miss when through on goal minutes earlier.Liverpool are simply refusing to be denied in their Premier League title battle with Manchester City – no matter how late they have to leave it to get the three points.

They were fortunate victors here but once again they dug deep, rode their luck, and were the beneficiaries of another dramatic conclusion at Anfield. And not for the first time this season, a visiting goalkeeper was culpable.Earlier, Chelsea staged a remarkable late revival to snatch a controversial victory at relegation-threatened Cardiff City and ease the intensifying pressure on boss Maurizio Sarri.

The hosts took the lead less than a minute into the second period thanks to Victor Camarasa’s delicate curling volley, prompting cries of “we want Sarri out” from Chelsea’s travelling fans.With five minutes left, Cesar Azpilicueta nodded in an equaliser from a clearly offside position and then, in added time, substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed the winner to break Cardiff hearts.

The result is a major blow to Cardiff’s bid for Premier League survival, leaving them five points adrift of safety with seven games remaining.For Chelsea, however, it is a major reprieve for their hopes of securing Champions League football next season, keeping them within a point of Manchester United in fourth place.And nobody will be feeling more relieved than Sarri after he faced repeated calls to be sacked from the travelling supporters.

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