LONDON (AP) ― Liverpool delivered a potent attacking master class on Sunday, with Luis Suarez at his devastating best in a 5-0 rout of Tottenham that signals the team can sustain a Premier League title challenge.
The 18-time champions, who haven’t won the title since 1990, moved two points behind Arsenal after the leaders were stunned 6-3 at Manchester City on Saturday.
Defending champion Manchester United trails Arsenal by 10 points after winning 3-0 at Aston Villa to avoid a third successive league loss.
After Danny Welbeck’s double for United, Suarez netted twice for Liverpool and played a part in the other three goals at White Hart Lane.
After another demoralizing collapse, Tottenham, which see itself as a Champions League team, is five points from fourth place but above United.
It is Liverpool exceeding expectations this season, sitting in second place.
The gulf between Liverpool and Tottenham, although only six points, seemed far wider on the basis of Sunday’s lopsided encounter.
The contrast between the strike forces in the league is glaring.
Suarez has 17 goals in a season that only began in late September as he completed a 10-game biting ban.
Tottenham has scored only 15 times in 16 league games and couldn’t even muster a shot on target against the visitors who were without the injured striker Daniel Sturridge and captain Steven Gerrard on Sunday.
Instead Suarez captained Liverpool for the first time, an unthinkable proposition when he was banned for racist abuse, then biting before agitating for a transfer in the summer window.
Suarez took just 18 minutes to open the scoring. Defender Michael Dawson blocked a through ball from Suarez, but Jordan Henderson recovered possession and fed the Uruguay striker to nip in and score.
Henderson volleyed in the second five minutes before halftime, seizing the ball after Suarez was denied by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Any hopes of a Tottenham comeback were thwarted by Paulinho being sent off in the 63rd for sinking his boot into Suarez’s ribs.
With a man advantage, Liverpool was even more dangerous up front.
And Suarez then crossed for Flanagan to score Liverpool’s third in the 75th, found the net again himself in the 84th by chipping Lloris, and fed the ball for Sterling to complete the rout five minutes later.Germany
|Leverkusen’s South Korean striker Son Heung-min (right) and Frankfurt’s Swiss midfielder Pirmin Schwegler vie for the ball on Sunday. (AFP-Yonhap News)|
BERLIN (AP) ― Schalke eked out a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Freiburg to ease the pressure on coach Jens Keller on Sunday, while Bayer Leverkusen lost 1-0 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Despite dominating possession, Schalke needed an own goal from Nicolas Hoefler for the breakthrough a minute before the interval. The Freiburg midfielder misjudged Jefferson Farfan’s corner and bundled the ball into his own net.
Farfan settled the result in the 67th with a penalty after Freiburg substitute Tim Albutat brought down Max Meyer on the edge of the penalty area. TV replays were inconclusive as to whether the foul occurred inside or outside the area.
“We’re talking about 20 centimeters. It’s hard for a referee. Of course we’re happy that he awarded it,” said Keller, who had been under increasing pressure since Schalke was knocked out of the German Cup.
Oliver Baumann produced a fingertip save to deny Meyer from scoring with an overhead kick two minutes later, in what was the highlight of a scrappy game.
“The win will do the whole club, the whole team good, even if we didn’t deliver our best performance. We’re simply happy to have won,” said Keller, who took over from the dismissed Huub Stevens a year ago.
“I have the feeling I’m still under pressure,” Keller said. “But it’s not about me. We’ll have to see what decision is taken. I’m happy with every day that I’m here. Nobody thought I’d last so long.”Italy
MILAN (AP) ― Carlos Tevez scored his first hat trick for Juventus to help the Serie A leader crush Sassuolo 4-0 on Sunday and reinforce its bid for a third successive league title.
Federico Peluso scored the other goal as Juventus bounced back from its midweek Champions League exit in emphatic fashion, with its eighth successive league win and clean sheet.
“What emotion do I feel after the hat trick? The only emotion is that of winning a match which was very difficult after we were knocked out of the cup,” Tevez said. “We are a very strong squad mentally and we showed that today.
“We talked after the Galatasaray match. We’ve paid for our mistakes against Copenhagen and in the first part of the Champions League. Now we have three other titles to go for: League, Italian Cup and Europa League. We’ll try to get all three.”
Juventus moved provisionally six points clear of Roma, which visits AC Milan on Monday.
Napoli is two points further back after also getting over Champions League disappointment with an entertaining 4-2 win over 10-man Inter Milan.
“Today was like a final for us, we wanted to win it and we did so,” Gonzalo Higuain said. ‘It was a very important match, I’m delighted with the victory. Inter is now seven points behind us, Fiorentina still has five points less and we are closer to Roma.”