Liverpool thrill, Arsenal shine as Chelsea and City scrape wins

Feb 24, 2014
Bill Mann

Two goals apiece for Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson earn Reds a vital win over Swansea

Liverpool 4 Swansea 3. A second-half strike from Jordan Henderson ensured Liverpool kept the Premier League leaders in their sights on a weekend when all the top four clubs triumphed. Henderson's double proved decisive in the Reds' thrilling 4-3 win over Swansea and only four points now separate Liverpool in fourth from leaders Chelsea, who needed a goal on 90 minutes from John Terry to see off Everton 1-0 on Saturday. Second placed Arsenal found the going easier against Sunderland, cruising to a 4-1 victory at the Emirates, while Manchester City laboured to an unconvincing 1-0 win at home to Stoke. On the other hand, Tottenham's 1-0 defeat to Norwich leaves Spurs in fifth, six points adrift of Liverpool and looking unlikely to challenge for a Champions League spot.

Liverpool's victory pleased manager Brendan Rodgers, who said later: "The strong part of our game came through. Our offensive game is very aggressive and we've got goals in the team but we're disappointed with the goals we conceded."

Daniel Sturridge put the Reds ahead after just three minutes and Henderson then doubled the advantage on 20 minutes. But two quick goals from Jonjo Shelvey and Wilfried Bony meant the scores were level at the half-hour mark. But the goalfest continued when Sturridge headed home Luis Suarez's cross on 36 minutes.

The home side soon found themselves pegged back, however, when Martin Skrtel was adjudged to have fouled Bony two minutes after the break. The Ivorian striker converted the penalty and once again Liverpool had to dig deep in their search for three points.

The winning goal came 15 minutes from time after a goalmouth scramble that ended with Henderson poking the ball past Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal. "It's nice to get on the scoresheet because that's an area that I need to improve," said Henderson. "The most important thing is the final result and we got three points... we've got to stay very focused on what we want to do as a team. I'm sure the fans are dreaming like us but we have to take each game as it comes but there's a long way to go and we have to keep digging in and performing."

With Liverpool facing the toughest run-in of all four top teams – they play Newcastle, Chelsea and Manchester City in their final five games – the Reds can't afford to drop any points between then and now if they're to be in with a shout of the title. But for the moment Rodgers, who has previously described his team as Chihuahuas in the title race, is still trying to play down their chances.

"Some of our goals and attacking play was at a high level," he told reporters. "We're just focused on winning games and no-one's really talking about us for the title, everything's about Chelsea, City and Arsenal. We'll just try to continue to improve."

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