Milner sends Liverpool second, Chelsea back on track

London (AFP) – James Milner’s 84th-minute penalty earned Liverpool a gritty 2-1 victory at Swansea City on Saturday that saw Jurgen Klopp’s side climb to second place in the Premier League table.

Leroy Fer gave struggling Swansea an eighth-minute lead, but Roberto Firmino equalised early in the second half before Milner claimed the winner following a foul on Firmino by Angel Rangel.

Chelsea ended a three-game winless run with a 2-0 win at Hull City that provisionally lifted Antonio Conte’s men to sixth, while Dimitri Payet’s memorable goal earned West Ham United a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.

Despite Liverpool’s fourth straight league win, manager Klopp said: “I was very angry. I have lost a lot of football games, but today makes no sense.

“We were not ready and it is my responsibility. It was not good. The build-up was too static, no movement.

“We were never compact enough and we lost a lot of balls. We got better in the second half and when we let the ball roll it became difficult for Swansea.

“The second half was better, but still not brilliant.”

Liverpool finished the day two points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who visit third-place Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Fer broke the deadlock by converting from close range after Borja Baston had knocked down a corner at the back post.

Liverpool then lost Adam Lallana to a groin injury, with Daniel Sturridge coming on.

The visitors levelled in the 54th minute, Firmino directing a header into the bottom-left corner from Jordan Henderson’s lobbed pass after Philippe Coutinho’s free-kick struck the wall.

– Costa curls in –

After Rangel bundled into the back of Firmino, Milner chipped his penalty down the middle to condemn Swansea to a fifth defeat in six games, piling the pressure on manager Francesco Guidolin.

Manchester United great Ryan Giggs and ex-United States manager Bob Bradley have been linked with fourth-bottom Swansea this week, but Guidolin turned a deaf ear to the speculation.

“This not my problem,” said the Italian. “My job is to work with the players and prepare the team for games. I am worried for the table, not my position. It is not good. We need more points.”

Beaten by Liverpool and Arsenal in their previous two games, Chelsea bounced back with a 2-0 success over Hull at the KCOM Stadium.

Willian and Diego Costa scored Chelsea’s goals inside six second-half minutes, both players curling shots into the bottom-right corner.

Conte’s men drew level on points with fifth-place Arsenal, who visit Burnley on Sunday.

France international Payet further endeared himself to West Ham’s fans with a sensational equaliser against Boro to prevent Slaven Bilic’s team succumbing to a fifth straight league defeat.

Cristhian Stuani headed Boro in front early in the second half, but West Ham levelled in the 57th minute when Payet waltzed across the box from the left, beating four defenders, before drilling home.

Watford and Bournemouth played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road.

Bournemouth twice went in front, through Callum Wilson and substitute Joshua King, but Watford equalised on each occasion courtesy of captain Troy Deeney and substitute Isaac Success.

Patrick van Aanholt’s 83rd-minute equaliser earned Sunderland manager David Moyes a measure of respite in a 1-1 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion, who had gone ahead through Nacer Chadli.

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