Man City, Liverpool win in EPL title race; Norwich relegated
LONDON (AP) — It’s still advantage Manchester City in the English Premier League title race after the league leader and Liverpool won tricky away matches at in-form teams on Saturday.
First up was Liverpool, which won at Newcastle 1-0 despite resting several players, and was briefly atop the table.
Then City won at Leeds 4-0 a few hours later to move back above Liverpool by one point and also move to within one of Liverpool’s goal difference, which is the first tiebreaker in England.
There are four rounds left in their compelling title fight.
“We stuck together and we reduced the goal difference. I don’t know if it is important — but it is in our hands,” City coach Pep Guardiola said.
“Newcastle, Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa. We know exactly what we have to do and we have the same opinion. We win, we will be champions. We draw, they (Liverpool) will be champions.”
Both sides also have the second legs of their Champions League semifinals next week: Liverpool travels to Villarreal with a 2-0 lead, and City plays at Real Madrid having also won the first leg 4-3.
With that in mind, Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp rested Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah from the starting lineup.
They should nevertheless have won more comfortably as they dominated. In the end, Naby Keita’s first-half goal stood up.
Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota combined to feed Keita, who stepped inside before dispatching the ball past a hapless Martin Dubravka.
Newcastle had been bidding for a fifth straight win — and a seventh straight victory at home — but struggled to escape Liverpool’s press.
“Coming here, a team in form, six home wins on the bounce, great weather, everybody in a good mood, pretty much everything was prepared for another home win,” Klopp said.
“The only group who wanted to avoid that was my players. It was an outstanding football game, to be honest. In the circumstances, it was a top-class performance.”
Relegation-threatened Leeds also came in with impressive form from being unbeaten in the previous five matches.
But Rodri headed City into a halftime lead, and further goals from Nathan Ake, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho sealed the result, which was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests.
Leeds remained one place and five points above third-from-bottom Everton, which has two games in hand.
Norwich was relegated after Dean Smith’s return to Aston Villa ended in a 2-0 defeat.
Goals from Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings inflicted a 10th loss in 12 on Norwich and left it 13 points from safety with four matches remaining.
It is the fourth straight season which has ended in either promotion or relegation for Norwich.
Watford was also on the brink of going straight back down to the Championship after it lost to Burnley 2-1 to become the first team in top-flight history to lose 11 straight home games.
Two late goals consigned Watford to defeat and left it 12 points behind Leeds.
Burnley moved five points clear of the drop.
Southampton was 11 points clear – although it has played a match more than all of the teams around it – after losing at home to Crystal Palace 2-1.
Also, Brighton won at Wolverhampton 3-0.
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