Mid-week Nightmare: Chelsea thrashed, Liverpool settled for a home draw
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Mid-week matches for the top English premiership clubs for this week has been one of a nightmare especially for the two major contender Liverpool and Man-city. Chelsea’s bid for a top-four finish was rocked by a humiliating 4-0 thrashing at Bournemouth on Wednesday, on a day Liverpool were frustrated by Leicester at Anfield to settle for a 1-1 draw and a five-point lead at the league summit.
At Dean Court, Chelsea suffered a second successive defeat that left their bid to qualify for the Champions League under severe threat.
The Blues, winners in just one of their last four league games, drop down to fifth place — below Arsenal on goals scored — with Manchester United only two points behind in sixth.
Chelsea were in control early on and Mateo Kovacic’s header was tipped onto the bar by Artur Boruc.
But, not for the first time this season, Maurizio Sarri’s team lacked a cutting edge, even with Gonzalo Higuain making his Premier League debut following the Argentine striker’s loan move from Juventus.
Bournemouth made them pay in the 47th minute when Josh King converted a David Brooks pass.
Brooks added to Sarri’s woes in the 63rd minute as the Bournemouth winger eased past the flat-footed David Luiz to lash in the second goal.
Chelsea’s fans were furious, chanting “you don’t know what you’re doing” at Sarri when he substituted Higuain.
But the misery wasn’t over for Chelsea, who conceded again in the 75th minute when King struck, before Charlie Daniels netted in stoppage-time to condemn the west Londoners to their heaviest league loss in over two decades.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said at the end of the match: “We scored some wonderful goals. I think we played better football in that game last season. This game we rode our luck early but counter attacked superbly. That is a feature I’ll remember from this game”
After second-placed Manchester City lost at Newcastle on Tuesday, Jurgen Klopp’s side would have moved seven points clear at the top with a win over Leicester.
But Liverpool, chasing a first English title since 1990, had to settle for a frustrating draw that left them five points ahead of champions City.
Following a warm-weather training break in Dubai, Liverpool were ahead in the third minute at snowy Anfield.
Senegal winger Sadio Mane wriggled through the Leicester defence and slotted a clinical finish into the far corner for his 11th goal of the season.
Liverpool’s quickest league goal since April 2016 had the Kop belting out songs of praise for their former manager Rafael Benitez, who masterminded Newcastle’s victory against City.
But Liverpool quickly lost their rhythm and Leicester defender Harry Maguire punished sloppy marking from Virgil van Dijk to meet Ben Chilwell’s header with a close-range finish on the stroke of half-time.
Liverpool appealed in vain for what looked a clear penalty when Naby Keita went down under a challenge from Ricardo Pereira.
Yet it took a superb save from Alisson Becker to stop Roberto Firmino scoring an own goal as Liverpool were forced to settle for a point that gave City fresh hope.
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