Rampant Chelsea move above Reds

English Premier League

Chelsea thrashed Crystal Palace 4-1 to reclaim fourth spot in the Premier League on Saturday evening.

The Blues made a number of changes from their heavy defeat against West Bromwich Albion, as Kai Havertz started in a false number nine role, with strikers Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud all on the bench.

Havertz gave the visitors a dream start with the opener in the eighth minute after he got on his left foot inside the box and fired a strike into the far corner after he was teed up by Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Pulisic quickly doubled the lead for Thomas Tuchel's charges two minutes later with an unstoppable strike past shot-stopper Vicente Guaita after a cut-back by Havertz, from a lovely team move.

Kurt Zouma made it 3-0 for Chelsea on the half-hour mark with a towering header inside the box after an inviting free-kick by Mason Mount.

Guaita showed good reflexes to deny Mount three minutes later and a moment after that Zouma came very close to making it 4-0 for the Blues with another header from a corner that was cleared off the line by Patrick van Aanholt and the visitors settled for a 3-0 lead going to the break.

Palace were threatening in the early exchanges of the second stanza and they made a double change on the hour-mark, with Eberechi Eze making way for Jeffrey Schlupp, while James McCarthy replaced Jairo Riedewald to inject fresh energy upfront.

The move by manager Roy Hodgson paid off immediately, as Christian Benteke pulled a goal back with a header inside the box after a cross by Schlupp.

However, Pulisic sealed the deal for Chelsea in the last 12 minutes with a close-range finish at the back post to complete his brace.

Liverpool gave their top-four hopes a boost in the Premier League with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon.

Jurgen Klopp dropped Sadio Mane to the bench, as Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota led the attack from the loss to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League in midweek.

The Reds targeted a quick start inside three minutes with a snap volley from the far wide of the six-yard area by Salah, but goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez beat away for a corner-kick.

Salah was on the end of a clearer chance from a loose pass towards the far side of the area, but the Egyptian international tucked the delivery nine minutes later wide of the near corner.

As matters began to open up Villa raced ahead three minutes from the break after a loose ball near the middle made way to Ollie Watkins who took control to finish with aplomb.

Liverpool equalised at the end of the first half through a smart finish in the area from Firmino, but it was disallowed for offside following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review.

There was no denying the Reds 12 minutes after the break when Salah helped a teasing shot from Andrew Robertson which Martinez failed to keep out into an unguarded net.

The Clarets threatened to restore the lead minutes thereafter as a first-time effort from Mahmoud Trezeguet swerved away from goalkeeper Alisson Becker to struck the inside of the post.

Liverpool weathered the storm towards the end and had the winner on 90 minutes with a curling strike from outside the area by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

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