Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Liverpool returned to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday with a narrow 1-0 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Mohamed Salah scored his 14th league goal of the season from the penalty spot in the second half to move the Reds seven points clear at the top of the table.
Meanwhile, Chelsea closed to within one point of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur after a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.
Elsewhere, West Ham United earned a surprise win over Arsenal, and there were also victories for Burnley, Watford and Southampton.
Week 22 Results
West Ham United 1-0 Arsenal
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Liverpool
Burnley 2-1 Fulham
Cardiff City 0-0 Huddersfield Town
Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford
Leicester City 1-2 Southampton
Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle United
Premier League Standings (Team, Played, Goal Difference, Points)
1. Liverpool 22, +40, 57
2. Manchester City 21, +39, 50
3. Tottenham Hotspur 21, +25, 48
4. Chelsea 22, +23, 47
5. Arsenal 22, +14, 41
6. Manchester United 21, +11, 38
7. Watford 22, 0, 32
8. Leicester City 22, +1, 31
9. West Ham United 22, -2, 31
10. Wolverhampton Wanderers 21, -2, 29
11. Everton 21, 0, 27
12. Bournemouth 21, -9, 27
13. Brighton & Hove Albion 22, -6, 26
14. Crystal Palace 22, -8, 22
15. Burnley 22, -20, 21
16. Southampton 22, -16, 19
17. Cardiff City 22, -22, 19
18. Newcastle United 22, -15, 18
19. Fulham 22, -29, 14
20. Huddersfield Town 22, -24, 11
Premier League Top Scorers (Player, Team, Goals)
Mohamed Salah, Liverpool, 14
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal, 14
Harry Kane, Spurs, 14
Eden Hazard, Chelsea, 10
Sergio Aguero, Manchester City, 10
Richarlison, Everton 9
Raheem Sterling, Manchester City, 9
Callum Wilson, Bournemouth, 9
Liverpool took on Brighton after successive defeats to Manchester City in the Premier League and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup and were forced to grind out the victory on a tough afternoon.
Injuries at the back meant that midfielder Fabinho was again shifted into central defence alongside Virgil van Dijk, and the duo put in an impressive showing:
Simon Clancy @SiClancy
Massive three points for Liverpool. Just to steady the ship. Resolute defending at the end. Fabinho and VVD superb.
The Reds saw plenty of possession in the first half but did not trouble David Button in the Brighton goal:
Match of the Day @BBCMOTD
Liverpool have had plenty of the ball, but aren’t doing much with it.
Still no shots on target.
LIVE: https://t.co/SkNrxHo7Vf #bbcfootball #BHALIV https://t.co/7nMkq7S1l3
The breakthrough eventually came just four minutes into the second half, when Pascal Gross brought down Salah in the penalty area.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton offered his view on the incident:
This Is Anfield @thisisanfield
Chris Hughton says he has no complaints about the penalty: “Mo Salah is probably the most dangerous player in those positions, one-on-one.”
The Egyptian made no mistake from the spot, powering the ball past Button for the only goal of the game at the Amex Stadium.
Brighton rarely looked like getting back into the match, and their best effort was a shot by Jurgen Locadia that was tipped around the post by Alisson.
Liverpool did have chances to double their lead. Georginio Wijnaldum’s shot flew just wide, while Salah also missed the target from close range with full time approaching.
Chelsea took just eight minutes to open the scoring against a Newcastle side who have now dropped into the relegation zone.
David Luiz sent a long ball up to Pedro, who took a touch and then dinked the ball over goalkeeper Martin Dubravka:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Pedro scores his 7th @premierleague ⚽ this season. Has only scored more in one of his previous 4 seasons (9 in 2016-17)
Newcastle have lost all 10 PL games when they’ve conceded the 1st goal this season https://t.co/o7m47DwrYj
The Blues looked set to dominate after the early goal, but Newcastle hit back five minutes before half-time through Ciaran Clark:
83% – Of players with at least 10 @premierleague goals, only Ugo Ehiogu (84%) and David Wetherall (87%) have scored a higher percentage of their goals via their head than Ciaran Clark (83%). Skullduggery. https://t.co/5vqDKbHiJ7
The defender rose highest to plant a well-directed header past goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from Matt Ritchie’s corner.
Pedro forced Dubravka into a fine save at the start of the second half and then shot straight at the Newcastle stopper 10 minutes later.
The pressure told just before the hour mark when Willian restored Chelsea’s lead. Eden Hazard picked him out just inside the box, and he cut inside and curled a shot past Dubravka.
Squawka Football @Squawka
Eden Hazard is the first player to provide 10 assists in the Premier League this season.
He’ll be thanking Willian for that one though. 🤤 https://t.co/yefasIWVIJ
The goal was enough to seal the victory for the Blues against an unadventurous Newcastle side. The hosts were far from convincing but are now six points clear of Arsenal in fifth.
The Gunners lost ground on the top four after defeat to West Ham United at the London Stadium.
Manager Unai Emery again opted to leave Mesut Ozil out of his squad, and he later explained his decision:
Chris Wheatley @ChrisWheatley_
Emery on Ozil: “I decided the players who are the best for this match. We win with him and lose with him. Not one player is for sale.”
The first half was a sloppy affair, with both teams guilty of frequently conceding possession. Arsenal rarely threatened despite starting with both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack.
Declan Rice scored the only goal of the game after 48 minutes. The 19-year-old struck after a neat lay-off from Samir Nasri for his first senior goal.
The goal capped an impressive performance from the youngster:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
🍾@_DeclanRice is today’s @premierleague man of the match 🍾
📊1st career goal – 10th teenager to score a PL goal for @WestHamUtd
📊Gained possession 10 times – most in match
📊Joint most interceptions in match (3)
🎂Celebrates his 20th birthday on Monday https://t.co/cRly92oAoy
Laurent Koscielny did manage to get the ball in the back of the net late on for Arsenal, but it was correctly ruled out for offside.
The result means Arsenal have now lost three of their last four away games in the Premier League. The statistic will concern Emery, particularly as their next away fixture is a trip to champions Manchester City.