Champions Liverpool made it 17 wins out of 17 at Anfield with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday which pushed Dean Smith’s side deeper into trouble.
After their 4-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester City on Thursday, Juergen Klopp’s side struggled to break down a determined Villa.
Klopp fielded another strong side but with the ground empty and the title already in the bag, there was a lack of edge to Liverpool’s play.
The visitor’s were solid and organised and could even have gone ahead in the 52nd minute when Anwar El Ghazi forced a fine save out of Alisson.
But Sadio Mane broke the deadlock in the 71st minute, meeting a low ball from Naby Keita with a firm shot that rattled in off the underside of the cross-bar.
Substitute Curtis Jones scored the second, a minute from the end, with the 19 year old hooking home after Mohamed Salah headed an Andy Robertson cross into his path.
Villa, who have now lost 20 games, remain deep in relegation trouble, in 18th place on 27 points and they have yet to win since the resumption of the season, their winless streak going back nine games.
“I don’t want to be a valiant loser because we are scrapping for points and we are running out of games. But I thought the game plan and the effort was excellent... but we never found that quality in the final third,” said Smith.
Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last 57 Premier League home games with 47 wins and 10 draws and they have won 24 home games in a row.
Egan earns Blades a point at Burnley
John Egan grabbed an 80th-minute equaliser as Sheffield United earned a 1-1 draw at Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday after James Tarkowski had given the home side a first-half lead.
The result, at a windy and cold Turf Moor, leaves both teams still in contention for a Europa League place and provided some justice for the Yorkshire side who certainly did not deserve to leave Lancashire empty-handed.
United are eighth on 48 points from 33 games with Burnley ninth on 46, a point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur who host Everton on Monday.
Matej Vydra missed a good early chance for Burnley, shooting wide after being put through by Erik Pieters while United went close when Sander Berge forced a good save out of Nick Pope from close range.
The Clarets grabbed the lead, two minutes before the interval when Dwight McNeil floated in a free kick which was flicked on by Jay Rodriguez and Tarkowski slid to turn the ball in at the back post.
Although the visitors were on top in midfield for good stretches of the game, Burnley should have doubled their lead in the 76th minute when a long-range Rodriguez effort was parried out by Dean Henderson straight to McNeil but the 20-year-old could not find the target.
It was to prove a costly miss as United drew level four minutes later thanks to an emphatic finish from Egan at the back post after Billy Sharp had glanced on a cross from George Baldock.
Egan’s goal was his first in the Premier League and means he has now scored in all four professional divisions in English football.
“I didn’t think it was a game with a lot of quality. Conditions didn’t help - blustery and a dry pitch. But it is always going to be difficult coming here. There was never going to be anything handed out to us,” said United manager Chris Wilder.
Newcastle bounce back to draw 2-2 with West Ham
Newcastle United twice came back from a goal down as they grabbed a 2-2 Premier League draw with West Ham United on Sunday, robbing the visitors of the chance to put some more daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.
Having lost their previous seven away league games, West Ham started the day three points above the drop zone, and they got off to the perfect start when Michail Antonio opened the scoring after four minutes following a mistake by Jamaal Lascelles.
Newcastle levelled in the 17th minute through Miguel Almiron, who swept home Emil Krafth’s cross after a slick passing move by the home side.
They went behind again in the 66th minute when midfielder Tomas Soucek fired home a rebound after Declan Rice hit the crossbar with a header from a corner, with Soucek reacting quickest to volley the ball into the net.
The lead was short-lived as Jonjo Shelvey struck back immediately for Newcastle, dancing through the visitors’ defence before slotting home with his left foot to make it 2-2.
Having been pegged back twice, West Ham surged forward looking for the win and substitute Andriy Yarmolenko went closest with a stinging late shot that Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka palmed away.
Despite securing their first points away from home since they beat Southampton on Dec. 14, the ease with which Shelvey sliced through his defence left Hammers boss David Moyes shaking his head in disbelief.
“I was sickened because of us working so hard to get a goal back and then gave it up so quickly,” Moyes told a news conference.
“I am pleased we got something but disappointed it wasn’t all three (points). This could still easily go right to the end of the season,” he added.
The result leaves West Ham in 16th spot on 31 points, four points ahead of Aston Villa in 18th, while Newcastle are 12th on 43 points.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who was without two key players in injured skipper and defender Ben Mee and central midfielder Jack Cork, had no complaints about the result.
“I’m certainly not disappointed. We are maximum stretch at the moment with the squad. I thought we were very competitive in awkward conditions and made chances that should really have got the game done,” he said.