Sports Desk, Mar 4 (efe-epa).- A lone goal minutes before half-time was all Chelsea needed Thursday to top reigning Premier League champions Liverpool 0-1 and vault to fourth place.
The Blues continued their impressive performance under new coach Thomas Tuchel – seven wins and two draws – at the expense of a struggling Reds side that have now lost five in succession at Anfield, the worst run of home form in the history of Liverpool Football Club.
While they had significantly more of the ball, the hosts put only one shot on target.
Timo Werner fired over the cross-bar and forced a save from Alisson before appearing to put Chelsea ahead in the 25th minute.
Werner collected a ball over the top from Jorginho and then shot into the empty net after sidestepping Alisson, who ventured outside the 18-yard box in an ill-conceived attempt to break up the play.
But VAR weighed in and the German striker was found to be just offside.
With three minutes left in first-half regulation, N’Golo Kante found Mason Mount behind the Liverpool defense on the counter and the England international beat Alisson to put the visitors ahead.
Chelsea pressed hard for a second goal after the break and it took a goal-line intervention by Andy Robertson to deny Hakim Ziyech.
In what Jürgen Klopp described afterward as a move designed to get fresh legs on pitch, the Liverpool coach used his first substitution to replace Mohammed Salah with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but neither that change nor the return from injury of Diogo Jota was sufficient to alter the course of the contest.
With 47 points, Chelsea lead Everton – winners earlier Thursday – by a point and trail third-place Leicester City by 3. Liverpool are seventh on 43 points.
Everton defeated West Bromwich Albion 0-1 on a goal in the 65th minute by Richarlison, the Brazilian’s sixth in five matches.
The result lifted the Toffees to 46 points, while the second-from-bottom Baggies stay on 17 points, 9 from safety.
Though Everton had an edge on possession at the Hawthorns, the shots were even and West Brom remained in the contest until the final whistle.
Mbaye Diagne thought he had equalized for the hosts in stoppage time, but the offside flag was up and VAR confirmed that he was in an offside position when he blasted the ball past Everton keeper Jordan Pickford.
Toffees coach Carlo Ancelotti, who is eager to see his squad qualify for European play, has said that he expects the race for Champions League places to go down to the final day of the Premier League season.
In London, Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur, who are already through to the knockout stage of the 2020-2021 Europa League, eked out a 0-1 victory over 18th-place Fulham.
Spurs, currently eighth in the table, improved to 42 points. Fulham are 3 points from safety.
Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola dealt comfortably with shots by Gareth Bale and Harry Kane before Spurs took the lead in the 19th minute on an own goal charged to defender Tosin Adarabioyo.
The play began with Bale’s recovering the ball in midfield and sending it deep to Dele Alli, who worked a give-and-go with Son Heung-min before watching his shot deflect off Adarabioyo and into the Fulham net.
Fulham created danger early in the second half, as Joachim Andersen and Adarabioyo forced saves from Hugo Lloris on a pair of set-pieces in quick succession.