Title in the balance, Daniel Sturridge strikes on Reds return
Premier League leaders Chelsea remained five points clear of second-placed Manchester City after drawing 1-1 with the defending champions in Saturday`s late kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
London: Premier League leaders Chelsea remained five points clear of second-placed Manchester City after drawing 1-1 with the defending champions in Saturday`s late kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
Loic Remy gave Chelsea a 41st-minute lead only for David Silva to equalise four minutes later.
Remy, given a starting spot by Jose Mourinho after in-form striker Diego Costa was handed an immediate three-match ban on Friday for stamping on Emre Can in Chelsea`s midweek League Cup semi-final victory at home to Liverpool, justified the Portuguese`s faith when he turned in a low cross from Eden Hazard.
But City were level before half-time when Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois`s weak punch saw the ball fall to Sergio Aguero, whose shot was diverted into the net by Silva.
City pressed for a second goal as Chelsea struggled up front but the match remained all square.
Earlier, Daniel Sturridge put nearly five months of injury frustration behind him by coming off the bench to score in Liverpool`s 2-0 win at home to West Ham.
The 25-year-old striker had been sidelined with thigh and calf injuries since September.
Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock in the 51st minute at Anfield before Sturridge, a second-half replacement for Lazar Markovic, marked just his fourth Liverpool appearance of the season by scoring in the 80th minute.
"It`s a team game and I am happy the team won," Sturridge told the BBC. "It`s just good to be back."
Meanwhile delighted Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said: "Daniel Sturridge is a top-class player...He worked very hard and the first opportunity that came his way he took."
Manchester United climbed into third place with a 3-1 win over basement club Leicester at Old Trafford as they gained revenge for a shock 5-3 defeat by the Foxes in September
Louis van Gaal`s men went 3-0 up before half-time on Saturday through Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and an own-goal by Wes Morgan before Marcin Wasilewski pulled a one back 10 minutes from time.Afterwards Daley Blind said United`s players were adapting to their manager`s demands.
"We come closer every week to the way Louis van Gaal wants us to play," he explained. "We are on the right track and we are happy."
United will only be in the top three briefly if Southampton regain third place by avoiding defeat at home to Swansea on Sunday when Arsenal, also vying for a top-four finish, face Aston Villa at the Emirates.
Tottenham Hotspur completed a fine week with a 3-0 win away to West Bromwich Albion where Harry Kane scored twice to take his tally for the season to an impressive 20 goals.
Christian Eriksen scored his third goal in two matches to give Spurs the lead at the Hawthorns.
Eriksen, who scored twice in the midweek League Cup semi-final draw at Sheffield United that gave Spurs a 3-2 aggregate victory, has become renowned as a late-goal specialist.
But the Denmark midfielder needed just six minutes to put Spurs in front on Saturday with a trademark free-kick.
Kane doubled Spurs` lead in the 15th minute before beating Baggies` goalkeeper Ben Foster from the penalty spot in the 64th minute.
Crystal Palace saw a run of four successive wins in all competitions since manager Alan Pardew arrived from Newcastle end with a 1-0 home loss to Everton as Romelu Lukaku scored in just the second minute at Selhurst Park.
Second-from-bottom Queens Park Rangers` dreadful away record continued as they suffered a 3-1 defeat to former manager Mark Hughes`s Stoke City.
Stoke forward Jonathan Walters scored his first top-flight hat-trick as QPR recorded an 11th straight league defeat on the road, with their previous 10 reverses already a Premier League record.
Jermain Defoe grabbed his first goal since returning to English football from Toronto as he netted Sunderland`s second in a 2-0 win at home to Burnley after Connor Wickham put the Black Cats ahead.
Saturday`s early kick-off saw John Carver enjoy his first win as Newcastle boss after a 3-0 success away to Hull ended a run of four games without a victory since Pardew`s exit.
Remy Cabella put Newcastle ahead five minutes before half-time with his first goal for the Magpies.
Sammy Ameobi made it 2-0 with a 25-yard shot before substitute Yoan Gouffran struck 12 minutes from time.