Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez inspired another second-half comeback but the Magpies remain rooted in the Barclays Premier League relegation zone after a 2-2 draw at his former club Liverpool.
Benitez is still fondly remembered at Anfield for the 2005 Champions League final when the Reds recovered from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan, but yesterday’s stirring revival was not so welcome on Merseyside. Daniel Sturridge’s second-minute strike and a second goal from Adam Lallana seemed certain to send Jurgen Klopp’s men into their Europa League clash against Villarreal with a win.
But Papiss Cisse reduced the deficit shortly after half-time then Jack Colback’s deflected shot made it 2-2 in the 66th minute, sealing a surprise point for the visitors which could yet prove invaluable.
Manchester City built up for their forthcoming Champions League clash with Real Madrid with a 4-0 win over Stoke City.
Fernando’s header and a Sergio Aguero penalty put City 2-0 up at the break before Kelechi Iheanacho’s double sealed his side’s move back up to third place in the table.
Manuel Pellegrini clearly had Europe on his mind as he left Kevin De Bruyne on the bench while Vincent Kompany was left out of the matchday squad completely.
Aston Villa’s dismal season went from bad to worse as they crashed to a 4-2 defeat to Southampton amid a poisonous atmosphere at Villa Park.
The relegated hosts were booed on to the pitch and a pair of defensive blunders let in Shane Long and Dusan Tadic to give the Saints a 2-0 lead. Tadic bagged his second after the break and Sadio Mane added a fourth at the death. Ashley Westwood scored a double for Villa.
Cesc Fabregas had a hand in all the goals as Chelsea eased to a 4-1 win at Bournemouth. A superb pair of through-balls set up Pedro then Eden Hazard, who fired home the second, before Tommy Elphick briefly reduced the deficit. Fabregas was again instrumental in the second half as he set up the third for Willian and a late fourth for Hazard.