Football: Liverpool hold off Palace fightback to close gap on Man City

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LONDON (REUTERS) – Liverpool had to withstand a spirited second-half fightback from Crystal Palace before emerging with a 3-1 win on Sunday (Jan 23) to close the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City to nine points.

Virgil van Djik gave Liverpool an early lead with a powerful header from a corner, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a second in the 32nd minute, controlling a superb cross-field pass from Andy Robertson before thumping the ball home.

Palace pulled one back 10 minutes into the second half when Jeffrey’s Schlupp’s pass to Jean-Philippe Mateta sliced open the Liverpool defence, and he squared the ball for Odsonne Edouard to fire into an empty net.

Palace poured forward looking for an equaliser but Fabinho scored a late penalty to give Liverpool a victory that lifted them to 48 points, nine behind City, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Saturday.

Palace are 13th on 24 points.

Meanwhile, Brighton striker Danny Welbeck netted a late header to cancel out Leicester City forward Patson Daka’s opener as the teams played out a 1-1 Premier League draw at the King Power Stadium.

Substitute Welbeck rose above Leicester’s James Justin at the back post and connected with Neal Maupay’s deep cross, sending his header into the bottom corner to grab the equaliser in the 82nd minute.

Daka had put Leicester in the lead in the 46th minute when he scored on the rebound after Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez kept out a shot from Harvey Barnes.

Brighton had the chance to turn the match around in the final minutes, but Dan Burn’s header was cleared off the line by Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans before keeper Kasper Schmeichel saved a stunning effort from Leandro Trossard.

In London, Burnley earned themselves a precious point in a 0-0 draw away at Arsenal in the Premier League, with their back line and goalkeeper doing just enough to keep out the misfiring Gunners.

The draw lifts Arsenal above Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference to sixth place, ahead of Spurs’ late game away at Chelsea.

Burnley stay bottom on 12 points but are now only four points from the safety zone – and with at least two games in hand on the three teams above them.

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