United Down Albion, Reds Rock Bournemouth

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LONDON, Dec 18 – Manchester United kept their faint Premier League titles hopes alive with a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion, while Liverpool moved back into the top four with a 4-0 rout of Bournemouth on Sunday. With Manchester City romping away with the title race, United had to win at the Hawthorns to have any chance of reeling in their local rivals.

Romelu Lukaku put Jose Mourinho’s side in front with a 27th-minute header and Jesse Lingard netted with the aid of a deflection to double the visitors’ lead in the 35th minute. But what looked destined to be a comfortable win became tense when Gareth Barry prodded home for Albion in the 77th minute. United ended the game defending for their lives before claiming the win that left them 11 points behind City.

“I think we deserved the win. We were the best team. We controlled the game for a long time. The intensity in the first half maybe we didn’t have in the second half. West Brom are really powerful in the air. But after their goal we controlled it again,” Mourinho said. At Dean Court, Liverpool demonstrated their goal power with a clinical display that took them above Arsenal and Burnley into fourth place.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said: “I am really pleased about everything. I like how we defended different situations and our tactical discipline was good. It was a fantastic first goal and the third was world class. We could have scored more, but we didn’t really give a lot away so it was well deserved.”

Ending a two-match winless run in the league, Klopp’s side took the lead in the 20th minute. Philippe Coutinho took possession 30 yards from goal and weaved his way past several Bournemouth defenders before planting a precise strike past Asmir Begovic.

Liverpool’s second goal came six minutes later when Bournemouth failed to clear a corner and Roberto Firmino hooked the ball into the six-yard box, where defender Dejan Lovren stooped to head in. Mohamed Salah bagged number three for the Reds in the 44th minute.

The Egypt winger ran on to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pass, held off Charlie Daniels, cut inside Nathan Ake and slotted past Begovic for his 20th goal in a superb first season with Liverpool. Firmino wrapped up Liverpool’s commanding performance in the 66th minute, heading in Coutinho’s cross despite Bournemouth’s appeals for offside. — AFP

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