James Milner scored a penalty late in the game as Liverpool came from behind to rescue a 2-1 win against Swansea City yesterday and move second in the Premier League.
Swansea, who are still without a league win since the opening day of the season, deservedly took the lead after eight minutes when a simple far-post corner was headed back across goal for Leroy Fer to poke home.
Yet after the hosts dominated the opening 45 minutes, Liverpool woke up in the second half and wrestled back control of the game, leveling through Roberto Firmino’s header nine minutes after the restart.
When Firmino was dragged back in the area by Angel Rangel, Milner stepped up to coolly sidefoot down the middle of the goal as Liverpool continued their excellent start to the season with a fourth successive league win.
On Friday, goals by Belgian international strikers Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke saw Everton and Crystal Palace draw 1-1.
Lukaku struck with his fifth of the season in the first half before Benteke, who endured a disappointing spell at Liverpool before moving to Palace in the summer, leveled with a superb header in the second half.
The draw was enough for Everton to put an end to a two-match losing run in all competitions and lift them to third, while Palace — who have not lost at Goodison Park since 2005 — remained seventh after extending their unbeaten run to four games.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“It’s a good point in the end. We defended set plays and second balls well against a difficult team,” the 53-year-old Dutchman told Sky Sports. “The team performance was outstanding, although we’d like to create more opportunities.”
“We’ve had a good start to the season,” he said. “The position in the table is not everything at the moment and we need to improve, but we’re doing a good job.”
Palace manager Alan Pardew was proud of the manner his players refused to be overwhelemd by early Everton dominance.
“They took the lead, but we wouldn’t lie down and we did really well in the second half,” Pardew said.
Everton made a bright start to the match, forcing Palace to concede several corners in quick succession, with Yannick Bolasie torturing his former teammates with some deft footwork down the left-hand side of the field.
However, it took till the 19th minute for the hosts to force a save from Palace goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, Lukaku firing straight at him.
Lukaku broke the deadlock in the 36th minute, curling a pearler of a free-kick over the Palace wall, leaving Mandanda rooted to the spot for his fifth of the season.
The free-kick had been awarded in controversial circumstances as there was suspicion that Everton defender Phil Jagielka handled the ball before Palace captain Damien Delaney raised his boot too high in the challenge.
Four minutes into the second half Palace were level when Benteke produced a superb header from Joel Ward’s cross to beat Maarten Stekelenburg for his third of the campaign.
Everton stormed back almost immediately and a wonderful piece of skill by Bolasie teed up Idrissa Gueye, but he fluffed his lines as Martin Kelly blocked his goalbound shot.
The visitors thought they had taken the lead when Delaney, making his 600th league appearance, had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside, although the scorer did not appear to be in an offside position.
A pulsating match then saw Gareth Barry’s flicked header cleared off the line by Palace defender Jason Puncheon. Palace came back at Everton and James Tomkins was presented with a great chance, but his header was gathered by Stekelenburg.
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