LIVERPOOL: Everton avoided a third consecutive Premier League home defeat as Kurt Zouma’s header and a late goal by Dominic Calvert-Lewin earned them a flattering 2-0 victory against Bournemouth at a rainy Goodison Park on Sunday.
There were grumblings of discontent from the home fans as Everton were outplayed before the break but Marco Silva’s side improved in the second half to move back into the top half of the table.
Eddie Howe’s eye-catching Bournemouth side dominated the opening 25 minutes and should have been ahead with young Welsh striker David Brooks a thorn in the Everton defence.
Brooks struck a shot against the base of the post in the 14th minute after being played in by Junior Stanislas while Stanislas himself nearly embarrassed England keeper Jordan Pickford with a free kick.
Bournemouth also had two penalty shouts ignored before Everton gradually roused themselves, with defender Michael Keane heading against the crossbar shortly before halftime.
The hosts took the lead with only their second effort on target in the 61st minute. Lucas Digne did well to keep a ball in play and his hoisted cross was headed home powerfully by defender Zouma for his first Everton goal since joining on loan from Chelsea.
Everton’s second in stoppage time, struck home excellently by Calvert-Lewin after great work by Ademola Lookman, was harsh on Bournemouth who will wonder how they went home unrewarded.
Bournemouth, who had 16 goal atempts, remained in 12th spot with 27 points from 22 games, nine points above the bottom three while Everton moved into 10th spot on 30 points.
LIVERPOOL EXTEND LEAD
On Saturday, Liverpool opened up a seven-point gap at the top with a 1-0 win at Brighton & Hove Albion.
With nearest challengers Manchester City not playing until Monday, Liverpool went into their clash at Brighton on the back of two successive defeats in all competitions and were made to work hard for the three points.
Neither side had a single shot on target in the first half, with the match settled by a Mohamed Salah penalty in the second half. The African player of the year netted four minutes into the second half after being brought down by Pascal Gross. Liverpool’s 50th clean sheet under Juergen Klopp carried them home.
Fourth-placed Chelsea opened up a six-point gap over Arsenal in fifth with a 2-1 win over Newcastle United in the day’s late fixture.
Pedro Rodriguez’s early opener was cancelled out by Ciaran Clark’s header for the visitors, but Willian’s fine 57th-minute strike secured all three points for Maurizio Sarri’s men.
Defeat allied to results elsewhere saw Newcastle slip into the bottom three as 10-man Southampton held out to win 2-1 at Leicester City.
Burnley’s fourth win in a row lifted them to 15th in the table after they came from behind to earn a 2-1 victory over fellow strugglers Fulham, while bottom side Huddersfield Town were held to a 0-0 draw at Cardiff City.
Tom Cleverley scored from a volley as Watford came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 and rise to seventh place.