MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Liverpool continued the hunt for Premier League leaders Manchester City by winning 2-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday while Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3- 2.
Luis Diaz connected with a fine ball from Joel Matip to put Liverpool ahead in the 19th minute before Mohamed Salah scored from the spot, following a handball from Yves Bissouma, for his 20th goal. the season.
Liverpool’s victory at the Amex Stadium in Brighton was their eighth consecutive league victory and closed the gap to league leaders Manchester City to three points.
“Difficult game, good opponent, it took us a few minutes to get into the game. From the moment we found ourselves in the game, we controlled it in a very good way,” said the coach of Liverpool Juergen Klopp.
Pep Guardiola City’s side have 69 points with Liverpool on 66 but City can restore their lead to six when they travel to Crystal Palace on Monday.
After a week of speculation about his happiness under Ralf Rangnick’s scheme at United, Ronaldo has responded emphatically – in front of recently retired NFL quarterback Tom Brady.
Ronaldo put United ahead in the 12th minute with a spectacular blast from over 20 yards out, but a Harry Kane penalty brought Spurs level in the 35th minute.
Three minutes later however, the 37-year-old had restored United’s lead, heading home after Jadon Sancho broke the offside trap and set up the Portuguese striker with a low cross.
Spurs restored parity in the 72nd minute with an own goal from United captain Harry Maguire that slipped past a low cross from Sergio Reguilon.
But Ronaldo, who had twice tested Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris after the break, settled the game with a header from an Alex Telles corner nine minutes from time.
It was the 807th goal of his career, claiming the record for all-time top scorer in professional football.
Spurs manager Antonio Conte admitted one player simply made the difference.
“Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the two best players in the world at that time. When you play against this type of player, they are decisive. Without Cristiano Ronaldo, for United, it would not have been a good evening”, a- he declared. noted.
The result puts United two points above Arsenal and moves up to fourth place, although the Gunners have four games in hand starting with Sunday’s home game against Leicester City.
In-form Brentford striker Ivan Toney netted a brace to score five goals in his last two Premier League games as the promoted side beat Burnley 2-0 to move away from the relegation zone.
Toney, who scored a hat-trick in Brentford’s 3-1 win over Norwich City last time out, headed in a superb left-footed cross from playmaker Christian Eriksen to put his side ahead in the 85th minute.
His second stoppage time goal was a powerful penalty following a foul from centre-back Nathan Collins, who was shown a direct red card for a clumsy tackle inside the penalty area.
The result moved Brentford nine points above the drop zone in a boost to their quest to stay in the English top flight while 18th-placed Burnley suffered their third straight defeat.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)