Liverpool boost European hopes with thrilling victory

22 Apr 2023
Liverpool v Nottingham Forest

Reds climb to seventh behind Aston Villa, while Leicester are the big movers at the bottom

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Liverpool continued their push for European qualification with a thrilling 3-2 home win over Nottingham Forest.

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After a goalless first half, Diogo Jota put Liverpool in front within two minutes of the restart with a close-range header, but Forest equalised less than five minutes later when former Reds player Neco Williams scored his first goal for the club.

Jota netted his second goal, and his fourth in two matches, with a fine chest and volley, yet Forest levelled again through Morgan Gibbs-White’s deflected effort.

Parity lasted for only three minutes as Liverpool found the net from a third set-piece, with Trent Alexander-Arnold crossing for Mohamed Salah, who produced his eighth goal in as many league matches.

Still Forest refused to relent, as Taiwo Awoniyi’s overhead kick flew narrowly over and Brennan Johnson hit the bar, but Liverpool held on.

The Reds climb to seventh with 50 points, one point behind sixth-placed Aston Villa and six points outside the top four, with rivals Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur facing each other on Sunday.

The race for Europe

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
4 Newcastle United NEW 38 +35 71
5 Liverpool LIV 38 +28 67
6 Brighton & Hove Albion BHA 38 +19 62
7 Aston Villa AVL 38 +5 61
8 Tottenham Hotspur TOT 38 +7 60
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Villa leave it late

Villa's five-match winning run came to an end as they drew 1-1 at Brentford.

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The visitors lost goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to illness at half-time and then survived a big scare as Kevin Schade got past substitute 'keeper Robin Olsen but missed the open goal.

Brentford took the lead in the 65th minute, with Ivan Toney meeting Bryan Mbeumo's low cross at the back post to score his 19th Premier League goal of the season.

Villa didn’t give up and levelled in the 87th minute as Douglas Luiz pounced on a loose ball to score at close range.

Unai Emery’s side have 51 points, while Brentford drop to 10th on 44 points.

See: How clubs can qualify for Europe

Leicester win vital duel

Leicester City came from behind to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 in a crucial relegation duel and move out of the bottom three.

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Missing talisman James Maddison due to illness, the Foxes fell behind in the 13th minute when Matheus Cunha took the ball off Youri Tielemans and found the bottom-left corner.

But the hosts equalised before half-time with a Kelechi Iheanacho penalty after Jamie Vardy had been fouled by Jose Sa. Leicester completed the turnaround 15 minutes from time as Timothy Castagne guided the ball into the bottom corner from Victor Kristiansen's low cross.

Leicester were also indebted to goalkeeper Daniel Iversen, who produced a superb fingertip save from Ruben Neves’ free-kick late on.

The Foxes' first victory in 10 league matches, in Dean Smith’s first home match in charge, takes them up to 17th with 28 points, six behind 13th-placed Wolves.

The relegation battle

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
12 Chelsea CHE 38 -9 44
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers WOL 38 -27 41
14 West Ham United WHU 38 -13 40
15 Bournemouth BOU 38 -34 39
16 Nottingham Forest NFO 38 -30 38
17 Everton EVE 38 -23 36
18 Leicester City LEI 38 -17 34
19 Leeds United LEE 38 -30 31
20 Southampton SOU 38 -37 25
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Stalemate at Selhurst Park

Everton dropped into the relegation zone despite a goalless draw at in-form Crystal Palace.

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Palace's Eberechi Eze had a second-half goal ruled out for offside, while the closest the visitors came to a goal was from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who turned smartly before shooting just wide on his return from injury.

Everton had to play the final 10 minutes with 10 men after Mason Holgate was shown a second yellow card, but held on to take a point.

The draw ends Palace's three-match winning run as they remain in 12th on 37 points, nine clear of Everton and the bottom three.

Leeds lose again

Leeds United suffered a third straight defeat, losing 2-1 at Fulham to go one point above the relegation zone.

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Harry Wilson broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 58th minute, scoring for the second straight match with a fierce volley, and Andreas Pereira doubled the lead with a tap-in. 

Leeds halved the deficit in the 79th minute, with Patrick Bamford’s effort deflecting in off Joao Palhinha for an own goal, but they could not find an equaliser. Fulham move up to ninth on 45 points.

Two more matches on Sunday

There's a double-header on Sunday, with all four teams fighting to qualify for Europe or avoid relegation.

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Newcastle United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to St James' Park, with Spurs aiming to move level on points with their hosts in the top-four race.

At the same time, AFC Bournemouth meet West Ham United with both teams aiming to move further clear of the bottom three.

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