Premier League: Liverpool cruise past struggling Cardiff; Bournemouth, Watford continue fine starts to the season
Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool took advantage of their title rivals' inactivity to go three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 4-1 win at home to Cardiff on Saturday as Bournemouth and Watford both continued their fine starts to the season.
London: Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool took advantage of their title rivals' inactivity to go three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 4-1 win at home to Cardiff on Saturday as Bournemouth and Watford both continued their fine starts to the season.
Liverpool were the only club who started the weekend among the top five in action on Saturday, with reigning champions Manchester City not facing Tottenham Hotspur until Monday.
Meanwhile midweek European commitments also meant that Chelsea, like City and Liverpool yet to lose in the Premier League this season, were playing Burnley on Sunday, when in-form Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace and Manchester United welcome Everton to Old Trafford.
Mohamed Salah, now putting a stuttering start to the season behind him, fired Liverpool into a 10th-minute lead.
From a cross into the Cardiff box, Mane's shot was blocked by Sean Morrison but Egypt forward Salah pounced on the rebound for his 33rd goal in 35 games at Anfield.
But as long as the lead was just 1-0, Cardiff were still in the game.
Mane, however, doubled Liverpool's lead in the 66th minute when, running on to an Alberto Moreno pass, he smashed a shot into the top corner.
But Liverpool's hopes of a club record 10th successive home clean sheet were dashed in the 77th minute when Callum Paterson turned in a cross deflected by Reds defender Virgil van Dijk.
However, two goals inside the final 10 minutes from substitute Xherdan Shaqiri and Mane put the result beyond doubt.
"A team like this are never easy to play, sometimes you have to be patient, try not to lose the ball," said Mane.
"I was very happy of course to score but most important is the three points," the Senegal international added.
Bournemouth closed on fifth-placed Tottenham with a 3-0 win away to Fulham.
Callum Wilson won and then scored a 14th-minute penalty after he was brought down by Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
David Brooks then scored his third goal in four games to double the Cherries' lead in the 72nd minute.
Minutes later, Fulham's day went from bad to worse when captain Kevin McDonald was sent off for a second bookable offence following a late challenge on Brooks.
Wilson rounded out Bournemouth's victory when he scored his second goal five minutes from time at Craven Cottage.
"Really pleased today," said Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. "We were defensively very good."
- Century for Brighton's Murray -
Watford were far too strong for Huddersfield in a 3-0 win at Vicarage Road.
They were 2-0 up inside 19 minutes thanks to two well-struck goals.
Roberto Pereyra broke the deadlock in the 10th minute with a superb solo effort, collecting the ball out wide on the left and beating six Huddersfield defenders as he cut inside before shooting from the edge of the area.
The Hornets doubled their lead nine minutes later when more dire defending by the visitors allowed Gerard Deulofeu to dribble past Chris Lowe, beat another attempted challenge and then score from a tight angle 15 yards out.
The aptly-named Isaac Success sealed Watford's win 10 minutes from time.
Nevertheless, Watford manager Javi Gracia said: "I enjoyed it because we got a good result, but we have played better in other games than today. We have many things to improve."
Defeat dropped Huddersfield to the bottom of the table after Newcastle, previously propping up the division, managed a point in a goalless draw at home to Southampton.
Elsewhere, Brighton striker Glenn Murray, fresh from suffering concussion against Newcastle last week, returned to score his 100th goal for the Seagulls in a 1-0 win at home to Wolves.
"Glenn Murray is a poacher, when the ball comes his way you are confident it will end up in the net," said Brighton manager Chris Hughton of the forward's 48th-minute goal.
"He has a great desire to keep on playing."
Leicester face West Ham in Saturday's late kick-off.
Chelsea were made to work hard for a 2-1 win at Watford while Steven Gerrard's 100 percent start as Aston Villa manager was ended by a 2-1 defeat to City.
Pukki smashed home on the volley to equalise 11 minutes from time and Norwich should have claimed a massive three points in stoppage time when Martin Dubravka saved from Pierre Lees-Melou.
Carrick has been working as United's caretaker boss since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking.