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Returning James McCarthy makes second Premier League start of 2017 in Everton loss and all today's results

Meanwhile, Chelsea comfortably beat an out-of-sorts Stoke 5-0.

James McCarthy (file pic).
James McCarthy (file pic).
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

Updated at 17.20

CHELSEA CLIMBED INTO second place above Manchester United, who host Southampton later on Saturday, while Everton and Ireland star James McCarthy made only his second Premier League start of 2017 after returning from injury.

Antonio Conte’s side made the perfect start when German defender Antonio Rudiger rose above three Stoke defenders to head home from Willian’s free-kick in the third minute.

Eden Hazard was rested on the Chelsea bench, but his replacement Drinkwater did a passable impression of the brilliant Belgian, the midfielder bagging his first goal for the Blues with a blistering strike from the edge of the area in the ninth minute.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes’s decision to field a severely weakened team in the midst of the hectic festive fixture list was backfiring badly.

The visitors were three down by the 23rd minute when Pedro finished off Willian’s pass to put Chelsea on course for a fourth win in their last five league games.

Willian got on the scoresheet himself in the 73rd minute, stroking home a penalty awarded for a foul on the Brazilian, before wing-back Davide Zappacosta grabbed his first Premier League goal with two minutes remaining.

- Carvalhal makes his mark -

Carlos Carvalhal made an immediate impact at Swansea City as his new club climbed off the bottom of the table with a dramatic 2-1 win at Watford.

Carvalhal was the surprise choice to replaced the sacked Paul Clement just days after he’d been dismissed by second-tier Sheffield Wednesday.

The Portuguese coach’s first game got off to a bad start when Andre Carrillo nodded home in the 11th minute.

But Carvalhal was heard lambasting his players at half-time and they responded to his words with four minutes when left Ghana striker Jordan Ayew equalised.

In a remarkable finale, Luciano Narsingh won it for Swansea in the 90th minute with a close-range finish.

Swansea are two points from safety after their first win in five games.

Ryan Fraser’s last-gasp goal clinched Bournemouth’s first win in nine matches as the struggling hosts beat Everton 2-1 at Dean Court to move out of the relegation zone.

Fraser side-footed Bournemouth ahead in the 33rd minute, only for Idrissa Gueye to equalise for Everton in the 57th minute.

Everton boss Sam Allardyce was unbeaten in seven games in all competitions since replacing Ronald Koeman, but Fraser ended that run with his 89th-minute strike.

Newcastle United are only one point above the bottom three after a dour 0-0 draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion left them with just one win in 12 games.

Huddersfield Town and Burnley shared a goalless draw at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Premier League results on Saturday:

Chelsea 5 (Rudiger 3, Drinkwater 9, Pedro 23, Willian 73-pen, Zappacosta 88) Stoke 0

Liverpool 2 (Salah 52, 76) Leicester 1 (Vardy 3)

Bournemouth 2 (Fraser 33, 89) Everton 1 (Gueye 57)

Huddersfield 0 Burnley 0

Newcastle 0 Brighton 0

Watford 1 (Carrillo 11) Swansea 2 (Ayew 86, Narsingh 90)

Playing later (1730 GMT)

Manchester United v Southampton

- © AFP, 2017

Additional reporting by Paul Fennessy

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