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Liverpool have some breathing space as Southampton's top-four hopes dented

Elsewhere, the great escape is still on for Leicester.

Southampton's top four bid is fading fast.
Southampton's top four bid is fading fast.
Image: Lynne Cameron

FORMER LIVERPOOL MIDFIELDER Charlie Adam came off the bench with devastating effect to help his old club as Stoke dented Southampton’s Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win.

Two weeks after his sensational 55-yard strike against Chelsea, Adam fired home from much closer range six minutes from time to seal all three points for Mark Hughes’ side at the Britannia Stadium.

Morgan Schneiderlin had given Southampton the lead midway through the first half after some questionable Stoke defending from a set-piece and Graziano Pelle could have doubled their advantage before the break.

Stoke were level minutes after the restart, though, as Mame Biram Diouf netted his ninth league goal of the season after Kelvin Davis had misjudged a Steven N’Zonzi cross.

With a point only enough to take them above Liverpool into fifth on goal difference, Southampton pushed for a later winner, but their efforts proved fruitless.

Instead, it was Stoke who made the breakthrough, Adam delivering a blow to Southampton’s hopes of securing European football with a neat finish from 10 yards.

Elsewhere, Leicester climbed off the foot of the Premier League for the first time since November with their third win in a row - a 2-0 victory over Swansea City at the King Power Stadium.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Leicester City v Swansea City - King Power Stadium Source: Ryan Browne

The hosts’ chances of top-flight survival appeared to be fading until back-to-back wins against West Ham and West Brom offered cause for optimism.

Hopes of extending that run appeared to have suffered a blow when striker David Nugent pulled up with a calf injury in the warm-up on Saturday. However, replacement Leonardo Ulloa answered the call by opening the scoring after 15 minutes, before Andy King pounced to double the lead with a minute left to play.

As a result, Leicester climbed to 18th – still inside the relegation zone but only on goal difference. Swansea, meanwhile, looked like a team with little to play for and their wait for the point that will see them break their record Premier League tally of 47 goes on.

Meanwhile, Burnley’s hopes of staging a similar survival bid were dented as Kevin Mirallas’ first-half strike secured a 1-0 for Everton.

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The results extend’s the Toffees unbeaten Premier League run to five and sends Burnley to the bottom of the Premier League table.

Everton started well, and were given a golden chance to take the lead when David Jones fouled Aaron Lennon, but Tom Heaton got down low to parry away Ross Barkley’s poor effort. Sean Dyche’s side continued to live dangerously though, and they were made to pay when Mirallas fired the hosts ahead midway through the first-half.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Everton v Burnley - Goodison Park Source: Martin Rickett

Burnley had shown signs of a comeback as the opening half wore on, but matters were made much more difficult for them when Ashley Barnes was dismissed for a second bookable offence moments before the interval.

James McCarthy wasted a great opportunity to put the hosts further ahead after the restart, with Leighton Baines also testing Heaton as Everton continued to dominate.

Burnley frontman Danny Ings also spurned a late chance as his goalless run stretched to eight games – with Leicester City’s triumph against Swansea meaning the Lancashire outfit slumped to 20th place.

At Selhurst Park, Craig Gardner scored a stunning long-range goal as West Brom beat Crystal Palace 2-0 on Tony Pulis’ return to his former club.

It was his first away win in the Premier League since November. Pulis quit as Palace manager just two days before the start of this season after keeping them in the top flight last term, and the Welshman marked his first game back at Selhurst Park with a long-awaited victory on the road.

screenshot.1429374524.54238 Source: www.the42.ie

An early strike from James Morrison set the tone for a surprise win. Gardner then got in on the act with a thumping right-footed drive after the break and there was no way back for Alan Pardew’s men. Three points moves West Brom above Newcastle United into 13th place and deals a blow to Palace’s hopes of finishing in the top half.

Saturday’s Premier League results:

  • Crystal Palace 0-2 West Brom
  • Everton 1-0 Burnley
  • Leicester 2-0 Swansea
  • Stoke 2-1 Southampton
  • Chelsea v Man United (5.30pm)

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