Gerrard helps Liverpool triumph, United win again
Manchester United maintained their recent improvement with a fourth successive league win, beating Stoke City 2-1 at Old Trafford with a Marouane Fellaini header and Juan Mata free kick either side of a Steven Nzonzi goal for Stoke.
David de Gea guaranteed that United held on to the points with two superb saves late in the game.
United stay fourth but now have 25 points, eight behind leaders Chelsea, who host Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, while Liverpool have climbed to eighth place with 20 points.
West Ham United remain fifth, a point behind United, after a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion, who have now lost their last four matches. James Tomkins headed the winner for the in-form Hammers in first half stoppage time.
Liverpool captain Gerrard, 34, left out of the starting lineup on Saturday, was back in the team at Leicester where he rifled home a poor clearance from captain Wes Morgan to turn the balance of the match the Merseysiders’ way in the 54th minute.
They had fallen behind when Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet conceded an own goal after 22 minutes before a 26th minute Adam Lallana equaliser for the visitors.
Leicester were reduced to 10 men when Morgan, who scored an own goal against QPR on Saturday, was sent off for a foul on Rickie Lambert after 63 minutes and they conceded a third when Jordan Henderson scored after 83 minutes.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Monday that Gerrard, who made his debut for the club 16 years ago last weekend, had been offered a new contract and was full of praise for him after the three points were secured.
“He was rested at the weekend with tonight in mind,” Rodgers told BT Sport
“When you rest players people ask why, when you play them you are asked why aren’t you resting them? The energy from being rested at the weekend gave him the energy to play tonight” he said.
Gerrard declined to answer questions about the contract renewal but said: “I will decide when I am ready.
“There is nothing to say, when there is the fans know I will come out and say it. It was a great team performance, the headlines should be about that not me.
“I am happy with the goal, even more pleased with the win. We are on the way up. We are a lot harder to beat. Come the end of the season we will be fighting for fourth.”
Manchester United, who were without injured skipper Wayne Rooney, gave manager Louis van Gaal some encouragement with their win at Old Trafford.
“I am very happy we held the result till the end,” said the Dutchman. “I am very happy with the result, that’s the fourth victory in the row and tomorrow we have our Christmas party.”
In the bottom half of the table, Aston Villa earned three points for the first time since September with a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace where Christian Benteke’s goal ended a run of nine games without a victory for Paul Lambert’s side.
Queens Park Rangers crashed to a seventh successive away league defeat and slipped to one off the bottom when they were beaten 2-0 at Swansea City.
Burnley climbed out of the relegation zone when they stretched their unbeaten run to four matches with a 1-1 draw at home to mid-table Newcastle United.
Burnley have 12 points above Hull City and QPR on 11, with Leicester propping up the table with 10 points from 14 games.
While Chelsea play Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, second-placed Manchester City are at Sunderland and Southampton, who are third, visit Arsenal where they won 2-1 in the Capital One (League) Cup in September. (Reuters)