With 10 goals in December alone, Luis Suarez has propelled Liverpool up the English Premier League and enhanced the team’s title credentials with each game. Another double from the Uruguay striker Saturday clinched a 3-1 victory over Cardiff that took Liverpool to the top of the standings, for now, having finished seventh last season.
Manchester City is just a point behind after winning 4-2 at Fulham, despite throwing away a two-goal lead in heavy wind and rain at Craven Cottage.
Manchester United remains outside of the top four in seventh place despite the champions beating West Ham 3-1 to make it two wins out of two after losing the previous two league games. Newcastle remains two points ahead of United after winning 3-0 at Crystal Palace. In the day’s other games, Stoke rose to 10th by beating Aston Villa 2-1, bottom-placed Sunderland drew 0-0 with Norwich, and managerless West Bromwich Albion was held to 0-0 by Hull.
Suarez’s first against Cardiff came after 25 minutes, racing onto Jordan Henderson’s cross and then volleying past goalkeeper David Marshall. Suarez turned provider in the 42nd, latching onto Henderson’s throughball before squaring for Raheem Sterling to slot home. Henderson returned the favor on the stroke of halftime, backheeling to Suarez, who curled in the shot through a packed penalty area.
Cardiff’s goal after the break — Jordon Mutch’s 58th minute-header — proving to be just a consolation. The result further weakened Malky Mackay’s job as Cardiff manager. Mackay’s position has come under fresh doubt this week after Malaysian owner Vincent Tan sent him an email requesting him to stand down or be sacked. “I won’t be walking away,” Mackay responded Saturday.
It was a better day for another Scottish manager as David Moyes’ side won a fourth straight game in all competitions. The three points were wrapped up before halftime against West Ham, with Danny Welbeck driving in his first goal at Old Trafford in 14 months. And Welbeck exchanged passes with Adnan Januzaj before the 18-year-old midfielder stepped past James Collins and scored his first ever home goal for United.
United took until the 72nd to score again, with substitute Ashley Young’s goal from Wayne Rooney’s layoff ensuring Carlton Cole’s late strike for West Ham provided little concern.
Neighbor City, though, left it late to secure the win at Fulham. Yaya Toure put City in front and captain Vincent Kompany fired in City’s second just before halftime. But five minutes after the break Kieran Richardson completed a rapid counterattack to begin the hosts’ fightback.
Fulham was gifted an equalizer in the 69th when Kompany inexplicably sliced the ball past his own goalkeeper Joe Hart. But Jesus Navas restored City’s lead in the 78th.