Soccer

Liverpool regroups in second half to rally past Swansea

Reuters

Liverpool recovered from a poor start to beat Swansea 2-1 and move up to second in the Premier League table on Saturday, while Chelsea got back to winning ways against Hull.

Outplayed for half the match by struggling Swansea and trailing after an early goal by Leroy Fer, Liverpool was a different team after the break and took the points thanks to a late James Milner penalty.

Liverpool has won five of its opening seven matches and has 16 points, two behind leader Manchester City which plays third-placed Tottenham Hotspur (14) on Sunday.

“We could have done so much better in the first half,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told reporters. “It’s not allowed that we accept a bad day.

“Even on a bad day you have to fight against the start in this game, you have to strike back in the game.”

Chelsea, which had suffered back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal, was held by Hull for an hour before curling shots from Willian and Diego Costa secured a 2-0 win that moved Antonio Conte’s side into sixth with 13 points.

Willian struck in the 61st minute after Chelsea launched one of a series of increasingly dangerous counter-attacks.

Costa’s pass picked out the Brazilian, who checked, putting his defender out of the game in the process, before curling an unstoppable shot into the top-right corner of the Hull goal.

Six minutes later the game was put beyond Hull’s reach in similar fashion.

Having powered into the area, Nemanja Matic saw a shot blocked by Curtis Davies, but Costa latched onto the rebound to bend a shot past Hull goalkeeper David Marshall for his sixth goal in seven games.

Costa leads the Premier League scoring chart with six goals, although it was Chelsea’s defending that probably pleased manager Antonio Conte the most after a stretch that saw the team allow seven goals in its last three games.

“This week we’ve worked a lot, we must find the right way to be more compact,” he said. “A clean sheet is important for the confidence.”

The day’s other three matches ended in draws.

Dimitri Payet scored a dazzling equalizer for West Ham United in a 1-1 draw at home against Middlesbrough, although the club remains in the bottom three with only one win from its opening seven matches.

France international Payet dribbled past several Boro defenders before scoring with a low shot.

“It reminded me of (Lionel) Messi’s goals and was brilliant from Dimi. It got us a point, but unfortunately we didn’t win,” manager Slaven Bilic said.

Sunderland procured a late point — only its second of the season — thanks to Patrick van Aanholt’s 83rd-minute equalizer at home against West Bromwich Albion who led through Nacer Chadli’s third goal in four league games.

Sunderland moved off the bottom of the table and above Stoke City which faces a daunting trip to Manchester United on Sunday.

Watford drew at home against Bournemouth, with substitute Isaac Success securing a 2-2 draw.

Callum Wilson had put Bournemouth ahead before Watford captain Troy Deeney’s 99th goal for the club evened the score. Josh King was also on target for Bournemouth.