LIVERPOOL // Roberto Martinez described Phil Jagielka’s injury-time equaliser as the best goal he had ever seen after the Everton captain rescued a point for his team in the Merseyside derby.
The centre-back struck with a swerving shot from 25 yards to deny Liverpool victory and cancel out Steven Gerrard’s second-half free kick.
And manager Martinez said: “I don’t think I have seen a better strike in live football. It helps it is at Anfield, in the last minute and for my team. It has to be an incredible strike to put it in the top corner and it was.”
Gerrard had broken the deadlock after talking Mario Balotelli out of taking a set-piece.
“I was screaming for him to take it because he’s got so much quality,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. “His performance was outstanding and it was a goal that should have won the game.”
Rodgers rued a miss from Balotelli when the striker hit the bar two minutes after Gerrard’s goal. “We should have at least been 2-0 up,” he added. “Mario’s work rate was excellent, his pressure, his physique at the top end was really good and he looked like he could get a goal and was disappointed he didn’t score. We didn’t get what we deserved. It was very clear we were much the better side.”
The Liverpool manager was also unhappy with referee Martin Atkinson, who turned down penalty appeals at either end in the opening 10 minutes. First Alberto Moreno grabbed a handful of Romelu Lukaku’s shirt, sending the Belgian tumbling to the ground.
Then Gareth Barry, with his arm above his head, handled Raheem Sterling’s shot. The midfielder, already booked, could have been sent off.
“Absolutely,” added Rodgers. “That was nearly a save. When it’s above your head and you stop it as blatantly as that how it is not a penalty I will never know.”
CHELSEA 3 ASTON VILLA 0
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho revealed Diego Costa is barely training, yet the Spain striker is still tearing Barclays Premier League defences apart after netting his eighth of the season in the 3-0 defeat of Aston Villa.
Mourinho celebrated his 250th match in charge of the Blues with goals from Oscar and Willian either side of Costa’s eighth goal in his first six Premier League games, a tally second only to Micky Quinn’s 10 with Coventry 22 years ago.
That is despite the £32million summer signing from Atletico Madrid having a hamstring injury which limits his involvement in training to “almost nothing”.
Mourinho said: “I don’t care about Diego’s goals. For me it’s important that the team score enough goals to win.
“I know a striker scoring goals is always nice for him and for his confidence, especially for a player like him who is not training as he should, because we are protecting him in certain situations.
“He cannot be on top of his game, but even so scoring a goal is good for his confidence. He’s doing almost nothing (in training). He’s just resting and recovering from the tight muscle he has. Every time he accumulates fatigue.”
Mourinho believes Costa will only be fully fit if he is given leave from the Spain squad for next month’s matches with Slovakia and Luxembourg and fears a hamstring tear if his call is ignored.
HULL CITY 2 MANCHESTER CITY 4
Edin Dzeko’s wonderful double and Frank Lampard’s fourth goal in three games sealed a 4-2 victory for Manchester City despite the champions at one stage surrendering a two-goal lead over Hull.
City looked to have pocketed the points early on as Sergio Aguero and Dzeko both found the net inside 11 minutes, the Bosnian hitting a stunning strike from the edge of the penalty area.
But Hull wrestled their way back into contention with a helping hand from £32million centre-back Eliaquim Mangala.
The Frenchman, so impressive on debut against Chelsea last weekend, headed a calamitous own-goal past Willy Cabellero - handed a Barclays Premier League debut ahead of the dropped Joe Hart - and then gave away a penalty with a reckless high tackle on Abel Hernandez.
Hull’s record signing converted the spot-kick and at half-time it was the hosts who seemed likelier winners.
But Manuel Pellegrini’s visiting side regained control after the interval and sealed victory through Dzeko’s clinical finish and a trademark strike from the evergreen Lampard.
For Pellegrini a first win in four league matches will be relief, but there was plenty of room for improvement.
SOUTHAMPTON 2 QPR 1
Graziano Pelle’s acrobatic volley ensured an unhappy south coast return for Harry Redknapp as Southampton saw off QPR 2-1 at St Mary’s.
On-loan defender Ryan Bertrand opened his Saints account to hand the hosts the lead before Charlie Austin blasted home on the turn.
Italian striker Pelle trumped Austin’s smart finish with a true showman’s goal to secure Saints’ fourth win in six Premier League ties this term.
Austin had a fine chance to double his tally, but headed wide, while Nico Kranjcar also hit the woodwork with a fine free-kick.
Southampton’s victory kept them second in the table, after Chelsea eased past Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, to continue coach Ronald Koeman’s fine Premier League start.
SUNDERLAND 0 SWANSEA CITY 0
Connor Wickham passed up a glorious opportunity to claim a first win of the season for Sunderland over 10-man Swansea.
The unmarked striker was picked out by Sebastian Larsson six yards from goal with 16 minutes of a tight contest remaining, but sent his header wastefully over the bar to let the Swans off the hook as the Black Cats had to settle for their fifth draw in six league outings to date.
CRYSTAL PALACE 2 LEICESTER CITY 0
Leicester were given a reality check at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace made sure a memorable week the visitors ended in defeat.
Having come from two goals down to beat Manchester United 5-3 last weekend, Leicester coach Nigel Pearson conceded pre-match that he now had to stop people getting over-excited with his side’s impressive start to life in the Barclays Premier League.
But there was little to send the travelling contingent back to the East Midlands feeling giddy as the bite of top-flight football saw the visitors punished for a rare off-day, losing 2-0.
For Palace manager Neil Warnock, this was a second win in six days as goals from Fraizer Campbell and Mile Jedinak settled an encounter which inherently lacked the quality both sides showed in causing upsets last Sunday.
* with Press Association
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