Chelsea sink Liverpoool to 5th
Liverpool have now dropped to 5th position after two successive defeats.
LONDON - Chelsea heaped more Christmas misery on Liverpool with a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge and Olivier Giroud's goal helped Arsenal win 1-0 at Newcastle United to return to the top of the Premier League on Sunday.
Chelsea fell behind to a goal from Martin Skrtel after four minutes, but rallied with first-half strikes from Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto'o to inflict a second defeat in four days on Liverpool following their loss at Manchester City.
Liverpool were incensed not to be awarded a penalty late in the match when Eto'o appeared to foul Suarez right in front of referee Howard Webb, but the official waved away their protests and Chelsea closed out the win.
Liverpool have had the wind taken out of the sails with back-to-back away defeats against fellow title challengers with both games starting brightly for them before turning sour.
They had their tails up after four minutes when Skrtel put them ahead, tapping home from close range after Luis Suarez beat Branislav Ivanovic to a Philippe Coutinho free kick.
That sparked Chelsea into life and they rapidly got on top, with Brazilian David Luiz, drafted into midfield to replace the suspended Ramires, showing why Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho might be tempted to use him there more often.
Chelsea attacked in waves and drew level through Hazard on 17 minutes with the Belgium international curling home after the ball broke fortuitously to him on the edge of the area.
Liverpool, top on Christmas Day, dropped to fifth, a point behind local rivals Everton who moved fourth with 37 points thanks to a second-half winner from Romelu Lukaku.
"We were lucky to win the game because it is very tight," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told Sky Sports before praising the players for putting on a fantastic show for fans.
Everton moved back into the top four with a 2-1 win over Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur beat Stoke City 3-0 to get their first victory since appointing Tim Sherwood manager as the English game served up more drama in its congested festive schedule.
Arsenal's win came courtesy of France striker Giroud, who had not scored in all competitions since November 23, but got the faintest of touches to glance a Theo Walcott free kick into the net midway through the second half.
They now top the table with 42 points from 19 games, one clear of Manchester City with Chelsea a point further adrift in third.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew remained upbeat despite his team slipping to eighth in the table.
A Roberto Soldado penalty and goals from Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon lifted Tottenham to seventh on 34 points.
Everton took the lead against Southampton after nine minutes when Seamus Coleman cut inside and fired an angled shot into the net for his fourth goal in seven Premier League games.
Gaston Ramirez levelled with a thundering shot from distance before Lukaku ran on to a pass from James McCarthy and the Belgium striker took one touch and fired home from 12 metres.