City maintain lead

RAHEEM Sterling on Saturday scored his first hat-trick of the season for Manchester City as they beat Watford 3-1 at home to go an initial four points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table.

City were left frustrated in the first half after spurning the few opportunities they created against a defensive Hornets side who made seven changes including dropping Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu to the bench.

The deadlock was broken in controversial fashion with Sterling’s opener which was initially flagged for offside before being given with the ball going in off the City winger from Daryl Janmaat’s touch.

There was no doubts about his second as the former Liverpool man tapped in from close range from Riyad Mahrez’s cross.

And the pick of his goals was his third as he ran onto David Silva’s pass to calmly slot the ball past Ben Foster for his 18th goal of the season.

The visitors, who seemed to have one eye on their FA Cup quarter-final next weekend, improved after bringing on Deeney and Deulofeu and the latter scored with his first touch to reduce the deficit.

However, the City four-point lead earlier was pruned to one by Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, who beat Burnley 4-2 at Anfield yesterday. – Eurosport

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