LONDON — Liverpool continued its perfect start to the Premier League season as Daniel Sturridge scored a superb goal to give the Reds a 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Saturday and Arsenal brushed off talk of crisis with a 3-1 win at London rivals Fulham.
The England striker showed his technical finesse in the 21st minute after Philippe Coutinho let Jose Enrique’s low cross run past him to Sturridge, who skipped round two Villa defenders and goalkeeper Brad Guzan before poking the ball into the roof of the net with the outside of his left foot.
Sturridge’s eighth goal in his last seven Premier League appearances gave Brendan Rodgers’ men a second consecutive win after they opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Stoke. Liverpool has yet to concede a goal and hosts rival and defending champion Manchester United next weekend.
Arsenal eased its angry fans’ concerns about their lack of signings by earning its first points in the Premier League this season with their win at a rain-soaked Craven Cottage.
In Saturday’s other matches, Stoke came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 while newly-promoted Hull claimed its first win of the season with a 1-0 win over Norwich. Everton was held 0-0 by West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle-West Ham also finished scoreless and Southampton drew 1-1 with Sunderland.
Manchester United plays host to Chelsea on Monday in a much-anticipated clash between the clubs’ new managers David Moyes and Jose Mourinho.
SERIE A: In Rome, Luca Toni scored twice as Hellas Verona beat AC Milan 2-1 to celebrate its return to the league after an 11-year absence as the Italian league opened with a shock.
It was more to form, meanwhile, as Juventus kicked off its bid for a third consecutive title with Carlos Tevez scoring in the 58th minute of a 1-0 win at Sampdoria, which beat the Bianconeri in both league meetings last season.
Tevez, Juve’s big off-season acquisition from Manchester City, only had to tap in after taking a pass from Paul Pogba at the edge of the box on a rainy night at the Juventus Stadium.
In Verona, Andrea Poli put Milan ahead in the 14th minute following a pass from Mario Balotelli before the 6-foot-5 Toni struck back with headers in the 30th and 53rd.
It was a disturbing result for Milan ahead of Wednesday’s return-leg match with PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League playoffs. Milan also gave up a lead in the opening leg, drawing 1-1.
BUNDESLIGA: In Berlin, defending champion Bayern Munich ground out a hard-fought 2-0 win over Nuremberg to maintain its winning star.
Franck Ribery met Philipp Lahm’s cross with a header to break the deadlock in the 69th, and Arjen Robben sealed it when he eluded three defenders and scored in the 78th.
Bayern toiled to break down the Nuremberg defense, however, in the 187th derby between the sides.
Schalke’s poor season start continued with a 2-1 loss at Hannover, where the visitors finished with nine players and the hosts 10.
Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-2 to win eight Bundesliga games in a row for the first time. Freiburg drew 3-3 at Hoffenheim, where three players and the Freiburg coach were sent off.
Wolfsburg midfielder Luiz Gustavo was sent off in a 2-0 defeat at Mainz, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Nicolai Mueller scoring for the home side.