LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Frank Lampard proved his enduring worth to Chelsea by scoring twice in a hard-fought 2-1 win at Everton on Sunday, keeping his team on the fringes of the Premier League title race.
Having fallen behind to Steven Pienaar's goal after just 63 seconds, Chelsea had the 34-year-old Lampard to thank for securing a fourth straight win to maintain the momentum under interim manager Rafa Benitez.
The England midfielder, who has yet to be offered an extension to a contract that expires in June, headed in a 42nd-minute equalizer from Ramires' cross and grabbed the winner in the 72nd by turning the ball high into the net from close range after Juan Mata's shot was saved by goalkeeper Tim Howard.
The double will undoubtedly increase speculation about the future of Lampard, a mainstay at Chelsea since joining the London club in 2001. Injury has restricted him to 11 league appearances this season, but Chelsea hasn't lost any of them and he has now scored six times.
"I know there is a lot of speculation and talk but I just want to continue playing," said Lampard, one of the most prolific midfielders in Premier League history. "I will always have Chelsea in me for life."
Everton lost its unbeaten home record this season but deserved at least a point, with Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic twice hitting the goal frame and missing a golden chance in stoppage time to equalize. The hosts, who last lost at Goodison Park in March to Arsenal, could have gone above their opponents with a win.