Man City’s Christmas Shocker Gifts Liverpool 6-Point League Lead
Having tasted defeat just twice last season, the English champions have now lost thrice in their last four matches.
Manchester City slumped to a second shock defeat in four days as Liverpool opened up a six-point league atop the Premier League to make it a rather merry Christmas for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Reds – seeking a first title in the Premier League era – extended their winning streak in the English top flight to eight matches with a comprehensive 4-0 win at home over Newcastle United, even as Pep Guardiola’s City were consigned to a 2-1 loss at Leicester City.
The reigning champions, who lost just twice en route a record-breaking title last season, have now been beaten thrice in their last four league outings – a run which has seen them fall to third, with red-hot Tottenham Hotspur climbing up to second after routing Bournemouth 5-0.
Klopp Low-Key Amid Reds’ Xmas Party
Rafael Benitez has little doubt Liverpool are ready to end a 28-year wait to win the English title. “They showed they are good enough to win the title,” Benitez said after watching his Newcastle side being dismantled by his former club at Anfield. “They have a very good team but a very good squad. When you want to win a league title you need to be consistent and they can do it.”
It took Liverpool only 11 minutes to lead in front of their boisterous home crowd through a striker’s finish from defender Dejan Lovren.
Three minutes after the break, Paul Dummett hauled down Mohamed Salah in the box and Liverpool's top scorer bagged his sixth goal in five matches by converting the penalty.
Xherdan Shaqiri made it 3-0 with 11 minutes to go, before substitute Fabinho bundled home a corner as the Reds kept their 12th clean sheet of the campaign, the same number they achieved when last winning the title in 1990.
With City having been stunned at home by Crystal Palace on Saturday, 22 December, Liverpool now possess the proudest home record in the division, not having lost in 30 matches since a 2-1 defeat to Palace in April 2017.
Klopp, however, played down the significance of Liverpool's six-point lead.
“That (six-point lead) means nothing. It is just information. It’s good we have six more points, but that is pretty much all.”Jurgen Klopp
Guardiola’s Gloom, Son Shines on Spurs
Manchester City recalled Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne after Saturday's shock defeat at home to Crystal Palace, but it had little effect as Pep Guardiola's men lost again at Leicester.
Bernardo Silva gave the visitors a 14th-minute lead before Leicester, who caused an upset of their own at the weekend by winning 1-0 at Chelsea, equalised through Marc Albrighton in the first half and won it in the 81st minute thanks to a screamer from Roberto Pereira.
To add to City's troubles, defender Fabian Delph was sent off for a bad tackle near the end.
“The reality is we have lost three in four. We have made an incredible amount of points at this stage and if we can get the same, or more, in the second half of the season then we are fighting to win the championship. But at the moment, the reality is two teams are better than us.”Pep Guardiola
Tottenham continued a rampant festive ride by following up a 6-2 romp at Everton on Sunday, 23 December, with a 5-0 thrashing of Bournemouth to claim an eighth win in nine league games.
Son Heung-min kept up his impressive scoring record with two goals, while there was one apiece for Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane.
Just like Klopp, however, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino refused to get overly excited: “It doesn't mean too much to us to be second or third, or first, I think the most important thing is where you finish in May.”
Solskjaer Ignites Pogba, Hazard’s Hundred
Paul Pogba grabbed two goals to help interim coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrate his first home match in charge of sixth-placed Manchester United with a 3-1 victory against bottom club Huddersfield. Solskjaer’s maiden game at the helm had resulted in a resounding 5-1 win at Cardiff City.
Eden Hazard scored his 100th and 101st goals for the club as Chelsea won at Watford 2-1, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted his 13th league goal in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Brighton.
With Arsenal dropping points, Chelsea reopen a two-point cushion in fourth place. Maurizio Sarri’s side are four points behind Man City with 40 points at the halfway mark of the league campaign.
(With inputs from AP)
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.