Liverpool back on top with Spurs romp; Chelsea survive Cardiff scare - GulfToday

Liverpool back on top with Spurs romp; Chelsea survive Cardiff scare

Liverpool

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino scores against Tottenham Hotspur during their EPL match on Sunday. Reuters

Liverpool: Liverpool moved back top of the Premier League in dramatic fashion as Toby Alderweireld’s last minute own goal beat Tottenham 2-1 at Anfield while Chelsea narrowly avoided humiliation at Cardiff to hit back and snatch a controversial 2-1 win on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side move two points clear of Manchester City once more at the top of the table, but City have a game in hand.

Liverpool’s hopes of ending a 29-year wait to win the title looked set to be dealt a massive blow as Lucas Moura’s strike 20 minutes from time cancelled out Roberto Firmino’s early opener.

However, Hugo Lloris could only palm Mohamed Salah’s header into the path of the unfortunate Alderweireld to condemn Tottenham to a fourth defeat in five Premier League games.

Spurs are now in serious danger of crashing out of the top four as they remain level on points with Manchester United and could be usurped by north London rivals Arsenal into third should the Gunners beat Newcastle on Monday.

And the visitors will be left to regret a huge missed chance by Moussa Sissoko five minutes from time when Liverpool were wobbling.

The hosts had got off to the perfect start when Firmino headed home the opener on 16 minutes from a delightful Andy Robertson cross. That was Robertson’s 12th assist of the season from left-back and the Scotland captain was involved again in a flowing move moments later as he forged down the left and neat touches from Salah, and Georginio Wijnaldum teed up Sadio Mane to curl just wide.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was serving the last of a two-game touchline ban and without the guiding hand of the Argentine, they lacked inspiration in the final third.

However, Liverpool were often causing their own problems by gifting away possession inside their own half and Dele Alli pounced on a slack pass by his England teammate Jordan Henderson to power a volley that dipped just over the bar with Spurs’ best effort of the first-half.

Virgil van Dijk had a great chance to double the hosts’ lead at the start of the second period, but the Dutch defender headed over after a well-worked short corner between Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner.

However, Liverpool were thankful again to Robertson at the other end as he made a vital block to prevent Christian Eriksen firing home the rebound after Alisson Becker was forced into his first save of the afternoon by Harry Kane.

When these two sides met at Anfield last season, Salah scored one his many goal of the season candidates amidst an incredible 44-goal campaign.

Earlier, Blues boss Sarri was on the brink of a loss that would have pushed him closer to the sack after Victor Camarasa swept struggling Cardiff ahead early in the second half.

Chelsea’s travelling fans had made their feelings clear as they chanted “We want Sarri out” in the second half.

But Sarri’s luck was in as Cesar Azpilicueta headed Chelsea’s equaliser even though clearly offside with just six minutes left.

Chelsea’s fightback got another boost when Antonio Rudiger escaped a red card when he hauled down Kenneth Zohore.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek capped Chelsea’s sorely-needed escape act with a last-gasp winner.

The result keeps sixth placed Chelsea in contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League, leaving them just one point behind fourth as Sarri battles to salvage a wretched first season in charge.

Cardiff remain third bottom, with boss Neil Warnock visibly furious at the decisions that pushed his team closer to relegation.

The pressure on Sarri will reduce a little with this victory, but the performance was so unconvincing that it would be no surprise if Wednesday’s clash with Brighton is another close affair for the former Napoli boss.

Agence France-Presse