EPL results at a glance: Liverpool opens up gap at the top with late winner

LIVERPOOL opened up a four-point gap at the top with a dramatic late winner against Nottingham Forest. With title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal playing on Sunday (March 3) and Tuesday (March 5), respectively, the Merseyside outfit saw an opportunity to ramp up the pressure. It sets up the Manchester derby nicely with the onus on City to keep up ahead of the visit to Anfield next week.

FocusM looks at the talking points of the games played on Saturday.

Nottingham Forest 0 v Liverpool 1

The home team displayed a defensive solidity that is the hallmark of Nuno Espirito Santos sides and thought they had done enough to earn at least a point. But the visitors dug deep and in the 99th minute, substitute Darwin Nunez rose high to nod the ball home.

Cue pandemonium on the Liverpool bench as their performance had hardly merited the three points. Fatigue was clearly showing in Jurgen Klopp’s side, who were playing their third game in six days but overcame both tired legs and dogged defending to keep the top spot for now.

Tottenham Hotspurs 3 v Crystal Palace 1

Crystal Palace is on a different side, with Eberiche Eze on the other side. They look sharper and more likely to spring a promising attack when he is on the ball. His fabulous free kick encapsulates his importance to the team, but his opener was not enough to keep the Eagles from losing this London derby.

New Palace coach Oliver Glassner will need time to impose his ideas, not least the new formation of 3-4-2-1 on his players. He will also need them to maintain discipline and concentration as late goals from Timo Werner, Christian Romero and Son Heung-min gave Spurs maximum points.

Everton 1 v West Ham United 3

Everton were buoyed by the news of their ten-point penalty for financial irregularities being reduced to six. That meant the Toffees climbed out of the drop zone but a few more performances like this will see them sucked back into a relegation dogfight. West Ham struck twice in stoppage time with goals from Tomas Soucek and Edson Alvarez turning the tide in favour of the visitors.

Sean Dyche’s men are now winless in 10 games and if this continues, they will only have themselves to blame if they slip out of the top division.

Brentford 2 v Chelsea 2

Brentford are arguably among the smallest clubs operating in England’s top flight. Yet with Thomas Frank at the helm, they have managed to punch above their weight and establish themselves among the elite. Chelsea once belonged to an elite group.

Though stocked to the rafters with hugely talented footballers, the Blues needed a late goal to salvage a draw against a side with infinitely fewer resources than them, not to mention a debilitating injury list. Chelsea owners must be thinking about what it would be like to have Frank in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Newcastle United 3 v Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

The home side’s season looked like it was unravelling at a frantic pace as an early exit from the Champions League seemed to completely deflate them. Coupled with a lengthy injury list, the Magpies slid to tenth, but this victory sees them back in contention for a European spot. That would be the very minimum for the Saudi Arabian owners, who will expect European football at St James Park next term.

The victory, secured courtesy of goals from Alexander Isak, Anthony Gordon and Valentino Livramento, will have eased the growing pressure on manager Eddie Howe as he plots a late assault on those prized European places.

Fulham 3 v Brighton and Hove Albion 0

It seems every team now has a Brazilian match-winner. Fulham’s is Rodrigo Muniz who has now netted five times in his last five league games. Harry Wilson had given the home side the lead with a delightful long-range effort before Adama Traore made it safe in stoppage time.

The Seagulls’ form has dipped lately and this defeat severely damages their chances of playing in European football next season. Brighton’s high defensive line is a risky ploy as sides now seem to have rumbled Robert De Zerbi’s tactics.

Luton Town 2 v Aston Villa 3

Ollie Watkins is looking to cement his place in the England squad for the upcoming Euro 2024. England boss Gareth Southgate will have taken notice of the forward’s strong performance here, as his first-half brace seemed to have secured maximum points for Aston Villa with the home side looking down and out. The Hatters though introduced a stirring comeback in the second period to level the scores but were left empty handed courtesy of a late goal from Lucas Digne.

Unai Emery’s team has tightened their grip on the fourth spot ahead of the match against the fifth-place Spurs next weekend. Based on this performance, Luton does not appear to be going down without a fight. – March 3, 2024


All photos credited to The Guardian

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