IMAGE: Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez celebrates scoring their third goal with Jarell Quansah and Luis Diaz. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Liverpool reclaimed top spot in the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Burnley at Anfield on Saturday, but they were made to battle hard by a brave visiting side.
Liverpool are on 54 points, two clear of Manchester City, who have a game in hand. Burnley remained second bottom on 13 points.
Goals from Dioga Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez saw off a Burnley side which had gone in level at the break thanks to Dara O’Shea’s goal.
Manchester City’s 2-0 win over Everton had lifted Pep Guardiola’s side one point ahead in the table, and a packed Anfield expected a blistering start from the home side.
Instead, the stadium record attendance for a league game of 59,896 saw Burnley pose the greatest early threat as Liverpool struggled to find a foothold.
“I can really imagine how Vincent Kompany is feeling right now because they did a lot of good stuff and made it really uncomfortable for us,” Juergen Klopp told Sky Sports.
Klopp had to make do without keeper Alisson and defender Joe Gomez, both out with flu, and the suspended Ibrahima Konate.
Andy Robertson made his first start since October and Wataru Endo was straight back into the team following Asian Cup duty with Japan as Caoimhin Kelleher filled in between the posts.
Kelleher was called into action early, coming out to block an effort from Zeki Amdouni as Burnley created the early danger.
IMAGE: Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez scores their third goal. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
Liverpool began to grow into the game but had little to show for their efforts until Burnley keeper James Trafford’s error at a corner.
Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped the corner in and Trafford came out to claim it but got nowhere near the ball and Jota had an easy header to give Liverpool the lead in the 31st minute.
Burnley never gave up, and in the 45th minute O’Shea directed a powerful header from a corner beyond Kelleher into the top corner for his first Premier League goal.
Liverpool came out with renewed energy and retook the lead within seven minutes.
Harvey Elliot, a halftime substitute, played a ball across goal which took a deflection before Diaz dived in with a header from close range.
Burnley had chances to draw level again, but Kelleher made a fine save from David Fofana in a one-on-one situation, with Wilson Odobert blasting the rebound wide.
Fofana was through again but with only the keeper to beat he pulled his curling effort just wide of the post.
With 11 minutes to play, Liverpool wrapped up all three points. Another corner fell to Jota but after his shot was blocked he passed to Elliot and his floated ball found Nunez who leaned back and headed into the bottom corner.
There was no way back for Burnley, and Liverpool could have had another in added time but Trafford saved a close-range effort when Nunez should have done better.
IMAGE: Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring their second goal. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
City beat Everton
Erling Haaland announced his return to the scoresheet in emphatic fashion with a brace to lift Manchester City to a 2-0 home victory over relegation-threatened Everton on Saturday and briefly into top spot in the Premier League table.
Haaland, who recently missed almost two months with a broken bone in his foot, netted his 15th and 16th of the season in the second half to break down some stubborn Everton resistance and go clear at the top of the Premier League scorers’ list.
He also added another record to his collection with the 23-year-old bagging 51 goals in 50 league starts — more goals in 50 starts than any other player in the competition.
IMAGE: Erling Braut Haaland scores past Everton’s Jordan Pickford. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Pep Guardiola’s team have 52 points after 23 games. Liverpool reclaimed top spot. Everton are in the relegation zone in 18th.
Haaland’s return to form was perfect timing for City who had 72.5% possession against Everton but mustered just three shots on target.
“The changes in the second half gave us another rhythm and of course Erling is back. To have this player, when the ball is there from a corner… and the finishing was amazing,” Guardiola said.
IMAGE: Brighton & Hove Albion’s Carlos Baleba in action with Tottenham Hotspur’s Micky van de Ven. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters
Johnson grabs late winner
Tottenham Hotspur moved back into the Premier League’s top four as substitute Brennan Johnson struck deep in stoppage time to secure a 2-1 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
Johnson slammed the ball high into the net from a low cross from Tottenham’s captain Son Heung-min who had started on the bench after returning from his Asian Cup duty.
Son’s introduction, shortly after Pape Matar Sarr had equalised for the hosts, provoked the loudest cheer of the day until Johnson’s winner in the seventh minute of added time.
It had been hard work for Tottenham who fell behind early on to a Pascal Gross penalty after Danny Welbeck was fouled.
They improved after the break, though, and levelled in the 61st minute through Sarr who tucked in a rebound after his initial low cross had deflected against the post.
A point apiece would have been about fair but Johnson’s late show sent Tottenham fans home in full voice as their side moved into fourth, above Aston Villa with 47 points from 24 games.