Liverpool closed the gap at the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Burnley in difficult conditions on Sunday while Tottenham Hotspur slipped to a third consecutive league defeat as they succumbed 2-0 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
West Ham United capitalised on Spurs dropping further points in the race for a spot in the top four as Craig Dawson snatched the Hammers a last-gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Leicester City, while Newcastle United boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa.
Liverpool’s trip to Burnley was a potential “banana skin”, as manager Jurgen Klopp put it after the match, despite the hosts coming into the contest having won just one of their previous 23 league games.
League leaders Manchester City’s 4-0 win at Norwich City on Saturday extended their advantage over second-placed Liverpool to 12 points, and with games running out the Reds knew they needed to close that gap.
The home side initially adapted better to the awful conditions in Lancashire, but their profligacy in front of goal cost them dear as Fabinho pounced to score what proved to be the winner in the 40th minute. It was the Brazilian’s fifth goal since the turn of the year.
Burnley continued to press in the second half, but Liverpool dug in to see out the win, with goalkeeper Alisson standing firm when called upon. The Brazilian made more saves at Turf Moor than in any other league match this season.
“Next game is Leeds who are in a fight for survival as well. These are really difficult and that is why we don’t think about it (the title race)”
Burnley remain rooted to the bottom of the table on 14 points, now seven points from safety after 17th-placed Newcastle beat Villa at St James’ Park.
Kieran Trippier’s deflected free-kick was enough for Eddie Howe’s side to earn their third league win in a row.
SPURS’ STRUGGLES CONTINUE
Having lost their previous two league games before Wolves’ visit to North London, Antonio Conte’s Spurs needed to get back to winning ways if they were to keep pace with their rivals in the race for a top-four finish.
Spurs were up against from early in the game, with Raul Jimenez volleying Wolves into the lead inside six minutes.
Things quickly went from bad to worse as Leander Dendoncker doubled Wolves’ lead in the 19th minute.
Tottenham improved in the second half but the closest they came was a deflected Harry Winks shot against the post, allowing Wolves to leapfrog the London club into seventh place with 37 points, only four behind fourth-placed West Ham.
“We created many chances to score and we had the possession, but for sure it is very difficult to explain the way we started — I think the two goals are very difficult to comment (on),” Conte said. “In the end we are talking about another defeat.”
It is the first time Conte has lost three league games in a row since his days managing Atalanta in November 2009.
The major talking point of West Ham’s trip to Leicester occurred before the match, with Kurt Zouma named in the visitors’ starting XI despite widespread condemnation over a video on social media this week, in which the defender was seen abusing his pet cats, only for him to pull out in the pre-match warm-up.
Jarrod Bowen fired West Ham into a 10th minute lead, but goals from Youri Tielemans and Ricardo Pereira turned the match on its head and put Leicester on course for a first win in five games in all competitions.
Dawson, however, had the final say as he salvaged the draw West Ham from a corner in the 91st minute, moving his side onto 41 points from 25 matches, a point above Manchester United in fifth.