Manchester City may be storming ahead at the top of the Premier League table in England, but Liverpool are playing their part in an attempt to keep the title fight interesting.
Chelsea waved a white flag after their 1-0 defeat at the Etihad on Saturday. However Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are not as willing to go down without a fight.
Their 3-0 win over Brentford was sometimes fraught, but the three point were always heading to Anfield after Roberto Firmino stepped up in the absence of AFCON-duty-bound Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
A 3-0 victory was a little flattering for Liverpool as they did not put the game to bed until late on, but the win took them to a paltry 11 points behind City — albeit with one game in hand.
If they can get through this period in the absence of two of their superstar attacking triumvirate, they can look to pounce on any City stumble and try to claw back the difference.
Interestingly, they are only four behind in goal difference — and we have seen many Premier League titles come down to final-day drama in the Premier League as massive gaps have been whittled down (looking at Newcastle, Manchester United and, erm, Liverpool for this).
It might look like a tall order, but eight points would not be gargantuan should Liverpool keep up their ability to get the results on the board. They just need to eradicate the draws that seem to hurt them every season — they have lost only two games this campaign (the same as City) but still find themselves 11 points behind Pep Guardiola’s defending champions.
The red side of Merseyside can wheeze at the debacle going on at Goodison Park, mind you, as Rafa Benitez — the mastermind behind the Champions League triumph in Istanbul for Liverpool — as his unwelcome (for some) stay at Everton was a short one and he was jettisoned on Sunday, just about the same time as Liverpool put the result to bed against Brentford.
While Everton fret about relegation from the top-flight for the first time since 1951, Liverpool turn their attentions to bigger fish — namely reeling in City, and another Champions League title — they face Inter Milan in mid-February on that latter quest in the round of 16. A tall task, but any silverware is always welcome at Anfield and the League Cup and FA Cup are also up for grabs.
Elsewhere, West Ham seem to be making it easy for the London clubs as their 3-2 setback against Leeds on Sunday handed the impetus to Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal in the race for the top for (let’s face it, the top the are the same once again).
Liverpool climbed to second thanks to goals from Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino in their 3-0 win over Brentford at Anfield.
The win ended a three-match winless patch in the league for Liverpool which has seen them fall off the pace in the title race.
West Ham United squandered a chance to cement fourth spot in the Premier League as they lost 3-2 at home to Leeds United, with Jack Harrison scoring a hat-trick for the visitors.
After three successive wins West Ham had the chance to open up a five-point gap between themselves and fifth-placed Arsenal whose game at Tottenham Hotspur was postponed.
But Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, missing seven players through injury or suspension, had other ideas. Harrison opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a pinpoint finish but Jarrod Bowen equalised with a header in the 34th minute — his fourth goal in his last three games. Harrison touched in from close range three minutes later to give Leeds the halftime lead.
When Pablo Fornals levelled again with a precise finish seven minutes after the break it seemed West Ham would go and win but Leeds responded in magnificent fashion. Harrison’s deft finish after dazzling play by Raphinha restored their lead and Raphinha rattled the woodwork with a superb free kick before Leeds had an effort by Mateusz Klich ruled out for a harsh offside. The win lifted Leeds to 15th, nine points above the relegation zone.
West Ham remained fourth with 37 points but the three sides below them — Arsenal (35), Tottenham (33) and Manchester United (32) all have at least two games in hand.