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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 27 February 2021

Liverpool go clear at top while Everton beat Leicester

Arsenal snaps run of four successive home league defeats but are still six matches without a win

Liverpool players observe a minute applause in memory of former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur in Liverpool, Britain, December 16, 2020. EPA
Liverpool players observe a minute applause in memory of former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur in Liverpool, Britain, December 16, 2020. EPA

Roberto Firmino's 90th-minute header sent Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, whose 11-match unbeaten run came to an end on Wednesday.

Tottenham began the night ahead on goal difference and will rue some golden chances after the break, but Firmino's goal sparked joy among the 2,000 fans allowed in at Anfield.

Theo Walcott scored against his old club for Southampton, who moved into third spot with a 1-1 draw at struggling Arsenal.

The Gunners ended a game with 10 men for the second match running.

Everton backed up their weekend win over Chelsea to beat fourth-placed Leicester City 2-0 away and move into fifth spot.

Sebastien Haller's stunning bicycle kick secured a 1-1 draw for West Ham United at home to Crystal Palace, for whom Christian Benteke scored and was later shown a red card.

Leeds United struck three times in the last 11 minutes to sink Newcastle United 5-2 at Elland Road.

Fulham edged out of the bottom three with a 0-0 draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

All eyes were on Anfield, though, where Jose Mourinho's Tottenham were to face the biggest test yet of their title credentials against Jurgen Klopp's champions.

A fascinating clash of styles ensued with Liverpool dominating possession but Tottenham carving out enough chances to have ended Liverpool's long unbeaten home run in the Premier League, which now extends to 66 matches.

Liverpool went ahead through Mohamed Salah's deflected effort but Tottenham levelled from their first attack when Son Heung-min raced on to Giovani Lo Celso's through ball and drilled a shot past Alisson.

Tottenham offered more threat after the break and Steven Bergwijn burst through into the box but his shot cannoned off the inside of the upright.

Seconds later, Harry Kane headed wide from a corner with the goal at his mercy.

The visitors paid dearly for their missed chances as Brazilian Firmino sent a bullet header past Hugo Lloris in the final minute of normal time.

Mourinho and Klopp had a long discussion after the final whistle, with the Spurs boss saying he told his Liverpool equal that the "better team did not win".

"I thought he was joking but he wasn't," Klopp said.

Arsenal snapped a run of four successive home league defeats as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cancelled out Walcott's opener at the Emirates Stadium.

But the hosts are now six matches without a league win and pressure is growing on manager Mikel Arteta.

He was not helped by a red card for Gabriel after he hauled down Walcott in the 62nd minute.

"We showed some resilience and character to hang in there for so long against a really dangerous team," Arteta said.

Everton have rediscovered the form that sent them to the top of the table earlier in the season.

Richarlison gave them a half-time lead and Mason Holgate doubled their advantage after the break.

"It's been a good week. We've found consistency defensively and that was the reason for these two results," Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti said.

"The season is long but at the moment it's good."

Leeds and Newcastle were locked at 2-2 after 77 minutes but goals from Stuart Dallas, Ezgjan Alioski and a cracker from Jack Harrison secured the points for Marcelo Bielsa's vibrant side.

Updated: December 17, 2020 05:07 AM

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