EPL

Premier League Data Diary: Reds remain unstoppable after rivals falter

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

Dreams of Premier League glory began to feel like an inevitability at Anfield as Liverpool beat Manchester United on a weekend that saw Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City drop points.

Jurgen Klopp's side dispatched their old rivals with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, leaving Reds supporters full of confidence after Burnley came from behind to beat third-placed Leicester 2-1 at Turf Moor.

There was a surprise result at St. James' Park on Saturday, Frank Lampard's Chelsea dominating for long periods against Newcastle United but succumbing to a late Isaac Hayden goal in a 1-0 defeat.

There were late goals at the Etihad Stadium, where Sergio Aguero thought he had won it with a brace, only for Fernandinho to put through his own net in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The weekend's Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, as well as Wolves' dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Southampton at St. Mary's.

 

ANFIELD FULL OF HOPE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK HOME WINS OVER UNITED

They are no longer saying it quietly: Liverpool fans firmly believe the title is theirs after watching their side beat United on Sunday.

The victory marked the first time Liverpool have claimed consecutive home Premier League wins over the Red Devils since winning three in a row between September 2008 and March 2011 and there was an air of invulnerability around Anfield at the final whistle.

Liverpool have taken 91 points from a possible 93 in their last 31 Premier League matches, winning 30 and drawing just one, while United have now lost nine of their last 16 top-flight away games (W3 D4 L9).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score in eight of those games and they gave Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson little to do despite creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Alisson kept himself busy by becoming the first Reds keeper to assist a Premier League goal since March 2010, when Pepe Reina laid on a goal against Sunderland.

 

 


LATE HAYDEN WINNER LEAVES LAMPARD'S BLUES REELING

Chelsea have lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of 2018-19 after Hayden scored in the 94th minute to snatch victory for Newcastle over Lampard's inconsistent Blues.

Four of Chelsea's eight league defeats this season have come in their last eight matches and supporters making the trip to Tyneside had reason to be fearful of their side coming unstuck.

Chelsea have now lost five of their last seven top-flight trips to St. James' Park but defeats to teams managed by Steve Bruce have been a rare occurrence - this was only the second time he has beaten the Blues in 23 games against them as a manager (D5 L16).

Prior to Hayden's strike, Newcastle had not scored a last-minute winner since Ayoze Perez struck against Tottenham in December 2015.

It was Hayden's third Premier League goal and came in his 70th appearance in the competition, his last coming in February 2019 against Wolves.

 

POROUS CITY PAY FOR ERRORS AT THE BACK

City came from behind to lead with three minutes left in their clash with Palace but conceded at home in the Premier League for the 12th time this season as the Eagles secured a point at the death.

Pep Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals at home in the league as they did in the whole of last season and this was their third draw of the 2019-20 season - in their title-winning campaign last term they only drew twice.

Aguero's double inside five minutes marked the Argentina international's 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for the club in his 360th appearance, but Fernandinho became the first City player to score a Premier League own-goal since Nicolas Otamendi against Huddersfield Town in November 2017.

The scoring was opened by new signing Cenk Tosun, who netted in the 39th minute to become the fourth Turkish player to reach 10 Premier League goals after Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay.

Palace are ninth in the table after four consecutive draws - the last time they drew as many Premier League games in a row was in 1992-93 when they started the season with the same sequence.

 

WOLVES EMERGING AS COMEBACK SPECIALISTS

When Raul Jimenez scored from the penalty spot at St. Mary's he pulled Wolves level after they had been two goals down, but there was even better to follow for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Jimenez scored again in the 76th minute, taking his tally to 19 goals in all competitions this season and clinching three points for Wolves that means they have now picked up 18 from losing positions in the Premier League this season - seven more than any other side.

Falling behind after 15 minutes to a Jan Bednarek goal was nothing new for the visitors, who have conceded first in 16 league games this season including each of their last seven in a row.

But Jimenez has been directly involved in 28 goals this season and after Shane Long netted his 54th Premier League goal to make it 2-0 to the Saints, Pedro Neto scored for the second time in his last three league appearances to tee up the Mexico international for a memorable brace.

Jimenez now has 19 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions this season, giving him more direct goal involvements than any other top-flight player in 2019-20.

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  • Robertson: Liverpool can't take Anfield for granted Robertson: Liverpool can't take Anfield for granted

    Andy Robertson warned Liverpool not to take Anfield for granted in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid.

    Champions League holders Liverpool will go into the return leg against Atletico on March 11 trailing 1-0 on aggregate after their loss at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday.

    But while the Premier League leaders will be eyeing yet another special European outing at Anfield, Robertson said his team had to make sure they got the job done.

    "We can't take that for granted. Anfield's big, Anfield's amazing for us but we can't take it for granted," he told reporters.

    "I know the fans won't but the fans can't take it for granted either that it will just be another special Anfield night. We need to try and make it an Anfield night.

    "And that's up to the players and it's up to the fans to all come together to try and make it a special night and hopefully we can do it."

    Liverpool failed to have a shot on target in Madrid, where they were frustrated by Atletico after Saul Niguez's fourth-minute opener.

    Robertson, whose team are 25 points clear atop the Premier League, said Jurgen Klopp's side would need to be at their best in the return leg.

    "We are confident that we can win any game so we need to win this game. We know we need to beat them and we need to beat them with a scoreline that suits us," the left-back said.

    "We, obviously, can't really concede. We have been in this position before. You know Napoli at home, we had that same situation in the group stages [last season].

    "We have had these situations before but if we are not at 100 per cent then we will not win the game. We've got a couple of games before then and then we will be 100 per cent ready for this game."

  • I was afraid their players would go down every time he breathed! – Klopp hits out at Atletico's treatment of Mane I was afraid their players would go down every time he breathed! – Klopp hits out at Atletico's treatment of Mane

    Jurgen Klopp accused Atletico Madrid's players of deliberately attempting to get Sadio Mane sent off in Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano.

    Champions League holders Liverpool suffered just a fourth loss of the campaign in Tuesday's last-16 first leg after Saul Niguez's fourth-minute strike.

    Klopp made the surprise decision to substitute Mane, the match-winner against Norwich City at the weekend, for Divock Origi at half-time.

    Mane was cautioned for clashing with Sime Vrsaljko and Atleti's players pleaded with referee Szymon Marciniak to dismiss the Senegalese when he caught the same player with a flailing arm.

    Klopp confirmed after the game the decision to replace Mane was not down to an injury concern, the forward having only recently returned from a hamstring injury.

    "It's part of football, I don't like it, but the plan was to get Sadio out the game with a second yellow card," he said at his post-match news conference.

    "I was a little afraid the opponent would go down even if Sadio had a deep breath. I didn't want that situation, that's why I took him off."

    Klopp was also forced to replace skipper Jordan Henderson late on after he tweaked his hamstring, but the Liverpool boss downplayed the severity of the injury.

    "Hendo felt something, unfortunately," he said. "We have to wait – he was not too concerned, but it was enough for him to go off."

    Saul's strike came as a result of some poor defending from Liverpool, but the visitors felt they should have been awarded a throw-in in the lead up to the corner that Atletico scored from.

    Klopp's men had 73 per cent of possession in the Spanish capital but failed to register a single attempt on target, with Mohamed Salah and Henderson coming closest to equalising.

    "Would I have liked to have got the throw-in? Yes. That would have made our life easier," Klopp, himself shown a yellow card for dissent in the second half, told reporters. 

    "Coming here and having 70 per cent possession is exceptional, our build-up was outstanding against a high-press team – it was next level, the best we have done for a long time. 

    "The intensity was exactly how it should be, putting the opponent under pressure in the final third we were not clinical enough. We didn't have enough clear-cut chances. 

    "We had chances but not enough. Staying in the game is development. We had games in atmospheres like this where we lost focus and they scored a second. That did not look like happening tonight. 

    "It is 1-0 at half-time. We don't give up when it's 15 minutes half-time so why should we when we have three weeks? The second half will be played in a different stadium, our stadium, and you will feel that. We are looking forward to it.

    "All Atletico fans who have a ticket for the game, welcome to Anfield."

  • Atletico started beating Liverpool on the roundabout outside! - Simeone Atletico started beating Liverpool on the roundabout outside! - Simeone

    Diego Simeone was in awe of the way the Atletico Madrid supporters welcomed the arrival of Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday and felt it proved key to their victory.

    Supporters lined the streets outside the stadium, lit flares and chanted at great volume as the European and world champions' bus arrived for the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.

    Atleti had won just once in seven matches in all competitions heading into the game but Simeone's side upset the odds, scoring early through Saul Niguez and holding on for a 1-0 lead to take to Anfield.

    "We started winning on the roundabout next to the stadium," Simeone told Movistar. "In eight years, I've never seen a reception like that."

    He added in his press conference: "[The atmosphere] was exciting, it makes you want to play. The team responded with great effort, as they did in Valencia.

    "It was not [the best night] because we didn't get a title, but there are nights you don't forget and this was one of them.

    "The best team in the world comes after a lot of wins and you beat them."

    Simeone had talked up the Wanda atmosphere prior to the match as he recognised the need to get a result before travelling to Anfield, where Liverpool have not lost in any competition since September 2018.

    Anticipating a similar mood on Merseyside, the Atleti boss expects a tricky encounter.

    "We're going to play with a lot of humility, because they are accustomed to playing massive games in their stadium," he said.

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