Liverpool midfielder Alexis Mac Allister admits it was nice to be momentarily freed from the restrictions of his defensive role to score the “best goal of my life”.

The Argentina international’s superb 30-yard rising drive into the top corner in Sunday’s dramatic 4-3 win over Fulham was his first for the club since signing from Brighton in the summer.

His attacking qualities have been largely nullified following his arrival as necessity has meant he has been asked to play a deeper role in midfield than he is used to, but his flash of brilliance showed he has not lost any of his instincts in the final third.

“Not a bad start to my career there in Liverpool as a goalscorer,” he said.

“I had a nice one against Leicester (for Brighton) but it was disallowed so I think it was the best goal I scored in my life.

“As soon as I hit it, I knew that it was going to be a goal. When I play as a number six I am not very worried about goals and assists (because) I have other work to do – but it’s always nice to score.”

Mac Allister’s goal would have been a worthy match-winner but some haphazard defending allowed Fulham to equalise twice before taking the lead with 10 minutes to go.

That set up a grandstand finish with Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold scoring within a couple of minutes of each other to snatch victory and extend their perfect Anfield winning record to 11 matches this season.

Captain Virgil van Dijk accepted there was a degree of sloppiness in Liverpool’s game but said at the start of a busy December it was important just to secure the points and move on to the next game, which comes at Sheffield United on Wednesday.

“I think we were a bit too sloppy in possession in the transitions but I am not that kind of guy that wants to look too much to the negative side,” said the Netherlands defender.

“If we win these types of games the way we do now is not a bad thing so we have to take the positives out of it, especially during this busy period that starts now.”

Alexander-Arnold was pivotal to the victory as it was his impressive free-kick, which went in via the underside of the crossbar and the back of goalkeeper Bernd Leno, which kicked things off early in the game.

When Mac Allister was withdrawn with 25 minutes to go it was the right-back who stepped into central midfield to continue to dictate matters with his passing and Van Dijk has been impressed with how his vice-captain has operated mainly in a hybrid role for the last nine month.

“Well obviously when he has the ball at his feet and he is free he can put the ball wherever he wants and that is a big quality,” added the Dutchman.

“We all know that and opponents know it as well. They tried to put him a bit more under pressure but obviously for him to (contribute to) two goals and be important on the offensive side is good and it is something we’re going to need, so let’s keep it going.”

Mauricio Pochettino believes Enzo Fernandez has the confidence to begin showing his best form for Chelsea after the World Cup winner netted his first Premier League goals against Brighton.

The 22-year-old headed in his team’s first after 17 minutes before adding a second from the penalty spot after the break, as the hosts weathered the loss of captain Conor Gallagher to a red card in the 45th minute to claim a 3-2 victory at Stamford Bridge.

It was a first win in six attempts in the Premier League against Roberto De Zerbi’s side and saw the Argentina international, who signed from Benfica for a then British record £107million in January, finally break his scoring duck in the league on his 31st appearance.

His influence has grown at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield, particularly since the arrival of Moises Caicedo in August, which has allowed him to take up more advanced positions.

Pochettino, who also saw defender Levi Colwill score his first for the club, predicted Fernandez’s first league goals will only accelerate his progress.

“It’s important that different players can score,” said the manager. “It was Enzo’s first and second in the Premier League, it’s important to build confidence.

“Players sometimes need one season, six months, 10 months to start to show their real quality. Why would it be different at Chelsea?

“So happy that different players can score. It’s a good thing for the team.”

The win was just Chelsea’s second at home in the league this season and their fourth of 2023, lifting them into the top half of the table following the previous weekend’s 4-1 rout by Newcastle.

The game finished amidst confusion as Brighton were awarded a penalty in the ninth minute of stoppage time by referee Craig Pawson after the ball struck Colwill in the face inside the box.

A pitch-side VAR check – the game’s second after Mykhailo Mudryk had won a spot-kick following a review – overturned the decision, but emotions boiled over with players of both sides squaring up to each other as the final whilst went.

“Football is emotional, no?” said Pochettino. “It’s normal, our reaction and the reaction from Brighton.

“You are playing for a lot of things. It’s really important there three points for us (or) one point for Brighton.

“There’s massive confusion at the end of the game. It was exciting, people were upset. That’s what happened when we were in the middle all together.

“You create this type of relationship where it becomes massive confusion.”

Conor Gallagher’s red card in Chelsea’s win over Brighton on Sunday was the 31st in this season’s Premier League – already more than the whole of last season.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the two seasons compare to Premier League history.

Dirty thirty

Gallagher’s was the second red card of the Premier League weekend, following Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie’s second of the season in Saturday’s defeat to Burnley.

Thirty players in total have seen red already this campaign, with 14 clubs having experienced at least one dismissal – Aston Villa, Brentford, Crystal Palace, Luton, Manchester United and Newcastle are the exceptions.

Liverpool are the worst offenders with four red cards, though Alexis Mac Allister’s against Bournemouth was overturned on appeal. Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones are their other culprits.

Gallagher became the third Chelsea player sent off this season, joining Malo Gusto and Reece James and moving them alongside Burnley, Tottenham and Wolves.

Last season saw 29 Premier League players sent off, with Manchester United midfielder Casemiro the only repeat offender. Wolves’ six, for Nelson Semedo, Mario Lemina, Jonny, Nathan Collins, Diego Costa and Matheus Nunes, were twice as many as any other club.


There were only 17 straight red cards last season, the fewest in the Premier League era, while the overall total was the lowest since the 28 shown in 1993-94.

While an increase on that figure was always likely, this season’s average of one red card every 4.5 games means the top flight is currently on course for 84 over the course of the season.

That would comfortably be a new record, beating the 75 shown in the 2005-06 season.

That campaign brought red cards for all 20 teams, and more than one for all bar Portsmouth. Eleven teams had four or more, topped by Blackburn and Everton with seven apiece. A 76th red card initially shown to Newcastle’s Jermaine Jenas against Arsenal was rescinded after referee Steve Bennett reviewed his own decision, with no need for a formal appeal.

Before last season, the total had been in the 40s for four years in succession – and before that, over 50 every season as far back as 1997-98.

Goals galore

Another statistic on the rise this season is the most important in football – goals.

With Burnley’s 5-0 win over Blades followed on Sunday by Liverpool and Chelsea winning 4-3 and 3-2 respectively and a 3-3 draw between Manchester City and Tottenham, there have now been 442 goals in 140 matches this season.

That average of 3.16 per game would, if sustained over the full season, be the highest in Premier League history – beating the record of 2.85 set last season.

The 1,084 goals scored on that occasion were a record for a 20-team season, with this season currently on track for 1,200.

There have still been only three 0-0 draws – Bournemouth against Chelsea and Crystal Palace’s home games against Fulham and Nottingham Forest.

Paul Heckingbottom looks set to be sacked as Sheffield United boss in the wake of Saturday’s capitulation at Burnley.

The Blades were thumped 5-0 at Turf Moor, their 11th defeat in 14 matches this season, and lie bottom of the Premier League with only five points.

The club have subsequently postponed Monday’s pre-match press conference ahead of the midweek visit of Liverpool.

Former manager Chris Wilder is the favourite to replace Heckingbottom if the 46-year-old becomes the first top-flight boss to be dismissed this term.

Some away fans turned on Heckingbottom towards the end of Saturday’s defeat, during which striker Oli McBurnie was sent off before half-time for twice elbowing opponents.

“The fans are right to shout, say that wasn’t good enough. I was almost singing along with them at one point,” Heckingbottom said.

Wilder, a popular figure at Bramall Lane, left by mutual consent in March 2021 after almost five years in charge. He has since had spells at Middlesbrough and Watford.

Bernardo Silva feels Manchester City suffered a “very, very bad” decision against Tottenham but admits the team also need to do their own job better.

City’s players, and particularly Erling Haaland, reacted furiously when they were denied the chance to play advantage in the closing moments of a thrilling 3-3 draw on Sunday after the Norwegian striker had been fouled.

Haaland had shrugged off the challenge from Emerson Royal to play Jack Grealish through on goal, but referee Simon Hooper pulled play back to award the hosts at the Etihad Stadium a free-kick.

Haaland continued to voice his anger as he left the field after the final whistle and he later went even further by posting a remark criticising Hooper on social media.

Team-mate Silva was less emotional in his verdict.

“It is a bad decision and everyone saw it,” said the Portuguese midfielder. “But at the end we are all humans.

“The referee probably is the first one to know it was a very, very bad decision because he (Grealish) was one on one with the keeper and it could have given us the three points.

“It is a tough one to take, but in the end it is what it is, it’s football, and sometimes people make mistakes.”

City, however, also had themselves to blame after spurning a hatful of chances to claim what could have been a comfortable victory, with Haaland among the guilty parties.

City led 2-1 at the break thanks to a Phil Foden goal after Son Heung-min had scored at both ends in the opening nine minutes.

Jeremy Doku and Julian Alvarez also hit the woodwork in the first half, while Haaland missed an open goal after one of numerous Spurs errors.

Spurs recovered to level through Giovani Lo Celso, but it seemed Grealish had won it in the 81st minute, only for Dejan Kulusevski to equalise again in the 90th minute.

It was City’s third successive draw and saw them slip to third in the Premier League.

Silva said: “We have been conceding late goals against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and now Tottenham.

“At the end it is seven points. We could be four points ahead on top of the league if we did our job properly, which is kill the game, or at least don’t concede in the last minute. At this level those little details matter.

“We need to demand more from ourselves, each one of us.”

Spurs’ late equaliser ended their run of three successive defeats.

Kulusevski, who powered in the crucial goal off his shoulder, revealed the visitors’ stronger second-half showing came after some stern words from manager Ange Postecoglou during the break.

The Sweden international told the club’s website: “The coach was very angry at half-time. It was the first time I have seen him like that but he did the right thing.

“What we did was special in the second half. It is an unbelievable feeling. These moments in life are small. We have to enjoy them and just be thankful and be proud of the team.”

Erling Haaland faces possible disciplinary action after complaining about referee Simon Hooper on social media following Manchester City’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Tottenham.

The City striker was incensed after being denied the opportunity to play advantage in the closing moments of a thrilling Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland was fouled but quickly got up and played Jack Grealish through on goal only for Hooper to pull play back and award a free-kick.

Haaland was one of several City players to angrily remonstrate with the official and he continued his protests after the game by reposting a clip of the incident on X, formerly Twitter, with the comment “Wtf”.

The PA news agency has contacted the Football Association over the matter.

Manager Pep Guardiola was not aware of Haaland’s social media post when he spoke to reporters after the game but, speaking about Haaland’s on-field reaction, admitted he could understand the player’s anger.

Guardiola said: “It’s normal. His reaction was the same for 10 players. The rules are you cannot talk with the referees or fourth officials, so we should have had 10 players sent off today.

“He’s a little bit disappointed. Even the referee – if he played for Man City today he would be disappointed for that action, that’s for sure.”

Guardiola had tried to temper his criticism, saying in a TV interview he did not want to make a “Mikel Arteta comment”, in reference to the Arsenal manager’s controversial remarks after a game against Newcastle last month.

He added in a press conference: “I make mistakes, the players make mistakes.

“It surprised me because in the moment Erling went down (and) if you whistle in that moment it’s fine.

“But when he stands up and continues and the referee makes that gesture to play on, and after he (Haaland) makes the pass he then stops the game – I don’t want to criticise him.

“On the touchline sometimes I lose my mind and my gestures are not proper but for many years as a manager I’m not a guy, when I’m refreshed, to comment.”

City led 2-1 at half-time thanks to a Phil Foden goal after Son Heung-min had scored at both ends.

Giovani Lo Celso levelled for Spurs and Dejan Kulusevski did likewise in the 90th minute after Jack Grealish looked to have won it for City.

It was the champions’ third successive draw.

Guardiola said: “It’s not the first time we have faced this situation where we are playing good but results don’t come. Always we find a solution but lately the results don’t come and we are struggling.”

For Spurs, the result ended a run of three successive defeats.

Manager Ange Postecoglou said: “City could have blown us away, they certainly had enough chances.

“We were giving the ball away a lot but hung in there.

“The effort the boys put in there in the second half was outstanding. City never got total control of the game and we scored three quality goals, which you have to against a team like that.”

Postecoglou was asked in his press conference if he thought his side may have “got away with one” over the Haaland incident at the end.

“Yes, I guess so mate,” the Australian said.

Dejan Kulusevski scored a 90th-minute equaliser as Tottenham snatched a thrilling 3-3 draw at champions Manchester City.

Substitute Jack Grealish looked to have secured City’s first Premier League win in three games when he struck nine minutes from time.

Pep Guardiola’s side had led 2-1 at the break thanks to a Phil Foden goal after Son Heung-min had scored at both ends, but Giovani Lo Celso’s superb strike made it 2-2.

With Spurs committing numerous errors, City had the chances to win convincingly but paid the price for their wastefulness.

It was their third successive draw and there was further frustration as Rodri was booked, ruling him out of the midweek trip to Aston Villa. Grealish will also be suspended against his former club.

For Spurs, after three successive defeats and a multitude of injuries, it was a highly creditable point.

City made a positive start and threatened early on when the dangerous Jeremy Doku forced a save from goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.

Yet from the resulting corner the hosts were punished as Vicario palmed the ball away and it was launched long out of defence towards Son.

The Korean was quickly into his stride and could not be caught as he raced into the area and rifled a shot past Ederson to give the visitors a sixth-minute lead.

It seemed the perfect start for Spurs but the celebrations quickly turned sour for the goalscorer.

Son was wrong-footed as Julian Alvarez’s free-kick into the area was glanced by Erling Haaland and could not prevent the ball ricocheting off his knee into his own net.

Spurs should have conceded again moments later but were spared by an extraordinary and uncharacteristic miss by Haaland.

The prolific Norwegian looked certain to score after Bernardo Silva seized on a loose pass and squared across the area but he somehow screwed his effort wide.

City also had some sloppy moments at the back.

Ruben Dias got back to clear after Brennan Johnson got behind the defence following another long ball and Rodri tidied up after Silva gave the ball away in a dangerous position.

Spurs survived again after Doku cut inside and smashed a shot against the crossbar but City broke through after 31 minutes.

Tottenham contributed to their own downfall after giving away position and City passed their way through, with Foden finishing off following a neat turn and lay-off by Alvarez.

Alvarez struck the base of a post with another effort and Haaland was again wasteful, this time shooting over, when Spurs once more lost possession.

Tottenham continued to live dangerously and when their attempts to play out from the back faltered again early in the second half, it took a fine save from Vicario to deny Silva.

City were to rue their profligacy as Lo Celso pulled his side level 21 minutes from time.

An Alvarez pass was intercepted on halfway and Spurs pushed forward with Son finding Lo Celso on the edge of the area. The Argentinian cut inside onto his left foot and sent a low curling shot beyond Ederson’s fingertips and in off the far post.

City were jolted into action and Rodri sent a shot whistling wide before Grealish turned in from a Haaland cutback.

It seemed victory was secured but Spurs had other ideas with Kulusevski rising to power in, with what seemed to be his shoulder, from a Johnson cross.

The game ended in controversy, and with Haaland fuming, after play was initially allowed to go on after the forward was fouled as he played Grealish in on goal before it was then called back.

Mauricio Pochettino spoke of his pride after watching Chelsea cling on with 10 men to earn a battling 3-2 win against Brighton at Stamford Bridge.

Captain Conor Gallagher was sent off late in the first half with the hosts leading 2-1, leaving them facing an uphill battle to hold off a fightback from Roberto De Zerbi’s side.

Chelsea had looked to be heading in at half-time two goals to the good, Enzo Fernandez and Levi Colwill each heading in their first Premier League goals three minutes apart to open up a commanding lead but Brighton halved the deficit through Facundo Buonanotte before Gallagher was shown a second yellow card.

The visitors’ fightback was curtailed midway through the second half when Mykhailo Mudryk, in for Cole Palmer who had picked up a knock in training, raced through on goal and drew a foul from James Milner, a penalty awarded following a pitchside review and a second goal for Fernandez clipped home from 12 yards.

Brighton battled gamely against a determined Chelsea rearguard and a goal headed in by substitute Joao Pedro breathed life into the contest at the start of 10 minutes of stoppage time.

Then in the final seconds, referee Craig Pawson was called pitchside again to adjudicate on a possible handball inside the box against Colwill. This time the call was no penalty, and Chelsea saw out the win to banish memories of last weekend’s 4-1 defeat by Newcastle.

“It wasn’t a sending off,” said Pochettino. “That is my opinion. Maybe I am wrong. This type of period where you are building something, it always happens. We are a young team. I want to clarify – not we are young players, we are a young team.

“We need to improve, we need to learn. The Premier League is the best in the world. We have too many players that need to feel what it means to play in the Premier League. We were a little bit more aggressive after Newcastle where we didn’t show our real face.

“We wanted to play well, to be aggressive and show we care. I think the team was really good, I feel proud. After Newcastle it was tough, and a team like Brighton is always difficult to play.

“I am so proud of the players and the character that they showed. I told them at half-time, ‘it’s 2-1 to us, it’s a great opportunity for us – now we need to show that we are a team’.”

The win was the first in six attempts that Chelsea have managed against Brighton in the league, and was notable for a standout performance from Mudryk who has looked increasingly at home in west London this season after a difficult first six months.

Pochettino reiterated the need for young players like the Ukrainian to feel settled before they can be expected to produce on the pitch.

“It’s not only about building the way that you want to play, your philosophy on the pitch,” he said. “Before that, you need to belong to the team, you need to belong to the club, to settle yourself.

“You need to grow, need to get experience. Too many things before you can talk about playing from the back, or play with three or four offensive players, or with three or five at the back. That comes in after.”

Brighton boss De Zerbi reflected on a game he felt his team did not deserve to lose.

“It’s hard because I think we played much better than Chelsea,” he said. “We made three big mistakes, two set-pieces in the first half and we conceded the third goal in an incredible way.

“It was a clear penalty for them, but we can’t concede a counter-attack in that way (from) a corner for us. In that way we are young, but we need to be more focused in that situation and at set-pieces.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed their dramatic late 4-3 Premier League win over Fulham as a “game you will never forget” after his side scored twice in the final four minutes of normal time.

The hosts looked to be heading for a first Anfield defeat since February – when Real Madrid, no less, were victorious – only for Wataru Endo and Trent Alexander-Arnold to snatch an 11th-successive home win this season.

It was just reward for Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool’s vice-captain, as his brilliant free-kick to open the score was credited as a Bernd Leno own goal after the ball went in via the underside of the crossbar and the goalkeeper.

Alexis Mac Allister’s first goal for the club since his move from Brighton in the summer was even better – a rising 30-yard drive into the top corner to re-establish their lead after former Liverpool forward Harry Wilson had equalised.

But more shaky defending allowed Kenny Tete to make it 2-2 before half-time and substitute Bobby De Cordova-Reid thought he had snatched three points in the 80th minute, only for Liverpool to produce a late rally.

“The feeling after the game was exceptional. During the game it was slightly different in moments,” said Klopp.

“I told the boys after the game turned out, the game we saw, because we were a bit dumb.

“But at 3-3 everyone could see the boys wanted more and because we were a bit lucky today, we got it.

“An outstanding experience for everyone who was here. I don’t think anyone would have thought before the game that Liverpool v Fulham will be a game that you will never forget in your life. But… you’re welcome.

“I never saw a competitive game with this amount of ‘worldies’. Trent’s free-kick: unbelievable. Macca, before the game you could see his foot was right today and I thought today, ‘You better try it’ and he obviously thought the same.”

The win was not without setbacks however with centre-back Joel Matip expected to be sidelined for some time with a knee problem.

“We lost today Joel and we have obviously no scan yet but after all you hear and can see that will not be a short one. Unlucky, but we have to get through this,” added Klopp.

Fulham boss Marco Silva saw his side end the week having scored six times in two Premier League matches – after just 10 in their previous 12 – and was frustrated not to have got something from their trip to Anfield.

“Clearly we deserved much more from the game than what we took,” he said.

“To come to Anfield and play the way we did – twice we scored to equalise – and then at the end of the second half to be able to score a great team goal and be leading is not an easy thing.

“We know the game is never 100 per cent under control against these types of sides and these types of crowds but the game was more or less under control.

“(Then) one long ball, a good second ball from them and another great finish from the edge of the box and in that moment I knew it was the end of the match.”

Unai Emery saluted Ollie Watkins after he scored a superb 90th-minute equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.

Watkins was facing backwards when he nodded in substitute Moussa Diaby’s cross as Villa twice came from behind to rescue a share of the spoils.

Villa boss Emery said: “He’s strong. When he’s feeling good physically he can play matches in a row like we are playing.

“It’s a very good point. I am very happy with the performance.

“We have to build a team and I am trying to give everyone chances.

“They have to feel important and playing with personality and get stronger, not only the first 11 but the squad.”

Bournemouth took the lead in the 10th minute through a neat finish from Antoine Semenyo after Diego Carlos was too casual playing out from the back and passed the ball straight to Ryan Christie.

Villa drew level in the 20th minute as Leon Bailey picked up possession on the right wing before cutting in on his left foot and curling into the far corner.

Solanke restored Bournemouth’s advantage seven minutes into the second half as he fired Bournemouth back in front with his seventh goal of the season after turning away from Pau Torres and rifling home.

Emi Martinez then denied Solanke from point blank range before Villa substitute Jhon Duran hit the post with a deflected shot.

But just as Bournemouth looked to be holding out for the win, up stepped the in-form Watkins to bag his 13th goal of the season.

Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola saluted top-scorer Solanke, but was frustrated his side could not hold out for a third straight Premier League win.

Iraola said: “It is a hard one to take because before for the game you would take a point against Villa, but considering how the team played and the chances we had we cannot be happy.

“In the end we could not score the third goal even though we had clear chances and we also have to congratulate their goalkeeper who made two or three spectacular saves.

“After the start of the season we needed to improve and we’ve been doing that.

“We are understanding each other better and the players are physically in a good place. It is obvious we are playing better than we were.

“They are winning duels against tough opposition, but we have to continue because this is a good level from us and it’s only enough for one point.

“At this moment in time it is a matter of improving collectively. Today Dom scored one very good goal with good movement from a number nine and he had two very close chances, but their goalkeeper was amazing.

“He read the situations very well and he has had three or four very clear chances, which is a good sign for the team for him personally. I hope he continues at this level.”

David Moyes hit out at the “terrible” defending which cost West Ham in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace

The Hammers were leading through a fine goal from Ghana winger Mohammed Kudus and heading for a fifth straight win in all competitions.

But West Ham’s Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos came bearing a gift early in the second half when his crazy, no-look, back-pass let Odsonne Edouard in to equalise.

Once again the Hammers’ inability to keep a clean sheet cost them – they have managed just one in the Premier League this season.

It was also the 16th time they have conceded a goal in the 15 minutes after half-time this calendar year.

Hammers boss Moyes said: “I’m aware of that. But it’s not as if we are having a pie at half-time and coming out feeling rubbish.

“It was a tough game for us, we scored a good goal early on but we didn’t perform well in the first half. It was a tight Premier League game.

“When the games are tight, you are hoping you can hang in, but to give away a goal the way we did, from our point of view, it was terrible.

“Probably the biggest thing was we couldn’t play with enough personality, we couldn’t get the atmosphere going, we needed to play better.

“I thought we were playing safe, wanted to take more risks and get the ball into the forward players. But Mo was fantastic, probably the best player on the pitch. His attacking was excellent today.”

Palace boss Roy Hodgson was relieved to see out a nervy finish as West Ham went in search of a late winner.

“For large periods I was really quite pleased with way we were defending and attacking. It was an even game,” he said.

“You have to go through the anxious last moments but that’s understandable, we’ve just lost two games to late goals.

“I could have done without that 10 minutes, but the team showed a lot of resilience and I could understand the anxiety. Had we lost another game to a late goal, it would have had massive consequences on the team’s confidence.”

Palace were without Eberechi Eze, who suffered an ankle injury last week, and Hodgson is unsure when his star forward will be back.

“The update is a bit up in the air,” he added. “Eze is seemingly of the opinion he is going to be over the injury quicker than you can say ‘Jack Robinson’, but the medical people think it could be longer.”

Liverpool staged a dramatic late comeback to beat Fulham 4-3 after some hapless defending wasted two world-class strikes from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alexis Mac Allister and left them staring at a rare Anfield defeat.

The Cottagers looked like being the first side since Real Madrid in February to win at Anfield – and the first in the Premier League since Leeds in October 2022 – after substitute Bobby De Cordova-Reid’s 80th-minute goal.

However, Japan international Wataru Endo, who had spoken on the eve of the game about how difficult he had found the top flight since his arrival in the summer, sparked the comeback when he stroked home the equaliser seven minutes later.

When Alexander-Arnold grabbed his second of the game barely a minute later, Liverpool’s 100 per cent home record was extended to 11 matches to move back to within two points of leaders Arsenal.

While thrilling, it was an unnecessary end to a game which the hosts should have controlled much better, especially after the quality of the early goals they scored.

Fulham were operating with a compromised goalkeeper after Bernd Leno played almost 100 minutes with a bandaged head having being injured in an eighth-minute incident which saw Mohamed Salah’s goal ruled out for offside after spilling Dominik Szoboszlai’s shot.

But while Liverpool had plenty of attempts on goal, Leno was not properly threatened until it became last-chance saloon territory.

The problem was at the other end where they allowed a team averaging just one Premier League goal a game all season to score three times away for the first time since April – also on Merseyside at Everton.

Either of Alexander-Arnold’s or Mac Allister’s goals were worthy match-winners and the fact they were not will have been of considerable frustration to both players and boss Jurgen Klopp.

A trip on Szoboszlai 25 yards out was all the invitation Alexander-Arnold needed as he dispatched a 25-yard free-kick – Liverpool’s 50th of the season – via the underside of the crossbar.

It had all appeared so easy to that point and part of the problem was a team showing six changes from the midweek win over LASK struggled to get out of second gear.

Worryingly for Klopp, at the start of December it seemed his side lacked the energy needed to properly dominate opponents but even Fulham’s unexpected equaliser four minutes later failed to provide the wake-up call.

Their right side was exposed with Alexander-Arnold central covering for Virgil Van Dijk, who was returning from a run upfield, and former Red Harry Wilson squeezed a near-post shot under Caoimhin Kelleher from Antonee Robinson’s cross from the Cottagers’ first attempt on goal.

Retaking the lead in brilliant fashion was only a small part of what was required from the home side.

Luis Diaz’s mazy run caused issues and Kenny Tete’s poor clearance was compounded by Raul Jimenez’s poor header back into the danger area and Mac Allister’s path.

The Argentina international allowed the ball to bounce across his body before unleashing a rising drive which found the same top corner Alexander-Arnold had: his first Liverpool goal and a worthy 500th at Anfield in Klopp’s 219th game at the ground.

Jimenez and Tete made amends with the former flicking on a near-post corner for the latter to nod past Kelleher, making his first Premier League start of the season for the injured Alisson and although he was flagged offside, VAR overruled.

The assistant’s flag did come to Liverpool’s rescue, however, deep into added time when Kelleher kept alive Joao Palhinha’s header and an offside Tim Ream tapped in.

Leno’s legs denied Salah just before interval and although Klopp’s side increased the tempo after the break, the same problems remained with Darwin Nunez’s shot deflected behind and Szoboszlai firing wide from the subsequent corner.

Nunez had yet another game where his contribution was minimal and he smashed an angled drive against the crossbar and also bundled the ball wide after twice being set up by Salah.

Then came the sucker punch as substitute De Cordova-Reid out-jumped Kostas Tsimikas at the far post.

Endo had a header saved and Salah fired over the rebound before the Japan international stroked home the equaliser, setting up Alexander-Arnold to deliver the killer blow.

Chelsea played the entirety of the second half with 10 men as they clung on to defeat Brighton 3-2 after a tense finale at Stamford Bridge.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side were already two up thanks to headers from Enzo Fernandez and Levi Colwill when Conor Gallagher was shown a second yellow card for fouling Billy Gilmour in stoppage time at the end of the first half.

Moments before Gallagher’s dismissal, Facundo Buonanotte had pulled Brighton back into it at 2-1 with swinging strike inside the post, and the stage looked set for a fightback by the visitors.

Instead, it was Chelsea that reasserted their charge, Fernandez converting from the spot midway through the second half after the excellent Mykhailo Mudryk had been fouled.

Joao Pedro came off the bench to head a goal back at the start of a lengthy period of added time, before Chelsea survived a penalty scare for a possible handball against Colwill with virtually the game’s final action.

This was a statement win from Pochettino’s team. Not only was it a first league victory in six attempts against Brighton, it came after their captain had been sent off after 45 minutes, and with arguably their best player this season,, Cole Palmer, starting the game on the bench, a knock sustained in training on Saturday meaning he was fit only to emerge once his team were 3-1 up.

The opening goal came after good work from Palmer’s replacement Mudryk, taking a high, looping pass down well with his chest and crossing cleverly to win a corner. From the resulting ball in, Benoit Badiashile showed balance and poise to take charge at the back post and hooked a ball into the six-yard box from which Fernandez rose to nod home his first Premier League goal.

Igor Julio needed to be alert with a sliding interception to prevent a certain goal for Nicolas Jackson, but after the defender had poked the ball behind for another corner Brighton were caught out again with a near identical routine.

This time it was Jackson keeping the move alive at the back post, arcing the ball back into middle and onto the head of Colwill, who despite a brave effort from Gilmour to hook the ball back from behind the line would not be denied his first Chelsea goal.

Mudryk looked as confident as he has been in Chelsea blue and nearly made it three before half-time, beating Joel Veltman on the turn with a dazzling first touch in midfield and driving at the heart of Brighton, only to see his fizzing 30-yard drive fly inches past the post.

Instead it was Brighton in whose favour the game turned before the break. First, the coolest of strikes from Buonanotte halved the arrears, the Argentinean lashing the ball inside the far post with his left foot after Simon Adingra and Adam Lallana had combined to pick him out.

Then in stoppage time at the end of the half, a more serious setback for Pochettino, his captain Gallagher shown a second yellow card for sliding in late on Gilmour, and Chelsea would play the second 45 minutes with 10 men.

Brighton emerged determined to make their numerical advantage count. Adingra was a growing threat playing high on the left, most notably in the 55th minute when he crossed for Lallana who took a touch and hooked narrowly wide.

Roberto De Zerbi gambled, making four substitutions in one swoop, whilst Pochettino looked to his depleted bench and prepared Palmer.

Yet before Chelsea’s appointed penalty taker could take to the pitch, the brilliant Mudryk won a spot-kick, outpacing the recently arrived James Milner before being shouldered to the ground. A pitchside VAR check was required for referee Craig Pawson to make the call, and Fernandez showed his own credentials from 12 yards for 3-1.

Ten minutes of stoppage time had been announced by the time substitute Pedro rose to glance a header across goal and in at the far post to give Brighton hope.

Then at the death, Pawson was called pitchside once more to adjudicate on handball against Colwill.

The evidence seemed to show the ball strike the defender’s face, as Stamford Bridge breathed a sigh of collective relief.

Ollie Watkins came up with a sensational and dramatic 90th-minute equaliser as Aston Villa came from behind twice to rescue a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.

Villa looked to be heading for a shock defeat on the south coast until Watkins pounced on substitute Moussa Diaby’s cross to score his 13th goal of the season with a terrific backwards header.

The hosts, who had won three of their previous four matches, started brightly and took a deserved lead in the 10th minute, with a little bit of help from Villa defender Diego Carlos.

Carlos was too casual playing out from the back and passed the ball straight to Ryan Christie who instinctively fed Antoine Semenyo to confidently pick out the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Semenyo came close to doubling the Cherries’ lead but his shot from a tight angle was kept out by a smart save from the legs from Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez.

Martinez’s opposite number Neto had already done well to turn behind Douglas Luiz’s 25-yard shot when Leon Bailey equalised with a superb solo goal in the 20th minute.

Watkins, who had come through a late fitness test, played the ball out to Bailey on the right wing and the Jamaica international danced into space inside the penalty area before curling home left-footed beyond the despairing Neto.

Villa thought they had taken the lead moments later when Carlos side-footed home from close range but the goal was rightly ruled out after a lengthy VAR review because Lucas Digne was offside in the build-up.

Semenyo, who was fortunate to escape a second yellow card for hauling down Bailey having already been booked, forced another excellent save from Martinez with a stinging shot across the face of goal after getting the better of make-shift right back Ezri Konsa.

Martinez was on hand again to claw out Dominic Solanke’s shot from point blank range when the Bournemouth striker looked certain to score from Christie’s cross as the teams went in level at half-time.

There was no denying Solanke seven minutes into the second half as he fired Bournemouth back in front with his seventh goal of the season.

Milos Kerkez broke well down the left before fizzing the pass into feet of Solanke, who pirouetted away from Pau Torres before blasting beyond Martinez.

Solanke had a golden chance to extend the lead in the 63rd minute but could not beat Martinez from four yards after Marcus Tavernier had carried the ball all the way from his own half to the edge of the Villa penalty area.

Villa substitute Jhon Duran was inches away from equalising 18 minutes from time when his deflected shot from the edge of the Bournemouth box struck the right-hand post.

But just as Bournemouth looked to be holding out for the win up stepped the in-form Watkins to salvage a share of the spoils.

Woeful West Ham defending handed Crystal Palace a point in a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium.

The Hammers were leading through a fine goal from Ghana winger Mohammed Kudus and heading for a fifth straight win in all competitions.

But West Ham’s Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos came bearing a gift when his crazy back-pass let Odsonne Edouard in to equalise.

Once again the Hammers’ inability to keep a clean sheet cost them – they have managed just one in the Premier League this season.

Palace looked there for the taking, especially without the attacking threat of Eberechi Eze, who suffered an ankle injury last week.

But they went close to opening the scoring when Joachim Andersen headed Michael Olise’s free-kick back across goal and Edouard volleyed wide.

However, the Hammers took the lead with their first real chance after 13 minutes.

Kudus started the move when he spun away from Will Hughes in the centre circle and found Lucas Paqueta.

The Brazilian fed the ball to James Ward-Prowse, who switched the play out to Vladimir Coufal on the right.

Czech full-back Coufal pulled the ball back for Kudus, who had continued his run into the area and thumped a first-time shot past Palace keeper Sam Johnstone.

Jarrod Bowen, back in West Ham’s attack after missing two games with a knee knock picked up on England duty, could have doubled the lead when he latched onto Nayef Aguerd’s ball over the top but his attempted lob did not beat Johnstone.

Palace went close to an equaliser before half-time when Andersen’s free-kick was deflected off the back of Edson Alvarez and looped narrowly wide with home keeper Alphonse Areola stranded.

Kudus had the ball in the net again moments after the break but Tomas Soucek was offside and interfering with play when he swung a boot at the ball.

Edouard was denied by a Ward-Prowse header underneath the crossbar as he tried to get his head onto Marc Guehi’s cross, but moments later came Mavropanos’ brain fade.

The former Arsenal defender, only in the team as Kurt Zouma was missing due to a family issue, sent a no-look back-pass straight into the path of Edouard.

The French striker could not believe his luck as he strolled forward, evaded Alvarez’s last-ditch tackle and fired low into the bottom corner.

Bowen could have won it in stoppage time, and continued West Ham’s recent run of last-gasp winners, but planted his header straight at Johnstone.

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