The Premier League championship chase has just become a lot closer.
Arsenal defeated the league leaders 3-1 on Sunday thanks to two second-half blunders by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Arsenal moved up to second position, two points behind Liverpool, after 23 of 38 games in what may be a three-way race for the championship.
Manchester City remains in third position, five points behind Liverpool but with two games in hand, and the reigning champions will likely be pleased with the outcome at Emirates Stadium. City travels to Brentford on Monday.
Liverpool suffered just its second league defeat, which again occurred in north London, at Tottenham. If the last loss was problematic, this one was of Liverpool’s own making after being dominated for extended portions of the game and the manner of Arsenal’s key second goal in the 67th minute, which made it 2-1.
Alisson, generally regarded as the league’s finest goalkeeper, stepped out of his area to clear a long forward pass, but booted into the air, causing the ball to strike the back of covering defender Virgil van Dijk. Gabriel Martinelli had an easy task: touch the loose ball into an empty net.
The same Liverpool players had a part in a stoppage-time third, with Leandro Trossard’s shot bouncing off Van Dijk’s extended boot and passing between the legs of Alisson as he attempted to save at his near post. Liverpool was down to ten men at that moment after Ibrahima Konate’s dismissal for two yellow cards.
Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead in the 14th minute, but Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes scored an own goal when the ball hit his palm and sailed into the net.
That brought Liverpool level at halftime, despite the visitors failing to register a shot on goal in the first half of what was a disappointing performance by the leaders.
“It just shows the boys are human beings,” Klopp said. “Today we were really human.”
Arsenal is back in the lead after a third straight victory, after a run of three successive defeats in all competitions that cast doubt on the championship credentials of last season’s runner-up.
“We were on top at Christmas and then had a few sloppy results,” Arsenal player Declan Rice said. “We seem to have ourselves back on the right track.”
Rasmus Hojlund failed to score in his first 14 Premier League outings for Manchester United. Now he can’t stop scoring.
The Denmark striker celebrated his 21st birthday by scoring for the fourth consecutive league game, leading United to a 3-0 victory against West Ham at Old Trafford.
Alejandro Garnacho, a 19-year-old winger, scored the other two goals in the second half, celebrating the first by perching on an advertising board with Hojlund and 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo. They are three young players on whom United is banking its future.
“I think that picture covers the lot — how they are together and want to play football with adventure and enjoyment,” United manager Erik ten Hag remarked. “If we keep this process going, I am sure we will achieve high levels.”
United is now in sixth position, one point ahead of West Ham in eighth and six points behind fifth-place Tottenham.
Pressure on Pochettino
The spotlight is back on Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino after a second consecutive big league defeat, this time 4-2 at home to Wolverhampton.
It was four days after Liverpool’s 4-1 thrashing at Anfield, and there were jeers throughout Stamford Bridge at the end of a crazy encounter in which Brazil forward Matheus Cunha scored three goals for Wolves.
With his side in 11th position, Pochettino acknowledged that Chelsea’s players “are not matching the history of the club.”
“Disappointed,” he remarked. “I apologize to the fans.”
Chelsea has at least one English League Cup final to look forward to this month, against Liverpool on February 25.
Gio Reyna made his Nottingham Forest debut as a second-half replacement in the team’s 1–1 draw against Bournemouth.
The United States midfielder entered the game in the 78th minute, four days after joining on loan from Borussia Dortmund until the end of the season.
Forest had equalized by then, with Callum Hudson-Odoi’s curling 45th-minute shot wiping out Justin Kluivert’s fifth-minute goal from close range from a corner.
Philip Billing was sent off in the 84th minute for Bournemouth.