Just imagine being involved in the Wolves vs Leicester match and believing that you had finally achieved that lifelong dream; being first on Match of the Day. And then, up at Anfield, they go and equal your seven-goal thriller and steal that honour from you.
And, just like Match of the Day, we are going to ignore the mid-table clash and dive straight in at Anfield where Liverpool either showed the kind of bottle that leads to winning Premier League titles or, a cynic might suggest, struggled to get past their bogey team Crystal Palace.
One thing that is for certain, those penalty areas at Anfield must be made of ice. I mean, I know it was a bit chilly up in the North West of England on Saturday afternoon and that is the most logical explanation for Mohamed Salah losing his footing with Big Mumma Sakho breathing down his neck. Someone should either check the playing surface or Salah’s boots because he seems to be slipping quite frequently at the moment.
Maybe, just maybe, Mo is on some kind of clever anti-Stevie G ‘THIS DOES NOT SLIP’ campaign and the irony will become clear once Liverpool lift the title?
Or, on the flip side, we should continue to point the finger at Salah and call him what he is. A modern-day striker who will get an absolute kicking from King Kloppo if he doesn’t try and win spot-kicks in those situations. After all, millions of pounds are on the line and if Salah picks up one or two yellow cards along the way, or not on this occasion, but wins two or three game-changing penalties do you really think he cares about his reputation? I think not. As Graeme Souness would shout, ‘show me your medals’. It’s winning that counts and anyone that says ‘but he is cheating’ needs to think about everytime one of his players has grappled at a corner, appealed for a throw-in when they know they’ve kicked it out or tried to gain any kind of advantage on a football pitch. It’s all just various shades of grey.
Anyway, Crystal Palace managed to get Man City fans all excited briefly as they led Liverpool at halftime. Salah then reverted to what he is actually very, very good at which was sticking the ball in the back of the net even if he was somewhat assisted by the slightly out-of-touch-because-he-hasn’t-played-for-a-decade, Julian Speroni.
Liverpool had conceded just three goals in the Premier League at Anfield all season yet Palace managed to double that in one afternoon. Yet, Liverpool won and you have to say that the more they nick victories like this means it will be even more amusing when they find a way to stuff it up come May.
Kloppo admitted that Liverpool had to dig in and called Salah the difference. The Egyptian is now the fourth fasted man to reach 50 Premier League goals, doing it in 72 games. Not bad for a right winger who keeps falling over.
The day was also special for Bernard Sheridan who celebrated his 104th birthday at the game at the personal request of Klopp himself. 104? That means Bernard probably remembers the last time Liverpool were considered to be the best team in the land.
As for Wolves and Leicester, let me at least give them the glory of second place today.
Wolves made a bit of a meal of getting three points considering they were cruising at 2-0 early on. If Claude Puel is trying to win the players and fans over (again) at the King Power, getting back into the match would have been a fine way to do it but then losing it in injury time pretty much emptied the bank once again. Nuno loved the celebration with his players before getting shown the red card for joining in. The best bit? The red card was shown by the same referee who let Jurgey lad off his little sprint on to the pitch at the end of the Merseyside derby. You have to applaud the double standards.
How could Leicester throw this away? Ladies and gentlemen, let me give you my thorough football analysis. It won’t take long. Wes Morgan. There you go, analysis done.
Leicester’s captain will always be a legend for lifting the Premier League title a few years ago but he is absolutely, utterly and totally done as a Premier League defender. For Wolves’ injury-time winner he was still turning around to chase Jota back after the final whistle. For a player that never really had any pace to lose, Morgan has managed to lose what he had.
Manchester City kept up their chase of Liverpool with a win over managerless Huddersfield even with Andre Marriner clearly having a bit of cash on Huddersfield staying up.
Let’s just say, the penalty shout on Raheem Sterling in the early part of the game was so blatant that even the Daily Mail stepped away from any ‘Sterling dives yet again this week’ headlines.
City weren’t that good in all honesty but you can afford to be City and not that good to beat Huddersfield. Peppy G wasn’t best impressed though. It’s a different type of Premier League manager that gets three points then goes home to boot the cat.
Arsenal spent the preceding week under the microscope with the news that one of their off-the-pitch kingpins has had enough of the way the club is being run and is going to jump ship. On top of that, the club won’t be making any signings in January and still have a rather expensive inconvenience of their own making in Mesut Ozil.
All that would surely lead to a relatively simple away win for Chelsea at the Emirates, no? Er, no.
Gonzalo Higuain cannot be confirmed as a Chelsea player quick enough if you judge Maurizio Sarri on this performance. Chelsea had zero cutting edge in attack as Unai Emery appeared to stumble across a winning formula.
Arsenal were good value for their victory, managing to keep Chelsea away from getting a single shot on target (clearly a wise move with Bernd Leno in goal). Hector Bellerin was back from a few matches injured and he had clearly spent his time attempting to achieve his dream of looking like a real-life pirate. Luckily for Bellerin, by the time he recovers from this new knee injury his tache might actually have grown.
On the subject of Arsenal and injuries, I am right in thinking that Laurent Koscielny missed France’s victorious World Cup because of a bad knee injury against Atletico Madrid last season, aren’t I? Then why on earth did he think celebrating Arsenal’s second goal, in off his shoulder, with a full-on knee slide was a good idea?
Sarri chose to go full Mourinho in his press conference after the game, speaking in Italian to make sure his message was fully understood by his players (forgive me though, Maurizio. I didn’t know Ross Barkley was a native of Rome). Through his translator, Sarri called out his players for a lack of mentality and called them ‘very difficult to motivate’. Somewhere in Europe, both Mourinho and Antonio Conte took a knowing sip of wine.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still smiling and his players are still enjoying life at Old Trafford. Paul Pogba scored again. Marcus Rashford scored again. Man United won again. Luke Shaw got injured again. Not quite the full house of fixes, eh Ole?
Rashford now has 41 goals for United from 150 games and his interim boss called him ‘the best number nine in the Premier League’ which will have been music to the ears of Romelu Lukaku. The injured Harry Kane might have well raised an eyebrow as well had Solskjaer not followed it up with the point that his claim was based on the Tottenham skipper being sidelined.
Solskjaer has become the first United manager to win this many league games from debut, fix the problems in the White House and solve all famine issues globally. Surely he will get both a Nobel Peace Prize and the job full-time?
With Harry Kane out, Tottenham turned to Fernando Llorente to find the back of the net. Well, he certainly managed that and it only took him 17 minutes to score in the match against Fulham. The problem was, it was for Fulham. So much of the pre-match chat had been around the absence of the Spurs captain and Heung-min Son but it was their defence that looked like it had gone missing in the first half.
Tottenham did manage to get level early in the second half when Dele Alli popped up at the far post just like he always does. And right at the end, when social media was writing off the Spurs once more, telling them that they’d bottled it, calling them nothing without Harry Kane they managed to steal it with another Harry. Harry Winks. With his head. His head!
Claudio Ranieri cut the jib of a man who knows this might be his last season in the Premier League.
Mike Ashley was at St James’ Park to cast his beady eye over one of his business concerns. Considering Newcastle won with Rafa Benitez shifting a defender into midfield and seeing him score twice, I get the feeling Ashley might have walked away feeling like things were going alright and no money needs to be sent Rafa’s way. Sunday’s news that Ashley is hoping to buy HMV at a knockdown price would suggest that he has decided to put £50m elsewhere. Providing Newcastle keep Solomon Rondon fit they will be fine. As for Cardiff, well they announced the signing of an Argentinian striker from France after the game as Neil Warnock continues to “go to hell with the rest of the world”.
You can kind of understand why Marko Arnautovic would like to move on from West Ham United. Maybe Marko wants to play for a team that has an element of consistency? A club that doesn’t get your hopes up ever so briefly only to dash them in the next 90 minutes that comes up? Or maybe he just wants the truckload of cash on offer in China?
Bournemouth, equally impossible to predict, saw off West Ham 2-0 with Callum Wilson scoring the kind of goal that is unlikely to warn off potential suitors.
Everton are almost as unpredictable as Bournemouth and West Ham. They travelled to Southampton and put on one of their worst shows of the season which is saying something. Here’s a hot take for you. Maybe Marco Silva really isn’t a very good coach at all?
Southampton are looking like everything they weren’t under Mark Hughes; organised, energetic and, well, better. But, even the Alpine Klopp needed another 20-yard curler from the left foot of Lucas Digne to be sure of the points.
Watford paid tribute to the late Graham Taylor at Vicarage Road and it probably would have not been outlandish to mourn the loss of Jonah Hart’s Premier League career at the same time. Tom Heaton was preferred yet again as Burnley managed a clean sheet, a point and a generally decent away performance – things that seemed improbable with the former England number one between the sticks.