Liverpool take the lead in the Premier League before City regain the lead

Liverpool have completed their 119-day mission to move Manchester City from the top of the English Premier League – but it only lasted a few hours.

The status quo was finally maintained in what promises to be another thrilling title fight between the two North West English giants after beating relegation-threatened opponents on Saturday.

Liverpool were first, beating second-to-bottom Watford 2-0 through goals from Diogo Jota and Fabinho to claim ten consecutive league victories.

It means City have dropped top spot for the first time since December 4. Not for long, however.

Pep Guardiola’s side started just 30 minutes later at penultimate Burnley, took the lead after five minutes through Kevin De Bruyne and claimed a 2-0 victory. Ilkay Gundogan scored the other goal.

Liverpool and City have Champions League quarter-final matches on Tuesday ahead of what could yet be a decisive encounter at City’s Etihad Stadium five days later.

A point will separate them before what could turn out to be a title decider, with each side having seven more games after that.

That suits Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp just fine, with his side trailing 14 points in mid-January – albeit with games on the way.

“I really appreciate the situation we find ourselves in,” Klopp said.

“If someone had told us this summer, late March, early April, we’d be in the situation we’re in – in all competitions we’ve won a trophy and a full squad available – we would have. all taken, absolutely.”

If third-placed Chelsea had dim ambitions of nabbing the front two, they were surely turned off after conceding four second-half goals in a stunning 4-1 home defeat to London rivals Brentford.

One of Brentford’s goalscorers at Stamford Bridge was Christian Eriksen, who scored the second for his first Premier League goal since returning from cardiac arrest at the European Championship last year.

He also scored in back-to-back matches for Denmark during the international break.

Chelsea – for sale and beset by relentless talk of the takeover – can now look over their shoulders, with fourth-placed Arsenal five points adrift but a game less at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Manchester United are looking increasingly unlikely to capture a Champions League spot from the wreckage of their season, a 1-1 draw at home to Leicester keeping them sixth, four points behind Arsenal, who has two games less.

Leicester took the lead through Kelechi Iheanacho’s diving header in the 63rd minute, only for Fred to equalize three minutes later.

Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse earned his side a 1-1 draw at Leeds with a free kick into the top corner.

Only David Beckham, with 18 goals, has scored more direct free-kick goals in Premier League history than Ward-Prowse’s 13.

Last-placed Norwich ended a six-game league losing streak by drawing Brighton 0-0, but they are still seven points from safety with eight games to go.

In the other game, Wolverhampton climbed to seventh place and maintained their push for a finish in European positions by beating Aston Villa 2-1.


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