Manchester City just cannot shrug off Liverpool in what is looking increasingly like a two-horse race for the Premier League title.
Three days after scoring a winner six minutes into injury time in the local derby against Everton, Liverpool needed rested stars Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah to come off the bench and help rally the team to a 3-1 win at Burnley on Wednesday.
Liverpool moved back to within two points of City, the defending champions, and the top two remain unbeaten after 15 of 38 games.
Fewer and fewer sides look capable of keeping touch with them
Chelsea lost for the second time in three matches, squandering an early lead in a surprise 2-1 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The London club’s 10-point gap to City could grow further at the weekend, with the leaders visiting Stamford Bridge.
Defeat for Chelsea allowed Tottenham to climb into third place – six points behind Liverpool – after a 3-1 win over Southampton.
Manchester United dropped Paul Pogba and was held to a 2-2 draw with Arsenal in a bruising match at Old Trafford, leaving Jose Mourinho’s team 18 points behind City. Even the bare minimum of Champions League qualification could be beyond United, which is in eighth spot and eight points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp gambled by changing his entire forward line at Burnley, with Salah and Firmino dropped to the bench and Sadio Mané out injured.
It looked like that decision might backfire when Burnley took the lead in the 54th minute through Jack Cork.
Klopp sent on Salah and Firmino soon after James Milner equalized in the 62nd, and they made an immediate impression.
Firmino scored with his first touch to put Liverpool in front before Salah set up Xherdan Shaqiri for the third goal in injury time.
The one negative for Liverpool was the sight of Joe Gomez leaving the field on a stretcher because of an ankle injury. Klopp was later critical of Burnley’s physical approach.
Chelsea loses again
Outplayed by Tottenham two weeks ago and now outfought by Wolves, these are worrying times for Chelsea. And the coach knows it.
“Suddenly we conceded a goal and we weren’t the same team,” Maurizio Sarri said. “It’s very difficult for me to understand why.”
Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota scored in a four-minute span around the hour mark to complete Wolves’ fightback and condemn Chelsea to a second loss of the campaign.
Sarri’s side had taken the lead in the 18th minute when Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s goalbound effort deflected inside the near post off the head of Wolves defender Conor Coady.
Mourinho fielded a patched-up Manchester United side against Arsenal, but there was still no room for French World Cup winner Paul Pogba.
Citing “tactical and technical reasons,” Mourinho dropped Pogba and Romelu Lukaku to the bench. It was Pogba’s absence that stood out, coming at a time when his relationship with the coach appears strained.
United twice came from behind in the frantic, and often feisty, 2-2 draw played in front of British boxer Tyson Fury, who drew his world heavyweight title bout with Deontay Wilder on Saturday.
Shkodran Mustafi put fifth-place Arsenal ahead with a header that was fumbled over the line by United goalkeeper David De Gea but Anthony Martial, who later went off injured, equalized inside four minutes.
An own goal by Marcos Rojo, as he attempted to tackle Alexandre Lacazette, moved the visitors back in front but they were only ahead for 75 seconds before Jesse Lingard scored.
Tottenham up to third
Harry Kane scored one goal and set up another in a win for Tottenham that showed the size of the task facing new Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl, who watched from the stands at Wembley Stadium on the day he was hired as Mark Hughes’s replacement.
Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min also netted for Spurs, which landed its 11th league win of the season.
Hasenhuettl will have been encouraged by Southampton’s performance when Tottenham eased off in the final 30 minutes, with the visitors getting a late consolation goal through Charlie Austin.
The other two matches finished in 1-1 draws between Fulham and Leicester, and Everton and Newcastle.