Liverpool stretched their lead at the top of the 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) to 16 points and set a record in the process on Saturday.
Roberto Firmino’s first half goal secured a battling 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur for them.
Juergen Klopp’s unbeaten side were not at their best and had to withstand a Spurs fightback after the break.
But they hung on for a 20th win out of 21 league games this season to move further ahead of second-placed Leicester City with a game in hand.
Liverpool’s total of 61 points is the most after 21 games of a Premier League season, beating Manchester City’s 59 from two seasons ago.
It is a record that has never been surpassed in the Spanish, Italian, German or French leagues at the same stage.
Firmino’s 37th-minute effort proved enough for Liverpool to march on towards a first English title since 1989/1990.
But Tottenham substitute Giovani Lo Celso wasted a glorious chance to earn the hosts a draw with a glaring late miss.
Liverpool’s fans stood to acclaim their side at the end.
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho, who has now won only two of 11 games against Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp, shook hands with every opposition player at the final whistle.
“I’m over the moon about the result, but we have to talk about the performance,” a rather subdued Klopp said later.
“One team deserved to win and that was us. To win at Tottenham is pretty special. That the game wasn’t decided after 50-60 minutes was our fault. We should have scored more goals.
“We were on the ground towards the end. A couple of our players were slightly exhausted, but we fought through that,” he added after his side stretched their lead over Leicester, who had earlier lost 2-1 at home to Southampton.
Klopp’s unstoppable side are now unbeaten in a club record 38 league games.
Tottenham, who in June faced Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid, are drifting in eighth place, nine points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Liverpool dominated the first half and it needed a superb block by Tottenham’s 20-year-old defender Japhet Tanganga, handed his first league start, to deny Firmino.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could only hit the rebound against the post.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk then looked certain to head in Jordan Henderson’s dinked cross but goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga made a superb reflex save.
With Tottenham sitting deeper and deeper, the pressure finally told as they failed to clear the ball and Mohamed Salah’s pass evaded Tanganga for Firmino to fire past the stranded Gazzaniga.
Spurs, without their injured talisman Harry Kane, were far more lively after the break as Liverpool’s pace slowed.
Son Heung-min wasted a great chance to equalise, curling the ball over the bar after Liverpool were caught in possession.
Then, substitute Giovani Lo Celso somehow missed the target with the goal gaping after being picked out by Serge Aurier.
Erik Lamela also came off the bench and tested Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, but the Reds showed incredible defensive discipline to record a sixth successive clean sheet.
(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)https://nnn.ng/liverpool-go-16-points-clear-after-firminos-winner-at-spurs/
Liverpool sign Portugal winger Jota from Wolves
Liverpool have completed the signing of Portugal forward Diogo Jota from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a long term contract, the English Premier League (EPL) champions said on Saturday.
Liverpool’s versatile 18-year-old defender Ki-Jana Hoever moved in the other direction on a five-year contract.
He played four senior games for the Anfield club following his arrival from Ajax Amsterdam in 2018.
British media reported that Liverpool agreed a five-year deal worth about 41 million pounds for Jota.
It is expected that his versatility and work rate should fit in well with manager Juergen Klopp’s hard-pressing style of play.
“It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my family,” Jota told Liverpool’s website.
“All of my path since I was a kid and now, to join a club like Liverpool —— the world champions —— is just unbelievable. I just want to get started.”
The 23-year-old Jota was left out of Wolves’ League Cup defeat by Stoke City on Thursday and was an unused substitute in their 2-0 league win over Sheffield United last weekend.
Initially arriving on loan from Atletico Madrid in 2017, Jota has scored 16 goals and provided six assists for Wolves in the Premier League over the last three seasons.
“I think I’m a team player,” Jota said. “I play upfront and my job is to find a way to score goals and to provide assists and that’s what they can expect from me…I’ll always try to help the team in the best way possible.”
Jota is Liverpool’s third signing of the close season following the arrival of Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Spurs sign Bale on loan, Reguilon on permanent deal
Tottenham Hotspur have signed winger Gareth Bale and left-back Sergio Reguilon from Spanish champions Real Madrid, the English Premier League (EPL) club announced in a statement on Saturday.
Bale returns to his former club on a one-year loan deal, with British media reporting that Spurs will pay 20 million pounds in wages and fees for the 31-year-old Wales forward.
Reguilon, who spent last season on loan at Sevilla, arrives for a reported fee of 30 million euros (35.51 million dollars).
Bale made more than 200 appearances for Spurs between 2007 and 2013, scoring 56 goals with 58 assists before his then world record move to Real Madrid for 100 million euros.
He won four UEFA Champions League trophies and two La Liga titles with Real Madrid.
But he has divided opinion amongst the club’s fanbase, with some supporters frustrated by a perceived lack of commitment from the Welshman and his poor injury record.
Bale was poised for a move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning last year before the deal fell through.
He endured his worst season at Real Madrid in 2019/2020, scoring only three goals in all competitions, and barely featured in their run to the Liga title.
His growing rift with manager Zinedine Zidane intensified when he did not travel with the squad for a UEFA Champions League clash against Manchester City last season.
The signings of Bale and Reguilon follow the arrival at Spurs of Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Ireland defender Matt Doherty and former England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Leeds United hang on to win 7-goal thriller with Fulham
Newly-promoted Leeds United continued their barnstorming return to the English Premier League (EPL) as they claimed their first points with a thrilling 4-3 win over Fulham at Elland Road on Saturday.
After a 4-3 loss to champions Liverpool on the opening day, Leeds United, back in the top flight after a 16-year absence, produced more vibrant attacking football along with defensive jitters.
Helda Costa gave them a flying start, only for Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty kick to level for Fulham, before Mateusz Klich restored their lead also with a penalty kick before half-time.
Patrick Bamford’s clinical finish in the 50th minute gave Leeds United breathing space and Costa’s sumptuous second goal of the game six minutes later had them running riot.
But Scott Parker’s Fulham, promoted via the play-offs, were far from finished as goals by substitute Bobby Decordova-Reid and Mitrovic in quick succession kept the result in the balance.
With the game being played at a punishing high tempo, Leeds United lived dangerously at times, but they hung on for their first top flight victory since April 2004.
Like Leeds United, Fulham’s style was easy on the eye but Parker’s side now have no points from two games, having conceded seven.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Aguero could be out of action until November, Guardiola says
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero could miss the first two months of the 2020/2021 English Premier League (EPL) season, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Guardiola said this was because Aguero was yet to train with the club since suffering a knee injury in June.
The Argentine was sidelined for the last 12 matches of Manchester City’s 2019/2020 campaign, including their two UEFA Champions League fixtures in August.
Guardiola said the 32-year-old may not be fit until November.
“We knew the injury was difficult,” Guardiola said.
“He still hasn’t had one training session with us and Sergio is not a guy who regains his physical condition quickly.
“He has been out for a long time. So, maybe in one or two months he will be ready.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)