LONDON: A Virgil Van Dijk double sent Liverpool 11 points clear in the Premier League despite a nervy finish against Brighton after Alisson Becker was sent off.
Two first-half headers from Van Dijk put the leaders on course for a comfortable victory at Anfield but a rash decision from Alisson and a Lewis Dunk reply left them hanging on for a 2-1 success.
Alisson was dismissed for handling outside his area and his replacement Adrian was caught out by the quick-thinking Dunk.
Yet despite a nail-biting conclusion – with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino having already been substituted – the hosts held on to ensure they took full advantage of champions Manchester City’s draw at Newcastle earlier in the day.
The tension of the closing moments was in contrast to most of the game, which Liverpool controlled with little alarm.
They broke through after 18 minutes as Trent Alexander-Arnold clipped in a superb free-kick for Van Dijk to head home. Brighton keeper Mat
Ryan paid for a moment’s hesitancy as the Dutchman’s header looped over him and into the net.
Ryan then had a busy spell as he turned a Firmino shot behind and then denied Sadio Mane moments later.
Van Dijk doubled the lead after 24 minutes. The assist again came from Alexander-Arnold, this time from a corner, swung temptingly into the box and met unerringly by Van Dijk.
The Seagulls had an opportunity early in the second half when Dunk glanced a header across goal from a corner.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp decided with 21 minutes remaining to give a rest to Salah, who has been troubled by an ankle injury in recent weeks, and replace him with Adam Lallana.
The Egyptian did not look pleased with the decision as he brushed past Klopp on his way to the bench. He was soon followed by Firmino as Liverpool made another change.
Those substitutions may have been made with the best intentions, but they left the Reds looking light in attack after Alisson’s moment of madness changed the complexion of the game late on.
Alisson came out of his area as Leandro Trossard chased a long ball downfield and was adjudged to have handled as he touched it away from the Belgian.
Referee Martin Atkinson showed the Brazilian a straight red, forcing immediate changes as Oxlade-Chamberlain was sacrificed for deputy goalkeeper Adrian.
Liverpool were still reorganising when Dunk caught them unawares with a clever low free-kick into the bottom corner.
That left them needing to play out the final 10 minutes with 10 men but, despite Brighton pushing them back, they held on.
Jonjo Shelvey further dented Manchester City’s hopes of retaining their Premier League title as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Newcastle.
Jetro Willems cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s 15th goal of the season but Kevin De Bruyne thought he had won it with a fine 82nd-minute strike.
But Shelvey curled home a brilliant 87th-minute equaliser which, coupled with Martin Dubravka’s stoppage-time save from Sterling, ensured the game finished level.
City took the lead when David Silva back-heeled the ball into the path of Sterling after it had ricocheted back to him from Isaac Hayden’s challenge and the England forward blasted home from close range.
Newcastle were level within three minutes when Willems played a one-two with Miguel Almiron before thumping a low right-foot drive past Ederson.
Dubravka was powerless when De Bruyne pounced after Mendy’s cross had been half-cleared, chesting the ball down before firing home off the underside of the crossbar.
But there was to be a further twist when, with three minutes remaining, substitute Christian Atsu played a free-kick square to Shelvey, who sent a sumptuous curling effort beyond Ederson’s despairing dive to snatch a point.
Spurs win again
Jose Mourinho made it three wins from three as Tottenham boss, recording his first home league victory in the process win a 3-2 victory over Bournemouth that went from comfortable to nervy in the final five minutes.
It is now 16-2 to Spurs on aggregate in home Premier League games against Eddie Howe’s side, as the rejuvenated Dele Alli shone at the London Stadium.
Moussa Sissoko also scored his first goal in over two years as Tottenham won their third successive game under the Portuguese, who has brought the feelgood factor back.
Harry Wilson’s late double skewed the scoreline and gave Bournemouth hope of an unlikely comeback, but Spurs were not to be denied back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April.
They are now just six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who they still have to play twice, and there is a real belief that the Champions League places are not so far away.
Bournemouth’s slide down the table continues, however, and they have just one win from their last eight games.
Having found his side 2-0 down after 20 minutes against Olympiacos on Tuesday night, Mourinho will have been hoping for a more stress-free start but had it not been for goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga they would have been behind inside the opening 10 minutes.
First the Argentinian scooped away Arnaut Danjuma’s shot before parrying Diego Rico’s long-range effort.
Spurs eventually woke up and a lightning quick break saw Son Heung-min close in on goal, but he dragged his shot wide.
The hosts were in front by the 20th minute, though, as Alli continued his fine start under Mourinho.
He was the beneficiary of some fine work from Toby Alderweireld and Son, whose perfect touch from the defender’s long ball allowed Alli to roll the ball into an empty net.
Spurs thought it was 2-0 five minutes later when Davinson Sanchez fired home a loose ball from a corner, but the ball accidentally hit his hand in the build-up and it was chalked off.
There was another handball in the box shortly before half-time, this time from Cherries skipper Steve Cook as he handled Alli’s cross, but VAR somehow decided not to review it and the visitors escaped.
Howe’s side could not handle Alli’s movement and they fell 2-0 behind five minutes after the restart.
It was another brilliant ping by Alderweireld, whose pinpoint ball was controlled by Alli, who held off the opposition defence to clip home.
Spurs were not to be denied a third, though, and in the 69th minute the crowd were treated to a real collector’s item.
Son was played in down the left and he picked out Sissoko, who acrobatically hooked the ball in from close range for his first goal since October 2017.
Mourinho has found he has no problems at the top of the pitch, but at the other end they have still looked suspect and they were denied a clean sheet by a fine goal.
Wilson curled in a beautiful free-kick off the underside of the crossbar in the 79th minute to give the visitors hope.
They scored a second deep into stoppage time when Wilson swept home a second, and only a brilliant tackle by Jan Vertonghen to deny Callum Wilson stopped them from taking a point.
Palace win again
Wilfried Zaha scored in back-to-back games for Crystal Palace for the first time since February as the Eagles ended their winless run at Burnley.
After finally breaking his duck for the season in last weekend’s loss to Liverpool, the winger struck the opening goal in a 2-0 success at Turf Moor.
Zaha tore Burnley apart here last season and he finished off a driving run just before half-time, while substitute Jeffrey Schlupp took advantage of poor defending to secure the points 12 minutes from time.
Palace had not won since October 5, taking only one point from a run of five very tough fixtures, while the result was a blow to Burnley after back-to-back 3-0 victories.
The first half an hour was a story of endeavour trumping quality. There were a few half chances – Luka Milivojevic sent an early free-kick just over after Zaha had been felled by James Tarkowski, while Jack Cork shot wide and Dwight McNeil straight at Vicente Guaita at the other end.
Palace, who were offering most of the attacking threat, thought they had opened the scoring.
Patrick Van Aanholt broke away down the left and crossed for Cheikhou Kouyate, who looked certain to find the net in space at the back post but got his feet in a muddle.
The ball bobbled up to Van Aanholt, who then set up Jordan Ayew to poke in, but a VAR check confirmed Van Aanholt had strayed just offside.
Palace got their reward in injury time, though, when Zaha drove at the retreating Phil Bardsley and beat Nick Pope at his near post.
It was a firmly-struck shot but the England keeper would have been disappointed not to keep it out after getting a hand to the ball.
Burnley should have equalised in the 58th minute when Kouyate’s misplaced header played Chris Wood clean through but the striker got his shot horribly wrong and it sailed well over the bar.
The hosts maintained the pressure and Wood got his head to a corner only for James McArthur to clear off the line.
Burnley were left to rue those misses in the 78th minute when Ben Mee miscued an attempted clearance from an innocuous-looking ball forward and Schlupp, on for Andros Townsend, shot through Pope’s legs.
Hammers upset Chelsea
Aaron Cresswell fired West Ham to their first Premier League win at Chelsea in 17 years to hand a big boost to under-fire boss Manuel Pellegrini.
Cresswell’s third league goal of the campaign sealed the 1-0 Stamford Bridge triumph, ending West Ham’s streak of eight matches without a win in all competitions.
The left-back turned Reece James inside out before whipping past Kepa Arrizabalaga to condemn Frank Lampard to defeat in his first match as Chelsea boss against old club West Ham.
The Hammers sealed their first win since the 2-0 home victory over Manchester United on September 22, as Chelsea struggled without injured England striker Tammy Abraham.
Chelsea paid the ultimate price for a string of squandered first-half chances, with Lampard’s men surrendering an unbeaten home run of 13 league matches dating back to 2002 against the Hammers.
Pellegrini pitched in 33-year-old former Millwall goalkeeper David Martin for his Premier League debut after Roberto had leaked nine goals in three matches.
The switch certainly boosted the Hammers’ defensive control, resulting in a deserved clean sheet.
Christian Pulisic nodded over cheaply at the far post after Jorginho’s cute ball had teed up Pedro for the cross.
Pedro himself saw two shots blocked and was then unable to reach an incisive reverse ball from Pulisic.
West Ham created one of the best chances of the half however, handing Chelsea a sharp reminder on the break.
Antonio forced Kepa into a smart save from a powerful header when racing onto Snodgrass’ inviting centre.
Chelsea paid for their first-half profligacy almost immediately after the restart, as Cresswell stunned a sluggish James by turning the right back inside out before curling past Kepa.
The nonplussed Blues continued to creak when Fabian Balbuena saw Kepa palm away his fine header, before Michail Antonio failed to find a finish from point-blank range.
West Ham thought they had doubled their lead when Antonio bundled home at the far post after Snodgrass’ cross. But a VAR check chalked off the goal, leaving Chelsea 20 minutes to turn the tide.
Callum Hudson-Odoi replaced Giroud as Lampard went for broke in search of an equaliser, but the fit-again England forward could not alter the outcome.
Saints on point
Southampton picked up a first home win in nine Premier League games with a dramatic 2-1 victory which leaves fellow strugglers Watford languishing at the bottom.
Saints were in danger of replacing their relegation rivals at the foot of the division until Danny Ings scrambled a 78th-minute equaliser and James Ward-Prowse curled home a fine free-kick five minutes later.
Ismaila Sarr’s first top-flight goal looked to have set the Hornets on a course for three precious points on the south coast before the late comeback eased mounting pressure on Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ visitors remain six points from safety, while Saints climb above midweek opponents Norwich to 18th position and are only two points below Everton following a first success at St Mary’s since mid-April.