LONDON: Liverpool missed the chance to go back where Jurgen Klopp believes they belong – on top of the Premier League after a 1-1 draw at struggling Fulham left them still trailing on goal difference to Tottenham who had been held similarly at Crystal Palace.
Klopp’s men are without a win in their last five away games but have won all six at Anfield which will be the stage for Wednesday’s top of the table clash with Spurs.
Relegation-threatened Fulham bravely took the game to Liverpool in front of 2,000 fas for the first time back in the Premier League. Portuguese forward Ivan Cavaleiro and RB Leipzig loanee Ademola Lookman drew three early saves from Allison before Bobby Decordova-Reid shot Fulham ahead in the 25th minute. The goal meant Liverpool had failed to keep back-to-back league clean sheets since June.
Also, only Sheffield United and West Brom (13) had conceded more away goals than Liverpool (12) and suddenly Fulham fans were dreaming of their first victory over Liverpool in nine years.
Liverpool went in at halftime to some tough talking from Klopp but with another injury. A back problem for Joel Matip forced the introduction of Takumi Minamino in midfield with captain Jordan Henderson dropping back into the centre of defence alongside Fabinho.
The fightback began with Mo Salah and Henderson being denied by Alphonse Areola before the Egptian equalised in the 79th minute with his sixth penalty out of six this term.
Henderson said: “We were disappointed with the start but pleased with the reaction. Credit to Fulham. It was not like us. We have a big game coming up and we can’t afford to do that again. I don’t want to make excuses about fatigue. We gave everything in the second half. Fulham made it difficult. Injuries are tough but it’s happened to a lot of other teams as well.”
Spurs held, too
Earlier a tired-looking Tottenham feared they had surrendered their lead at the top of the table with their derby draw at Selhurst Park.
Spurs had pressed from the start in search of a decisive lead. Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele forced excellent saves from Vicente Guaita but Palace’s Spanish goalkeeper was at fault when Tottenham went ahead in the 23rd minute. Kane’s 25metre shot was low and slow but the keeper let it bounce past his left hand. Heung-min Son had once more provided the assist for Kane’s fifth goal against Palace at Selhurst Park.
The England captain, under Jose Mourinho, has been directly involved in more goals in all competitions than any other Premier League player (43: 29 goals, 14 assists). He has also been directly involved in 19 league goals in 12 games this season (nine goals, 10 assists).
Palace raised the tempo in search of the equaliser they ultimately deserved Eberechi Eze hit the outside of a post shortly before halftime and Jeffrey Schlupp levelled nine minutes from the end.
Tottenham manager Mourinho said: “I am experienced with football and the Premier League and I told the players what could happen – and it happened. I am never OK with a point, every game we go to win and if sometimes we don’t win it because of credit to the opponent and sometimes it is because we should do better. Today I think it was a bit of both.”
Mikel Arteta saw his 10-man Arsenal side lose a fourth consecutive home Premier League game as Burnley picked up their first win at the Emirates Stadium.
With his side anchored in the bottom half of the table and without a league win since November 1, Arteta needed a response against the struggling Clarets but, with Granit Xhaka sent off and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring an own goal, the 1-0 loss leaves the Gunners languishing in 15th place.
A turgid first half in front of 2000 fans saw Alexandre Lacazette have the only shot on target but the game livened up when Xhaka was dismissed for a needless grapple with Ashley Westwood.
The Burnley midfielder was then on hand to send in a corner which Aubameyang, without a goal from open play for Arsenal since the opening weekend of the season, headed to beat his own goalkeeper and settle the game.
** Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton overtook Chelsea to enter the top four with a comfortable 3:0 home win over bottom club Sheffield United. Che Adams, Stuart Armstrong and substitute Nathan Redmond scored the goals.
Hasenhuttl said: “It is so nice to have the fans back. We wanted to show how much we have learned during their time away. Every part of our game has improved – with and without the ball. It is a new identity for this club. We play intense but I think that is what people want to see.”