LONDON: Liverpool went lone top of the Premier League in their own, sole right after defeating previous leaders Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Anfield with a late headed goal from Roberto Firmino.
Defeat was a little unfortunate on Spurs, who had been level 1-1 at halftime after Heung-min Son levelled a Liverpool opener from Mo Salah.
Elsewhere 10-man Arsenal were held 1-1 at home by third-placed Southampton, Leeds trounced Newcastle 5-2 and Everton inflicted Leicester’s fourth home defeat by 2-0. Fulham and Brighton drew 0-0 and Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke was sent off in a a 1-1 draw at West Ham.
Liverpool’s relentlessness was rewarded when Brazil international Firmino powered home a header from Andy Robertson’s corner with the seconds ticking down.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho looked sickened, having assumed his side had done enough to earn the point which would have kept them at the summit.
Liverpool had comfortably out-shot their opponents during the 90 minutes, in which they enjoyed 76 per cent possession, but saw Mohamed Salah’s goal cancelled out by Son Heung-Min in the first half.
It appeared they would be frustrated by a Mourinho game-plan which everyone predicted and which the Portuguese seemed satisfied enough with to replace midfielder Steven Bergwijn, who hit the post in the second half and looked a threat on the counter-attack, with left-back Sergio Reguilon with 15 minutes to go.
But Jurgen Klopp’s men have seen this sort of thing before and encouraged by their opponents’ passivity continued to drive forward and that eventually brought its reward.
How much the victory meant was evident as Klopp, having had words with Mourinho, raced onto the pitch at the final whistle and lifted Sadio Mane clean off his feet before embracing each and every one of his players before producing his trademark triple fist-pump for the supporters on the Kop.
Gunners see red – again
Arsenal’s indiscipline proved costly yet again against Southampton.
Saints’ Theo Walcott, now 31, enjoyed his return to north London. Both teams had positive segments early in the game with lively contributions from James Ward-Prowse and Danny Ings. But but it was Walcott who scored the 18th-minute goal which provided Southampton with a deserved halftime lead.
Only Robin van Persie (46) and Olivier Giroud (40) have scored more Premier League goals at the Emirates than Walcott (38).
The major problem for Arsenal this season had been the poor form and lack of goals from captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. No-one else offers a similar goal threat. Finally he ended his five-game blank spell by powering past Kyle Walker-Peters to score six minutes after the interval.
Aubameyang’s goal, set up by interplay between Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, was only his fifth of the season in all competitions and third in the Premier League.
Events swung back in Saints’ favour when Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel was shown a second yellow card and red for pulling down Walcott in the 65th minute. Arsenal have incurred three red cards in the last five games and seven in all since Arteta’s managerial debut last December 26.
Southampton sought in vain to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
In Europe . . .
In France: Champions Paris Saint-Germain stayed hot on the heels of Ligue 1 leaders Lille as goals by Kylian Mbappe and Moise Kean earned them a 2-0 home win against 10-man Lorient.
In Germany: Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski scored twice to steer the champions to a 2-1 comeback win over VfL Wolfsburg, keeping them a point behind Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen who crushed Koln 4-0.
In Italy: Furious Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso complained that only in Italy would his captain Lorenzo Insigne be sent off for using abusive language to a referee while leaders AC Milan twice came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at struggling Genoa.
A Romelu Lukaku penalty was enough to give Inter Milan a 1-0 win against 10-man Napoli at San Siro on Wednesday and move the hosts within a point Milan.
In Spain: Barcelona finally made a statement of intent in what has been a chaotic season as they came from behind to beat La Liga leaders Real Sociedad 2-1 at home.