Premier League Notebook: Liverpool close the gap as Southampton end Manchester City's winning run
It was another roller-coaster Premier League weekend as hot favorites Manchester City and Arsenal both slipped up to ruin plenty of parlays. Fortunately there were some good results with Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool all getting the job done for soccer bettors.
Here are all the key takeaways from another top weekend of action.
Liverpool ride their luck to close the gap
After seeing Manchester City drop points on Saturday, Liverpool got off to the perfect start away to Crystal Palace, with two goals in the opening half an hour. Virgil Van Dijk’s bullet header was followed up by a tidy finish from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to put Liverpool in control.
But Crystal Palace fought back and had three or four big chances with Alisson putting in a great goalkeeping performance to deny Michael Olise and then Odsonne Edouard. Edouard later found the net after 55 minutes, and Palace continued to put the pressure on until Liverpool were awarded a controversial penalty late in the game and made it 3-1.
𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒂 𝒎𝒂𝒏. ✊ pic.twitter.com/FOzObP3gMe— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 23, 2022
Alisson picked up the Man of the Match award which highlights just how important the Reds’ shot stopper was at keeping Palace at bay. The home side had their moments, but Liverpool held their nerve, and with a bit of help from VAR closed the gap to Manchester City.
Is the title race back on?
That gap is now just nine points, and Liverpool have a game in hand. It’s a huge if, but if Liverpool win that additional game, they can close the gap to six points and know they have to face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on April 9.
There will be eight or nine games between now and then depending on rescheduled fixtures, so plenty more twists and turns in the tail, but suddenly there is a hint of a title race. Manchester City won 12 games in a row before slipping up against Southampton, but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have managed to keep hanging on in there by picking up 26 points from a possible 33 since mid-November.
City still have a clear advantage and are -835 in the betting, with Liverpool at +650. There may be value in the Reds with 16 games still to go.
Premier League Winner Odds
City’s Southampton slip
Pep Guardiola cut a frustrated figure on the sideline at St Mary’s Stadium, as Manchester City saw their winning run come to an end. It wasn’t for a lack of trying – City had 74% of possession and won the shot count 25-10 – but the Saints held on for a hard-fought point.
Kyle Walker-Peters scored his first Premier League goal to give the home side the lead after just seven minutes, but the City onslaught was inevitable. Aymeric Laporte got the equalizer with 25 minutes to go, and Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus both hit the post as they tried to find a winner.
It meant City’s lead at the top of the table was cut by Liverpool, but Pep said after the game he’s confident about the future given the way City are playing. I don’t know whether Guardiola realizes it or not, but it’s been 130 years since a team in England won 12 games in a row and failed to win the title.
All square against the Saints 🤝#ManCity pic.twitter.com/H0xG7it0tL— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 22, 2022
Advantage Man United
While it wasn’t a good weekend for the blue half of Manchester, it couldn’t have gone better for the Reds. Ralf Rangnick’s side left it late, but Marcus Rashford found the back of the net with a tap-in against West Ham in the 92nd minute, although David Moyes was outraged the goal was allowed to stand given how tight an offside call it was.
That was the first time since Rangnick took over that Man United have won back-to-back games, and it came on a weekend where all their main top four rivals dropped points. Tottenham lost 2-0 on the road to Chelsea, and Arsenal were held at home 0-0 to Burnley despite being big favorites.
United are now up to fourth, but have played more games than their rivals. Arsenal are two points behind with a game in hand, and Tottenham are three points behind the Red Devils with two games to play. There’s still plenty more drama left in this race, but for one weekend at least it was Advantage Ralf.
Premier League Top Four Betting
Only one can survive...
Meanwhile at the bottom, the fight to avoid relegation is fierce as Burnley picked up that valuable point away to Arsenal, while Norwich beat Watford to leapfrog them, and Newcastle won a huge game away to Leeds.
It means for the first time this season that Norwich are out of the relegation zone, but the three teams below them all have games in hand. It sets up an intriguing battle to avoid relegation with just four points separating four teams. Burnley currently sit in 20th, but have a ridiculous four games in hand on Norwich due to COVID-19 cancellations.
There’s a massive game on the horizon with Burnley and Watford due to face each other on Feb. 5 in a battle between the league’s bottom two.
Sat, February 5 2022, 6:00 PM