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Liverpool left frustrated as Man City click into gear

London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp again fumed at a “dangerous” schedule as Liverpool had two goals disallowed and conceded two penalties in a 1-1 draw at Brighton, while Man City clicked back into gear with a 5-0 thrashing of Burnley.

Liverpool edged back to the top of the Premier League table, a point ahead of Tottenham, but were left frustrated by Pascal Gross’s stoppage-time penalty which salvaged a point for Brighton.

Klopp had voiced his displeasure all week at facing a lunchtime kick-off just three days after a Champions League defeat to Atalanta.

Already hit by a huge list of injuries, the Reds suffered another setback when James Milner had to be replaced with a hamstring problem in the second-half.

“Congratulations,” Klopp said sarcastically to a television reporter for BT Sport. “You work for them yeah? Hamstring, surprise.

“I’ve not had a go at the broadcaster, I just say how it is. After Wednesday, Saturday 12.30 is really dangerous for the players.”

Klopp named Neco Williams and Nathaniel Phillips in a makeshift back four and Brighton took advantage when Williams wiped out Aaron Connolly for Brighton’s first spot-kick, but Neal Maupay sent it wide.

Mohamed Salah was then denied an opener by VAR for offside but the Egyptian teed up Diogo Jota to keep his flying start to life at Liverpool going with a fine finish on the hour mark.

Sadio Mane had a second for the visitors ruled out for offside before another VAR review went against Liverpool when Andy Robertson was adjudged to have kicked Danny Welbeck trying to clear.

This time Gross took responsibility from the spot and sent Alisson Becker the wrong way.

– Mahrez hits hat-trick –

City shrugged off their problems in front of goal by hitting five past Burnley for the fourth consecutive clash between the two at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s men had scored just seven goals in their previous seven league games, but Riyad Mahrez’s early double opened the floodgates.

Benjamin Mendy made it 3-0 before half-time and Ferran Torres got his first Premier League goal before Mahrez completed the scoring and his hat-trick.

Victory propelled City to within six points of Liverpool at the top of the table with a game in hand still to come.

“It’s important for us to score goals and keep going,” said Guardiola, who will hope a favourable run of fixtures over the next month can haul his side back into the title race.

Sergio Aguero was not involved for City, but Guardiola confirmed that was due to a small injury problem rather than his close family connection to Diego Maradona, who died aged 60 on Wednesday.

Aguero was previously married to and had a child with Maradona’s daughter Giannina.

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti was reduced to tears before his side’s 1-0 loss to Leeds as respects were paid to Maradona before all Premier League games this weekend with a minute’s applause.

An enthralling 90 minutes followed at Goodison Park with chances aplenty for both sides despite just one goal, scored by Raphinha 11 minutes from time.

James Rodriguez and Richarlison had goals ruled out for offside before the break, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin dragged a big chance wide for Everton early in the second-half.

But it was Leeds who had the majority of the chances as Jordan Pickford made a brilliant save to deny Patrick Bamford, while Raphinha and Jack Harrison failed to hit the target with clear openings.

Raphinha finally made the breakthrough when he arrowed a low left-footed shot beyond Pickford from 25 yards to move Marcelo Bielsa’s men up to 11th.

A fourth defeat in five games leaves Everton still in sixth.

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  1. Marc

    November 30, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Enjoyed the FA Cup matches this weekend. No VAR, just football.

  2. Yespage

    November 29, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Salah’s finger width offside was hard to take. Mane was definitely offside. But it was the Robertson penalty that bothered me as while Robertson did hit the foot while going for the ball, the offended player no longer had control of the ball as they had already kicked it into the possession of Robertson. Robertson’s foul had no impact on the play.

    Regardless, some calls go your way, some don’t. It often balances out as time goes on.

  3. Ivan

    November 28, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you for the good word, JP.

    I admit, I am biased as a Liverpool supporter, but between the Mane’ “offside” v. Everton and today, Liverpool have been robbed of 4 points.

    And PL could go down to the wire this season, no runaways, with injuries, packed schedule, no proper preseason break, lockdowns, empty stadia and all…

    Both the offside and handball rules must be tweaked, and pronto. Absolutely killing the game.

    I also have a massive problem with goalkeepers being punished for making the extra step at penalties, but this is for another day. (Why aren’t forwards punished for the step-stop-start while taking penalties as well, double standard here)

    Offside and handball rules have to change. VAR, as currently utilized, needs to change as well.

  4. JP

    November 28, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Ivan I agree. These minuscule offsides calls made by the computer go against the spirit of the game.
    Simple change, if any playable part of the body is level with the last defender should be ruled onside. Opens the game up more without drastically changing the rules and does away with these marginal offside calls.
    VAR would only take away egregious infractions. Kind of like hockey where onside so long as any part of one skate is behind or touching any part of the blue line before the puck clears the line.

  5. Ivan

    November 28, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Y’all remember Pippo Inzagghi, drifting in and out of offside position for 90 mins, playing off the last defender, ready to pounce? That idiotic pubic hair offside alternate universe we live in would have chalked off 80% of his goals…

    And it really isn’t a difficult fix, the pubic hair offside rule has to go. Shameful stuff…

    As a side note, when VAR creates more controversy than the problem it solves, maybe it’s time too rethink or scrap VAR altogether.

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