London (AFP) – Liverpool and Tottenham remain tied at the top of the Premier League after both were surprisingly held to 1-1 draws at Fulham and Crystal Palace respectively on Sunday.
The top two face each other at Anfield on Wednesday and, after Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United failed to win on Saturday, they missed the chance to open up a gap at the top in the title race.
Liverpool needed a Mohamed Salah penalty 11 minutes from time to avoid an embarrassing defeat at Fulham after a dreadful first-half performance from the English champions left Jurgen Klopp seething on the touchline.
“We needed half an hour to get our feet in the game, that’s why I shouted a bit at them,” said Klopp.
“The first 30 minutes was just not good, we could have lost the game in that period. We didn’t because the next 60 were really good.”
Bobby DeCordova-Reid’s thunderous finish into the far corner to take the lead was no more than Scott Parker’s side deserved as the returning Alisson Becker kept Liverpool in the game before the break.
Fulham were also controversially not awarded a penalty when referee Andre Marriner stood by his initial decision after reviewing Fabinho’s challenge on Ivan Cavaleiro.
Liverpool dominated the second-half to pin Fulham back, but needed a spot-kick themselves to salvage a point when Aboubakar Kamara was penalised for handling Georginio Wijnaldum’s free-kick.
Salah slammed the penalty low and just beyond the grasp of Alphonse Areola, but Fulham comfortably saw out the final 10 minutes to the delight of 2,000 fans at Craven Cottage.
Despite the limited numbers, there is pattern across the last two weekends that the return of supporters is providing a boost to the home side.
“They played a big part,” said Parker.
– Tottenham pegged back –
Palace could also count on the return of fans to Selhurst Park for the first time in nine months to inspire a second-half fightback against Tottenham.
Harry Kane opened the scoring thanks to a goalkeeping howler from Vicente Guaita as he misjudged the England captain’s long-range effort.
Spurs then sat on their lead and failed to hold out for a sixth consecutive Premier League clean sheet when Hugo Lloris failed to hold Eberechi Eze’s free-kick and Jeffrey Schlupp swept home the rebound.
“We lost two points. If I look to the last 10 minutes of the game, yes, if I look at the first 45 minutes, yes, but from 45 to 75 minutes we couldn’t play or build from the back and we made lots of mistakes,” said Spurs coach Jose Mourinho.
Guaita then redeemed himself with a pair of outstanding saves as Spurs suddenly found their attacking thrust again after the equaliser.
The Spanish ‘keeper got down low to his left to deny Kane a second before Eric Dier’s brilliant stoppage-time free-kick was somehow clawed behind by Guaita.
– Southampton soar –
Southampton are now just two points off the top after they climbed into third with a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling Sheffield United on Sunday.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side took the lead when Che Adams netted against his former club.
Stuart Armstrong’s deflected effort doubled the Saints’ advantage before Nathan Redmond wrapped up their fifth victory in the last seven games.
“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t continue what we’re doing at this moment,” said Hassenhuttl.
“We know every game is tough but as long as I see the guys are hungry, the mentality has changed completely at this club. There’s no reason, for me, why we shouldn’t keep playing like this.”
Bottom of the table United remain without a win this season, having lost 11 of their 12 games to leave them starring relegation in the face.
Leicester can move to within a point of the leaders when they host Brighton later on Sunday.
Arsenal also host Burnley at the Emirates looking to end a run of four league games without a win.
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