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English Premier League

Sheffield United 0 – 1 Liverpool



Sheffield United 0 - 1 Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool “deserved” victory at Sheffield United despite needing a “lucky” Georginio Wijnaldum goal to continue their perfect start to the Premier League season at a raucous Bramall Lane.

The winner was a moment to forget for the otherwise faultless Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who spilt the Dutchman’s tame effort before it squirmed agonisingly over the line.

“It’s normal you have to work hard for the points,” said Klopp. “You have to stay concentrated and do the right things. We did today. It was never a clicking day, it was an average day.

“We were deserved winners. If it’s 0-0 we cannot moan and would not. But if there’s one winner it should be us. We worked hard for it. Winning in days like this is extremely worthy. We scored a lucky goal, we know that. But the boys worked so hard for it.”

Klopp’s side was far from their best in South Yorkshire – and left thankful that the hosts could not find a way through in a game where they matched the European champions in many respects.

Substitute Leon Clarke, making his Premier League debut at the age of 34, should have levelled it late on, but blazed over.

Liverpool has won their first seven league games of the season, and have a five-point lead at the top of the early-season table.

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When the story of the 2019-20 season is told, this may be looked back on as one of Liverpool’s most crucial but most fortunate victories.

The first half, though goalless, was thrilling. For all of the visitors’ early pressure, it was Chris Wilder’s side who had the first sight of goal when Ollie McBurnie stung the palms of Adrian.

Liverpool’s first clear chance came as a result of a long ball over the top from Virgil van Dijk, but Sadio Mane’s finish when through on goal was wild and wayward, while Senegal forward later struck the post.

After the break, United may have hit the front, but for alert defending from Joel Matip and Andrew Robertson to frustrate the enthusiastic John Lundstram.

At the other end, when a penalty appeal for Lundstram’s challenge on Mane was denied, it seemed that Liverpool may have to settle for a point.

With time running out, the Merseysiders withdrew Jordan Henderson for Divock Origi, and the move to a 4-2-3-1 formation ultimately paid off when Wijnaldum’s shot snuck in.

Earlier this week, the Champions League winners were told they had failed in their attempt to copyright the word Liverpool. This performance lacked their usual trademarks too.

Indeed, they were lucky not to be punished when Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold coughed up possession early on.

There’s no questioning the relentless force that is this Liverpool side, but for the second weekend in a row, they rode their luck to notch up a league win on the road. But where the Reds were clinical in the 2-1 win at Chelsea, they were wasteful in the Steel City.

Sheffield United 0 - 1 Liverpool

Whether it was Mane blazing over or against the post in the first 45 minutes, or Mohamed Salah’s spurned effort one-on-one with Henderson after they had taken the lead, they were not at their flowing best.

However, few if any of their supporters will now lose sleep over the fact Wijnaldum’s goal on 70 minutes was their first shot on target at last season’s Championship runners-up.

They arrived for this match amid news that they could be kicked out of the Carabao Cup for allegedly fielding an ineligible player in the 2-0 win at MK Dons on Wednesday.

As far as their quest for that elusive first Premier League title goes, it remains full steam ahead – although ex-boss Brendan Rodgers and his Leicester City side will provide another stern test in their next league game.

Ahead of kick-off, the sides emerged to the sound of a near 32,000 crowd that shook the very foundations of what is one of the oldest stadiums in the country.

And although they were cruelly denied a deserved point for their efforts in this match, there’s much to hearten the Blades. The legacy of this performance should be that lazy stereotyping of Sheffield United as being tactically basic from some pundits must end.

In this game, they not only matched Liverpool’s passing style but took the game to their revered opponents, pressing high and chasing everything – with the Reds often forced to pass back to goalkeeper Adrian.

Unfortunately, there are no points for effort.

Henderson’s decisive mistake will prompt grimaced faces, and perhaps the hosts could and should have scored… but this defeat does not necessarily need to be attributed to a villain.

In his pre-match press call, Wilder said: “the long-term challenge” was for this kind of game to become a regular fixture at Bramall Lane. The way they have started life back in the top flight suggests they’re more than capable of fulfilling that aim.

Source – BBC

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English Premier League

Crystal Palace 2 – 0 Norwich City




Crystal Palace 2 - 0 Norwich City

Norwich manager Daniel Farke said he “expected there would be difficult times” in the Premier League as his injury-hit side were beaten by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Palace captain Luka Milivojevic scored a first-half penalty on his 100th appearance for the club before Andros Townsend sealed the win for Roy Hodgson’s side.

Serbia international Milivojevic struck confidently into the top corner after 21 minutes after Norwich defender Ibrahim Amadou fouled James McArthur.

Substitute Townsend then finished neatly in the bottom corner in second-half injury time as the Eagles equalled their Premier League record of six unbeaten home matches.

In for injured first-choice Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul, Schalke loanee Ralf Fahrmann was himself replaced by fellow debutant Michael McGovern following Milivojevic’s penalty, while defender Jamal Lewis suffered a possible broken arm as the promoted side’s injury problems continued to mount.

“We expected that there would be difficult times. Right now, especially because of the injury situation, we have a difficult period. We must stick to our guns to improve this,” said Farke.

“At this level, as a newly promoted side and with so many players injured it’s difficult to dominate a game. You have to help yourself when you’re on the front foot.

“Each and every game is important. Of course, our biggest concern is the injury situation. It is a difficult situation but we must work on the small details. The only way is hard work.”

In a lively encounter, the hosts almost led after two minutes but Zaha’s curling shot narrowly missed the target, while Jordan Ayew forced Fahrmann into action.

The visitors ended the first half in the ascendancy, with Emiliano Buendia drawing a fine save from Vicente Guaita. But they struggled to impose themselves after the interval as they fell to a fourth defeat in five matches.

Palace’s unbeaten top-flight home run stretches back to April when they lost to eventual champions Manchester City.

Their home record would have been even better if Wolves had not scored a 95th-minute equaliser last weekend, but the reasons for their nonetheless impressive home run were evident once more in this astute victory.

Although Palace had scored the joint-fewest Premier League goals this season prior to kick-off, their steely, regimented defence has conceded just once in four home games.

Martin Kelly came in for the injured Mamadou Sakho, and his excellent sliding block to deny Todd Cantwell at a crucial stage of the match – as Norwich began to dictate the play – epitomised the defensive platform from which Hodgson’s side are able to go and win matches.

Zaha, oozing confidence, may have scored just once in his past 19 home league games, but he played a notable part in this win, which takes Palace up three places to ninth in the table.

The Ivory Coast international cut inside and found McArthur before the foul that rewarded Palace for their early dominance with a spot-kick. The tricky winger later wriggled free of his marker to set up Townsend in the closing stages as the substitute calmed the home fans’ nerves following last week’s late sucker-punch.

Questions undoubtedly remain over Palace’s profligacy, as McArthur, Patrick van Aanholt and Zaha all blazed over the bar when in good positions during the second half. McArthur and Milivojevic join Ayew and van Aanholt as their side’s only league scorers this term – but, with their sturdy defence, the Eagles will fancy their chances against anyone at Selhurst this season.

“When you see the five minutes go up on the board it was a bit of a deja vu situation. Norwich are a good team with good, quality players and they came back into in the first half which made our one goal lead look fragile,” said Hodgson.

“The second goal was coming but we couldn’t produce the last pass or last shot and it was nice when it eventually came.”

On captain Milivojevic, he added: “He’s enormously valuable, that’s why he’s captain of the team. He’s been a massive influence on and off the field, particularly in the field, with the way he plays and his understanding of the game.”

Source – BBC

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English Premier League

Chelsea 2 – 0 Brighton




Chelsea 2 - 0 Brighton

Chelsea “needed the win” over Brighton, said boss Frank Lampard after his first home victory as a Premier League manager.

The Blues deservedly won to make it nine wins out of nine league games against Brighton.

They led at Stamford Bridge when Jorginho scored a penalty after Adam Webster fouled Mason Mount.

Albion, who have not won in the league since the opening day, briefly rallied and Dan Burn’s header hit the crossbar.

But Willian sealed the victory with a deflected strike from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s pass.

Chelsea moves up to sixth in the Premier League while Brighton falls to 16th.

“We haven’t had a 90-minute game where we’ve controlled it enough [before now],” Lampard told BBC Sport. “The only disappointment is we didn’t have more goals. We got a clean sheet as well. It is good for the confidence of everyone.

“We had a lot of shots in the first half but had weak finishing and a bit of bad luck. You do start to wonder but you have to remain confident it will come and it did.”

The Blues, with a youthful team following a transfer ban, have been easy on the eye this season but have dropped points regularly.

There had been 25 goals in their opening six league games, but more against than for – and they had not won at home in three top-flight matches.

Lampard had the worst record of any Blues manager this millennium after nine games in all competitions, with no clean sheets.

During the first half, it looked as if they were going to be frustrated with none of their 17 shots going in. Mount went closest when his free-kick from the left-wing evaded everyone and hit the post, while Pedro and Tammy Abraham managed five shots each – both had three of them on target without finding the net.

Chelsea 2 - 0 Brighton

But the Blues kept going and got their reward when Webster fouled Mount, with Jorginho scoring his second goal of the season from the spot.

They dominated for the entire game, bar a short period, and Willian blasted home his first Premier League goal since January, albeit with the help of a deflection.

English youngsters Abraham – the league’s second top scorer with seven goals – Mount and Fikayo Tomori have scored 11 of Chelsea’s 14 Premier League goals, and Lampard was impressed again despite none of them managing to score.

Hudson-Odoi came on for his first Premier League game of the season after recovering from an Achilles problem.

“It is great for the club and a long time coming,” Lampard said. “The work is done in the academy. The mentality is great. They want to play for this club.

“At the moment they are earning it and setting a level for others. I have complete confidence in the lads. They are there on merit. Whatever game, they take it on board and long may it continue.”

Nice football but no end product is the story of Brighton’s season under Graham Potter. This was never a game they were likely to win.

The Seagulls have now only taken one point from 14 Premier League games against the usual top-six sides. And their only win over Chelsea came in their first meeting, a 1933 FA Cup tie.

After the game, Potter, whose team have scored only two league goals since the opening day and are one point above the relegation zone, openly conceded “the better team won”.

He added “we rode our luck in the first half”, with goalkeeper Mat Ryan making four of his eight saves, including a brilliant instinctive stop to keep out Ross Barkley’s close-range effort.

Brighton, who kept trying to play from the back, were architects of their own downfall for the opener. Webster took a heavy touch, or perhaps played a weak backpass, instead of just clearing, and he fouled Mount as he tried to win the ball back.

They kept that philosophy going and Dale Stephens gave Tammy Abraham a chance to score with a shoddy backpass, but Ryan denied him.

Teenage striker Aaron Connolly’s introduction sparked a good 10 minutes or so for Brighton, with Burn heading off the crossbar from Pascal Gross’ corner.

But Willian’s goal wrapped the game up – and Stephens’ weak 25-yard shot in injury time was Albion’s only effort on target.

“We gave a goal away cheaply and then grew into the game but then gave a goal that killed the game,” said Potter. “We are disappointed but credit to the opposition. Chelsea was good and we could not sustain any pressure.

“There are always things you can improve. You have to be clinical when the moments come. But the players gave everything and Chelsea was just better today.

“We have had a settled way of playing. Personnel have to change in the game if things are not working. The boys have been positive to what we want to do.”

Chelsea’s next game is at Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday (20:00 BST). They are back in Premier League action at Southampton on Sunday, 6 October (14:00 BST).

Brighton host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, 5 October at 12:30 BST.

Source – BBC

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English Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 1 Southampton




Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 1 Southampton

Maurcio Pochettino says he will shoulder the “blame” for Hugo Lloris’ howler in 10-man Tottenham’s 2-1 Premier League win over Southampton.

The France goalkeeper – and 2018 World Cup winner – was inexplicably dispossessed inside his own six-yard area by Danny Ings for Saints’ equaliser following a back pass.

“You don’t need to blame Hugo, blame me because I demand him to play in that way,” Pochetteino said.

“I don’t want anyone to blame him; in this action, I want the blame because I demand him to do what he was doing.”

After a week where they had lost to Leicester before being beaten by League Two Colchester in the Carabao Cup, Spurs’ spirits were lifted as £53.8m club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele scored with a powerful deflected finish.

Serge Aurier, who had already been booked, was sent off in the 32nd minute for a foul on Ryan Bertrand after Spurs felt the ball had gone out of play just before.

But within five minutes of Ings’ leveller, Harry Kane swept home what proved to be the winner after an assist by Christian Eriksen.

“He [Lloris] is so strong mentally,” Pochettino added. “and of course showed that he wasn’t affected by this situation.”

Spurs captain Lloris went some way to redeeming himself for his howler with two excellent second-half saves.

He flung himself across his line to keep out James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick before producing an acrobatic leap to block Maya Yoshida’s header following a corner.

Having made a slow start to the season, this was a welcome victory for Pochettino’s side, who had started the day closer to the bottom three than the top two.

After dropping 10 points from their previous six matches, they will be relieved to have returned to winning ways even if it was a far from convincing performance.

Lloris had been forced to save from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before France midfielder Ndombele lashed home his second goal since joining from Lyon in July.

Spurs’ season has been anything but straightforward and, having developed a nasty habit of throwing away leads, they once again gifted their opponents a way back at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Aurier’s needless lunge on Bertrand as the Southampton player charged forward, resulting in a second yellow card for the Ivory Coast defender, lifted Southampton’s hopes – and eight minutes later they were level.

Lloris, back in the side after missing the Leicester defeat to be with his wife as she gave birth, was embarrassed after losing possession inside his own six-yard area to Ings, who then managed to bundle the ball over the line.

Yet Tottenham managed to get themselves back in front, Kane finishing from 12 yards after a sweeping move involving the impressive Son Heung-min and Eriksen, whose pass allowed the England striker to score his 10th goal of the season for club and country.

This was a big day for Eriksen, who started September by being linked with a move away from Tottenham before the European transfer deadline.

He ended it by marking his recall to Pochettino’s Premier League starting line-up with a busy performance which he capped by providing the assist for the winning goal.

With his contract set to expire next summer, the Denmark midfielder continues to be linked with a move away after six years at the club.

Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 1 Southampton

Yet while Aurier was sent off and Lloris committed a horrible mistake, Eriksen kept a cool head as he played a significant part in helping put Tottenham’s season back on track.

With the game goalless, his free-kick took a deflection and resulted in a chance for Kane, who slipped as he attempted to volley home from close range.

Southampton has found playing away from home a much more comfortable experience than performing at St Mary’s this season.

They arrived in north London seeking a fifth straight league and cup away win – and for spells, they looked like they might extend that run.

Despite losing Portugal defender Cedric Soares in the warm-up, which resulted in Jannik Vestergaard being promoted from the substitutes bench, they took the game to Spurs.

Without £15m striker Che Adams and Mali winger Moussa Djenepo, who had scored in the previous two leagues away win, Southampton relied on Nathan Redmond’s pace to cause problems.

He teed-up a chance for Hojbjerg, who tested Lloris before Ndombele scored – the first goal Southampton had conceded on their travels for more than six hours.

Aurier’s red card and Lloris’ howler saw the momentum swing in Southampton’s direction yet after Kane had restored Tottenham’s lead, the visitors found themselves frustrated by the goalkeeper’s fine performance in the second half.

Source – BBC

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