LONDON - There was more than a touch of fortune about Liverpool’s seventh successive Premier League victory of the season as an embarrassing howler by Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson gifted the leaders a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
With second-placed champions Manchester City playing later at Everton, Liverpool moved eight points clear at the top on a day when Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers all won at home.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp acknowledged that luck was on their side when Henderson allowed Georginio Wijnaldum’s shot from the edge of the area to squeeze through his arms and between his legs at a critical point in the second half. “One team deserved to win, which was us, but all respect to Sheffield United, they were tough,” said Klopp. For the Blades, the challenge was always to hold on to their concentration for the entire 90 minutes against the European champions who have confidence coursing through their veins.
Liverpool, who have now won 16 league games in succession across two seasons, have not dropped a point since March and need one more victory to equal their best start to a Premier League season in 1990 and two to match Chelsea’s 2005-06 record. Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris was guilty of an even worse error than Henderson against Southampton but they still emerged 2-1 winners at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium after Harry Kane scored his eighth goal in six league games against the Saints.
Frenchman Lloris, restored to the team after missing the previous league game for the birth of his third child, dwelt too long on the ball near his line, allowing Danny Ings to charge in and bundle it over to cancel out Tanguy Ndombele’s opener. That was Spurs’ second mistake of the day after full back Serge Aurier was sent off for two bookings in four minutes, but Kane still made the difference -- as he often does.
Tottenham, who moved up to fourth, stay ahead of Chelsea on goal difference after Frank Lampard’s side recorded a routine 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion with a Jorginho penalty and strike from Willian at Stamford Bridge.
Seventh-placed Bournemouth are also on 11 points after a 2-2 draw with visitors West Ham United, who are third on 12, in a game featuring two VAR interventions involving Nathan Ake.
First VAR overturned the referee’s decision to disallow Josh King’s equaliser for an Ake offside but the Dutchman then found himself on the wrong side of the technology when it later ruled out his strike which would have put Bournemouth 3-1 ahead.
VAR also cancelled out John McGinn’s effort for Aston Villa against Burnley but the Scot still managed to score in a thrilling 2-2 draw where goals from Jay Rodriguez and Chris Wood allowed the visitors to twice come from behind.
Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic and Andros Townsend struck either side of halftime for a deserved 2-0 home win over promoted Norwich City at Selhurst Park while Watford’s nightmare season continued with a 2-0 defeat at Wolves.
While the result represented a big improvement on last week’s 8-0 rout by Manchester City, Watford remain rooted to the bottom on two points while Wolves’ first league win of the season moved them up to 13th place.
“We were looking to improve and we knew we needed to score first; today we did it,” said relieved Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo.