Liverpool held 1-1 by Leicester, extends lead to 5 points

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              Liverpool defender Joel Matip, center, heads the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Leicester City, at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Wednesday, Jan.29, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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Unable to fathom his team’s second-half capitulation, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri kept his players in the locker room for around an hour after a humiliating 4-0 loss at Bournemouth on Wednesday.

His assistants weren’t allowed in the room. The media was kept waiting. Sarri simply wanted answers.

“I needed to understand,” Sarri said. “It’s impossible to play in such a different way between the first and second half. I don’t understand why.”

Sarri even started to question himself.

“Maybe it’s my fault,” he added, “maybe I’m not able to motivate them.”

From 0-0 at halftime, Chelsea conceded four goals to slump to its heaviest loss so far in Sarri’s turbulent reign. It’s back-to-back league defeats for Chelsea, which was outplayed in a 2-0 loss at Arsenal 11 days earlier.

That led to a coruscating attack from Sarri on his players’ attitude and mentality. It hasn’t had the desired effect, with Chelsea now out of the top four — on goals scored below Arsenal — in the race to secure one of the four Champions League qualification positions.

Without one of them, Sarri surely won’t survive more than a season at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea has long since exited the title race, which was thought to be down to two teams — Liverpool and Manchester City. However, Liverpool failed to fully capitalize on City’s 2-1 loss to Newcastle on Tuesday by only drawing 1-1 at home to Leicester a day later, giving Juergen Klopp’s team a five-point lead when it could have been seven.

Now there might be a third team in contention, with Tottenham rallying to a 2-1 win over Watford to close to within seven points of Liverpool.