English Premier League

Liverpool's woes continue; United bests City in Manchester Derby

March 7

The defending English champions look like anything but, and Manchester is red after a derby duel in northern England.

Liverpool, last year's Premier League champion, saw its dreadful stretch at home continue with a 1-0 loss to relegation-threatened Fulham.

Over in the Manchester Derby, United ended City's top-flight record of 21 consecutive wins in the league, thanks to an early penalty and some industrious defending in a 2-0 triumph against the champions-elect.

In Sunday's late game, Tottenham stayed hot ⁠— and in the thick of the race for next year's UEFA Champions League positions ⁠— with a dominant London derby win against Crystal Palace.

Here are the takeaways from a trio of Sunday's biggest Premier League matches.

Another Liverpool letdown

After showing a pulse in last Sunday's win on the road at Sheffield United, questions are abound again for the Reds as their woeful performances at home continue.

Liverpool fell 1-0 to Chelsea on Thursday before coming up empty again Sunday against Fulham in a 1-0 defeat.

Fulham midfielder Mario Lemina scored the decisive goal with a bit of tenacity, capitalizing after Liverpool failed to clear the ball on a set piece just prior to the halftime whistle. 

With a dominant 64% of possession, Liverpool saw plenty of the ball over the course of the match but couldn't manage to do quite enough with it. 

A header off the crossbar from Sadio Mane in the 70th minute left Liverpool fans with their faces in their hands, as Fulham weathered the storm for a statement win.

The hits at home keep on coming for Liverpool, which hasn't seen a league triumph at Anfield since Dec. 16, 2020; the club's six consecutive EPL losses at home are the most ever in team history. 

The Reds have taken 101 shots at home since the calendar flipped to 2021 and have converted just one of those attempts into a goal ⁠— which was a penalty ⁠— per Squawka Football.

The loss puts the defending champions four points behind Chelsea for the coveted fourth-place spot in the Premier League table, the last slot in the standings that comes with entry into next season's Champions League field attached.

It seems unthinkable that Liverpool would consider firing manager Jurgen Klopp after winning the league last season and the Champions League the season before, but Liverpool being in uncharted territory could result in some murmurs.

As for Fulham, the win comes as a big boost in its bid to avoid relegation at the end of the season. The three points from Liverpool give Fulham 26 for the season, but the Cottagers still sit in 18th and in the drop zone.

Man U secures city bragging rights

It didn't take long for the fireworks to start in the Manchester Derby.

United earned an early penalty after Gabriel Jesus clumsily fouled Anthony Martial in the box at the start of the game, and Bruno Fernandes stepped up to convert the opportunity.

Luke Shaw nearly made it 2-0 as City looked shellshocked in the opening few minutes. But the presumptive EPL champions grew into the game.

City turned up the heat over the course of the first half and knocked on the door a handful of times, but Man U keeper Dean Henderson turned away City's attackers to keep the game 1-0 heading into the break.

In the second half, Shaw got another open look at City's goal and didn't squander his second chance.

Shaw's left-footed effort skittered past Ederson for the left back's second career Premier League goal and United's second of the game.

While City piled on the pressure in the second half, United held firm and even had a chance to make it 3-0 in the 69th minute, if Martial had done better when in on goal.

The win for United gives the Red Devils quite a bit of breathing room in the race to remain in the top four, seven points ahead of fourth-place Chelsea, which plays on Monday against Everton.

Despite the loss, with 10 games remaining this season and an 11-point cushion on United in second place, Man City appears poised to win a third league title under manager Pep Guardiola.

Dynamic duo makes history for Spurs

Tottenham kept pace in the congested race for inclusion in next year's Champions League with a 4-1 win against Crystal Palace in Sunday's final match.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min continued their telepathic connection making history with 14 goals assisted as a duo for the season

While Son's assist for Kane set up the game's final goal, a 52nd-minute rocket off the foot of the 27-year-old Kane to make the score 3-1 earlier in the match proved to be the highlight of the contest.

The suddenly resurgent Gareth Bale picked up the other two goals for Tottenham, which is riding a three-game EPL winning streak. Spurs currently sit sixth in the league, trailing Chelsea by two points for the fourth and final UCL spot.

For Spurs, a UEFA Europa League game on Thursday serves as an appetizer ahead of Sunday's EPL clash with bitter rival Arsenal.

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