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Soccer-Liverpool hit the top as Arsenal lose, Man Utd humiliated by Bournemouth

Published Dec 09, 2023 19:01 Updated Dec 09, 2023 21:21
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5/5 © Reuters. Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace v Liverpool - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - December 9, 2023 Liverpool's Harvey Elliott scores their second goal REUTERS/Hannah Mckay 2/5

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) -Liverpool climbed atop the Premier League after Mo Salah scored his 200th goal for the club in a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday before Aston Villa beat Arsenal 1-0 for a 15th straight home league win to stop the Gunners retaking first place.

Storm clouds returned to Manchester United (NYSE:MANU) as they lost 3-0 at home to Bournemouth. Bottom club Sheffield United beat visiting Brentford 1-0 for only their second win of the season while fellow strugglers Burnley and Nottingham Forest both drew.

Liverpool were fully extended by a dogged Palace side who went ahead at Selhurst Park from the penalty spot in the 57th minute after a lengthy VAR review found that Jean-Philippe Mateta had been fouled by centre-back Jarell Quansah.

Mateta then stroked the ball home from the spot.

Liverpool had not managed an effort on target but the game swung when Palace's Jordan Ayew was sent off in the 75th minute after two innocuous yellow cards.

Just over a minute later Salah equalised to join an elite list of Liverpool players to notch a double century of goals for the Reds, the others being Ian Rush, Roger Hunt, Gordon Hodgson and Billy Liddell.

Liverpool then laid siege to the Palace goal and Harvey Elliott produced a stunning strike in the first minute of stoppage time to seal a sixth win in eight league games for Juergen Klopp's side who have 37 points from 16 games.

"I'm a very happy manager in this moment, but I know we were lucky as well," Klopp said. "If you only win your really good games you have no chance to be really successful, that's how it is, and obviously today was not a really good game from us.

"For 76 minutes it was a really bad performance."

Aston Villa's captain John McGinn scored in the seventh minute and they held on to beat Arsenal three nights after they shocked champions Manchester City by the same scoreline at Villa Park in what McGinn called a "monumental week."

Their 15th successive home win set a club record.

Liverpool lead the standings on 37 points, a point above second-placed Arsenal with Villa up to third on 35. City, who visit lowly Luton Town on Sunday, have 30 points.

"I'm feeling very, very good and very happy, we are connecting with our supporters and the positive energy transmits to us," Villa manager Unai Emery said. "Today we needed it because we were tired after the game on Wednesday."

"We were speaking about the necessity to keep a clean sheet against City and Arsenal, it is amazing to keep them."

Arsenal thought they had equalised in added time before VAR determined Kai Havertz had handled the ball while firing it past keeper Emi Martinez from a goalmouth scramble.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta hesitated to speak about the call, except to say it was "clear and obvious."


Manchester United had earlier put in a shambolic display against Bournemouth at a soggy Old Trafford.

Any hope of Erik Ten Hag's side following up a midweek win over Chelsea never looked likely as they were outplayed by the south coast club who posted a first win away to United thanks to goals by Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing and Marcos Senesi.

United remain in sixth place but they are now 10 points behind Liverpool after a fourth home defeat in the league this season. After a must-win Champions League game against Bayern Munich, United travel to Liverpool next weekend.

"Of course, annoyed, disappointed, definitely," Ten Hag said. "I expected something different, I hoped before the game you can build on from the performance and result from Chelsea, so it's very disappointing, the way we started the game. After the 2-0, we broke down so we have to do things better."

Chris Wilder's return to Sheffield United in midweek after Paul Heckingbottom's sacking began with a 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool but he got off the mark with victory over Brentford.

James McAtee, on loan from Manchester City, curled in the only goal in first half stoppage time and Brentford never really looked like depriving the Blades of a morale-boosting win.

"We were a little off it but the goal gave us a boost and second half what really pleased me is we could have sat off but we pushed on and kept being brave," Wilder said.

Sheffield United stay bottom with eight points, level with Burnley who were denied a win at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Wilson Odobert's deflected shot gave Burnley the lead but Simon Adingra's second-half header earned Brighton a draw.

Nottingham Forest now have only one win in 12 league games but fans sang the name of under-pressure manager Steve Cooper throughout the 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Forest made a fast start and Harry Toffolo scored his first goal for the club, rising to meet a superb delivery by Neco Williams to give them the lead in the 14th minute.

But Wolves responded and Matheus Cunha finished off a flowing move after 32 minutes.

Soccer-Liverpool hit the top as Arsenal lose, Man Utd humiliated by Bournemouth

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