A stoppage-time James Milner penalty sparked huge celebrations at Anfield as Liverpool beat Leicester City 2-1 on Saturday for an eighth successive Premier League win that moved them eight points clear at the top of the table.
The contrast with Tottenham Hotspur, whom they beat in last season's Champions League final, could not be more marked as Mauricio Pochettino's side continued to ship goals in a 3-0 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion. Aston Villa thumped Norwich City 5-1, Burnley edged Everton 1-0 and Crystal Palace won 2-1 at West Ham United.
With Manchester City not playing until Sunday, Liverpool looked determined to lay down their marker and were well in control when Sadio Mane scored the opener -- his 50th league goal for the club -- after getting on the end of a superb through ball from Milner.
But Leicester were always a threat on the break and looked to have secured a point when James Maddison equalised 10 minutes from time before a rash Mark Albrighton challenge on Mane set up Milner's penalty chance.
"We had to dig deep and find the points," said Milner, who said he just had to concentrate and stay calm to convert his 16th spot-kick in 18 attempts for Liverpool.
"The boys have done it time and time again. There was a few tired legs and it was about getting the result."
The game ended with several players from both sides confronting each other as passions threatened to boil over.
Tottenham's defeat at the Amex stadium was compounded by a horror injury to keeper Hugo Lloris, who was taken to hospital after injuring his arm in trying to keep out Neal Maupay's opener on three minutes.
The French keeper, who made a howler against Southampton last week and conceded seven against Bayern Munich, was badly at fault in parrying the ball straight into Maupay's path.
But recriminations were soon forgotten as the severity of his injury became clear and Lloris was treated on the pitch for six minutes before leaving on a stretcher. Spurs later confirmed he had dislocated his elbow.
Pochettino said the injury so early in the game affected the rest of the team although questions remain about another substandard Spurs performance so soon after their mauling by Bayern.
Brighton's other goals were scored by 19-year-old Irish striker Aaron Connolly in his first Premier League start.
"I've been watching the Premier League since I was four or five, so to be playing in it now, and then to score and to win 3-0, it really is a dream come true," Connolly said.
Everton slump again as Hendrick sends Burnley into fourth
A 72nd-minute volley from Jeff Hendrick gave Burnley a 1-0 win over Everton in the Premier League at Turf Moor, condemning Marco Silva’s side to a fourth straight defeat.
The result leaves Everton languishing in 17th place, a point above the relegation zone, while Burnley extended their unbeaten run to four games and moved up to fourth place ahead of Sunday’s games.
Gylfi Sigurdsson tested Burnley keeper Nick Pope with a free kick and, at the other end, Hendrick went close with a back-post volley from a corner which was kept out by the legs of Everton keeper Jordan Pickford but openings were rare in the first half.
Everton were reduced to 10 men in the 56th minute when captain Seamus Coleman was given a second yellow card for a reckless aerial challenge on Dwight McNeil.
Ashley Barnes then found space in the Everton box but blasted high and wide as the pressure from Burnley increased against an Everton side looking well short of confidence.
The goal came via an Ashley Westwood corner which was met by a totally unmarked Hendrick at the back post, the Ireland international doing well to volley in from a tight angle.
Wesley strikes twice as Villa rout Norwich
Brazilian striker Wesley scored twice and missed a penalty as Aston Villa thumped injury-hit Norwich City 5-1 at Carrow Road for their biggest Premier League away win in 11 years.
Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Douglas Luiz completed the rout, with Josip Drmic scoring a late consolation for injury-hit Norwich who looked a shadow of the side who had beaten Manchester City in their previous home game.
Wesley, who doubled his Villa goal tally, was criticised for a slipshod performance against Burnley last weekend but justified manager Dean Smith’s faith with his first-half strikes.
On 14 minutes he brought down Anwar El Ghazi’s cross to rifle past Michael McGovern, Norwich’s third-choice keeper who was making his Premier League debut for the club at the age of 35.
Wesley took advantage of good work from Hourihane to double Villa’s lead on 30 minutes but had a penalty well saved by McGovern, who also did enough to ensure Wesley’s follow-up shot ballooned over the bar.
Grealish side-footed home his first top-flight goal in four years for Villa’s third just after the break before more bad defending allowed Hourihane to grab the fourth. Luiz’s 83rd-minute thunderbolt delighted the noisy away support as Villa leapfrogged Norwich to move out of the relegation zone.
Smith was delighted with the part his 22 million-pound ($27 million) striker played in a result that moved Villa up to 14th place.
“Wesley is a young player. He has been in Belgium for a year or two and Slovakia before that,” Smith said.
“It is a new group of players and a new style and a big price. I had no doubts to put him in. I thought he was a colossus up front. The good thing for us is there is a lot of improvements to make and the potential is massive.”
Norwich manager Daniel Farke rued a weakened starting line-up.
“We had to play today without 10 players,” he said. “There were also so many players on the pitch who not able to train and had painkillers because we had no other options. Two or three key players didn’t have the best game and if this comes together you will not be competitive.”