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EPL Round Up: Liverpool climb to top, Leeds pull away late win, 10-man Arsenal draw

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho looked sickened, having assumed his side had done enough to earn the point to stay in first place.

By: AP | Updated: December 17, 2020 10:00:18 am
Liverpool and Tottenham HotspurLiverpool's Mohamed Salah, center, attempts a shot on goal during the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Roberto Firmino scored with a 90th-minute header as Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-1 Wednesday to climb above its opponent to the top of the Premier League.

In a victory reminiscent of so many which carried the Reds to their first title in 30 years last season, Liverpool’s relentlessness was rewarded when the Brazil striker powered home a header from Andy Robertson’s corner with the clock ticking toward stoppage time.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho looked sickened, having assumed his side had done enough to earn the point to stay in first place.

Liverpool had comfortably out-shot their opponents during the 90 minutes, in which it enjoyed 76% possession, but saw Mohamed Salah’s 26th-minute goal canceled out by Son Heung-min’s effort on a breakaway in the first half.

The hosts looked set to be frustrated by Mourinho’s rope-a-dope game plan, which the Portuguese coach seemed satisfied enough with to replace midfielder Steven Bergwijn, who hit the post in the second half and looked a threat on the counterattack, with left back Sergio Reguilon with 15 minutes to go.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side has seen this sort of thing before and, encouraged by their opponents’ passivity, continued to drive forward. It eventually brought its reward.

How much the victory meant was evident as Klopp, having had words with Mourinho, raced onto the field at the final whistle and lifted Sadio Mane off his feet before embracing each and every one of his players. He then produced his trademark triple fist-pump for the supporters on The Kop.

Liverpool moved three points clear after 13 games.

Haller’s bicycle kick gives West Ham 1-1 draw vs Palace

West Ham and Crystal Palace West Ham’s Tomas Soucek, second left, celebrates after teammate Sebastien Haller, second right, passed Crystal Palace’s goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, right, with a bicycle kick to score his side’s first goal on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Stephen Pond/Pool via AP)

Sebastien Haller scored with an acrobatic overhead kick to give West Ham a 1-1 home draw against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Wednesday.

The striker met a cross from the right by leaping up in the air with his back to the goal and hammering a strike into the top of the net in the 55th minute. It canceled out a first-half opener by Christian Benteke, who was then sent off in the 70th for catching Tomas Soucek with his trailing arm as they went up for a header.

Palace had dominated the first half and Benteke missed an earlier chance when his header from four yards out went wide.

Instead Palace went ahead in the 35th minute when Joel Ward whipped in another cross from the right and Benteke got in front of Issa Diop to head home his third in three matches for the visitors.

Benteke missed a good chance for a second before the break for Palace when Andros Townsend danced into the area and laid the ball across goal. But the Belgium striker opted for a backheel finish and the ball went straight into the arms of Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski.

West Ham equalized 10 minutes after the interval in style through Haller, who has been struggling to lead the attack on his own in the absence of the injured Michail Antonio.

But he made his mark when Coufal crossed from the right, executing a superb bicycle kick which flew past Guaita and into the net.

Benteke had been booked in the first half for catching Angelo Ogbonna with a flailing arm and was shown a second yellow 20 minutes from time for the same indiscretion against Soucek.

West Ham looked for a winner but Declan Rice fired inches wide. The point still lifted West Ham above Manchester City into seventh, while Palace is 13th.

Leeds pulls away late in 5-2 win vs Newcastle in EPL

Leeds United and Newcastle United Leeds United’s Stuart Dallas, left, scores his side’s third goal during the English Premier League match between Leeds United and Newcastle United at Elland Road Stadium in Leeds, England, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Stu Forster/Pool via AP)

Leeds delivered a late scoring burst to beat Newcastle 5-2 on Wednesday and leapfrog its opponent in the Premier League.

Stuart Dallas, Ezgjan Alioski and Jack Harrison all scored in the last 23 minutes as Leeds pulled away in an entertaining game that epitomized manager Marcelo Bielsa’s free-flowing style of play.

Newcastle had taken the lead against the run of play midway through the first half through Jeff Hendrick, but goals either side of the interval from Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo turned the game around.

Ciaran Clark equalized for Newcastle in the 65th but Dallas restored Leeds’ advantage for good in the 77th, heading in a cross at the far post.

With Newcastle pushing forward, Leeds used counterattacks to pad the scoreline as Alioski finished off a well-worked move in the 85th and Harrison blasted the fifth into the top corner from 25 yards three minutes later.

Leeds bounced back from back-to-back losses despite once again conceding a goal from a set piece, while Newcastle was denied a third successive win for the first time since November 2018.

This was the first top-flight meeting between the clubs since January 2004.

Fulham out of bottom 3 in EPL with 0-0 draw against Brighton

Fulham moved out of the bottom three in the Premier League by securing a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Brighton on Wednesday.

Adam Lallana thought he had scored his first goal for Brighton since joining the club in the summer, but it was ruled out by VAR for a handball in the build-up.

Fulham went into the game having taken four points from its last three games — against Leicester, Manchester City and Liverpool — and another point against Brighton saw it move out of the relegation places on goal difference.

It was a cagey game of few chances, which resulted in just eight shots on target — four from each team — as neither side was able to find a decisive breakthrough.

Both were reduced to long-range efforts in the opening 20 minutes, with Yves Bissouma and Bobby De Cordova-Reid trying their luck, but both efforts were saved easily.

Roberto Sanchez, who replaced Mat Ryan in goal for Brighton, was forced into his first real save of the match in the 42nd minute to keep out a well-struck drive from Ivan Cavaleiro, with the following corner also tipped over the crossbar.

Brighton looked to have taken the lead at the start of the second half, with Lallana tapping the ball into the back of the net after Danny Welbeck controlled Solly March’s cross. But the goal was ruled out by the video assistant referee for a handball by Welbeck.

Moments later, the game was stopped for another VAR review at the other end for a challenge from Adam Webster on Ademola Lookman, but nothing was given.

Webster’s close-range header bounced off the underside of the crossbar and away, before Sanchez made another good save in the 68th minute to deny Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who turned expertly from a throw-in to run at goal and get his shot away.

Aubameyang rescues 10-man Arsenal in 1-1 draw vs Southampton

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended his longest run without a Premier League goal for Arsenal to salvage a 1-1 draw against Southampton, ensuring his team avoided losing five straight top-flight home games for the first time in its 134-year history.

Arsenal finished with 10 men for the second straight game after Gabriel collected his second booking for fouling Theo Walcott, the former Arsenal winger who had opened the scoring for Southampton in the 18th minute against the team he represented between 2006-18.

Aubameyang equalized with a precise curling finish in the 52nd for his first goal since Nov. 1 — a run of six league games — and first in open play since the opening day of the season.

After Gabriel was sent off in the 62nd, Southampton piled on the pressure — coming closest to scoring when Nathan Redmond hit the post — but Arsenal held firm for a point that might relieve some of the pressure on manager Mikel Arteta, given how the game panned out.

Arsenal could even have nicked all three points, with Rob Holding hitting the crossbar in stoppage time.

Arsenal stayed 15th in what remains its worst start to a league campaign since the 1970s.

Richarlison leads Everton to 2-0 win over Leicester

Leicester vs Everton Everton’s Richarlison scores his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Nick Potts/Pool via AP)

Richarlison scored his first Premier League goal for nearly three months to lead Everton to a 2-0 win at Leicester on Wednesday.

Mason Holgate added the second goal — his first ever in the top flight — as Everton followed up its impressive 1-0 victory over Chelsea on Saturday, despite being without key players like James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman.

Brazil midfield anchorman Allan joined the injury list after being carried off on a stretcher in the first half against Leicester with an apparent left hamstring problem.

It was Leicester’s fourth loss in seven league games at its King Power Stadium, as the team’s home woes threaten to undermine its own top-four chances.

Leicester dominated possession but could not break down a stubborn Everton side that moved to within a point of the hosts, who dropped to fourth place.

Leicester had a late penalty overturned after referee Lee Mason initially awarded a spot kick, only to decide — after viewing the pitchside monitor — that Ayoze Perez had dived when he tumbled under a challenge by Andre Gomes.

Youri Tielemans’ low strike from the edge of the box inside two minutes was as good as it got for Leicester, which rarely looked like breaching Everton’s organized defence.

The visitors always looked the more composed and took the lead after 21 minutes when Richarlison collected Alex Iwobi’s pass on the left, drifted inside and fired in a shot from 20 meters shot that caught out the unsighted Kasper Schmeichel, who could only help it into the bottom corner.

A minute later, Jamie Vardy — making a club-record 223rd appearance in the Premier League — headed straight at Everton goalkeeper Robin Olsen, who was selected ahead of England international Jordan Pickford.

Olsen was largely untroubled and Everton’s second came in the 71st minute. Schmeichel brilliantly denied Michael Keane’s glancing header, then turned Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s effort onto the crossbar, only for Holgate to convert the rebound from close range.

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