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Football Reporting

Premier League

Tottenham vs Crystal Palace, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, Manchester City vs Manchester United, Liverpool vs Fulham, reaction, Jurgen Klopp, Bruno Fernandes, highlights

Manchester United shattered Manchester City’s record winning streak, Liverpool hit a new low as relegation-threatened Fulham won at Anfield and Gareth Bale’s resurgence continued.

All that and more in today’s Premier League wrap.


Manchester United ended Manchester City’s record winning streak with an impressive 2-0 victory against the Premier League leaders.

Bruno Fernandes’s early penalty and Luke Shaw’s first Premier League goal for three years moved United back into second place, 11 points adrift of runaway leaders City.

A landmark win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men has almost certainly come too late to reignite the Premier League title race.

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But just a third win in nine league games takes United back above Leicester and opens up an eight-point cushion in the battle to secure a top-four finish.

City had not even trailed in a Premier League match for 20 games stretching back to their last defeat to Tottenham in November.

However, the visitors were gifted the lead after just 34 seconds when Gabriel Jesus’s clumsy challenge on Anthony Martial saw referee Anthony Taylor point to the spot.

Fernandes has failed to match the extremely high standards he has set as United’s key man in recent weeks, but the Portuguese midfielder has maintained his dead eye from the penalty spot and his strike had too much power for Ederson.

Pep Guardiola’s men began to take control as the first-half wore on, but Dean Henderson was only forced into a couple of routine saves by Ilkay Gundogan.

Manchester United’s defender Luke Shaw celebrates scoring.. (Photo by Dave Thompson / POOL / AFP)Source: AFP

The hosts came much closer at the start of the second period when Rodrigo side-footed against the post after a patient build-up involved Riyad Mahrez and Jesus.

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Seconds later, City were caught out by a brilliant United counter-attack as Shaw ran from inside his own half, exchanged passes with Marcus Rashford, and then fired into the far corner breaking their chronic curse of failing to score from open play against a traditional top six opponent in eight league games this season.

Solskjaer’s men beat City in both meetings at the Etihad last season by picking their neighbours off on the break and used the same tactic to great effect for another fine win.

Martial should have ensured a much greater margin of victory as he twice fired too close to Ederson with just the goalkeeper to beat.

However, United’s afternoon was slightly spoiled by an injury that forced Rashford off injured.

City had the chances to at least avoid defeat in the closing stages as substitute Phil Foden sliced wide from point-blank range before Raheem Sterling completely missed a tantalising cross from Kyle Walker with the chance to score his first goal against United.

But after plenty of criticism for a string of 0-0 draws against stronger opponents, United delivered a result to back up executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward’s message this week that the progress being made under Solskjaer is “clear” and he remains the man to lead them back into title contention next season.

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Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s stunning collapse is one of the worst spells of his managerial career after Mario Lemina condemned the troubled champions to a shock 1-0 defeat against lowly Fulham on Sunday.

Klopp’s side are four points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, who can extend that lead to seven if they beat Everton on Monday.

That would leave Liverpool with a tough task to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top four finish.

The scoreboard displays the 0-1 full-time scoreline. (Photo by Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP)Source: AFP

They could still make it by winning the Champions League, but glory in Europe’s elite club competition is hard to envisage given Liverpool’s steep decline.

In a sign of how far they have fallen, even third-bottom Fulham easily out-played Liverpool to secure three points at Anfield for the first time in nine years.

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Without a home victory since before Christmas, Liverpool are a pale shadow of the team that romped to their first English title for 30 years last season.

They now hold the longest top-flight home losing streak by a reigning champion and [excluding penalties] have failed to score with each of their last 115 shots at Anfield in the PL – the longest scoreless run of shots at home by any time since Opta began collecting these stats.

They have been destabilised by horrific injury problems in defence, but it was still jarring to see the toothless Reds surrender so tamely once again.

Asked if it was among his worst periods, Klopp said: “I would wish to say no but yes it is. That’s not a problem. I don’t always have to have the best times.

“This team is an extreme team. We were extremely successful and now we have an extreme situation as well but we will fight through.”

Worryingly for Liverpool fans, Klopp conceded he does not have the answers to arrest the slide.

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“We never had a momentum in the season. You can see it’s still in the boys. They still have it all but at the moment can’t show it. It would be a masterpiece to find out how we change that overnight,” he said.

“My boys wanted it. It’s easy to say Fulham have won it so wanted it more. I don’t think that’s the problem.

“I don’t have to stand here and say we’re fighting for this or that.”

Jurgen Klopp congratulates Fulham’s Scott Parker. (Photo by Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP)Source: AFP

Klopp insists his stars will remain loyal even if Liverpool miss out on a Champions League place.

But on the evidence of their latest embarrassment, the Reds boss might need to make significant changes to catch champions-elect Manchester City next term.

With one eye on defending their 2-0 lead in Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 second leg against Leipzig, Klopp made seven changes and fielded a youthful defence featuring Neco Williams, Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.

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Unsurprisingly, Liverpool showed a lack of organisation and cohesion at the back, with Josh Maja sneaking behind the two inexperienced central defenders to scoop his volley over the bar.

Fulham were causing Liverpool’s makeshift defence all manner of problems and Maja was narrowly off-target from Ademola Lookman’s pass.

Diogo Jota made his first start since December after injury and Xherdan Shaqiri was up front as they replaced Sadio Mane and the injured Roberto Firmino.

Shaqiri curled a free-kick just over, but Liverpool were impotent in attack and Fulham’s impressive display was rewarded in first half stoppage-time.

When Andrew Robertson could only head clear to the edge of the area, Mohamed Salah was easily brushed off the ball by Lemina, who drilled a fine finish into the far corner of Alisson Becker’s goal.

It was a sweet moment for the Gabon international after his accidental handball saw Maja’s equaliser against Tottenham harshly ruled out in midweek.

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Salah’s half-hearted effort was hardly the response Klopp was looking for after the Egyptian showed his frustration when he was substituted against Chelsea on Thursday.

Jota’s stinging volley from Neco Williams’ cross forced a fine Alphonse Areola save early in the second half.

Just after that chance, a plane flew over Anfield bearing the slogan “Unity is strength. Let’s go Reds. YNWA”.

Although Mane came off the bench to loop a header onto the woodwork and Shaqiri went close with a curler, Liverpool rarely looked like responding to that call to arms.


Tottenham are back in the hunt for a top-four berth after Gareth Bale and Harry Kane scored twice in a 4-1 rout of Crystal Palace.

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The revitalised Bale tapped in from Kane’s cross in the 25th minute before Christian Benteke headed Palace’s equaliser in first half stoppage-time.

Bale restored Tottenham’s advantage in the 49th minute when the on-loan Real Madrid forward headed home for his sixth goal in his last six games.

Kane’s brilliant 20-yard rocket made it three in the 52nd minute and the Tottenham striker netted again from Son Heung-min’s pass in the 77th minute.

It was the 14th goal Kane and Son had been directly involved in this term, beating the previous Premier League record set by Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton for Blackburn in the 1994-95 season.

Sixth-placed Tottenham are two points behind Chelsea after their third successive win.

Newcastle are just one point above the relegation zone after a 0-0 draw at second-bottom West Brom.

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