Lallana rescues Liverpool at Old Trafford
Liverpool were rescued by an unlikely saviour against Manchester United as Adam Lallana popped up with his first goal since May 2017, converting Andrew Robertson’s cross from close range to cancel out Marcus Rashford’s opener with just five minutes to spare at Old Trafford.
Lallana has been dogged by injuries over the last couple of seasons, making just six Premier League starts since the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign, but he chose a timely moment to rediscover his scoring touch. Jurgen Klopp called it a “great story” in his post-match interview with Sky Sports.
Klopp has always been a big admirer of Lallana, using him regularly in his first two seasons in charge, and the hope now is that his injury issues are behind him and that he can re-establish himself in the manager’s plans. The 31-year-old was thrust into Liverpool’s attack on Sunday, but he has also been used in a deep-lying role. His versatility could be useful to Klopp.Nick Wright
Solskjaer gets his tactics right
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactical nous has been questioned in recent months and it is fair to say he still has a lot to prove in the dugout, but on Sunday he became the first Premier League manager this season to succeed in stifling Liverpool and for that he deserves credit.
It came from a dramatic change of system. Instead of persisting with his usual 4-2-3-1 formation, Solskjaer adopted a 3-5-2, with Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Marcos Rojo in a back three and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Ashley Young deployed as wing-backs. At the other end, Rashford and Daniel James were used as split strikers with Andreas Pereira at No 10.
Klopp complained about United’s approach – “they just defend,” he said afterwards – but the key was in how Wan-Bissaka and Young pushed Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robertson backwards, negating their attacking threat for long periods by positioning themselves high up the pitch.
United did eventually drop deeper, but they were an attacking threat too, with Rashford and James combining brilliantly for their opening goal and Pereira working tirelessly behind them. Could this be a template to follow for Solskjaer? It is certainly a template to stop Liverpool.Nick Wright
Who needs transfers? Chelsea have depth
There’s excitement at Stamford Bridge. The 1-0 win over Newcastle was their fifth on the bounce in all competitions under club legend Frank Lampard. But more than anything, there’s a positive siege mentality.
Chelsea’s transfer ban may just be the best thing to happen in Lampard’s first season; crucially, it has curbed expectation, increased the tribal atmosphere and given Lampard an excuse to look to youth.
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s draw against Watford
Tottenham boss Maurico Pochettino made seven alterations and switched formation to a 5-3-2 in an effort to get back to winnings ways against bottom-of-the-table Watford on Saturday, but to no avail.
In came Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez, Danny Rose, Harry Winks, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura, while Paulo Gazzaniga started in goal in place of the injured Hugo Lloris, as Spurs made their most changes between two league games in a season in Premier League history.
However, the home side – who threw Heung-Min Son, Eric Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele in search of a second-half equaliser – still needed a fortuitous late equaliser from Alli to rescue a point.
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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa’s win against Brighton
For all the plaudits Brighton have enjoyed since the beginning of Graham Potter’s tenure, the fact remains that they have taken just nine points from their opening nine games, and currently sit 16th in the table. At the same stage last season, they were two points and four positions better off.
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton’s victory against West Ham
Everton manager Marco Silva had labelled Saturday’s clash with West Ham a “must-win” game and his players responded by producing a pressure-relieving 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.
The Portuguese made a big call ahead of the match by axing the £45m forward Gylfi Sigurdsson, with summer signing Alex Iwobi instead occupying the No 10 role and Richarlison starting up front.
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s win over Crystal Palace
Pep Guardiola described Gabriel Jesus as an “incredible, incredible young player” after his goal helped Manchester City to a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Brazilian was rebuked for failing to pass to Kevin De Bruyne with one late chance, but his overall performance showed that Sergio Aguero’s starting spot is coming under increasing threat.
His goal at Selhurst Park, a header from Bernardo Silva’s cross, took him to 50 for City in all competitions and means he has found the net in each of his last seven starts. He should have added to his tally on Saturday, but nobody can accuse him of failing to take his chances.
Since his arrival at Manchester City in 2017, Jesus has averaged a goal or assist every 93 minutes. It represents extraordinary efficiency, especially for a player who so frequently features from the bench. Aguero, an unused substitute at Selhurst Park, will be looking over his shoulder.Nick Wright
Not for the first time, West Ham fall short
It has not been too long since West Ham were talked up as one of the potential challengers to break into the top six this season, but their defeat at Everton on Saturday suggests they are still a little way off.