Premier League reaction: Jurgen Klopp praises ‘sensational’ Liverpool after 5-0 win
Anfield club lead the title race but it’s getting tight at the top
Liverpool rediscovered their scoring touch last night against Watford at Anfield, thumping five goals past the visitors to maintain their position at the top of the Premier League.
On a night when the top six were all in action, the Reds needed to find the net against the Hornets, having failed to do so against Bayern Munich and Manchester United last week.
Liverpool ended that dry spell in style, with a brace of goals for Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk and one for Divock Origi securing the side’s biggest win of the season.
The result lifts them to 69 points - one more than second-placed Manchester City, who laboured to a 1-0 win over West Ham.
Liverpool’s resounding victory has also helped reduce the goal difference between the two clubs, to six in the Sky Blues’ favour.
“We were sensational,” declared Jurgen Klopp, who has faced suggestions recently that the pressure was getting to his players. “We are playing a really good season. Let’s enjoy the ride and see as far as it takes us.”
As for the critics, the Liverpool manager brushed them aside with a barb. He added: “We drew against Manchester United and Bayern Munich - I think most teams would wish they had these problems!”
Over at the Etihad, Manchester City were still suffering the after-effects of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea, and the result was a lacklustre 1-0 win against West Ham.
The only goal of the game was a second-half penalty from Sergio Aguero, awarded when Bernardo Silva was brought down in the box by Felipe Anderson.
City manager Pep Guardiola admitted his side had struggled to secure the three points but praised his squad’s doggedness.
“We fought a lot to be close to Liverpool,” he said. “The result could be better, but the way we played is fantastic.”
Poch: Spurs out of the title race
Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, with Pedro scoring the first, while the second came from an own goal by Spurs defender Kieran Trippier.
It was the second defeat in four days for Spurs, and manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted after the game that their faint title hopes were over.
“After Burnley [on Sunday], I said it was difficult, and tonight makes it impossible to fight Man City and Liverpool,” he said. “Only they can win the league.”
Not only are Tottenham out of the title race but they also have a fight on their hands to finish in the top four, with Arsenal and Manchester United lying within five points.
The Gunners visit Wembley on Saturday for a north London derby that should have fans on the edge of their seats.
“I was disappointed because it was another defeat,” reflected Pochettino. “But we need to be sure we are ready for Saturday, and another tough London derby against Arsenal.”
Blues bounce back
Chelsea remain in sixth spot, seven points behind third-placed Spurs but with a game in hand.
“It was really very important because we’re fighting for the top four,” said Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri following the victory.
Most of the questions Sarri faced during the post-match press conference related to his decision to drop Kepa Arrizabalaga from the line-up, after the goalkeeper refused to be substituted in Sunday’s Carabao Cup win.
“Kepa made a big mistake and then paid with the club,” Sarri said of the Spaniard’s omission. “In this match, he has to pay with the team.
“It was only a message for all the team, the dressing room - we are a team and not 25 individuals. Now it is behind us and Kepa from tomorrow will be with us.”
Wins for the Gunners, Red Devils and Saints
In the night’s other fixtures, Manchester United won 3-1 away at Crystal Palace, Southampton beat Fulham 2-0 - a defeat that almost certainly condemns the Cottagers to relegation - and Arsenal thrashed Bournemouth 5-1 at the Emirates.
The Gunners remain fourth, one point clear of Man Utd, and victory against Tottenham on Saturday will bring them to within a point of their north London rivals.
“It’s a big motivation,” said Arsenal manager Unai Emery. “They are still ahead of us in the table, and it’s difficult to win there, but it’s a good test.”
Premier League results
Tuesday 26 February
- Cardiff City 0 Everton 3
- Huddersfield Town 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
- Leicester City 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 1
- Newcastle United 2 Burnley 0
Wednesday 27 February
- Arsenal 5 AFC Bournemouth 1
- Southampton 2 Fulham 0
- Chelsea 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
- Crystal Palace 1 Manchester United 3
- Liverpool 5 Watford 0
- Manchester City 1 West Ham United 0
Premier League fixtures
Saturday 2 March (3pm unless stated)
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal (12.30pm, live on BT Sport)
- AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester City
- Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Huddersfield Town
- Burnley vs. Crystal Palace
- Manchester United vs. Southampton
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Cardiff City
- West Ham United vs. Newcastle United (5.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Sunday 3 March
- Watford vs. Leicester City (12pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Fulham vs. Chelsea (2.05pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Everton vs. Liverpool (4.15pm, live on Sky Sports)