Premier League: Liverpool substitute Xherdan Shaqiri snatches victory from Manchester United; Arsenal slump to defeat

Two deflected Xherdan Shaqiri strikes handed Liverpool victory over Manchester United in the Premier League for the first time in nine attempts as Jurgen Klopp's men moved back to the top of the table with a 3-1 win at Anfield on Sunday.

United manager Jose Mourinho claimed ahead of the game that the league leaders have had luck on their side this season, but while there was fortune in substitute Shaqiri's two goals in the final 17 minutes, the visitors did not deserve anything more than a fifth defeat of the season.

Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring their third goal against Manchester United. AFP

Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring their third goal against Manchester United. AFP

Liverpool leapfrogged Manchester City to finish the weekend where they started, a point clear at the top, and move a mammoth 19 clear of United, who remain in sixth and are now 11 points off the top four.

The contrasting form showed by both sides this season continued as United strained to keep a rampant Liverpool at bay and were only level for so long thanks to a huge error by home goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead before Jesse Lingard levelled when Alisson dropped a routine cross at the feet of the England international.

United had the ball in the net first on a rare foray forward but Romelu Lukaku was flagged offside despite not getting a touch to Ashley Young's free-kick.

But Liverpool then laid siege to the visitors' goal with David de Gea stretching to keep out a low drive from Roberto Firmino, Young clearing off the line and Fabinho firing wide from the edge of the box.

Only Manchester City have kept Klopp's side from scoring in the Premier League this season and a United defence that has kept just one clean sheet in the league since September never looked capable of holding out like they had in their two previous visits to Anfield.

United finally breached

Mourinho's men were finally breached when Mane controlled Fabinho's chipped ball into the box on his chest and volleyed past the onrushing De Gea.

However, Liverpool's momentum was punctured by an Alisson gift 12 minutes before the break.

The Brazilian was Liverpool's hero with an injury-time save to secure the Reds' place in the last 16 of the Champions League against Napoli on Tuesday.

But he spilled Lukaku's simple cross into the path of the grateful Lingard to bundle the ball into an unguarded net.

The second half followed a similar pattern with one-way traffic towards the Kop as Liverpool sought the goal to take them back to the top of the table.

De Gea scrambled low to his left to palm Firmino's prodded effort to safety, while Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk saw efforts deflected behind.

Jurgen Klopp turned to Shaqiri to unlock the United defence 20 minutes from time and the Swiss international needed just three to put Liverpool back in front.

De Gea did well to prevent Ander Herrera turning Mane's cross into his own net, but the ball fell for Shaqiri and his effort cannoned off Young and in off the underside of the bar.

Seven minutes later, Shaqiri got lucky again when, this time on his favoured left foot, his shot flicked off the diving Eric Bailly to leave De Gea helpless.

Arsenal punished, Chelsea eke out victory

Unai Emery admitted Arsenal need to fix their leaky defence after Southampton's Charlie Austin punished a howler from Bernd Leno to seal a shock 3-2 win that ended the Gunners' 22-match unbeaten run on Sunday.

Austin settled a thrilling Premier League clash at St Mary's when he headed home with just five minutes left after Arsenal goalkeeper Leno misjudged Shane Long's cross.

Southampton had twice taken the lead through Danny Ings, only for Henrikh Mkhitaryan's brace to draw Arsenal level on each occasion.

Leno's mistake handed Arsenal their first defeat in 15 league games and brought a stunning halt to their longest unbeaten run in all competitions since 2007.

Emery's fifth-placed team had not lost since a 3-2 defeat at Chelsea in August and the north Londoners' first setback since the close-season leaves them three points behind the fourth-placed Blues, who won at Brighton on Sunday.

Conceding Arsenal need to tighten up at the back, Emery said: "We haven't conceded a lot of chances but today they scored three goals. That is a lot so we need to improve with this.

"We need to do some analysis on how we can improve and do better. But our way is a good way and we need to continue.

"We need to continue taking responsibility for the 90 minutes.

"Southampton deserved the result because they pushed and played with big ambition."

Chelsea put a week of negative headlines for the behaviour of their fans behind them on the field thanks to an inspired Eden Hazard in a 2-1 victory at Brighton on Sunday.

The Belgian provided his ninth assist of the season for Pedro Rodriguez to open the scoring and then chalked up his ninth goal of the campaign, but first in 13 games for club and country.

However, Chelsea failed to build on their 2-0 lead and endured a nervous finale after Solly March pulled one back with his first goal of the campaign.

Victory saw Chelsea open up a three-point lead over Arsenal in fourth and close back to within seven points of leaders Manchester City.

Much of the pre-match speculation centred on the travelling Chelsea supporters and whether there would be any repeat of either the accusations of racist remarks aimed at Manchester City's Raheem Sterling last weekend or the anti-Semitic chanting heard during their Europa League tie against Vidi in Budapest in midweek.

Fortunately there appeared to be no further incidents as the visiting fans enjoyed an excellent start from Maurizio Sarri's side.

Brighton had only previously been beaten at home by Tottenham Hotspur this season.

 

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Updated Date: Dec 17, 2018 00:07 AM

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