English Premier League: Liverpool climb to second spot as Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur misfire
Arsenal had earlier been held to a 0-0 draw by Middlesbrough, while fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur too played out a goalless stalemate at Bournemouth. Photograph: (AFP)
An 81st-minute Gareth McAuley goal prevented Liverpool from provisionally going top in the Premier League as they defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-1 on Saturday.
Needing a two-goal win to move above leaders Arsenal, Liverpool took a 2-0 lead through Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho, but McAuley's strike left them in second place on goal difference.
"I'm really pleased with the performance," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told Sky Sports. "It was unbelievably difficult against West Brom. You have to always concentrate. They are so dangerous at set-pieces. But I think it would have been kind of a joke if we hadn't won today. It was unbelievable, how we played."
Klopp made one change to the Liverpool team held 0-0 by United last Monday, with the fit-again Adam Lallana returning to the starting XI at the expense of Daniel Sturridge.
Arsenal had earlier been held to a 0-0 draw by Middlesbrough. Arsenal, 6-0 winners over Ludogorets Razgrad in the Champions League in mid-week, were seeking an eighth successive win in all competitions.
But Middlesbrough came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half at the Emirates Stadium when Gaston Ramirez curled a 21st-minute free-kick against the post.
Arsenal dominated the second half, but had goalkeeper Petr Cech to thank for ensuring the visitors' counter-attacks came to nought.
Fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur too played out a goalless stalemate at Bournemouth. Both teams hit the woodwork in the early stages, Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris diverting Charlie Daniels's shot onto the bar and Erik Lamela clipping the post from distance.
Tottenham extended their unbeaten start to the season to nine games. "We had control, but we didn't create enough chances to score," said Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. "I think we need to be pleased in the end because it's one point more, one clean sheet, but it's true for us to be contenders we should be winning the games like today."
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City can reclaim first place by avoiding defeat at home to Southampton on Sunday, when Jose Mourinho makes his return to Chelsea with Manchester United.