Both Liverpool and Manchester City fell behind early on Saturday, and it felt like a couple upsets were brewing.
Instead, what’s brewing is a hell of a Premier League title race.
Sadio Mané’s winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time followed up Andrew Robertson’s late header as Liverpool escaped Aston Villa 2-1, while Kyle Walker set up the equalizer and then scored the winner in Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over Southampton.
Liverpool’s late rally stuns Aston Villa
It did not look like Liverpool’s day whatsoever. Aston Villa took the lead midway through the first half when the video assistant referee confirmed striker Trézéguet was onside. Not long after, VAR ruled out Roberto Firmino’s apparent goal that would have brought the match level.
With things as nervy as they could get in the 87th minute, Andrew Robertson charged down the left side and headed home a lifeline:
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Mané sent Liverpool’s traveling fans into raptures — and the rest of Villa Park into silence:
Liverpool has a laundry list of matches and moments it can point to in the Premier League era that cost the club titles. It’s going to be embedded in the rich history at Anfield until Liverpool does something about it.
This could be that season. Those moments might finally be starting to swing their way.
Kyle Walker keys Manchester City comeback
Liverpool will need every break it can get, because Manchester City isn’t letting go of the Premier League trophy without a fight.
City turned embarrassment into enjoyment with two late goals of their own to beat Southampton, whom they also beat midweek in the League Cup.
First, Walker patiently teed up a bullet cross from the right in the 70th minute that Sergio Agüero finished with aplomb:
Then as stoppage time approached, left back Angeliño lofted a cross into the box that Walker adjusted well on the fly to drive home:
This was Southampton’s first Premier League game since suffering the joint-worst defeat in the history of the competition, a 9-0 wipeout against Leicester City eight days ago.
This was a crushing loss in a different way, but at least the Saints were competitive.
Liverpool maintains six-point lead atop Premier League
After all the fireworks, things stand just as they did entering the matchweek. Liverpool sits atop the table with 31 points, while City is second with 25.
Leicester and Chelsea are both third with 20 points, so the top two are already separating. Liverpool is keeping City at arm’s length for now, but how long will that last?
Slipping up simply can’t be afforded. On Saturday, Mané and the Reds didn’t.
Doug McIntyre contributed to this story.
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