Misfiring Reds held but City run riot at Watford

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope making a save from Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke at Anfield yesterday. The hosts took 35 shots. Nine found the target but just one beat Pope.
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope making a save from Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke at Anfield yesterday. The hosts took 35 shots. Nine found the target but just one beat Pope.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Liverpool's 125th anniversary celebrations fell flat at Anfield where they completed a disappointing week by drawing 1-1 with Burnley in the Premier League yesterday.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp gave Philippe Coutinho his first start this season amid seven changes from their Champions League team, but familiar defensive failings surfaced after 26 minutes.

They failed to clear the ball and Scott Arfield produced a superb half-volley for his first goal in 11 months.

The one consolation for Klopp was the quick response, with Liverpool taking just three minutes to equalise thanks to a fine individual effort from Mohamed Salah. He collected Emre Can's through ball on his thigh, beat his man and finished emphatically.

Liverpool pushed for the winner but, for all of Coutinho's brilliance, they lacked the cutting edge in the absence of the suspended Sadio Mane.

"I'm not happy, I'm angry with the result but pleased with the performance," said Klopp. "We were dominant, fantastic attitude. We played good, were fluent with seven changes. But only one goal."

Burnley, who could even have poached a late winner through Ben Mee, got an unexpected point to add to the four they secured at Chelsea and Tottenham.

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    Bournemouth 2 Brighton 1

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    Liverpool 1 Burnley 1

    Watford 0 Man City 6

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    Huddersfield 1 Leicester 1

    West Brom 0 West Ham 0

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At Vicarage Road, the home crowd ended up singing sad songs as Manchester City crushed Watford 6-0 and helped themselves to top spot.

It is going to take an exceptional team to bring City down. They settled the issue before half-time thanks to a three-goal salvo in 10 minutes.

Sergio Aguero scored two of them and created the other for Gabriel Jesus. Nicolas Otamendi added a fourth in the second half with a close-range header.

Aguero then rounded off his hat-trick and was happy to let Raheem Sterling take a penalty in the last minute. Sterling expressed his gratitude by finishing with ruthlessness.

At Selhurst Park, new Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson admitted he faced a stiff challenge to turn around the Eagles' fortunes.

In his first game in charge of the London club, they lost 0-1 to Southampton and became the first Premier League side to lose their first five games and fail to score.

"I still believe in the long-term, these players will pick themselves up from where they have been knocked down to," he told Sky Sports.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 17, 2017, with the headline 'Misfiring Reds held but City run riot at Watford'. Print Edition | Subscribe