Premier League talking points

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (left) with Liverpool's Scottish defender Andrew Robertson on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, on Jan 19, 2019.
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (left) with Liverpool's Scottish defender Andrew Robertson on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, on Jan 19, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

1 LIVERPOOL GET LUCK CHAMPIONS NEED

For the second consecutive week, Liverpool got the job done by a solitary goal, but in stark contrast to a dogged 1-0 victory at Brighton on Jan 12, Jurgen Klopp's men needed a touch of fortune to see off Crystal Palace 4-3 on Saturday.

At 2-2 in the second half, the Reds' biggest break came when Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni fumbled a simple James Milner cross towards his own goal and Mohamed Salah tapped it into an empty net. Another hurdle cleared, Liverpool are now 15 games from a first title in 29 years.

2 EMERY'S FLEXIBILITY AIDS DIAMOND DISPLAY

Arsenal's victory over Chelsea was a reminder that there have been plenty of positives during Unai Emery's first season.

The Spaniard has had to muddle along with an imbalanced squad, but has shown he can make important tactical interventions.

He got the better of Maurizio Sarri in the 2-0 win, disrupting the Chelsea manager's plan to build from the back by using an energetic high press, and his switch to a midfield diamond showed that Arsenal have become more flexible.

3 RASHFORD REPAYS SOLSKJAER'S FAITH

Arsenal's win moved the Gunners to within three points of Chelsea in the fight for a top-four finish, but it is a rejuvenated Manchester United who look more likely to beat Sarri's men to Champions League qualification.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has seven straight wins since taking charge as caretaker boss. An 11-point gap to the top four when Jose Mourinho was sacked last month is now down to three.

The 2-1 win over Brighton was not the Red Devils' best display under the Norwegian, but his influence was decisive as Marcus Rashford's stunning solo goal proved the difference. Finally afforded a run of games in a central role up front, Rashford has now scored in four straight Premier League games.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2019, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe