Premier League talking points

1. REDS' DEFENSIVE WOES THREATEN TOP-4 BID

Liverpool started the season with league-winning stalwarts Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in central defence but Jurgen Klopp now faces the prospect of playing relative unknowns Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips.

Schalke loanee Kabak has not had time to settle into the Premier League while Phillips has appeared only eight times for Liverpool.

As Everton ended a 22-year jinx and scored more goals at Anfield in a 2-0 win than Liverpool have in five games in 2021, January's league leaders dropped to sixth.

2. MOYES GETS THE BETTER OF MOURINHO

Hired to save West Ham from relegation last season, David Moyes has undergone a remarkable transformation from firefighter to dream maker at the London Stadium.

Sunday's 2-1 win against Tottenham that lifted the Hammers into fourth place was the Scotsman's first in 16 meetings against Jose Mourinho.

The Spurs boss insisted afterwards that he is still one of the best coaches in the world. But he now has the lowest points-per-match return (1.62) of any Spurs manager since Juande Ramos in 2007-08.

Tottenham's 81 points from 50 games is also the lowest haul at this stage at any club he has managed.

3. TUCHEL SENDING A MESSAGE TO BLUES?

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel laid bare his frustrations during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Southampton by replacing Callum Hudson-Odoi half an hour after bringing on the English winger as a substitute.

Pundits, however, were split on whether it was too harsh of Tuchel to embarrass the 20-year-old and pick on him to send a message to the rest of the squad.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2021, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Subscribe