By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - In keeping with a bizarre Premier League season lacking the usual home comforts Liverpool's grip on their title was loosened further as they were beaten 1-0 at Anfield by Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.
Steven Alzate's scruffy 56th-minute goal was enough for Brighton to record a deserved first league win over Liverpool since 1982 and leave Juergen Klopp's champions trailing Manchester City by seven points having played a game more.
City won 2-0 earlier at Burnley to make it 13 straight victories in all competitions and Pep Guardiola's side will head into Sunday's clash at Liverpool in confident mood.
Goals by Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling secured a routine three points for City who moved on to 47 points from 21 games, three ahead of Manchester United who had joined them at the top with a 9-0 hammering of Southampton on Tuesday.
"It's not about runs of games, statistics. It's always the next game, next game. For now we enjoy this game, and tomorrow we will start to think about the next game," Guardiola said.
Incredibly all five of Wednesday's fixtures ended as away wins, continuing one of the main themes of England's top flight being played in empty stadiums during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leicester City climbed above Liverpool into third place with a 2-0 win at struggling Fulham with James Maddison creating the goals for Kelechi Iheanacho and James Justin.
West Ham United bounced back from defeat by Liverpool to move into fifth spot, one place behind Liverpool, with Jesse Lingard scoring twice on his debut in a 3-1 win at Aston Villa.
Everton are sixth after an entertaining 2-1 victory away to Leeds United -- Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin on target for Carlo Ancelotti's side.
It was only the second day in English top-flight history in which a programme of at least four fixtures produced a clean sweep of away wins -- the other occurring in 1991.
Less than 40% of Premier League matches have been won by home teams this season with away wins now more common.
And while there are all sorts of theories for what is going on, Klopp said the main reason for Liverpool's latest flop was fatigue.
"The only explanation now is that we are a fatigued team, mentally more or less," he said. "That leads to not the maximum freshness in your legs.
"Brighton deserved to win, they played well, they did well. It has been a tough week and tonight it was not enough. City are flying and we have to find solutions."
Graham Potter's Brighton are now 10 points above the relegation zone in 15th place after he got the better of Jose Mourinho in a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and now proved more than a match for the celebrated Klopp.
"Fantastic result, fantastic performance. It had everything. We showed courage when we had the ball and when we didn't," he said. "We defended with our lives. We limited a good team to not too many chances. We had a few ourselves.
"It's not an easy place to get points. It's one for the supporters and everyone involved in the club. It's not often a club like us come here and win."
Tottenham host Chelsea in Thursday's game.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)