Liverpool and Chelsea draw to hand initiative to Manchester City

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Premier League leaders Manchester City proved the big winners as title rivals Chelsea and Liverpool played out a pulsating 2-2 draw on Sunday.

All the goals came in the first half at a raucous Stamford Bridge, where some fans were legally allowed to stand as part of a new trial of ‘safe-standing’ areas in the top flight.

Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic capped a stunning opening 45 minutes as they struck in quick succession to cancel out early goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Mane had perhaps been lucky to escape a red card for a challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta in the opening seconds while Pulisic also fluffed a big chance early on.

There had also been drama before kick-off with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel dropping £97.5million striker Romelu Lukaku in response to a recent interview given by the player.

Liverpool meanwhile, having already travelled without manager Jurgen Klopp due to Covid-19, lost Alisson Becker, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino following further positive tests.

Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool into a 2-0 lead
Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool into a 2-0 lead (Matt Dunham/AP/Press Association Images)

The final result left champions City, who beat Arsenal on Saturday, sitting comfortably 10 points clear at the top.

Alexis Mac Allister struck twice as Brighton piled the pressure on Everton manager Rafael Benitez with a 3-2 win at Goodison Park.

Anthony Gordon netted two for the Toffees but Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed a penalty on his return from injury as Benitez’s side slumped to an eighth defeat in their last 12 games.

Mac Allister opened the scoring for the Seagulls after three minutes before Dan Burn headed a second.

Alexis Mac Allister, second left, celebrates his second goal
Everton were stung by two goals from Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister, second left (Peter Byrne/PA)

Calvert-Lewin had the chance to halve the deficit after Enock Mwepu fouled Gordon but fired over from the spot.

Gordon did give the hosts hope with a deflected shot early in the second half but a brilliant long-range second from Mac Allister restored Brighton’s control.

Gordon responded again with a fine near-post finish but the visitors held on to end the day in eighth place.

Late efforts from Stuart Dallas and Dan James earned Leeds a 3-1 win in their basement battle with Burnley at Elland Road.

Dallas curled in from the edge of the box on 77 minutes and James headed in at the far post in injury time to lift Marcelo Bielsa’s side eight points clear of the bottom three.

The Clarets, who remain in that relegation zone, had pulled back level after Jack Harrison’s first-half opener with a fine free-kick from Maxwel Cornet on 54 minutes.

Mads Roerslev scored a late winner as Brentford came from behind to snatch a 2-1 success over Aston Villa.

The Dane struck at the second attempt from a tight angle with seven minutes remaining at the Brentford Community Stadium after Emi Martinez saved his initial effort.

Brentford had been second best for most of the game and fell behind after Emi Buendia spun out of a challenge and teed up Danny Ings to score with a first-time finish in the 16th minute.

The hosts equalised three minutes before the break when Yoane Wissa took a touch outside the area and clipped home from 18 yards.

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