(Reuters) - Talking points from the Premier League weekend:
ALISSON ERRORS POINT TO LIVERPOOL IMPLOSION
When even the keeper regarded as the best in the Premier League starts handing out presents it is time for Liverpool fans to start getting seriously worried.
Alisson made two dreadful mistakes in the 4-1 defeat by Manchester City on Sunday, effectively condemning his side to a defeat that all but ends any hope of retaining their title.
So uncharacteristic were the errors that it might be argued Alisson is suffering from the instability in front of him with Liverpool having faced a catalogue of season-ending injuries to key defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
The elastic that held Liverpool so tightly together for the past two seasons appears to have snapped and they are now in a fight to finish in the top four.
KANE PROVES AGAIN HOW SPURS CAN'T DO WITHOUT HIM
Tottenham Hotpsur's dismal midweek defeat by Chelsea engulfed the club in gloom but three days later the quicker-than-expected return of Harry Kane brightened the mood.
Jose Mourinho's side simply cannot do without Kane who not only scored his 208th goal of the club in the 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, moving joint second on the club's all-time scoring list, he also lifted the spirits of his strike partner Son Heung-min who was also on target.
"We really miss him," Son said.
Tottenham should wrap Kane's ankles in cotton wool for the rest of the season and hope he can avoid any more injuries, otherwise it could be a long few months.
MANCHESTER UNITED LACK TITLE BELIEF
Conceding an equaliser with the last kick of the game against Everton on Saturday could be considered unlucky but that would be hiding what looks like a lack of belief in the Man United ranks that they could win a first title since 2013.
"We're not talking about winning titles. We've come a long way this team. We shouldn't even be considered as title chasers," manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the 3-3 draw.
Victory would have put United level on points with Man City so why Solskjaer would say something so negative is mystifying.
It is the sort of language that could offer players excuses, when in actual fact, with some of the attacking play United showed against Everton and in a 9-0 rout of Southampton in midweek, Solskjaer should be making bolder predictions.
ARSENAL SHOOT THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT AGAIN
There had been signs that Arsenal's bad old ways had been eradicated in their recent revival but Saturday's defeat at Aston Villa, following on from the midweek loss at Wolverhampton Wanderers, showed they can still shoot themselves in the foot.
One sloppy error was all Villa needed to beat Arsenal who have now lost 10 times in 23 games this season -- the same number of games they lost last season.
"We gifted it to them and then (if) you're not ruthless in the box, you cannot win these games," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said of his side who are 10th in the table.
In midweek they took the lead at Wolves but ended up losing 2-1 and having David Luiz and keeper Bernd Leno sent off.
VAR IN SPOTLIGHT... YET AGAIN
Tomas Soucek's straight red card against Fulham on Saturday was one of the worst VAR gaffes this season.
The Czech accidentally caught Aleksandar Mitrovic while adjusting his arms waiting for a free kick and match referee Mike Deane was advised by VAR official Lee Mason to have a look at the pitchside monitor.
To everyone's surprise, even Mitrovic, Deane deemed it a red card crime. West Ham have appealed and justice should prevail but it was another bad day for VAR.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair, Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)