English Premiership

Three talking points from the Premier League

Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Pickford (Getty Images)
Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Pickford (Getty Images)

Another high-scoring Premier League weekend left the title race wide open as Liverpool suffered the devastating blow of losing Virgil Van Dijk to a knee ligament injury.

The champions also dropped two points in a contentious 2-2 Merseyside derby draw as Everton remain in top spot.

Aston Villa are the only side with a 100 percent record after Ross Barkley's late winner beat Leicester 1-0.

But Chelsea and Tottenham's title credentials were again called into question after they managed to spurn multiple-goal leads to draw 3-3 at home to Southampton and West Ham respectively.

AFP Sports looks at three talking points from the Premier League weekend.

Derby costs Liverpool dearly

Liverpool had the look of champions as they bounced back from a 7-2 humiliation at Villa before the international break with a much-improved performance at Everton.

But Jurgen Klopp's men lost more than just two points as decisions went against them at Goodison Park.

Van Dijk's season is likely over as he faces surgery on the ligament damage caused by a horrible lunge from Jordan Pickford that went unpunished when Liverpool led 1-0.

The Dutch giant's presence was missed as Everton twice scored headed goals to come back and snatch a point with the help of a VAR review to rule out a stoppage time winner for Liverpool.

But the loss of Van Dijk for a prolonged period threatens to be an even bigger blow to the Reds' title defence.

Another Kepa calamity

Chelsea could have moved level on points with Liverpool to bolster hopes that their huge summer transfer spend will be rewarded with a title challenge.

However, Frank Lampard's men twice let the lead slip as defensive problems continue to blight the Blues.

Kepa Arrizabalaga had another afternoon to forget in goal as his howler allowed Che Adams to score Southampton's second.

The Spaniard has already lost his place to Willy Caballero and Edouard Mendy this season, but returned due to an injury suffered by Mendy on international duty.

Mendy is clearly Lampard's long-term solution, but he has to also find a way to make Chelsea a better defensive unit in general.

Kepa was not in goal when they conceded three times to West Brom last month and Chelsea have now lost 63 goals in 43 league games under the former England midfielder.

Bad defending breeds better entertainment

Chelsea are far from alone when it comes to having a poor defensive record.

Barkley's late strike ensured there have still been no goalless draws and a quarter of the 48 Premier League games so far have featured six or more goals.

Tottenham have contributed to three of those as the combination of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min again shone in a 3-3 draw with West Ham.

Kane and Son have combined for 18 goals already this season, but Spurs could not even see out a three-goal lead with just eight minutes remaining.

Manuel Lanzini's sensational 94th-minute strike snatched a point for David Moyes's men but the former Manchester United manager is keen to see a return to some decent defending to go along with the drama.

"I can't work out if it is the quality of the forwards. I look it and see a lack of good defending," said Moyes.

"Games are played very one end and the other end. It is exciting, but I think if you are a purist you like to see good defending too." 

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Sat 23 Jan 21 22:00 PM (SAST)
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