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Premier League powers Liverpool and Man City flash deep squads in big wins to fire up title race

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool and Manchester City look primed and ready for another heavyweight clash for the Premier League title.

Liverpool routed Chelsea 4-1 on Wednesday to restore a five-point lead for Jürgen Klopp’s team atop the table before going to third-placed Arsenal this weekend.

City eased to a 3-1 win over Burnley and moved up again to second, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference, and having played a game fewer than its two rivals.

With their fourth straight wins, the Premier League powers showcased deep squads, fast-improving young stars and, for City, the tentative return of feared forward Erling Haaland after nearly two months out injured.

Haaland came off the bench with City comfortably in a three-goal lead as Julián Álvarez again stepped up to lead the attack with two goals. The second was created by Kevin De Bruyne making his first start in the Premier League since August.

For Liverpool, Diogo Jota again covered for the absence of Mohamed Salah and opened the scoring early against a poor Chelsea taking a pass from the impressive Conor Bradley.

Bradley, an unheralded 20-year-old right-back filling in for Trent Alexander-Arnold, then scored his first goal for the club before assisting again for Dominik Szoboszlai to effectively seal the win in the 65th.

Liverpool had the luxury of forward Darwin Núñez missing a first-half penalty, one of a Premier League record four times one player struck the frame of the goal in a game.

Man City edged Liverpool in epic duels for the title in 2019 and 2022, and north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham are also currently in this race.

Tottenham scored three goals in eight second-half minutes to beat Brentford 3-2 and rise to fourth, trailing Liverpool by eight points.


Liverpool and Chelsea meet again in the League Cup final on Feb. 25.

Maybe this time there will be a winner at Wembley Stadium within 90 minutes after the teams on Wednesday ended their streak of seven straight draws in games between them for the past 2½ years.

Two of those seven were the English domestic cup finals in the 2021-22 season. Both the League Cup and FA Cup finals ended 0-0 before Liverpool won both penalty shootouts.

Just like two years ago, Liverpool is aiming for an unprecedented quadruple trophy sweep of each competition it entered.

Also like two years ago, the Premier League shapes up as the toughest to win with three-time defending champion Man City starting another of its mid-season surges.


On the day he turned 24, Julián Álvarez scored twice in the first 22 minutes to set Manchester City on its way to an easy win over Burnley. Rodri extended the lead 30 seconds after the second-half restart.

Álvarez now has six goals in his last five games to help the English, European and world champion manage the absence through injury of Erling Haaland.

The Argentina forward’s scoring run started with two goals in a 4-0 win over Fluminense in the Club World Cup final on Dec. 22.

That title success capped a week in the Saudi Arabia sunshine that seemed to reset City’s league campaign after a run of dropped points because of uncharacteristically conceding late goals.

City has won six straight since coming home from Jeddah and also now has Haaland back in action. The Norwegian, who has 19 goals in all competitions this season, came on in the 71st minute after missing six Premier League games and the Club World Cup.

Haaland had shooting chances but the only further goal was Ameen Al-Dakhil’s consolation for Burnley in stoppage time.


Tottenham cannot be counted out just yet. Whatever Premier League road that coach Ange Postecoglou’s team takes, it should be one of the most watchable on its journey.

After a poor first half at home to Brentford, Tottenham burst into a 3-1 lead within 11 minutes of the second half.

Destiny Udogie leveled in the 48th, one minute before Brennan Johnson scored the go-ahead goal. Richarlison scored what proved the decisive goal in the 56th.

Ivan Toney cut the lead scoring for the second straight game since his return from an eight-month ban for betting violations.

A testy edge was created by Brentford forward Neal Maupay appearing to mock the dart-throwing goal celebration favored by Tottenham playmaker James Maddison after scoring in the first half.

Maddison confronted Maupay in the center circle and the gesture was later made by Johnson and Richarlison when Tottenham led.

“I just said to (Maupay) he probably hasn’t scored enough goals of his own over the last few years to have his own celebration,” Maddison said, “so he probably had to copy mine.”


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