LONDON (AP) – Wiping out Manchester City’s 11-point lead at the top of the Premier League looks an onerous task. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is at least gaining hope from a season with so many sudden variables.
Squads are being stretched by coronavirus cases, African Cup of Nations absentees, injuries and postponements that can overload schedules.
Liverpool did manage to end a three-match winless run in the league by beating Brentford 3-0 on Sunday, even with its attacking options depleted by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane being on international duty in Cameroon.
Midfielder Fabinho headed in a corner just before halftime, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his first league goal at Anfield since July 2020 and Takumi Minamino completed the win after coming off the bench.
Having surrendered the trophy to City last season, Liverpool does at least have a game in hand on the leaders which could cut the deficit to eight points for Klopp’s side.
“We don’t have to convince anyone outside to believe,” Klopp said. “If you are with us, you will enjoy the ride and we will go for everything. We are ready to go as much as we can.
“In a normal world nothing happens anymore (with the title) but what is normal nowadays? We try to do our part, there is nothing else to do.”
A blow for Klopp was Oxlade-Chamberlain going off injured with Liverpool going to Arsenal in the semifinals of the League Cup after a goalless first leg.
WEST HAM SETBACK
West Ham twice came back against Leeds through Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals but
Jack Harrison’s third goal sealed a 3-2 win for the visitors in east London.
West Ham remains in fourth place but only by two points and having played more games than the teams below them chasing the final Champions League spot.
Arsenal in fifth place has two games in hand after getting Sunday’s match at Tottenham postponed due to lack of players caused by coronavirus cases, injuries and the African Cup. Tottenham has now played four games fewer than West Ham and has only four points to eradicate.
Playing three games in a week has taken its toll on West Ham, including a 2-0 win over Norwich last Wednesday.