The premier league returns after nations qualifiers break and the big clubs had to prove points.
Liverpool was robbed by the cruel VAR in a 2-2 Merseyside Derby draw littered with controversy, late drama.
Goals from Sadio Mane, fit again after recovering from COVID-19 and Mohamed Salah, were cancelled out by Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as Liverpool was denied a late winner to Jordan Henderson by a blade of grass.
Mane was ruled to be fractionally offside by VAR in the lead-up to the goal, robbing Liverpool of the statement win it craved after a 7-2 humiliation at Aston Villa prior to the international break.
Virgil van Dijk reportedly suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and is facing seven or eight months out of action for Liverpool.
This comes in the first half of Saturday’s Merseyside Derby, the Liverpool defender limped off after a horror challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The England and Toffees No.1 was seemingly lucky to escape a red card after scything the Dutchman down in the box early on, clattering into his knee with the challenge.
Later on Saturday afternoon, Paul Joyce updated that Van Dijk had been taken for a scan to immediately assess the severity of his condition.
And it has now been reported on the BeIN Sports broadcast: “The information that we’re receiving is that he’s done his anterior cruciate ligament in that incident with Jordan Pickford.
“And he’ll be out for the best part of seven/eight months if that is the case.”
It was initially claimed that the offside cancelled out any serious foul play, which meant Pickford was spared.
But Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) then confirmed that the VAR had failed to check whether it was a red card due to the analysis of the offside and, as it was a SUBJECTIVE decision, they ruled Pickford had made a genuine attempt to play the ball.
Calvert-Lewin proved why Everton is suddenly a force to be reckoned with in the new campaign, but there was late drama for the Toffees as Richarlison was marched with the 22nd red card in Merseyide Derby history.
WERNER GETS OFF THE MARK
CHELSEA drew with Southampton this afternoon and they only have themselves to blame.
The Blues should have been high and dry by half time having had the lion’s share of the play and they were bossing the game.
Chelsea looked to be in total control after cruising into a 2-0 lead against Southampton at Stamford Bridge, courtesy of new signing Timo Werner’s first Premier League goals.
But a goal from Danny Ings shortly before half-time and a second-half strike from Che Adams wiped out their lead.
Frank Lampard’s side rallied immediately to regain the lead, Werner teeing up Kai Havertz for a neat dinked finish to make it 3-2.
But Southampton were not to be denied and Jannik Vestergaard bludgeoned home an added-time equaliser for Saints from a free-kick that Chelsea failed to clear.
Lampard said his side had to tighten up at the back after conceding three goals for the second time this season.
“We are seeing lots of goals across the league and no manager is happy” he said. “I don’t know why it is. There are attacking players in this league and maybe pre-season and lack of working time plays a part. But we have to get better at it.”
STERLING STRIKE SINKS ARSENAL
Raheem Sterling scored the only goal as Pep Guardiola got the better of Mikel Arteta in Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Arsenal to move three points off the top of the Premier League table.
On another high-scoring Saturday elsewhere in the English top-flight, the mutual respect between City boss Guardiola and his former assistant Arteta led to a far more cautious encounter.
However, Sterling’s strike midway through the first-half was enough to relaunch City’s title challenge after failing to win two of their first three league games of the new season.
Arsenal remain without an away league win against one of the ‘big six’ in 28 games dating back to January 2015.
And despite a spirited performance, the fact they have lost again at Anfield and the Etihad in the first five games of the campaign shows the strides Arteta still has to make to restore the Gunners to title contenders.
MANCHESTER UNITED ran riot in the closing stages to beat Newcastle 4-1 at St James’ Park.
Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford all fired home as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side got back to winning ways.
Bruno Fernandes made amends for a penalty miss with a superb finish as Manchester United left it late to surge to victory at Newcastle.
Fernandes capped a superb 86th-minute attack by clipping the ball inside the far post after earlier seeing his spot-kick saved by Karl Darlow, his first miss in a United shirt after 10 successful attempts.
The visitors, who had trailed through Luke Shaw’s early own goal and got themselves level courtesy of Harry Maguire’s 23rd-minute header, wrapped up a 4-1 win in stoppage time with a rocket from full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and a well-deserved goal for Marcus Rashford.
It was no more than they were due after piling the pressure on their hosts for much of a contest which looked to be heading for a draw until the late display of fireworks.