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English Premiership

Three things we learned from the Premier League weekend

One is enough: Roberto Firmino scored the winner as Liverpool beat Tottenham 1-0 for a 20th win in 21 Premier League games this season © AFP / Glyn KIRK

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 12Liverpool extended their advantage at the top of the Premier League to 14 points with a game in hand by setting a record-breaking pace with their 20th win from 21 games at Tottenham.

Manchester City are now second best as the champions thrashed Aston Villa 6-1 to leapfrog Leicester.

The Foxes were beaten 2-1 by Southampton, who avenged an embarrassing 9-0 defeat when the sides last met in October.

AFP Sports looks at three things we learned from the Premier League weekend:

Spurs still reeling from Madrid

Seven months ago Spurs could have been crowned European champions had they beaten Liverpool in the Champions League final.

The after-effects of that night in Madrid are still being felt by both clubs as Spurs have never recovered, while Jurgen Klopp’s men have kicked on to unprecedented levels.

Liverpool are off to the best start ever recorded in Europe’s top five leagues with 61 points from a possible 63.

There are now 31 points between the pair, but more concerning for Tottenham will be the nine-point gap to Chelsea in fourth.

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Jose Mourinho’s men have won just two of their last eight games in all competitions and look incapable of putting in the sort of run needed to make the top four, even if Chelsea continue to suffer from the inconsistency that has blighted their season.

Mourinho has insisted he has to make the most of the resources at his disposal rather than turn to the transfer market for solutions, but Tottenham look like a team in need of a rebuild.

Aguero surpasses Henry

Top of the charts: Sergio Aguero is now the top scoring foreign player in Premier League history with 177 goals © AFP / Paul ELLIS

City’s chase of Liverpool may be a forlorn one, but they were back to their blistering best at Villa Park, with Sergio Aguero again writing himself into the history books.

The Argentine broke both the record for the number of goals by a non-English player and hat-tricks in the Premier League with his 12th treble to take his tally to 177 goals.

Aguero has not even been a guaranteed starter in recent weeks as Pep Guardiola has rotated to keep his squad fresh ahead of a blockbuster Champions League tie with Real Madrid next month.

And a run of nine wins in their last 10 games shows the English champions are rounding nicely into form ahead of their clash with the 13-time European champions.

Patience pays off for Southampton

Man in form: Danny Ings (centre) has scored 10 goals in his last 11 games © AFP / Justin TALLIS

Exacting revenge on Leicester was the perfect illustration of Southampton’s transformation over the past month.

After home defeats to Everton in November and West Ham a month later, the Saints board could have been forgiven for pulling the trigger on Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Indeed those victories at St Mary’s did little to prolong Marco Silva or Manuel Pellegrini in their jobs as both were sacked in December.

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However, Southampton’s patience has paid off in stunning fashion with a run of four wins and a draw from their last five league games. They now sit closer to the European places than the bottom three.

Danny Ings has been the catalyst with 10 goals in his last 11 games and he was the match winner again at the King Power.

“We did everything we could to turn things around and we’ve done even better than that,” said Ings, who has put himself in contention for England’s Euro 2020 squad.

“I’m so proud of us as a team and how far we’ve come.”


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