Liverpool and Manchester City traded top spot in the Premier League on Sunday, with the Reds ending the day still two points clear and in control of the title race.
City got things started by briefly going top after beating Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, thanks largely to a Raheem Sterling brace. Sterling's former club then answered the challenge by seeing off Chelsea at Anfield, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah getting on the scoresheet.
Their goals took Liverpool back to the summit, but City will still feel confident thanks to having a game in hand.
- Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester City
- Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea
Standings (Played, Won, Goal Difference and Points)
1. Liverpool: 34, 26, +57, 85
2. Manchester City: 33, 27, +64, 83
3. Tottenham Hotspur: 33, 22, +30, 67
4. Chelsea: 34, 20, +21, 66
5. Manchester United: 33, 19, +19, 64
6. Arsenal: 32, 19, +25, 63
7. Leicester City: 34, 14, +1, 47
8. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 33, 13, -1, 47
9. Everton: 34, 13, +2, 46
10. Watford: 32, 13, 0, 46
11. West Ham United: 34, 12, -10, 42
12. Bournemouth: 34, 12, -12, 41
13. Crystal Palace: 34, 11, -6, 39
14. Burnley: 34, 11, -18, 39
15. Newcastle United: 34, 10, -11, 38
16. Southampton: 33, 9, -15, 36
17. Brighton & Hove Albion: 32, 9, -19, 33
18. Cardiff City: 33, 8, -35, 28
19. Fulham: 34, 5, -44, 20
20. Huddersfield Town: 34, 3, -48, 14
A goalless first half on Merseyside was defined by Liverpool's inability to make the most of bossing both territory and possession:
It was going to take something special to break down a well-drilled Chelsea team. Jordan Henderson answered the call six minutes after the break when his subtle chip gave Mane an easy header.
Things got even better two minutes later, when Salah netted a second in spectacular fashion by cutting in from the right and unleashing an unstoppable shot from distance:
Salah's magic was enough for Liverpool to hold Chelsea at bay, even though Eden Hazard spurned two excellent chances for the Blues when one-on-one.
Earlier, City made a quick and determined start at a ground on which they have had problems in recent seasons. It took just 15 minutes for the visitors to take the lead as Kevin De Bruyne threaded an inch-perfect pass to release Sterling in behind.
Finishing used to be a problem for the England international, but he doesn't waste many chances anymore. A more ruthless streak in front of goal is one reason behind Sterling's incredible numbers during recent years:
Sterling added one more to this impressive tally when he swept his left foot to connect with an astute pass from Leroy Sane three minutes after the hour mark.
Sane hasn't been a regular member of the City starting XI recently, but it's a measure of his quality he's still managed to be a prolific goal-maker this season:
Having so many match-winners capable of contributing whenever they're called upon is also a measure of City's awesome strength in depth. It's the one attribute Liverpool can't match in the title race.
The Citizens should have been coasting to an easy win, but a rash challenge from Ilkay Gundogan felled James McArthur on the edge of the box. Luka Milivojevic made no mistake with the resulting free-kick to ensure a nervy final 10 minutes.
Yet few teams stay strong under pressure as well as City, and the defending champions sealed the points when De Bruyne released substitute Gabriel Jesus on the break. The Brazilian striker made the most of the chance to put the pressure squarely back on Liverpool.
It was a challenge the Reds met to set up a thrilling run-in.