Premier League Winners and Losers After Saturday's Updated Week 17 EPL Table

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool in action during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield on December 14, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

A Mohamed Salah brace helped Liverpool to a 2-0 Premier League victory on Saturday over Watford at Anfield.

There was a major shock at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea were defeated 1-0 by Bournemouth.

Norwich City frustrated Leicester City in a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium after the visitors initially claimed the lead.

Elsewhere, West Ham United gained a much-needed victory on the road with a 1-0 win at Southampton.

                            

Saturday's Results

Liverpool 2-0 Watford

Burnley 1-0 Newcastle United

Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth

Leicester 1-1 Norwich

Sheffield United 2-0 Aston Villa

Southampton 0-1 West Ham

                       

Sunday's Fixtures

Manchester United vs. Everton: 2 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m. ET

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Tottenham Hotspur: 2 p.m. GMT, 9 a.m. ET

Arsenal vs. Manchester City: 4:30 p.m. GMT, 11:30 a.m. ET

                  

Monday's Fixtures

Crystal Palace vs. Brighton & Hove Albion: 7:45 p.m. GMT, 2:45 p.m. ET

                     

Premier League (games played, points, goal difference)

1. Liverpool: 17, 49, 28

2. Leicester: 17, 39, +29

3. Manchester City: 16, 32, +25

4. Chelsea: 17, 29, +6

5. Sheffield United: 17, 25, +5

6. Manchester United: 16, 24, +6

7. Wolves: 16, 24, +4

8. Spurs: 16, 23, +7

9. Arsenal: 16, 22, 0

10. Crystal Palace: 16, 22, -4

11. Newcastle: 17, 22, -7

12. Burnley: 17, 21, -4

13. Brighton: 16, 19, -4

14. Bournemouth: 17, 19, -5

15. West Ham: 17, 19, -9

16. Everton: 16, 17, -9

17. Aston Villa: 17, 15, -7

18. Southampton: 17, 15, -18

19. Norwich: 17, 12, -17

20. Watford: 17, 9, -23

                

Saturday's Winners and Losers

Winner: Liverpool Fans

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Liverpool's ascension to the Premier League title remains on course after another efficient result on Merseyside.

Reds supporters were in full voice as they watched their team collect three points in the week Jurgen Klopp pledged his future to the club.

James Milner also agreed a two-year contract extension, and Liverpool qualified for the UEFA Champions League knockouts as group winners.

Questions have been posed about Salah's overall form this term compared to last, but the Egypt international proved why he is so important against the Hornets.

Salah broke the deadlock with a curling effort seven minutes before half-time and closed out the game with a cheeky flick in the final seconds of the contest.

It was an average display by the hosts, but their efficiency has reached new levels under Klopp's guidance.

Speaking to BT Sport (h/t Emma Sanders of BBC Sport), Klopp admitted his side had to dig out the win in a difficult game:

"It was not the prettiest game but I am more than happy with that. At this stage you have to show resilience and I believe we did that today. We have so many games but we are happy with this. Watford had their chances but we scored ours. We could have made the game easier for us but it's intense to be constantly in charge of the game. We have to defend with passion not organisation sometimes and that was sometimes now, right?"

Klopp's new deal will keep the German at Anfield until 2024, and retaining his leadership is essential for Liverpool's continuing success.

The coach has organically built a team capable of winning trophies, and the process must continue if the Reds want to stay at the top for an extended period.

               

Loser: Frank Lampard

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Champion's League Group H football match between Chelsea and Lille at Stamford Bridge in London on December 10, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP v
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

The ever-changing nature of football could not be more apparent than at Chelsea, as Lampard's early success has been countered by a collapse in results.

Bournemouth arrived in west London in dire form. The Cherries had lost five consecutive league games, but they faced the challenge in the capital and took home all three points.

Chelsea lacked the spark witnessed in previous weeks, and Lampard has failed to motivate his side to increase their performances.

The Blues have now lost four of their last seven in all competitions, and the young team's lack of experience is starting to cost points.

Per Goal's Nizaar Kinsella, Lampard said he wants to see his side play progressive football:

With no summer signings allowed due to a transfer ban, Chelsea were always going to struggle to maintain results with a thin squad. However, they will soon be allowed to go shopping in the January transfer window, and latest results could tempt Lampard to recruit fresh blood.

Chelsea remain four points clear in fourth, but Lampard will know his team cannot keep dropping points as they have since November.

                    

Winner: The Race for the Top Four

Despite Liverpool's incredible form at the top of the division, the real winner of the weekend is the potential top-four drama in the league.

Chelsea have lost four of their last five in the league, opening the door for Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal to gatecrash the UEFA Champions League spots after a poor start to their campaigns.

Leicester's draw with Norwich temporarily halts their momentum, and Manchester City could gain ground on the second-placed Foxes with a win over Arsenal on Sunday.

However, the Gunners would be just three points from fourth if they can produce a performance that defeats the champions at the Emirates Stadium.

United have been building nicely in recent weeks after wins over Spurs and Manchester City, and their clash with Everton has increased significance after Chelsea's latest loss.

A win for the Red Devils will take them within two points of Lampard's team, but they must first see off a Toffees side that beat Chelsea last weekend.

                  

Loser: Jamie Vardy

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Jamie Vardy of Leicester City reacts during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Norwich City at The King Power Stadium on December 14, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Image
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The striker's goalscoring run ended on Saturday, as the Foxes struggled to beat the on-song Canaries.

Vardy thought he had scored in the 38th minute, but his header was ruled as an own goal by goalkeeper Tim Krul.

The player had scored in eight consecutive league games before Saturday's blank, and Leicester displayed weaknesses not seen in recent matches.

Per Matt Bullin of BBC Sport, Brendan Rodgers said his side were short of their best:

"These players have been brilliant, it says everything we have drawn a game and everyone is disappointed.

"We weren't quite at our level but we managed to get back and get a point. We'll press the rest button and get ready for a [Carabao Cup] quarter-final on Wednesday [at Everton]."

Vardy's prolific scoring was vital when Leicester won the title in 2015-16, and his finishing remains the key to Rodgers' success.

When the former England player doesn't find the back of the net, the Foxes lack options to win them points.

However, Leicester remain in an excellent position, but their next league game is a visit to the Etihad Stadium to face Pep Guardiola's champions.    

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