The whole day was punctuated by successive announcements of postponements of matches as the number of teams facing an explosion of positive tests continues to grow.
After Brentford-Manchester United scheduled for Tuesday, Burnley-Watford, scheduled for Wednesday and Brighton-Tottenham which was to take place on Sunday and which had already been postponed, the Premier League has postponed six new meetings.
Leicester have thus seen their Thursday matches against Tottenham and Sunday at Everton postponed, while Manchester United against Brighton, Southampton against Brentford, West Ham against Norwich and Watford against Crystal Palace, all scheduled for Saturday, have also been postponed.
The Liverpool and Chelsea meetings were still held on Thursday, even if the Reds were deprived of Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones for positive tests, and the Blues of Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoï and the long-time injured Ben Chilwell, also affected.
2,000th victory for the Reds in the top flight
Manchester City having crushed Leeds (7-0) on Tuesday, their two immediate pursuers had to react, which did the Reds, who come back to a length of City with 40 points, but not Chelsea, who are now relegated to four units.
The reception of the penultimate, Newcastle, seemed unlikely to pose a problem for Liverpool who remained on seven straight wins in all competitions.
But Jürgen Klopp’s side did not make it easy, conceding a goal after just seven minutes.
On a center badly pushed back in the axis by Thiago Alcantara, Jonjo Shelvey, a former member of the red house, took Alisson on the wrong foot with a shot from 25 meters which went into the small right net of the goal (1 -0).
Stung, the Reds were quick to react, even if the two-stage equalizer of Diogo Jota was contested by the Magpies, whose defender was injured and down on the action (1-1, 21st ).
Four minutes later, Shelvey stood out again, but struggling, making a backward blind pass that turned into a nice opening for Sadio Mané.
If the Senegalese stumbled on Martin Dubravka, Mohamed Salah followed suit to score his 22nd goal – to which we must add nine assists – in 23 matches, in all competitions, this season (2-1, 25th).
At the very end of the match, with a missile in the top corner, Trent Alexander-Arnold completed the job and offered his team three precious points in such an uncertain period (3-1, 87th).
Liverpool became the first club to reach the 2,000-game mark in the English Premier League – a statistic which also includes the matches leading up to the establishment of the Premier League.
Chelsea in slow motion
For the Blues whose attack was decimated, the draw against Everton was enough to enrage Thomas Tuchel, as the opportunities were numerous.
Authors of 23 shots, including ten on target, the Londoners fell on a Jordan Pickford particularly inspired in the goals of the Toffees, with superb parades against Mason Mount, up close (35th), and on a header from Thiago Silva on a corner ( 79th).
Chelsea thought they had done the most difficult when Mount ended up finding the flaw at a closed angle just over twenty minutes from time (1-0, 70 ‘).
But this goal, so long awaited, perhaps caused a guilty jump in concentration which allowed the very young defender Jarrad Branthwaite (19), on a free kick, to spring to the far post to equalize with a furious tackle. (1-1, 74th).
A precious point for Everton (14th with 19 pts) and for a Rafael Benitez still in a precarious situation on the bench of the other club of Liverpool.
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England: Liverpool picks up, Chelsea gets stuck, the schedule shaken by the Covid-19