Man City stunned by Norwich as Liverpool stretch Premier League lead

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Norwich City's Finnish striker Teemu Pukki (2nd L) sets himself before scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Manchester City at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on Saturday. — AFP

LONDON — Manchester City succumbed to a first Premier League defeat since January in stunning fashion to newly-promoted Norwich 3-2 on Saturday, as Liverpool opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table by beating Newcastle 3-1.

Tottenham and Chelsea bounced back to form with comprehensive wins over Crystal Palace and Wolves respectively, while Manchester United held out for a much-needed three points with a 1-0 victory over Leicester.

However, Liverpool were the big winners as the gaps left in City's defense by the injured Aymeric Laporte were exposed at Carrow Road.

Kenny McLean showed up the champions problems with defending set-pieces with a towering header to open the scoring and Teemu Pukki then squared for Todd Cantwell to make it 2-0 inside 28 minutes.

City regained their composure and got a foothold in the game before half-time when Sergio Aguero headed home Bernardo Silva's cross.

However, with Laporte out till January at least with a serious knee injury, Pep Guardiola has problems to solve at the heart of his defense as John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi gifted Norwich a third at the start of the second-half.

Emiliano Buendia robbed Otamendi and set up Pukki to prod home.

City rallied late on, but Rodri's first goal for the club two minutes from time was too little, too late.

Liverpool also fell behind early on to Newcastle as Jetro Willems brilliant finish saw the Reds trailing at Anfield for the first time since March.

Sadio Mane fired into the top corner to start the revival, but it was the introduction of Roberto Firmino off the bench for the injured Divock Origi that truly turned the tide in Liverpool's favour.

The Brazilian's through ball was spilled by Martin Dubravka to allow Mane a simple task for his second just before half-time, and another brilliant Firmino flick teed up Salah to seal the points 18 minutes from time.

"I started enjoying after 25 minutes, around about when we arrived finally in the game," said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

"Second-half we scored only one goal, but we played really good football and I liked it a lot."

Frank Lampard has endured a difficult start on his return to Stamford Bridge as manager, but he enjoyed his finest day so far in charge Chelsea with his faith in youth again fully vindicated in a 5-2 win at Wolves.

Fikayo Tomori, 21, fired the visitors in front at Molineux with his first goal for the club before Tammy Abraham took over to take his tally to seven in his last three games with a hat-trick.

"All three goals were so different, it just shows what he can do," said Lampard.

"I am so delighted for him. I know how hard the academy works and Tammy has an enthusiasm to score goals. He has a fantastic approach to the game and how he wants to progress."

Abraham's busy afternoon was not over as he then turned into his own net and Patrick Cutrone cut Wolves' deficit to two before Mason Mount rounded off the scoring for Chelsea late on.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said David Beckham asked to play for his side so impressed was the former England captain with Spurs first-half demolition of Palace in a 4-0 win.

All four goals came before half-time with Son Heung-min scoring twice either side of Patrick van Aanholt's own goal before Erik Lamela rounded off the scoring.

"I was talking to David Beckham just now and he said, 'I wish I could still play football and play now for Tottenham because this stadium is amazing. I wish I could play here and play for you!'" Pochettino said.

United had to suffer far more for just a second win in 10 league matches.

Rashford shrugged off his recent miss from the spot in defeat to Palace to convert a penalty on eight minutes after he had been brought down by Caglar Soyuncu.

United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester are all now level on eight points from five games.

"We hung in there. It was the first time this season where we have had to defend for large periods," said United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"We have dominated the other games but today we saw a team that could defend in their own half.

Brighton edged out Burnley 1-0 at the Amex thanks to Neil Maupay's winner early in the second-half.

Southampton were also 1-0 victors at Sheffield United courtesy of a brilliant strike from Moussa Djenepo. — AFP


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