Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk
London (AFP) - Liverpool’s bid to win the Premier League could be hampered by their mounting injury list.
Arsenal are hot on Liverpool’s heels thanks to a goal spree that shows no sign of abating, while champions Manchester City were held to a damaging draw by Chelsea.
AFP Sport looks at three talking points from the weekend’s action:
Injury casualties cast shadow over Liverpool
At a ground where Jurgen Klopp’s men had struggled in the past two seasons, a resounding 4-1 win at Brentford kept Liverpool’s title challenge marching along.
However, victory came at a heavy cost as Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez were all forced off by injury.
The Reds were already without goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai for the trip to west London.
A relentless schedule leaves little room for recovery with Liverpool still alive in four competitions.
They have eight more games to squeeze in before an international break in a month’s time, including a midweek Premier League date with Luton and next Sunday’s League Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley.
That run also includes a potential title-decider at home to Manchester City and the worry for Klopp is that hopes of a farewell title party may be ruined as his players run out of steam.
Free-scoring Arsenal show no need for striker
Arsenal celebrates their rout of Burnley
Arsenal’s challenge for a first league title in 20 years appeared to be crumbling before a winter break last month, but they have returned refreshed and relentless from a mid-season training camp in Dubai.
The Gunners’ 5-0 thrashing of Burnley on Saturday was their sixth consecutive Premier League win, a hot streak that has featured 21 goals for Mikel Arteta’s men.
Many believed that Arsenal needed to invest in a clinical striker during the January window to have any chance of overhauling Liverpool and City in the title race.
But, even with Gabriel Jesus sidelined in recent weeks, Arteta has struck upon a lethal blend in attacking areas.
Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard have deputised as a false nine and were both on the scoresheet at Turf Moor, as was Bukayo Saka with a double to take his tally to six goals in his last four games.
Man City must ‘keep fighting’
Manchester City striker Erling Haaland
Rodri admits Manchester City cannot afford to dwell on Saturday’s frustrating 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola’s side, aiming for an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League title, squandered a host of chances in the second half at the Etihad Stadium.
City midfielder Rodri finally took one of those opportunities, with his deflected 83rd minute strike cancelling out Raheem Sterling’s first-half opener.
The result ended City’s six-match winning league run and left them third in the table, four points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.
“We could do better in some situations. We have to learn from the mistakes and try to move on. Sometimes a point is not bad,” Rodri said ahead of Tuesday’s crucial home league game against Brentford.
“We are frustrated we didn’t win but after a few hours that is it. We keep fighting but we have to perform well in the next game against Brentford.
“It is one of the most important games because we can be there again at the top of the table with Liverpool, with one point difference. This has to be the mentality.”