At Brighton, Adam Webster proves his centre-back credentials by skying a clearcut chance from seven yards out. For injury-hit, defender-light Leicester, Jonny Evans is down and looks in pain.
Liverpool inches away from going 3-0 up with a Brazil-1970 wondergoal, Fabinho starting a move that ends up at the feet of Salah via some lighting interplay between Firmino, Diaz and Elliott. But the Egyptian contrives to miss a sitter. At Brentford, Jensen sends a long-ranger whistling past Pickford’s post seconds after Mbuemo has done the same. Lampard watches on anxiously.
Penalty at Stamford Bridge! Ruben Loftus-Cheek weaves his way into the box and is felled by Youri Tielemans.
No penalty at Stamford Bridge! It’s ruled out by VAR for an offside against Kai Havertz in the buildup.
Luis Diaz turns provider now, teeing the ball up for Harvey Elliott to un leash a fearsome 20-yard curler that flies into the far corner. A majestic first Premier League goal.
Well well well. This is a John Stones own-goal but credit goes to Eberechi Eze wicked delivery. He whips in a fiendish free-kick which hits Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker and finally Stones before pinballing into the City net. Game on!
Mohamed Salah burrows down the right and pops the ball back to Roberto Firmino, who swings in a terrific cross. Luis Diaz leaps to nod in home. Bish bash bosh.
So, James Milner makes way for Fabinho at Anfield, in the change that Jurgen Klopp has perhaps made five days too late. Even with injuries it’s a strong enough lineup, but that bench – combined squad number: 368! – still looks wince-inducingly thin. But that won’t matter today … will it?
Meanwhile, Conor Gallagher keeps his place in the Chelsea side despite his full debut going somewhat pear-shaped last week. Ruben Loftus-Cheek also stays put in the engine room for the visit of Leicester. And Crystal Palace take on the champions without Wilfried Zaha, so in comes [checks notes] Nathaniel Clyne. Huh…
Sheridan Hitchens writes in: “Sexy Beast has got to be up there as one of the best films about a final job. Ben Kingsley showing off his versatility with a tour de force performance.”
Couldn’t agree more. You are going to have to turn this opportunity yes!
And here’s our write-up from Southampton, where Bruno Fernandes completed a very nice week indeed for the no-longer-crisis club:
Anthony Gordon starts for Everton at Brentford this afternoon. His £60m move to Chelsea is “a nonexistent transfer that seems to capture so much that is transgressive about this industry”, says our own Barney Ronay. Read his column here:
It’s all over at St Mary’s, where Manchester United’s heroic resurgence continues. Live reaction here:
Erik Ten Hag’s Resurgent United have taken the lead against Southampton, Bruno Fernandes blamming a very tidy volley into the bottom corner. What a difference a week makes, eh? Read all about it here:
Here’s your game-by-game bitesize preview:
What’s your favourite “one last job” story? Unforgiven (1992)? Heat (1995)? Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)?
Or what about The Saturday 3pm Kick-off (today), which – much like Messrs Eastwood, De Niro and Cage – has reappeared from the wilderness and got the old gang back together for a final high-stakes extravaganza. The gang in question? Beleaguered Liverpool, who in recent weeks have started to resemble Ray Winstone in Sexy Beast: an old warhorse whose youthful energy has long since waned and now would like nothing more than to sip a margarita by the pool. They take on Bournemouth at Anfield – and if that fixture doesn’t kick-start their season, surely nothing will.
Similarly besieged are Chelsea, whose past fortnight has been more Naked Gun than Ocean’s Eleven: first denied by Spurs, then battered by Leeds, and finally seeing their manager’s post-match handshake etiquette subject to an eight-page report from an independent regulatory commission. None of this has been good for the club’s dignity. They host Leicester, another listlessly out-of-form outfit, in a meeting that the visitors will be desperate to win not only in order to arrest their slump but to pre-emptively stick it to turncoat Wesley Fofana, who’s in the process of screeching off to join today’s opponents.
And then there’s Manchester City, a crack crew whose cocky new recruit may or may not have upset the finely tuned sense of harmony. Certainly their steely professionalism deserted them during last week’s rollercoaster draw at Newcastle and they will be looking to reassert themselves this afternoon at home to Crystal Palace – who pulled off a smash-and-grab heist of their own at the Etihad last season.
Elsewhere, Brighton and Leeds convene on the south coast to suss out each other’s title credentials – the winner could conceivably end the day top of the league – and Brentford, upstart masters of the big-club ransacking, host Everton, whose manager is surely starting to feel the heat around the corner.
We’ll also bring you the latest from the Championship – where Watford, Reading and Blackburn all have the chance to usurp Sheffield United at the top of the table – as well as the rest of the Football League. Buckle up!