Draws for Liverpool, Spurs cap tough weekend for EPL powers

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Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Fulham and Liverpool, at Craven Cottage stadium, London, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. (AP photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp had just seen his team fall behind after getting outplayed in the opening 25 minutes by a supposed contender for relegation, and he’d had enough.

“WAKE UP!” Klopp barked to his players, his chest out and his teeth gritted.

Liverpool ended up escaping from Craven Cottage with a 1-1 draw against Fulham thanks to a late penalty by Mohamed Salah but it was hardly the stuff of champions from Klopp’s team.

They weren’t alone, in what has proved a tough weekend for the Premier League’s likely title candidates. And for Arsenal, too.

Earlier Sunday, Tottenham, the league leader, was held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace.

On Saturday, Chelsea lost for just the second time in the league this season, 1-0 at Everton, and the two Manchester clubs played out a drab 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

If this was some kind of hangover from the teams’ latest midweek exertions in European competition, then the schedule is only going to get more hectic now English soccer is entering the festive period where the show goes on unlike with many leagues on the continent.

“I don’t want to make excuses — I’ll let you all talk about that and the amount of games players are playing, especially European teams,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said. “We’ve just got to prepare and play whenever we’re told. That’s all we can do.”