LONDON – It might be time for Liverpool to start worrying about its slow start to the English Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp’s team dropped points for the fourth time in six games after an eventful 0-0 draw at Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday, with Mohamed Salah hitting the post in stoppage time.
Chelsea has VAR to thank for not being in a similar position. Thomas Tuchel's team, having lost two of their previous three games, held on for a 2-1 victory over West Ham at Stamford Bridge after the visitor had an injury-time equalizer overturned by what Hammers manager David Moyes called a “scandalous” and “rotten” decision.
Chelsea already has two losses and a draw in the opening six games, while Liverpool has three draws and one loss, having needed a goal in the eighth minute of injury time to beat Newcastle in midweek.
“It’s not the start we wanted,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “It’s not a dream, it’s exactly 50% of the points available. But that’s the points we got, and let’s go from here. If we go through these really hard moments together we have a good chance to create better moments in the future.”
The good news for Klopp is that Liverpool didn't lose any more ground to defending champion Manchester City, which was held to 1-1 at Aston Villa despite another goal from Erling Haaland — the Norwegian striker's 10th.
City is tied with Tottenham for second place in the table on points, giving leader Arsenal a chance to take a four-point lead on Sunday if it can maintain its perfect record when it travels to Manchester United.
Tottenham also remained unbeaten after beating Fulham 2-1 at home in another London derby, with Harry Kane scoring his fifth goal to take sole possession of third place in the Premier League's list of all-time scorers.
In the highest-scoring game of the day, Ivan Toney had a hat trick for Brentford in a 5-2 win over Leeds, whose American manager Jesse Marsch was sent off in the second half for protesting a refereeing decision.
Bournemouth — still without a manager after Scott Parker was fired this week — came from 2-0 down in the second half to earn a 3-2 away win at Nottingham Forest in a game between promoted sides, while Wolverhampton earned its first victory of the season by beating Southampton 1-0.
Newcastle missed a host of chances as it was held at home by Crystal Palace to 0-0.
Perhaps the only two players to be happy with 0-0 at Goodison Park were the goalkeepers.
Everton's Jordan Pickford and Liverpool's Alisson pulled off stellar saves while Liverpool also had three shots hit the woodwork.
That included Salah's shot five minutes into injury time which brushed the fingertips of Pickford before slamming against the near post.
Everton also hit the post once in the first half while Alisson's best save came in the 85th when he was at full stretch to push Dwight McNeil's deflected shot over the bar.
Everton thought it scored in the 69th when former Liverpool player Conor Coady turned in a low cross-shot from Neal Maupay at the far post, but it was disallowed for offside after a VAR review.
Moyes didn't hide his anger at the decision to rule out West Ham's equalizer at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s a scandalous decision," the Scottish manager said. “Absolutely rotten decision.”
Maxwel Cornet hammered the ball into an open net after Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy managed to only push the ball into his path, but referee Andy Madley ruled it out after a review. He judged Jarrod Bowen fouled Mendy when attempting to jump over him.
The decision bailed out Chelsea after an underwhelming performance that once again highlighted the team's lack of firepower up front.
With new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang watching in the stands, Chelsea didn't produce a single shot on target by the time Michail Antonio put West Ham ahead following a corner in the 63rd minute.
But defender Ben Chilwell equalized from a tight angle then teed up Kai Havertz to side-foot home in the 88th.
Tuchel gave United States international Cristian Pulisic his first start of the season alongside Raheem Sterling in attack but he was taken off after an hour.
RESPITE FOR GERRARD
Villa manager Steven Gerrard was under heavy pressure following three straight league losses, but a point against City could go a long way toward safeguarding his position.
Gerrard went with a more defense-minded lineup than usual by leaving Philippe Coutinho and Emiliano Buendia on the bench, and the changes paid off.
“I’ve had to tweak a few things and look at myself behind the scenes,” Gerrard said. “It’s not just about players, it’s what I can do better. Do I have to sacrifice things for the bigger picture?”
Haaland became only the second player to reach 10 goals in his first six Premier League games — joining Coventry’s Mick Quinn in 1992 — after volleying in a cross from Kevin de Bruyne at the far post. But he then had two shots saved by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez before Villa equalized in the 74th through Leon Bailey.
“We had chances to score a second when the game was in our hands but we didn’t,” City manager Pep Guardiola said.
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