Premier League highlights: 10 talking points as Liverpool enter home stretch

The Premier League weekend saw Liverpool take another big step towards the title as nearest opponents Man City fell further behind in the race.

In what is now a pretty much foregone conclusion, the Reds need just two wins to end their 30-year wait to be crowned domestic champions.

They kept up with their side of the bargain, coming from behind to beat Bournemouth on home turf and return to winning ways.

Rivals Man Utd gave Liverpool a helping hand on Sunday by beating City in a close-fought Manchester derby.

That win boosted the Red Devils' hopes of their own success in the top four race, while Chelsea and Arsenal also secured victories as Tottenham faltered.

Here are 10 talking points from the weekend's matches.

1. Guard of honour looms

Man City's defeat means the prospect of City giving Liverpool a guard of honour on home turf is now a pretty big possibility.

Liverpool could in fact win the title before their next scheduled fixture.

Should City lose to both Arsenal and Burnley , Liverpool will already be confirmed as champions before their trip to rivals Everton .

Albeit that is unlikely, but it would take a shock for the Reds not to have sealed it within their next two games, just before they travel to the Etihad on April 5.

2. Milner saves the day

With Andy Robertson left out of the squad with a knock, James Milner deputised at left-back, and put in a typically assured performance as captain in place of Henderson.

He was seen bellowing instructions in the warm-up, and was a picture of focus as he led the team out of the tunnel.

The 34-year-old also rolled back the years with a heroic goal-line clearance in the second half when he scampered back to hack Fraser's lobbed effort away just in the nick of time.

Among his team of star names, Milner continues to be just as valuable as ever to Klopp.

3. Gunners steal the spoils

It was another typical performance we've started to become accustomed to with Arsenal under Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners had plenty of the ball, but struggled to convert it into chances.

Those they did have – Nketiah arguably having the best of them – they couldn't finish, until Lacazette's winner spared their blushes.

Even that came with a stroke of luck, as Aubameyang's initial shot fell kindly for Ozil to set up the goalscorer.

West Ham put up a solid defence to keep the hosts largely at bay, but with the Hammers at the other end of the table, this was almost two points dropped for Arsenal.

Fortunately for Arsenal they got the goal they needed, but they sure made hard work of it.

4. Billy the kid

What a week it has been for Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour.

Man of the Match against Liverpool in the FA Cup tie midweek, followed by a sterling performance on his full Premier League debut against Everton.

The 18-year-old has drawn plaudits from across football already, with Roy Keane hailing the midfielder as world class.

It's early days for Gilmour, but he's certainly got a bright future ahead.

5. Mourinho slams Ndombele

Jose Mourinho launched into a lengthy and passionate criticism of midfielder Tanguy Ndombele after the Frenchman's latest performance in a Tottenham shirt.

Spurs' record summer signing has struggled to get to grips with the Premier League since his arrival, but was handed a starting berth for the trip to Burnley on Saturday.

But Mourinho was less than impressed with the £52million man, who was dragged off at half-time along with central midfield partner Oliver Skipp with Spurs a goal down.

And not for the first time Ndombele fell foul of his boss's comments after the match.

"I am not going to run away. I have to say Tanguy has had enough time to come to a different level," Mourinho said. "But a player with his potential, his responsibility, he has to give us more."

6. Wolves' Champions League hopes dented

Wolves failed to force their way into the top four after an utterly forgettable goalless draw with Brighton at Molineux.

Six days on from a thrilling win over Tottenham , the Black Country side failed to press home their Champions League credentials.

Throughout they were too predictable, lacking in invention and quality, and failed to test Mat Ryan in the Brighton goal.

Graham Potter's visitors remain winless since December, but never looked in danger of falling to another defeat, and arguably created the better openings.

"We know our opponents, we knew today was going to be like that," said Nuno Espirito Santo post-game. "But we should have been better."

7. Henderson relishing chance to stake England claim

With Euro 2020 on the horizon, Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson further underlined his international credentials with a superb triple save to secure his side's 1-0 win over bottom club Norwich.

Jordan Pickford's position as England number one has come under increasing scrutiny following a string of errors and Blades boss Chris Wilder expects Manchester United loanee Henderson to win his first Three Lions cap later this month.

The in-form 22-year-old now has 10 Premier League clean sheets for the season, one behind fellow England candidate Nick Pope, while only table-topping Liverpool have conceded fewer goals than the South Yorkshire side.

8. Blundering Ederson

It's rare that City's goalkeeper drops a clanger, but he had a real off-day at Old Trafford.

In fairness he wasn't the only one caught out by United's clever free-kick for Martial's opener, but he should have kept it out.

Ederson had set himself, and Martial's connection with the ball wasn't pure, which is perhaps what threw the Brazilian off.

Either way he let the ball squirm underneath him, and got away with another one later in the game as he just about recovered to deny Martial a second.

His misery was then to be compounded in injury time, as his misplaced throw fell straight to McTominay, whose first-time strike caught the keeper off his line and complete the win.

Had his opposite number done the same at the other end there would have been no end to the criticism.

9. Beleaguered Brighton yet to break 2020 duck

Brighton picked up a battling point at high-flying Wolves on Saturday but, alarmingly, remain the only team in the top four divisions without a win this calendar year.

Albion have plummeted into serious relegation danger having accumulated the fewest top-flight points during that time (8), while only Norwich and Newcastle have managed fewer goals.

The struggling Seagulls must quickly rediscover the form which prompted the club to extend head coach Graham Potter's contract to 2025.

Their next five fixtures include clashes with Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City – a daunting run which could potentially leave them in a perilous position.

10. Stars find ways around coronavirus handshake ban

The Premier League's stars have been giving each other fist bumps rather than the traditional pre-game handshake following the recent outbreak of coronavirus.

An alternative walk-out protocol has been introduced, with handshakes having been abandoned in order to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Liverpool ’s clash with Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime was the first game that saw the new measure in place.

The home players walked past their visiting counterparts without touching hands.

But a number of players across the division instead opted to bump fists.

Safety first!

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