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Three things: Man City v. Tottenham

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This will go down as one of the greatest, and most dramatic, games in the history of the UEFA Champions League.

In their quarterfinal second leg at the Etihad Stadium Manchester City beat Tottenham 4-3 on the night but drew 4-4 on aggregate and lost on the away goals rule, as their dream of winning an unprecedented quadruple is over.

Spurs will play Ajax in the UCL semifinals, and Man City were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage by a fellow Premier League club for the second-straight season.

After two goals a piece from Heung-Min Son and Raheem Sterling kicked off a wild opening 21 minutes where five goals were scored, VAR drama in stoppage time saw Man City score, as they thought they had won 5-4 on aggregate. But Sterling’s goal was chalked off and Pep Guardiola‘s men were beaten by Mauricio Pochettino‘s battling Spurs who were without top goalscorer Harry Kane but Son and Fernando Llorente delivered the goods.

Good news for neutrals: Man City host Tottenham on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in a crucial Premier League game for both clubs.

Here’s what we learned from a wild encounter, which will go down as one of the most incredible 90 minutes in the history of European action.


HISTORIC START SETS TONE FOR INSTANT CLASSIC

Five goals were scored in the opening 21 minutes of the game, which set a new record for the quickest time five goals have been scored in a single Champions League game. Aside from that wild opening period, which ended in Raheem Sterling putting Man City 3-2, the entire game was played at a frantic pace which will see it go down as one of the greatest games in Champions League history. Both teams threw caution to the wind and just went for it.

This was playground football. One team scored, another went up the other end to score. One team attacked, the other then launched a counter. Guardiola and Pochettino will have been far from happy with the standard of defending throughout, but this was one of those games people will be talking about for years and was a real “I was there” moment for anyone at the Etihad Stadium.

Man City went 4-2 up, and thought they had it in the bag, then Fernando Llorente made it 4-3 after a lengthy check with VAR, and then came Sterling’s hat trick goal in the 93rd minute which sparked pandemonium inside the Eithad… only for VAR to correctly show the goal was offside.

This game had it all and it will be shown again and again for the next few decades.


STERLING, KDB SUBLIME BUT CITY’S QUADRUPLE DREAM OVER

Raheem Sterling is having the season of his life and has now scored four goals in his last two games, and on top of Sterling’s goals, the return to form and fitness of Kevin De Bruyne has been a huge bonus for Guardiola’s side despite their heartbreaking exit to Spurs. De Bruyne has now assisted on six of City’s last eight goals, with the Belgian midfielder taking games by the scruff of the neck and making up for lost time after his lengthy spells out this season.

City thought they had sealed yet another dramatic late win, one that would rival Aguero’s amazing last-gasp goal to win them the Premier League title in 2012, but it wasn’t to be. They dominated the game and beat Spurs fair and square in the second leg, but Aguero’s missed penalty kick in the first leg and slack defending from Vincent Kompany and Aymeric Laporte in the second leg ended their chances of winning a historic quadruple.

City’s Champions League jinx has continued for another season, and it was made even crueler by knowing they deserved to go through and thought they had before VAR denied them. Guardiola has long been a fan of VAR technology, but he must feel sick to his stomach as City once again came up short in Europe. He will hope that disappointment will now fuel them to complete the domestic treble, but it is likely this defeat to Spurs over two legs will haunt this group of players for at least the next few months, if not years.


SPURS, SON, DEFIED BELIEF

Losing Harry Kane in the first leg and Moussa Sissoko in the second leg hit Spurs hard in both games, but with Heung-min Son stepping up to score three of their four goals and almost adding a few others, the South Korean star and Tottenham didn’t really deserve to get knocked out of the Champions League.

This was the moment Son truly arrived as a world-class player. He has been criminally underrated in the past few seasons and has stepped up in Kane’s absence again, big time. Llorente, only on for the injured Sissoko, turned out to the hero for Spurs, as they dug deep and rode their luck at City.

As for Spurs’ run to the Champions League last four, for so long it looked like the “Spursy” tag would strike again in this second leg after they chucked away a 2-1 lead by giving up three-straight goals. But they did it. And they’re in the semifinals of the European Cup for just the second time in club history. This is Pochettino’s greatest-ever achievement as a manager, and many will forget that Spurs didn’t win any of their opening three group games, and were 12 minutes from being eliminated but rallied to beat PSV at home in their fourth group game.

Given their injury-hit squad, not playing at their home stadium until the final weeks of the season and not signing a single player in the past two transfer windows, Pochettino has worked miracles. They beat Man City, the favorites to win the Champions League, fair and square over two legs and despite Ajax’s young stars stunning both Real Madrid and Juventus in the last two rounds, Tottenham will be the favorites to advance to the UCL final in Madrid on June 1.

Write this Tottenham team off at your peril.

Three things learned: Liverpool v. Chelsea

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Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday, as Jurgen Klopp‘s side overcame their biggest remaining hurdle, on paper, in the Premier League title race.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah 144 seconds apart in the second half did the damage, as Eden Hazard missed two glorious chances and Chelsea couldn’t cope with wave after wave of Liverpool attack.

[ MORE: Klopp reacts to victory

Here’s what we learned from an intense, dramatic encounter at Anfield, as Liverpool went back to the top of the table and put the pressure back on Manchester City.


SALAH STANDS TALL FOR LIVERPOOL, AGAIN

A few weeks ago Mohamed Salah was having a slump and was suffering during a long goal drought. But he has now well and truly regained his mojo. Salah scored a sensational goal to make it 2-0 against Chelsea, the type of goal that seems likely to be played time and time again over history. He scored a massive goal at Southampton last Friday in a 3-1 win, and his header forced Tottenham to score an own goal right at the end of Liverpool’s 2-1 win the week before. Salah is back to making key contributions for Liverpool and he couldn’t have timed his return to form any better with the Reds so close to winning their first title in 29 years.


HAZARD FLUFFS HIS LINES

Eden Hazard played very well in a false nine position against Liverpool, but he will be the first to admit he should have scored twice. When Chelsea went 2-0 down he had two glorious chances. When clean through on the first occasions he hit the post, and on the second occasion he scuffed his shot straight at Alisson. Hazard knew he should have done better and he really let Liverpool off the hook at a pivotal stage of not only the game, but the season. Chelsea look a much better team when Hazard has players close to him when he is playing in a false nine and Willian did that well on Sunday. There wasn’t much between these teams but Liverpool took their chances and Hazard missed Chelsea’s.


TITLE RACE ONE OF THE BEST EVER

When one team wins, the other answers, emphatically. This title race shows no signs of slowing down as both Liverpool and Manchester City are doing everything they can to get over the line and be crowned Premier League champions. This title race has the potential to be the best in history, and it feels like it will go down to the final day, just like it did in 2012 when Sergio Aguero delivered the title for City just when it looked like Manchester United would prevail.

Star players are stepping up for both Man City and Liverpool, with Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling in stunning form at Crystal Palace, and both Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson delivering for Liverpool. With the quality of play on show and both teams in the last eight of the Champions League, you can easily argue this is the best title race we have ever seen in the PL. If Liverpool win their last four games they will finish the season on 97 points. If Man City win their remaining five games, they finish on 98 points. City broke the record for most points in a top-flight season last season with 100, and that goes to show you how incredible this title race is.

Below is a look at the games that remain for both, as City clearly have a tougher schedule with both Man United and Spurs still to play. The crucial game in this run-in looks like being the Manchester derby on Apr. 24. Let the battle continue, as both teams continue to cope brilliantly with the pressure and both Klopp and Guardiola are saying the same things: all we have to do is win all of our games.

Liverpool: Cardiff (A), Huddersfield (H), Newcastle (A), Wolves (H)
Man City: Tottenham (H), Man United (A), Burnley (A), Leicester (H), Brighton (A)

Three things we learned from Spurs defeat of Man City

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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It was always going to be a challenge for Pep Guardiola to outfox and Manchester City to outplay Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur three times in just under two weeks.

After Tuesday’s first event, the opening leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal between the Premier League sides, Man City can only be thankful for one thing: That the stinker came first.

[ MORE: Match recap | Kane hurt ]

That’s one of the three things we pulled from Tuesday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Guardiola asleep at the wheel

Starting Riyad Mahrez over Leroy Sane and leaving Kevin De Bruyne on the bench for Ilkay Gundogan was probably designed to make Man City a bit safer, but instead left the side stale.

Even if you approve of the moves, Guardiola stubbornly refused to announce the failure of either — especially stunning given the poor night for Mahrez — by neither introducing KDB nor Sane until putting them both into the fray in the 89th minute.

On a lesser but deadly note, Guardiola had few options at left back due to injuries but Fabian Delph was carved up by Christian Eriksen and Heung-Min Son on the goal.

Now City may need to blank Spurs in the second leg to advance, and if they concede early in the second leg they will need to score at least three goals to advance. Pep is playing a precarious game.

Sissoko terrific on patrol

City had little going for it all night, and Guardiola’s lineup choices betrayed him almost as much as his hesitancy to substitute early in the 1-0 loss to Spurs.

Moussa Sissoko was again a monster for Tottenham Hotspur. The question for the former Newcastle United man may have always been about his desire to perform on a consistent basis, but he’s long been a man for the bright lights.

And Pochettino has gotten the best out of the French midfielder in recent weeks, the big man a force against a Man City midfield expected to thrive in possession.

Narrator voice: It didn’t.

Lloris keeps his head

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had a long time to mull on the idea of stopping a penalty, with Video Assistant Referee taking its sweet time to decide whether Danny Rose handled a ball inside the 18.

So did Sergio Aguero, and the Man City man didn’t get the most of his attempt from the spot but better marks go to the French goalkeeper.

Questioned at times this year, Lloris went in the right direction to stymy one of the Premier League’s greatest all-time scorers and he feels the incident gave his side a big boost even if he didn’t personally see the offense.

“I didn’t see it,” Lloris said. “It is part of the game. We have to accept that. We stayed in the game and it gave us even more energy.”

Bonus notes

Fernandinho is fortunate he didn’t throw the whole leg in the garbage with his three-times silly challenge on Harry Kane early which involved two elbows and a push to the back of the head.

— That pass from Eriksen that led to Son’s goal. Wow.

— The wait for the new stadium was worth it; Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was noticeably loud and exploded after the goal.

Three things learned: Saints v. Liverpool (video)

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SOUTHAMPTON — It wasn’t pretty, but it was gritty as Liverpool surged to a late 3-1 win at Southampton to go back to the top of the Premier League.

[ MORE: “World class” Liverpool led by Salah

Saints took a shock lead through Shane Long, but an equalizer from Naby Keita was followed by late goals from Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson to send Liverpool two points clear of Manchester City with the latter having a game in hand. The title race will go down to the wire.

Here’s what we learned from a gripping clash at St Mary’s, as the win was far from routine for Liverpool.


SALAH KEEPS TITLE BID ON TRACK

For most of the evening, Mohamed Salah’s performance summed up Liverpool’s display. He huffed and puffed, but there just wasn’t an end product. Until he won the game. 10 minutes from time Salah burst free after Saints had a corner, ran almost 50 yards with the ball and clipped home a delightful finish for his first goal in nine games for Liverpool. He loves playing against Southampton, and has now scored in all four of his PL appearances against Saints with five goals in total.

His stunning goal showcased the Salah of last season, as he tore off his shirt in delight and Liverpool’s title bid was back on track after a tense 80 minutes where Southampton threatened to hold them to a draw. Salah has now scored 50 goals in 69 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, and that is the fewest number of games of any player in club history to reach half a century. Salah is back delivering moments of top quality, and his latest sent Liverpool back to the top of the league.


KEITA CAN DELIVER MIDFIELD DYNAMISM

With stalwarts James Milner and Jordan Henderson left on the bench, there was plenty of pressure on the shoulders of Fabinho and especially Naby Keita. In his 28th appearance for Liverpool, Keita popped up with a massive goal towards the end of the first half which swung the game in their favor. He didn’t play particularly well, but he made a difference, and with Klopp criticized for his ultra-defensive lineups in central midfield in recent months, this was a chance for Keita to show he has a role in this team.

The Guinean midfielder didn’t see a lot of the ball early on, with Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum caught in possession and Keita looking a little lost tucked in on the left side of midfield. But what you could see was that his runs into the box were timed well, and that is exactly what happened on the goal. He arrived to head home Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s marvellous cross and that kind of dynamism and end product is why Liverpool paid $70 million for him last season. In the second half he ran into the box and was clipped by Maya Yoshida and was lucky not to win his team a penalty kick. We haven’t seen those kind of moments anywhere enough from Keita in his debut campaign in England, and although he struggled overall, there is hope he can offer Liverpool a different midfield dynamic late in the season.


SAINTS TO MARCH ON

Shane Long gave Southampton a shock lead, but in truth, it was what they deserved. They rattled Liverpool’s cages often, and particularly early on, with Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s famed high-pressing in full flow on several occasions as Saints won the ball back high up the pitch. Long should have converted a second early on, and even though Saints failed to grab anything from the game they proved they have made significant progress in Hasenhuttl’s 17 games in charge. Had Danny Ings been able to play (his loan from Liverpool meant he was ineligible) it could have been a different story. They ran out of steam and kept giving the ball back to Liverpool, but with a more fluid attack, they could have caused even greater problems.

There is a plan to their play, an identity and Southampton’s young squad can challenge the big boys again. For so long Saints have upset the odds with four-straight top eight finishes before a bad season last season where they just avoided relegation. Saints are back on track and the turnaround Hasenhuttl has made with only the struggling players he inherited and no money spent deserves huge praise. Against the teams outside of the top six they will fare well, but Liverpool were just too good late on. There is no shame in that for Saints, who went toe-to-toe with an exceptional Liverpool team until Salah’s moment of magic.

Three things we learned: Liverpool v. Tottenham

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LIVERPOOL — Liverpool went back to the top of the Premier League table with a crucial 2-1 win against Tottenham at Anfield on Sunday.

[ MORE: Fate playing its part?

Mohamed Salah‘s late header deflected off Toby Alderweireld and in to send Anfield wild, as Liverpool kept their title hopes alive and dealt a big blow to Spurs’ top four chances.

The atmosphere at Anfield was electric, as Liverpool’s fans went crazy after their late winner and at the final whistle.

Here’s what we learned from an epic, tense encounter.


STUTTERING LIVERPOOL SECURE HUGE VICTORY

“Oh well, there’s always next year!” Those were the words of the stewards to a few Liverpool fans seconds before Salah scored the winner in the final minute of the game.

Even though they somehow won this game, a familiar pattern is emerging for Klopp’s side, as they started off well but handed the initiative to Tottenham in the second half. Just like they did in draws against Leicester and West Ham, they took their foot off the accelerator when it looked like they would kick on and grab all three points. They started in electric fashion against Spurs with Firmino’s goal and both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane going close, but then the pressure seemed to get to them as they sat back in the second half. Spurs dominated and eventually broke through and grabbed a deserved equalizer. But Liverpool got the job done thanks to a late goal as they are top of the table. If Man City slip up in midweek Liverpool could go five points clear of City if they win at Southampton on Friday. That scenario is unlikely, but Liverpool have now put the pressure on their title rivals.

Liverpool’s last major speed bump is their home game against Chelsea in a few weeks. They do not have their destiny in their own hands, but they have given themselves a huge chance. With late winners in wild fashion against Everton and now Tottenham thanks to strange mistakes from opposing goalkeepers, there is a sense that fate is starting to play its part in Liverpool’s title push.


SALAH STRUGGLES, BUT DELIVERS

It just had to be him. Mohamed Salah was whistled by his own fans at times throughout this game, as his touch was off, he clipped balls out of play and generally struggled. Then he delivered a huge moment in the title race as his header at the back post somehow trickled over the line and in, via Toby Alderweireld, to hand Liverpool a crucial win. Salah is the main man once again, as he popped up in a pivotal area to lead Liverpool to a massive win.

The Egyptian isn’t at his best. Far from it. But this moment will do wonders for his confidence. The way he wheeled away in delight at Anfield showed just how much this means to him, and Salah is still the hero despite his recent dip in form.


TOTTENHAM DIG DEEP BUT TOP 4 HOPES IN RUINS

Spurs deserved at least a point for their second half display. Tottenham dominated the play and were happy enough to let Liverpool give the ball back to them. When they did, Eriksen and Alli probed and Harry Kane worked tirelessly to try and steal a yard from Virgil Van Dijk. Watching from the stands as he served the final match of his two-game ban, Mauricio Pochetino will be happy with the way his team fought their way back into this game despite the result. In truth, the longer the game went on there seemed to be only one team who were going to win this. That team ended up losing. They didn’t deserve to, but Lloris’ late mistake cost them dear.

Moussa Sissoko missed a glorious chance when one on one with Alisson and Dele Alli curled inches wide. Even a draw would have boosted Spurs’ top four hopes considerably, but this defeat means they are now just one point ahead of fifth-place Arsenal and have played a game more. For now they are still in the hunt with seven games to go and now have the boost of five of their remaining games being at their new stadium at White Hart Lane. Do not write off Tottenham. But losing late at Liverpool was a big blow.