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Premier League talking points: Klopp believing and Havertz firing

Arsenal's German midfielder Kai Havertz celebrates scoring the team's second goal with Declan Rice
Arsenal's German midfielder Kai Havertz celebrates scoring the team's second goal with Declan RiceAFP
Liverpool and Manchester City slugged out a pulsating draw in a heavyweight clash that left both title chasers frustrated.

Arsenal took advantage of the tie at Anfield to seize pole position, while Tottenham landed a major blow in the battle for a top-four finish.

AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the weekend's action:

Klopp a believer as Liverpool hit back

Liverpool may have surrendered top spot in the Premier League to Arsenal after failing to finish off Manchester City in a pulsating 1-1 draw at Anfield, but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp emerged more convinced than ever that his side are ready to dethrone City as champions in his final season in charge.

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp embraces Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp embraces Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep GuardiolaAFP

Despite falling behind to John Stones' first-half opener and missing several key players due to injury, Liverpool had Pep Guardiola's men pinned back and begging for the final whistle at Anfield after Alexis Mac Allister's penalty equaliser in the second half.

The Reds had 19 shots on goal and were controversially denied a second spot-kick when Jeremy Doku caught Mac Allister in stoppage time.

"I'm so happy about the way we played," said Klopp. "For us after all the different ways we found to get a result, we found out that we can play like this as well.

"The only thing I need at the moment is that we are really in that race. On our performance today, I saw a team that is in the right position - now let's see what we can do."

Maligned Havertz fires Arsenal to top spot

Kai Havertz has spent much of this season enduring the slings and arrows of frustrated Arsenal fans after an inconsistent first season with the club.

However, the German is starting to come good at just the right time for Arsenal, as he proved with a vital late goal to seal Saturday's victory over Brentford at the Emirates Stadium.

With Brentford clinging on for a point, Havertz rose to meet Ben White's cross with a powerful header in the 86th minute.

Thanks to Havertz's fourth goal in his last four league games, Arsenal sit top of the table for the first time in 2024 and the forward was cheered to the rafters by Gunners supporters at the final whistle.

It was a sweet moment for Havertz, who once scored the Champions League final winner for Chelsea.

"As a kid, I think you dream that you're going to have moments like this in your career and Saturday I had something like this," said Havertz, who was fortunate not to be sent off for diving earlier in the game after already earning a booking.

"You are always hoping for that connection with fans. I know maybe it wasn't from the beginning but I always try to work hard and just not drop my confidence. I'm really delighted."

Spurs make statement in top-four race

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou admitted he was well aware that many pundits believed his side's top-four bid would be over if they lost at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Fourth-placed Villa knew a victory would have moved them eight points clear of Tottenham in the scrap to qualify for next season's Champions League.

James Maddison celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park in Birmingham
James Maddison celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park in BirminghamAFP

But Tottenham hauled themselves back into the race with a second-half goal spree as James Maddison and Brennan Johnson struck before Villa's John McGinn was sent off for a reckless challenge on Destiny Udogie.

Son Heung-min and Timo Werner wrapped up the 4-0 rout in stoppage time, leaving fifth-placed Tottenham just two points behind Villa with a game in hand.

Asked if it was a significant momentum swing in Tottenham's favour, Postecoglou replied: "I guess so. But if we had lost today, I don't think that would have discounted us from whatever other people put on as targets for us."

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