Jurgen Klopp’s reign as Liverpool manager began with a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Tottenham, while Chelsea eased the pressure on Jose Mourinho with a 2-0 win against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Klopp’s first taste of the Premier League stole most of the attention as the English top-flight returned to action after the international break, but there were plenty of other intriguing sub-plots.
Under-fire Chelsea boss Mourinho saw the troubled champions secure only their third league victory this season, while Raheem Sterling’s first-half hat-trick kept Manchester City top of the table with a 5-1 rout of Bournemouth.
Wayne Rooney ended his 11-month away-day goal drought as Manchester United eased to a 3-0 victory on an emotional day at Goodison Park following the death of former Everton manager Howard Kendall.
Greeted by Germany flags in the away end bearing legends like ‘Liverpool Uber Alles’, Klopp handed a league debut to 20-year-old striker Divock Origi, who hit the bar in the early stages at White Hart Lane.
But he was also indebted to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for producing three important saves, which meant that although Liverpool have now won only once inside 90 minutes in their last 10 games, their manager was spared defeat on his first outing.
“This is not the worst sign. I hadn’t got the biggest expectations for the game as we only had three days together and Tottenham are a strong and tuned team. It could have been difficult so I’m really satisfied,” Klopp said.
Chelsea had made their worst start to a top-flight season since 1978-79, prompting the club to issue a vote of confidence in Mourinho amid reports of a dressing room mutiny.
But they were on course for a first win in four matches in all competitions after a shambolic mix-up between Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan and Joleon Lescott in the 34th minute allowed Diego Costa to mark his return from a three-game ban with his third goal of the season.
Costa played a signficant role in Chelsea’s second goal as well, this time the Spain striker’s attempted shot took a big deflection off Alan Hutton for an unfortunate own goal by the Villa defender.
“At the moment, some of my players have lost confidence,” Mourinho said.
“But they showed their desire, that they are together and that there were ready to fight for a crucial result.”
– Barren run –
At Eastlands, City took just seven minutes to go in front when Sterling prodded past goalkeeper Adam Federici.
City struck again four minutes later when Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony tapped in after Federici made a hash of claiming a cross.
Bournemouth’s Glenn Murray scored in the 22nd minute, only for England winger Sterling to add City’s third in the 29th minute.
Sterling completed his treble in first half stoppage-time and Bony struck again in the 89th minute.
Emotions were running high at Goodison following the death of Kendall aged 69 and there was a minute’s silence prior to kick-off, while Everton’s players wore black armbands as a mark of respect.
But United, who remain two points behind City, took the lead through Morgan Schneiderlin’s first goal since his pre-season move from Southampton in the 18th minute.
Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera doubled United’s advantage with a 22nd minute header.
United captain Rooney hadn’t scored an away league goal since November last year, but the former Everton forward ended that 17-match barren run with a clinical near-post finish in the 62nd minute.
Sam Allardyce’s first match as Sunderland manager ended in a 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion
Allardyce, appointed after Dick Advocaat resigned, was unable to secure Sunderland’s first league win of the season as goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon fumbled Chris Brunt’s shot and Saido Berahino converted the rebound in the 54th minute.
Manuel Lanzini’s late goal set up West Ham’s 3-1 success at 10-man Crystal Palace.
Carl Jenkinson put West Ham ahead in the 22nd minute, only for Palace to equalise through Yohan Cabaye, who converted a re-taken penalty three minutes later.
Palace striker Dwight Gayle was sent off for a second booking just before half-time and Lanzini struck with two minutes left before Dimitri Payet’s stoppage-time clincher.
Leicester staged another great escape as Claudio Ranieri’s side came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Southampton.
Saints captain Jose Fonte headed home in the 21st minute for his first goal in 18 months and Ronald Koeman’s team went further in front in the 37th minute through Virgil Van Dijk.
But Leicester have made a habit of fighting back to rescue points this season and England striker Jamie Vardy netted in the 66th and 90th minutes to do it again.