Manchester United academy product Mark Helm was singled out for praise after Burton’s much-needed 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Helm’s fifth goal of the season added to Ciaran Gilligan’s opener to help the Brewers move four points clear of the League One relegation zone.

And Albion manager Martin Paterson was thrilled with attacking midfielder Helm’s display.

“Mark is a really talented player and I’m really pleased with him because he had a really good game,” Paterson said.

“The most important thing is that even though he’s a flair player, he works very hard for the team.

“There were lots of good, positive actions from him in that final third but there’s so much more there.

“He works really well down that left side and shows just how intelligent he is by sneaking into great little pockets where we can find him during transitions.

“He has got really good qualities but my test for him now is to go and get more goals.”

Gilligan put the visitors ahead two minutes before half-time with his first senior goal.

Helm added a second when his low shot beat Jed Ward in the 57th minute.

Rovers skipper Antony Evans hit back on the hour to set up a tense finale, but Burton held on.

Paterson added: “It was a really well-deserved win and I say that with humility.

“It looked like nearly a complete performance but we shouldn’t have conceded a sloppy goal.

“We were structured and well organised but we always carried a threat going forward.

“It’s a good win but there’s no reason to start getting carried away. I’m programming the players’ minds that we’re trying to catch teams ahead of us.

“From that they come in knowing to climb up the table and that’s why I’m really pleased with this win.”

Rovers manager Matt Taylor had a case of deja vu after he experienced a home defeat against lowly opposition for a second time in a week.

“I feel the same as I’ve felt too often this season,” said Taylor, whose side lost 2-0 to Fleetwood last Tuesday.

“I can’t hide away from the fact that every time we come up against this type of challenge that we fall short and that’s a reflection on myself and the group, so it’s a painful one.

“More physicality is needed and we’re short in that department. When we attack and the ball goes out, 10 seconds later we’re defending our box and that happens every single time.

“Regardless of who I change it happens and I’m looking for different formations and solutions to search but I guarantee it won’t change.

“That’s due to the nature and DNA of the squad which is not to go towards the ball.

“We’ve got to find a way of protecting them but I can’t protect against a goal-kick.”

Marco Silva believes Rodrigo Muniz played his “best performance in a Fulham shirt” after he scored a brace during their 3-1 Premier League victory over Bournemouth.

Muniz, who scored his first-ever English top-flight goal in Fulham’s 2-2 draw with Burnley last week, netted his third strike in as many games alongside goals from Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Bournemouth’s Marcos Senesi.

Silva lauded the performance of the 22-year-old forward as Fulham claimed their first league win since New Year’s Eve.

“I’m really pleased for him and he really deserves it,” Silva said.

“When you have the chance, you have to step in and pop up and show your quality and it was the moment for Rodrigo to do it.

“This afternoon was probably his best performance in a Fulham shirt and he deserves it because he’s worked really hard.

“He had a good pre-season followed by a bad injury, but now he’s coming back and he’s fighting for what he wants and he’s showing the desire to play as the Fulham striker.

“The way he linked our game and played behind the pressure of the midfielders was really good.”

January loan signing Armando Broja came off the bench but failed to match Muniz’s performance up front.

Silva insisted that – much like the rest of the squad – the Albania international would have to wait his turn to claim a starting XI spot.

When asked if Broja would have to be patient, Silva added: “Not just him, but everyone.

“He’s a player who is here to help us and I believe he will help us. It’s competition between strikers and I will decide what is best for us in each game.

“We believe Armando will help us in the next few months because he is a player with a profile which I think will help.”

Fulham did not look back after De Cordova-Reid’s strike gave them the lead after five minutes. The potent winger capitalised on Lewis Cook’s slip before he drilled the ball home from six yards out.

Muniz poached Fulham’s second of the match, nine minutes before the break. Willian lofted a cross to De Cordova-Reid at the back post, who turned creator by nodding his effort into the danger zone and Muniz scored from inside the six-yard box with a roofed finish.

Bournemouth needed a response and they got just that five minutes into the second half when Senesi pulled one back for the visitors but – just two minutes later – Fulham responded in fashion when Muniz grabbed his second of the match.

Cherries manager Andoni Iraola believes the early goal hampered his side’s performance.

He said: “We conceded too much in the beginning of the game and we didn’t get nothing from today.

“Especially the first goal. It can’t happen, it’s a slip in a dangerous position.”

Ryan Lowe lauded Emil Riis after the striker scored his first goal in more than 15 months to help Preston win 2-0 at Cardiff in the Sky Bet Championship.

The Danish forward fired beyond Jak Alnwick in the 30th minute to put the Lilywhites ahead against the run of play at Cardiff City Stadium – with Ben Whiteman notching Preston’s second five minutes before the break.

It was Riis’ first goal since returning from a year-long lay-off due to a knee injury, with his last strike coming against Middlesbrough in October 2022.

And boss Lowe said Preston are doing everything in their power to mould Riis into the “perfect” centre-forward.

“We’ve all been waiting for Emil to come back,” said Lowe. “He looked strong physically, I’m pleased with his goal, for him and his team-mates, they’re all pleased for him.

“The build-up to it was fantastic and the way he took it, so I’m really pleased for him. It’s huge to have him back.

“At some point he’s going to have to have a break. We’re just trying to mould him into a perfect striker. But we do need to be careful with him.

“We can’t just slog him all the way through, we’ll manage his days and his loads.

“I’m just pleased for him getting on the scoresheet today after having that long period of time out, as a striker it’s pleasing.”

The Bluebirds controlled the opening 30 minutes but were restricted to efforts from distance, with Kion Etete and Karlan Grant both testing  goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.

But Preston looked far more comfortable after taking the lead, with Cardiff’s new-look squad unable to overly concern Woodman.

Aaron Ramsey returned from a five-month absence owing to a knee injury while Nat Phillips, Famara Diedhiou, Josh Wilson-Esbrand and David Turnbull all made their home debuts for Cardiff.

And Bluebirds boss Erol Bulut, whose side are now winless in their last five home games, called for patience as his new players gel in the team.

“We need patience, all of us,” he said. “We’ve got new players, four or five new players.

“We try to get them adapted to the team quickly. I thought Nat was quite good, Wilson came in, but they have to know their team-mates much better and their movements.

“This will come over the next few games. We have many games in the next few weeks and we have to show it.

“We have to continue to show them what they need to do. I hope the next few games will be much better.”

Defeat in the Welsh capital leaves Cardiff seven points adrift of the Championship’s top six.

Victory – their first on the road in six matches – moved Preston to within two points of the play-off spots.

Gary Caldwell could not hide his delight at marking his first return to Wigan as an opposition manager with all three points after Exeter ran out 2-1 winners in Sky Bet League One.

Latics had recorded two victories at Exeter in the first half of the campaign – following up a 2-0 win in the league with an FA Cup first-round victory by the same score.

As a result, restoring the balance at the DW Stadium was just what the doctor ordered for Caldwell, who was also locking horns against his old Wigan, Celtic and Scotland colleague Shaun Maloney.

Deflected goals from Mo Eisa and Jack Aitchison had Exeter two goals up heading into the final quarter, with Charlie Kelman’s first Wigan goal 19 minutes from time proving to be only a consolation.

“I actually thought that was the best that Wigan played in all three matches,” said Caldwell.

“They gave us so many problems in possession, I thought they were excellent, the way they kept rotating their shape and asking questions.

“First half out of possession we were outstanding, the way we set-up, the understanding of how we could restrict them trying to play through us.

“Second half they put even more men forward and asked even more questions, and put us under a lot of pressure.

“We had to really defend our box to see it through, but football is a really funny game.

“I thought we played much better in the first two games and came away with nothing.

“Although we were excellent out of possession today, in possession I know we can play a lot better, but it was a good one to win.”

When asked whether the result meant slightly more given the circumstances, Caldwell replied: “I don’t think so, other than obviously where both sides are in the league.

“I do feel for Wigan because of the points deduction, they shouldn’t be where they are in the table.

“That’s unfortunate and I think they have dealt with that extremely well this season.

“But in terms of our league position, and the run we’ve been on, I think it was important we didn’t lose today.

“You could see with the attitude of the players and the way they worked out of possession, there was a real spirit and a determination not to get beat – and fortunately we got the win.”

For opposite number Maloney, it was a tough result to take on the back of last weekend’s victory at high-flying Peterborough.

“I imagine I’m feeling very similar to how Exeter would have been feeling on definitely one of the occasions we won down there,” he said.

“It was a really tough result to take because the second half in particular was everything I want to see from my team moving forward.

“We needed more intensity in that second half, I thought we lacked intensity without the ball in that first half.

“We started the game well, Thelo (Aasgaard) had a couple of good chances and Martial (Godo) another with his header.

“But 1-0 down, I didn’t like the feeling in the group and I needed to see more intensity.

“I was really happy with the players who came on, although I must say the players they replaced have all been really good for me as well.

“It just felt like I needed to make a momentum change, which happened in the second half, but unfortunately we lost a second goal on the break.

“In the end, it was just too big a challenge for us to pull it back at the end.”

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou heaped praise on “world-class” Son Heung-min after he helped inspire a dramatic 2-1 victory over Brighton.

Spurs looked set to drop more points after they had been held to a 2-2 draw at Everton last weekend but Brennan Johnson struck in the sixth minute of stoppage time to fire them back into the Premier League top four.

Son created the winner with a wonderful delivery across the face of goal on his first appearance since he returned from the Asian Cup, where his nation South Korea suffered semi-final disappointment.

Postecoglou introduced Son and Johnson with 28 minutes left and the duo eventually helped the hosts earn all three points after Pape Sarr’s 61st-minute goal cancelled out Pascal Gross’ opener for the Seagulls from the penalty spot after 17 minutes.

“Obviously Brighton were doing really well but they were working really hard to stay in the game and you know they’re going to get tired,” Postecoglou explained.

“The fact we could bring on two attacking players who are going to be a threat, it maybe looks simple but that ball that Sonny plays, that’s a world-class player in a clutch moment.

“Even Brennan getting on the far post, we’ve helped him to do that.

“It’s not about confidence, I feel like with the squad we have for today and hopefully moving towards, we do have that ability irrespective of where the game’s at, to finish games strong.”

On Son, Postecoglou continued: “Maybe the nation he plays for works against him but I think he’s a world-class player.

“You look at his record in the Premier League, the toughest league in the world, his goal contributions irrespective of how the team’s gone through the time he’s been here have always been right up there.

“Even this year, before he left, I think he was probably the best attacking player in the competition, just my opinion obviously. Certainly he’d be up there.

“He’s a world-class player. I thought we did well to cover his absence.

“Richy (Richarlison) obviously stepped up in terms of goal threat, and a few other players, but to have a world-class player for the run-in is brilliant for us.”

Brighton were crestfallen at full-time and deserved more in the absence of Roberto De Zerbi, who was back in Italy recovering after he had invasive dental surgery this week.

Andrea Maldera patrolled the touchline in his absence and watched Brighton go ahead via a Gross penalty after Danny Welbeck had been fouled in the area by Micky van de Ven.

It could have been 2-0 before half-time but Guglielmo Vicario saved Kaoru Mitoma’s poked effort and Spurs finished strongly before Sarr equalised when he curled home after Lewis Dunk deflected his cross onto the post.

The points looked set to be shared after Welbeck fired wide with 14 minutes left but Richarlison sent Son away and he squared for Johnson to slam home with seconds of the six minutes of stoppage time remaining.

“Yes, to concede a goal in the 96th minute in transition away, it is very tough, but this is our mentality,” Maldera said.

“We want to score always the second goal. We don’t think to stay in our half.

“Yes, we can do better but the last pass, Son is a big player, but until that moment we played a big match, with big courage.”

Brennan Johnson struck the winner in the sixth minute of stoppage time to fire Tottenham into the top four after a dramatic 2-1 victory over Brighton.

Spurs looked to have lost more ground after they dropped points at Everton last weekend but Ange Postecoglou’s second-half substitutes did the trick.

Pascal Gross’ 17th-minute penalty had given Brighton a half-time lead in the absence of boss Roberto De Zerbi, who was recovering at home after invasive dental surgery this week.

The points looked set to be shared after Pape Sarr levelled for Tottenham in the 61st minute only for Son Heung-min, back again after Asian Cup duty, to tee up fellow substitute Johnson deep into stoppage time to earn a vital victory.

Brighton assistant Andrea Maldera patrolled the touchline in De Zerbi’s absence and should have watched his team take the lead inside 60 seconds.

Danny Welbeck won back possession from Micky van de Ven by the halfway line and dribbled into the area but Guglielmo Vicario clawed away his shot.

Spurs continued to be sloppy in possession and it was no surprise when Brighton took the lead in the 17th minute.

Gross tackled Rodrigo Bentancur and the ball worked its way to Welbeck, who was caught on the ankle by Van de Ven inside the penalty area.

Without the injured Joao Pedro, Gross took on spot-kick duties and sent Vicario the wrong way for his fifth goal of the season.

Postecoglou’s side did mount a response with Richarlison impressively denied by Jason Steele after a fine through ball by James Maddison, who himself curled wide from 18 yards soon after.

In between had been a flair-up between Cristian Romero and Adam Lallana, which referee Sam Barrott was happy to wave on despite protestations by the Brighton midfielder.

The Seagulls almost doubled their lead prior to the half-hour mark when Bentancur again lost possession but Kaoru Mitoma – back from Asian Cup duty – had a poked effort tipped wide by Vicario from a tight angle.

Spurs did finally start to click in attack towards the end of the first 45, with Richarlison flicking wide from a Timo Werner cross and Dejan Kulusevski forcing Steele into a low save.

Richarlison also squandered a promising position ahead of half-time with Maddison free to his left to ensure it remained 1-0 to Brighton at the break.

Tottenham maintained their momentum after the restart with a Maddison free-kick saved before Werner’s mazy run ended with his shot deflected wide.

It started three corners in quick succession for Spurs but after they failed to make the most of them Postecoglou turned to his bench.

Yves Bissouma, Johnson and Son were all ready to come on when the equaliser did arrive with 61 minutes played.

Kulusevski was the architect with a wonderful through ball releasing Sarr and while his cross was deflected onto the post by Lewis Dunk, the Senegal midfielder was on hand to curl home with his left foot to make it 1-1.

Postecoglou made his triple change immediately after but it failed to have the desired impact aside from Son teeing up Johnson for a snapshot straight at Steele.

Brighton were now in the ascendancy and should have gone back ahead with 14 minutes left when Mitoma got in behind Porro but Welbeck arrowed his cutback past the post.

A minute later and Van de Ven had to throw himself in the way of Facundo Buonanotte’s strike before Spurs had penalty appeals for a handball by Dunk turned away.

Hopes of a late goal were raised when six minutes were added on and with seconds left Richarlison played in Son, who crossed for Johnson to slam home a dramatic late winner.

Slumping Oxford missed the chance to climb back into the League One play-off places as they were held to a 1-1 draw at top-six rivals Blackpool.

The Tangerines led through a goal from Matt Pennington in the first half but Mark Harris got the visitors back level three minutes later.

United could not find a second as their winless run extended to five games, leaving them a point behind sixth-placed Stevenage and five clear of their opponents in eighth.

A header from Pennington opened the scoring in the 18th minute after Blackpool captain Ollie Norburn found the centre-back from an Albie Morgan corner.

Oxford were quickly level when Elliot Moore set up Harris to finish from close range following a scramble in the Blackpool box.

The U’s continued their pressure and Harris was denied a second after his goal-bound shot was impressively blocked by defender Marvin Ekpiteta.

Oxford went within inches of an 87th-minute winner but Billy Bodin’s header struck the woodwork as their wait for a victory extended to a month.

Sheffield United cut the gap to safety to seven points as they claimed only their third Premier League win of the season with a 3-1 victory against Luton at Kenilworth Road.

Rob Edwards’ side were the form team in the relegation fight but here they were undone by the Blades, in part due to a lacklustre first half in which Cameron Archer and James McAtee – from the penalty spot – scored to open a two-goal gap.

Luton had taken 11 points from their last six games, with Sheffield United just two in the equivalent period, yet despite dominating possession the hosts were tripped up by a dogged display by the league’s bottom side.

They rallied after the break, halving the deficit with a penalty of their own from Carlton Morris.

Yet in pushing for an equaliser they were left exposed on the break, and on just such an attack Vinicius Souza rattled one past Thomas Kaminski to seal a first win on the road for Chris Wilder’s side and shine a glimmer of hope over their survival bid.

Blades flashed Luton a warning almost from the kick-off, McAtee wrapping his left boot around the ball and sending it an inch wide of Kaminski’s post. It was the only chance of a furtive opening during which the visitors lost defender Rhys Norrington-Davies to injury after three minutes.

Luton looked most dangerous down the left where Morris and Alfie Doughty linked up well, tormenting Jayden Bogle on the right of a Blades back five. But on the whole, the first quarter passed in a stupor, with little of the intensity that brought Edwards’ team a 4-0 win over Brighton here last time out.

The tempo threatened to accelerate just before the half-hour mark when Archer dragged badly wide on his left with only Kaminski to beat, as home fans’ anxieties were piqued.

Fortunately for the visitors he would have another chance moments later and this time there was no mistaking the outcome.

Archer bounced the last defender Gabe Osho off the ball with a firm shoulder and sprinted infield off the left. Bearing down on the goalkeeper, he shaped to go for the far corner but instead cleverly pulled it inside the near post for 1-0.

It would get better within minutes, with Reece Burke penalised by an on-field VAR check for handling Souza’s header. From the spot, McAtee fired his side into their first two-goal lead of the season.

Sheffield United had never lost a Premier League game having led by more than a goal, yet any hope Wilder might have had of frustrating the hosts and closing out the game were shot down five minutes into the second half.

Another handball decision, awarded when referee Chris Kavanagh was again summoned to the pitchside monitor, gave Luton a way back, Souza this time the offender as he leapt to head away a corner. Morris stroked home the penalty, and home fans sniffed a famous comeback.

Morris forced goalkeeper Wes Foderingham into a save scrambling low to keep the ball from creeping into the bottom corner, emphasising the fragility of the Blades’ lead.

But Luton could not maintain their buoyancy and with 18 minutes to go they were two behind again.

Osho looked initially to have snuffed out the danger when he dispossessed Archer running at the heart of the defence.

Yet instead of clearing his lines, he lazily gave the ball away to Ben Osborn, who looked to his right to find Souza overlapping.

With a swing of his right boot, the Brazilian lashed it across Kaminski and in for 3-1.

Paddy Lane cemented Portsmouth’s place at the Sky Bet League One summit with the game’s only goal as the leaders defeated bottom side Carlisle 1-0 at Brunton Park.

Lane scored his 10th goal of the campaign – and third in two games – to break the Cumbrians’ stubborn resistance after 62 minutes.

But the scorer was indebted to substitute Abu Kamara’s surging run and incisive through-ball minutes after coming off the bench.

Portsmouth’s victory completed a league double over Paul Simpson’s side and condemned their hosts to a sixth successive defeat.

That is Carlisle’s worst run in the league for more than two decades and they also set an unwanted club record of 25 league games without a clean sheet.

The now 46-point gulf between the teams was not, however, always evident.

Portsmouth were not at their best, notably in the first half when Carlisle’s Jordan Lane went close several times.

Tom Lowery almost broke the stalemate for Pompey, roared on by 1,848 travelling fans, only to hit a post after 34 minutes, leaving Lane to finally settle the contest.

Aaron Pierre scored late on to cancel out a Max Bird strike and earn Shrewsbury a 1-1 draw at Derby.

Shrewsbury closed Derby down at every opportunity and denied the home side a clear sight at goal until the 25th minute when James Collins just failed to connect with a free-kick.

Derby had another chance in the 34th minute with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing cutting in from the left and unleashing a shot which Marko Marosi pushed away.

The visitors had done a good job of stifling Derby but their resistance was broken in the 54th minute when a corner picked out Bird who fired a low shot under Marosi from 15 yards.

Marosi kept his side in it by turning a Conor Hourihane free-kick behind and that proved crucial when Shrewsbury equalised in the 87th minute.

Mal Benning got behind Derby on the left and pulled the ball back for Pierre to drive a low shot past Joe Wildsmith.

In a frantic finish, Wildsmith denied Carl Winchester before Curtis Nelson struck the Shrewsbury bar.

Qatar retained the Asian Cup title as Akram Afif scored a hat-trick of penalties to seal a 3-1 win over Jordan in Saturday's final.

Afif kept his cool three times from 12 yards at Lusail Stadium, completing his first international hat-trick, and becoming the first player to score one in the final of an Asian Cup.

Yazan Al Naimat had brilliantly dragged maiden finalists Jordan level, cancelling out the first of Afif's spot-kicks, in the 67th minute.

Yet with the help of VAR, referee Ming Na rightly awarded a further two penalties the hosts' way, with Afif's composure ensuring Qatar became the first team since Japan in 2004 to win successive Asian Cup titles.

 

In-form Ivan Toney struck again as Brentford earned a deserved win at Wolves.

A third goal in four games since the striker’s return from his ban for breaching betting regulations clinched a 2-0 victory at Molineux after Christian Norgaard’s first-half header.

The Bees earned just their third win in 12 Premier League games and gained revenge for Wolves’ 4-1 victory in December and dumping them out of the FA Cup last month.

Pedro Neto twice hit the post and Craig Dawson had a goal disallowed for offside but Wolves failed to score at Molineux in the league for the first time in a year.

Brentford climbed to 14th following a first away win since October, with Wolves 10th, after a victory which should have been greater.

The visitors missed several chances, starting after 11 minutes, when Sergio Reguilon seized on Jose Sa’s misplaced pass to leave Neal Maupay with just the goalkeeper to beat but Sa redeemed himself.

It was a poor miss from the striker and, from the corner, Sa denied Maupay again.

Wolves lost Matheus Cunha – hat-trick hero in the win at Chelsea last week – after just 19 minutes following an awkward fall and it nearly got worse for the hosts a minute later when the Bees blew a big chance.

Reguilon’s low cross caused problems and Rayan Ait-Nouri managed to stop Nathan Collins turning in at the far post, only for the ball to run for Mads Roerslev but the unmarked Dane blasted over.

It was a warning for Wolves and Brentford carried the greater threat with Maupay wasteful again after 31 minutes, shooting straight at Sa after working his way into the box.

The visitors continued to find openings but, ultimately, it was from a set-piece from where they found a 35th-minute opener.

From a Wolves perspective it was a mess as, from Reguilon’s corner, Norgaard shrugged off Dawson’s weak challenge to nod in with Sa nowhere.

For Brentford, it was a deserved lead but they needed Mark Flekken to keep it intact when he turned Neto’s header onto the post two minutes before the break.

The forward was denied by the woodwork again four minutes into the second half when his deflected strike hit the post and just a minute later Neto thought he had conjured a leveller.

Brentford were unable to clear his corner and, when it was returned to the Portugal star, his fine delivery was glanced in by Dawson, only for VAR to narrowly rule him offside.

Fuelled by a sense of injustice, Wolves improved but still struggled to create clear openings. Ait-Nouri nodded over and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde shot over but they never troubled Flekken.

The hosts began to wane and while Toney had been well marshalled he tested Sa from distance with 17 minutes left – before doubling the lead three minutes later.

He had ben quiet all afternoon but a fine cushioned finish from Vitaly Janelt’s cross, after Wolves lost possession, sealed the points.

Liverpool responded to Manchester City’s brief return to the top of the Premier League table with a 3-1 win over Burnley which tested their mettle even more than their stretched resources.

Pep Guardiola’s side had overtaken their north-west rivals to reach the summit for the first time since November with victory in the lunchtime kick-off against Everton.

And while the three points re-established their two-point advantage the less-than-convincing nature of victory against the league’s next-bottom side was not quite befitting the occasion of Liverpool’s biggest league crowd of 60,725 after the full opening of the Anfield Road stand.

For a time it appeared the hosts, who due to flu in the camp were without goalkeeper Alisson Becker and Joe Gomez, were still suffering a hangover from the defeat at Arsenal last week.

It took the familiar right boot of Trent Alexander-Arnold, setting a new mark of 58 for Premier League assists by a defender, and the equally reliable head of Diogo Jota to get them out of first gear but even then it was far from a return to normality.

The sloppy concession of an equaliser to Dara O’Shea on the stroke of half-time posed further problems as did the withdrawal of Alexander-Arnold – only recently returned from a knee injury – at half-time.

But it was the England international’s replacement Harvey Elliott who set up goals for Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez to ease the pressure.

However, had on-loan Chelsea forward David Fofana been as clinical as he was scoring twice last weekend then not only would Liverpool still be looking up at City but questions would have started to be asked about their ability to match their long-time rivals blow-for-blow.

They do have Mohamed Salah and Dominic Szoboszlai to return from injury in the next couple of weeks but having negotiated January without the pair it was imperative they regained their momentum after their Emirates setback.

For 25 minutes it looked a struggle with Caoimhin Kelleher required to be out quickly to block Zeki Amdouni’s shot as early as the 10th minute as Klopp’s side struggled to find any rhythm.

Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones both fired rising shots over until, just past the half-hour, the breakthrough came when Clarets goalkeeper James Trafford misjudged the flight of a corner and Jota headed in his fifth goal in six games.

But O’Shea produced a better header from 12 yards from Josh Brownhill’s corner, outjumping Wataru Endo, now back from the Asian Cup, to power the ball past Kelleher.

Jones moved to right-back to fill in for Alexander-Arnold at the start of the second half but within seven minutes Elliott had made his first significant contribution when his low cross took a deflection off Maxime Esteve and allowing a stooping Diaz to nod in at the near post.

But although playing better they still looked far from secure and Kelleher made a huge save in the 64th minute in a one-on-one against Fofana, with Wilson Odobert blazing over the rebound, before the Burnley forward steered a shot wide of the far post with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Visiting sides rarely get the chance to squander such chances and after Jota had a shot tipped around the post, Jarell Quansah volleyed wide and Virgil van Dijk headed at Trafford it was left to Nunez to apply the finishing touch when he flicked a header inside the far post from Elliott’s cross.

The Uruguay international had a chance to make the scoreline more flattering in added time but, typically, shot straight at Trafford.

Pep Guardiola felt his side had come through a tough game after grinding out a 2-0 victory over Everton on Saturday.

Erling Haaland struck twice in the latter stages to secure a hard-fought Premier League success for the champions at the Etihad Stadium.

It was City’s 10th successive triumph in all competitions and Guardiola said the manner of the win would stand them in good stead as they chase a repeat treble.

The City manager said: “I love to win this type of game. The difficulty is there. We knew it, we talked about it.

“Always Everton here at home is really complicated. We’ve lost a lot of points over many years.

“What pleased me the most is something the people cannot see – the body shape, the positivity, the body language.

“In the first half we were complaining. I know a 12.30 (kick-off) is more difficult but our body language was not good. The chemistry between the players, when they lose a ball or something is not going well, has to be better.

“But in the second half it was much better. In general it was well deserved.

“I like to win this type of game – suffering and knowing how difficult everything is – because we learn the lessons for what’s coming.”

With Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne, who have both had lengthy lay-offs this season, now back in tandem and the rest of the squad fully fit, City’s momentum could be ominous for their rivals.

After last season’s achievements, doubts were cast over City’s durability as they stuttered in the autumn but Guardiola never had any concerns.

He said: “With Erling and Kevin we are stronger, that’s obvious, but when a team loses the consistency, we have to be worried with the way they train, behave and run.

“But it (good attitude) was always there. When that happens the team is alive. I was never concerned. Since day one I didn’t have the feeling.

“There are ups and downs, it’s normal, but I still liked what I saw.”

The defeat left Everton in the bottom three and without a league win in almost two months.

Manager Sean Dyche accepted his side had been beaten by a master finisher in Haaland, who broke the deadlock on 71 minutes and then wrapped up victory five minutes from time.

Dyche said: “That’s why he is who he is. He doesn’t have many touches in some games but he scores and that is the key.

“His finish for the first one – I have been speaking to the players recently about this – footballers scoring ‘trendy’ goals – whippers, dippers, clippers.

“He doesn’t think about that. Just score a goal. That’s the trendiest thing you’ll ever do. And he showed that, a good technique. Just smash it and don’t worry about anything else.”

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna felt his side deserved to win a hard-fought 2-2 Championship encounter against top-six rivals West Brom at Portman Road.

Substitute Omari Hutchinson fired home through a crowd of players in the dying moments to rescue a point for the hosts but the result dented their bid to climb back into the automatic promotion spots and it is now just one win in nine league games for them.

The Baggies opened the scoring through Tom Fellows in the first half with Nathan Broadhead replying for Ipswich just after the start of the second, but a wonderful strike by John Swift – from nearly 30 yards out – was cancelled out by Hutchinson in the third minute of stoppage-time.

The Tractor Boys came close to gaining maximum points during a frenetic eight minutes of added time when Albion goalkeeper Alex Palmer blocked a shot from Ali Al-Hamadi from point-blank range.

McKenna said: “I thought it was a really good game, great atmosphere, bar from a couple of inches from the end, we would have been talking about an absolute classic in terms of games we’ve had at this stadium.

“Lots of good things about the performance. I thought we deserved the three points to be honest. Lots of good things about the performance, on the ball, also off the ball, plenty of good things.

“Two moments that we did not defend well enough that leads to frustration that we haven’t won the game and another game that we feel like we’ve done enough to win the game.

“A lot of pride in the way we played, the effort given, the atmosphere the supporters created and stuck with and going behind twice to West Brom to put the pressure on that we did to get a point…we can take a lot from that.

“In plenty of games we have had better opportunities, better chances and more of them and not given too much away and that’s always frustrating when we don’t get the wins, but it’s always much more concerning when you’re not giving away chances, that’s not been the case.

“You have spells in the season when we were extremely clinical and made some big interventions at the other end as well so you usually hope and trust your performances are consistent and you are creating more than you are giving away, you’ll pick up plenty of points.

“They (West Brom) are a really fit team who work hard. The energy levels we had at the end, the impact of the substitutes – that’s something that we can take big positives from.”

Visiting head coach Carlos Corberan said his Baggies outfit put “a lot of energy and a lot of effort” in their performance to gain a point but was satisfied with the stalemate.

He said: “We scored a goal after we started to make more passes and we started to make them suffer more.

“If you leave too much and give a goal to them, it’s very difficult to win the game.

“We put a lot of energy and a lot of effort in to try and win the game.”

Corberan admitted the injuries to both Kyle Bartley and substitute Daryl Dike contributed to his side losing the lead and ultimately, dropping two points.

He said: “Everyone is effected when you see an injury. I think the injury of Bartley has effected the rest of the team.

“He was fantastic in the middle of the pitch but I understand that with the skill in the set-pieces, he was the best.

“We were stable in the first half and it was something we tried to fix for the second half but before we started the game (again), they scored a goal in the second phase of one throw-in and again, they scored a goal again in the second phase of another throw-in. It’s off another set-piece.

“But I think the team showed some positives in the second half. We attacked but we did not attack enough.”

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