LONDON — Turning Liverpool into title challengers will be no quick task for Juergen Klopp. As Premier League pacesetters Manchester City and Arsenal both drew on Sunday, Liverpool experienced its first loss under Klopp at the hands of Crystal Palace.
Going into the international break, the 2-1 Anfield setback left Liverpool with five points from a possible 12 in the post-Brendan Rodgers era — and the only victory came against a Chelsea side which has lost the majority of games in its title defence.
Yannick Bolasie and Scott Dann scored either side of Philippe Coutinho’s equalizer to give Palace a third successive league win against Liverpool. As Palace rose to 8th, Liverpool dropped to 10th place, nine points from the summit.
Manchester City stayed top but could not find the net against bottom-place Aston Villa as Remi Garde’s managerial reign in Birmingham opened with a 0-0 draw.
After Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernando squandered chances for City, manager Manuel Pellegrini cannot wait for striker Sergio Aguero to return from a hamstring injury that has kept him out of the last seven games.
Aguero is poised to be fit after the international break — a comeback that could be essential as Wilfried Bony limped off with a hamstring injury in the first half at Villa Park.
"It will be easier for us to have a striker," Pellegrini said.
For a team that has only won once in the league all season — on the opening day — a point was something to celebrate for Villa.
"I am realistic, we were only threatening sometimes but it’s quite a good start," said Garde, who replaced Tim Sherwood. "We have to believe we can be safe. It will be a tough mission even if we have one more point today."
At the top of the standings, Arsenal and Tottenham also had to settle for a point apiece in a 1-1 draw in the north London derby.
Kieran Gibbs was Arsenal’s unlikely rescue act. The defender’s first league goal since March 2012 came in the 77th minute, three minutes after surprisingly replacing forward Joel Campbell with Arsenal trailing. The provider was less of a surprise, with Mesut Ozil’s high ball to Gibbs at the back post his 10th assist in 11 league games.
"Overall (the substitution) worked," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "He gets in good positions and it shows he is an intelligent player."
Arsenal’s defence had been too easily penetrated in the 32nd minute for Tottenham’s opener by a resurgent Harry Kane scoring his sixth goal in four games. Danny Rose’s deep ball down the left flank went straight between Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny and Kane slid the ball past goalkeeper Petr Cech.
"We showed character and maturity," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said after seeing his team complete a third game in six days that yielded two wins and a draw.