LONDON. — Chelsea ended Liverpool’s perfect start to the English Premier League soccer season as the title contenders drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Liverpool had won all six of their previous league matches this term but, having lost to Chelsea in the League Cup in midweek, they fell behind on Saturday when Eden Hazard gave the hosts a 25th-minute lead at Stamford Bridge.
But Daniel Sturridge’s brilliant long-range strike a minute from full-time preserved Liverpool’s unbeaten league run.
This result left Liverpool in second place, with champions Manchester City, who beat Brighton 2-0 earlier on Saturday, top on goal difference.
City showed the gulf in class between the two sides of Manchester as Brighton, who beat United earlier this season, were comfortably seen off at the Etihad thanks to goals either side of halftime from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero.
United’s worst league start in 29 years means they are also five points adrift of Tottenham and Arsenal in the race for a place in the top four, with the North London clubs 2-0 victors over Huddersfield and Watford respectively.
Defeat at the London Stadium compounded a miserable week for United manager Jose Mourinho, whose side were also dumped out of the League Cup by Derby on penalties and held at home by Wolves last weekend.
Mourinho’s switch to a three-man defence backfired as Felipe Anderson and Victor Lindelof’s own goal gave West Ham 2-0 half-time lead.
“After the result on Tuesday the team obviously needs positive things, positive feelings and to start losing after five minutes is not that positive start that you need,” said Mourinho.
Paul Pogba was also under the spotlight after being stripped of the vice-captaincy by Mourinho in midweek and a frosty training ground exchange between the pair on Wednesday.
However, the French World Cup winner failed to make an impact before he was substituted 20 minutes from time.
Marcus Rashford came off the bench to briefly give United hope by pulling a goal back, but just three minutes later Marko Arnautovic exposed more poor United defending to seal West Ham’s first home league win of the season.
City face a big trip to Hoffenheim in the Champions League in midweek having lost at home to Lyon to open their campaign, but they have suffered no such domestic struggles in defence of their title.
Leroy Sane’s pace again made a big impact as the German’s low cross was tapped home by Sterling at the back post for his fourth goal of the season.
City could have had many more goals, but had to wait until 25 minutes from time when Aguero slotted home after a neat one-two with Sterling.
“Every time we lost the ball, we recovered and attacked with players at the edge of their penalty box. That is a dream for us,” said a delighted Pep Guardiola.
Tottenham moved into fourth as Harry Kane scored twice in nine first-half minutes to easily see off struggling Huddersfield.
“It was a grind out there, the kind of games where it feels good when you win, a battle with tough defenders,” said Kane.