Liverpool overcame an early hiccup to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Villa Park on Tuesday, going level on points with first-place Man City before the leaders play Wednesday.
A controversial opener saw Douglas Luiz put Villa in front after just three minutes, but the lead lasted less than that as Joel Matip bundled the Reds level in the sixth.
It was a cagey affair that looked like Liverpool could drop points for a second-straight match, but Sadio Mane scored in the 65th minute to get the Reds to 86 points.
Villa stays 11th with 43 points, one back of the top half of the table.
Liverpool’s goal differential is three behind Man City. Any hope of a Reds title would require City to either draw twice or lose at least once.
Aston Villa vs Liverpool final score, stats
Aston Villa 1, Liverpool 2
Scorers: Luiz (3′), Matip (6′), Mane (65′)
Shot attempts: Aston Villa 9, Liverpool 17
Shots on goal: Aston Villa 4, Liverpool 6
Possession: Aston Villa 379 Liverpool 61
Three things we learned from Aston Villa vs Liverpool
1. To the wire we go: The Premier League title race will certainly head into Week 38 thanks to the three points claimed by the Reds on Tuesday. Man City plays Wolves on Wednesday and will not be able to clinch the Premier League title even with a win there and a Week 37 win coupled with a Liverpool loss. Man City can, however, go up six points on Liverpool before the Reds meet Southampton for their 37th game, which won’t come until Tuesday, May 17.
2. Not a banner day for Jon Moss and crew: An early offside against Aston Villa went unspotted and a few moves later the ball was in Liverpool’s goal, unable to be reviewed because the initial chance/phase has gone. Then, on a much lesser note, Philippe Coutinho was clobbered by Fabinho on a Villa counterattack and referee Jon Moss was looking in the wrong direction while the assistant referee did not raise his flag to alert Moss and Coutinho was whistled for a foul in retribution.
3. Mane’s quick reaction makes it 2-1: It was 1-1 and honestly a bit sleepy when Luis Diaz stung a cross into the box from the left side, with two Reds on the back end attempting to put the visitors in front. Oddly enough, it was the one who looked in worse position, Sadio Mane, who leaned back and found the strength to turn an off-balance header inside the frame. Fine margins for a fine player, whose 15 goals are tied with Diogo Jota for the fourth-most in the PL this season.
Man of the Match: Joel Matip — Five clearances and two interceptions to go with his early equalizer.