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Man United and Tottenham living in fear of Wolves: Premier League things we learned

The Premier League swiftly returned to action at the weekend after a bundle of midweek games and did not fail to entertain.

The race for the top four is hotting up after a series of dramatic results left five teams within just five points of each other.

Manchester United, Tottenham and West Ham all dropped points, while Wolves staked their claim with a victory over Antonio Conte’s side.

Meanwhile, leaders Manchester City maintained their cushion at the top thanks to a thrilling Raheem Sterling display but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool remain hot on their heels.

Here, Sportsmail takes you through 10 things we learned from the latest round of fixtures.

Wolves staked their claim in the fight for top four as they leapfrogged Spurs into seventh

Reds hot on City’s heels

Jurgen Klopp may have ruled his side out of the title race but a 1-0 win at Turf Moor sees Liverpool clinging on to Manchester City’s coattails.

City’s thumping 4-0 win over Norwich ensured that the gap at the top stayed at nine points but the Reds have a game in hand and the chance to narrow it to six.

Liverpool have survived what was arguably the toughest spell of their season with the absences of star forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to AFCON.

Missing the duo’s goal supply was a great concern for Liverpool, but strikes from unlikely sources have kept their title hopes alive.

Both Salah and Mane featured against Burnley on Sunday but neither made it onto the scoresheet. Instead, midfielder Fabinho found the net to edge the hosts out.

The Brazilian now has three goals in four Premier League games and, alongside Diogo Jota, has helped keep the Reds afloat and in the race.

Fabinho celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game in Liverpool's victory at Burnley

Fabinho celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game in Liverpool’s victory at Burnley

Sterling hat-trick hints at transfer stance

Raheem Sterling appears a different player to the one who struggled at the start of the season.

The England international’s hat-trick against Norwich on Saturday capped what has been a sensational turnaround for the forward this term.

Between August and October, Sterling’s lackluster performances saw him lose his starting place but since November he has become undroppable.

He now has 12 goals across all competitions this campaign and a total of 82 under Pep Guardiola – tied with Sergio Aguero and second only to Lionel Messi.

Raheem Sterling netted a hat-trick as Manchester City beat Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road

Raheem Sterling netted a hat-trick as Manchester City beat Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road

Sterling was linked with a move to Barcelona but his recent displays have ensured that City will be doing everything they can to keep him.

In fact, if the 27-year-old does stay at the Etihad, it could force City to re-evaluate their pursuit of Erling Haaland.

The league leaders have been linked with the Norwegian but with a tally of 61 goals in a striker-less system, they may not feel the need to splash out the cash this summer.

Resurgent Newcastle smell survival

Only a month ago, Newcastle seemed desperately entrenched in the relegation zone but the Toon have been offered a glimmer of hope.

Eddie Howe’s side have snatched all three points from their last three games and after a 1-0 win over 12th place Aston Villa, they have pulled four points clear of the drop zone.

The Magpies’ January signings have offered them a lifeline with Kieran Trippier finding the net twice in as many games, while Dan Burn has impressed at the back.

However, Newcastle were quickly brought down to earth with the news of in-form Trippier’s injury.

The resurgent side were handed a blow after it was confirmed the full-back has broken his foot and faces a significant spell on the sidelines.

Newcastle have moved four points clear of the relegation zone with a win over Aston Villa

Newcastle have moved four points clear of the relegation zone with a win over Aston Villa

The Magpies were handed an injury blow after it was revealed Kieran Trippier broke his foot

The Magpies were handed an injury blow after it was revealed Kieran Trippier broke his foot

Man united crumbling with fatigue

New week, same story for Manchester United.

The Red Devils started out well with Jadon Sancho’s first-half strike putting them ahead against Southampton, but similarly to their defeat to Middlesbrough and draw with Burnley, United quickly deteriorated, eventually conceding a Che Adams equaliser.

Ralf Rangnick’s side do not appear to have the fitness levels needed to maintain his trademark counterpressing style.

United’s players look lackluster and fatigued from the 60-minute mark onwards and their inability to put the game to bed early on is costing them.

Man United's players look lackluster and fatigued from the 60-minute mark onwards

Man United’s players look lackluster and fatigued from the 60-minute mark onwards

Tottenham’s lack of confidence sends them spiralling

Tottenham have suffered three league defeats on the bounce and look like a side very much lacking in confidence.

After losing to London rivals Chelsea they have fallen into a rut and looked unsure against a firing Wolves side on Sunday.

It is the first time Antonio Conte has suffered three straight league defeats since he was manager of Atalanta in 2009, and the Italian seems to be struggling at Spurs.

They are stuck in eighth place, barely managing to stay in the race for the top four, and in an attempt to turn things around Conte made the strange decision to drop Emerson Royal and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – which did not pay off.

Antonio Conte (pictured) seems to be struggling to manage Tottenham, who are stuck in a rut

Antonio Conte (pictured) seems to be struggling to manage Tottenham, who are stuck in a rut

Van de Beek finally worth his price tag

Donny van de Beek has looked more like a player worth £40m in two games in an Everton shirt than he ever did at Old Trafford.

A switch to Goodison appears to have ended his Manchester United misery – at least temporarily – and revitalized the 24-year-old.

The Dutchman continuously struggled to break into the United starting XI but was handed his first start for Everton by Frank Lampard against Leeds.

As the Toffees bounced back from defeat against Newcastle, the midfielder was tidy in possession, carried the ball forward in transition and often swept up second balls.

Van de Beek rounded off his eye-catching performance with the most passes, aerial duels and tackles of the game.

Donny van de Beek (pictured) look revitalized in his first start for Everton since his loan move

Donny van de Beek (pictured) look revitalized in his first start for Everton since his loan move

Unstoppable Bowen to make the difference

Jarrod Bowen looks almost unstoppable at the moment.

The forward latched on to a long ball to hammer home the opener against Leicester before whipping in the corner for West Ham’s late equaliser, demonstrating heaps of confidence.

Bowen also became the fourth West Ham player to both score and assist eight Premier League goals in a single season, after John Hartson, Paolo Di Canio and Dimitri Payet.

He could be key for the Hammers in the race for Champions League qualification.

Jarrod Bowen (right) is in fantastic form, bagging his fifth goal in five games for the Hammers

Jarrod Bowen (right) is in fantastic form, bagging his fifth goal in five games for the Hammers

Wolves spook United and Spurs

West Ham could only snatch a point at Leicester with a last-gasp equaliser, United crumbled once again as they slipped to a 1-1 draw against Southampton, and Tottenham continued their downwards spiral.

United’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick admitted that he has given up on chasing the top three as he admitted the highest finish his side can hope for now is fourth.

Man United crumbled once again as they slipped to a 1-1 stalemate against Southampton

Man United crumbled once again as they slipped to a 1-1 stalemate against Southampton

‘We need to want to finish fourth in the league,’ he said. This is the highest achievement we can get. That’s our ambition and what we are aiming at.’

And Man United will have been further spooked as Wolves joined the battle for that coveted fourth spot.

The Midlands outfit staked their claim in the fight as they leapfrogged Spurs into seventh with a convincing 2-0 victory away from home.

Jurgen Klopp’s embarrassment of riches

After the injury catastrophe that saw Liverpool’s title defense implode last season, the last thing Reds fans thought they would be talking about would be the side’s squad depth.

But Sunday that Jurgen Klopp now has proved as embarrassment of riches at his disposal.

As Liverpool traveled to Turf Moor, Diogo Jota, who had bagged a brace midweek, new signing Luis Diaz and wonderkid Harvey Elliott found themselves dropped to the bench.

Meanwhile, Curtis Jones, who had stared the previous three games, failed to even make it into the matchday squad, while Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Joe Gomez also could not squeeze into a spot on the bench.

Diogo Jota only started on the bench for Liverpool, despite scoring two against Leicester

Diogo Jota only started on the bench for Liverpool, despite scoring two against Leicester

Saints find their stride against the big sides

Southampton have faced three of the big six in their last three league games and have come away unscathed.

Saints have found themselves on a three-game unbeaten streak in the top-flight, securing a point against league leaders Manchester City and more recently Manchester United, as well as beating Tottenham in a five-goal thriller in between.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s high-flying side even had the energy levels to start the same team that snatched all three points against Spurs in the draw with United, just 72 hours later.

The manager has transformed Southampton into a side that are not only physical but also tactically smart on the ball.

They are attack-minded and take risks, and if they had been more clinical at Old Trafford, they could have scored three or four and come away with all the points.

Che Adams (centre) pulled Southampton level against Manchester United to earn a point

Che Adams (centre) pulled Southampton level against Manchester United to earn a point

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