LONDON — Liverpool and Arsenal relied on goals from their in-form strikers to secure 1-0 home wins over their biggest rivals on Sunday, handing Manchester United and Tottenham their first lossess of the Premier League season.
England international Daniel Sturridge flicked home a fourth-minute header from close range on his 24th birthday in Liverpool's gritty victory over United at Anfield, putting his team top of the standings on a maximum nine points from three games.
France striker Olivier Giroud also grabbed his third goal in as many games, settling the north London derby at Emirates Stadium against a Tottenham side that has spent a lot of money this summer but still hasn't scored in open play. Shortly after the game, Tottenham completed the drawn-out blockbuster deal to sell star winger Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
Swansea claimed its first points of the campaign in Sunday's other game, beating West Bromwich Albion, 2-0, thanks to goals by Ben Davies and Pablo Hernandez.
The English league may be only three weeks old, but it is still strange to see United not in the division's top four.
After a scoreless draw with Chelsea on Monday and then losing to Liverpool, the reigning champions have four points from a possible nine under new manager David Moyes. Failing to score in two straight games is unusual for United, and it didn't help that Wayne Rooney was unavailable on Sunday after cutting his forehead in an accidental training-ground collision with a teammate.
United's scoring woes prompted one of the club's most famous fans, Usain Bolt, to post a short video on social networking sight Instagram imploring Moyes to sign "a creative midfielder, one that can pass and create opportunities, right now."
It's all positives at Liverpool, though.
For the first time since the 1993-94 season, the team has won its first three league matches — all of them 1-0 and all of them secured by Sturridge. He is proving a more-than able fill-in for Luis Suarez, who remains out of action through suspension for biting an opponent last season.