LONDON: Premier League leaders Everton slumped to their first defeat of the season and lost Lucas Digne to a second-half red card as Danny Ings inspired Southampton to a 2-0 win on Sunday.

Ings is Southampton’s top scorer this season but he turned provider against Everton at St Mary’s Stadium, setting up James Ward-Prowse’s 27th-minute opener with a delicate through-ball and then crossing to the far post for strike partner Che Adams to score a deflected finish in the 35th.

Everton’s worst display of the season was capped by the 71st-minute sending-off of left back Digne, who raked his studs down the back of Kyle Walker-Peters’ leg as he chased after the Southampton right back. Two seasons ago, Digne scored a 25-yard own goal in a loss at Southampton.

Everton, who won their first four league games and drew their fifth against Liverpool last weekend, stayed top of the standings on 13 points. However, only goal difference separates Everton from their Merseyside rivals and reigning champions Liverpool.

On Saturday, Diogo Jota’s second-half header saw Liverpool get back to winning ways in with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sheffield United.

Jurgen Klopp’s champions, without injured defensive talisman Virgil van Dijk, are now unbeaten in 62 Premier League home games at Anfield but had to dig deep after falling behind to an early penalty scored by Sander Berge.

Roberto Firmino hauled them level shortly before half-time and the home side overcame the disappointment of seeing an audacious Mohamed Salah goal ruled out for offside to score the winner through a Jota header.

Earlier, Manchester United and Chelsea played out a soggy stalemate at Old Trafford, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men languishing 15th in the table and without a home win this season.

Crystal Palace moved up into the top five, a point ahead of Chelsea, as they beat bottom club Fulham 2-1 with goals by Jairo Riedewald and Wilfried Zaha.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2020