Sport

Salah fires Liverpool seven points clear, United extend winning run

Sunday, January 20, 2019

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LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Liverpool moved seven points clear at the top of the Premier League as Mohamed Salah's double inspired a dramatic 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace, while Manchester United stretched their winning streak to seven games as they beat Brighton 2-1 yesterday.

With second-placed Manchester City travelling to bottom of the table Huddersfield on Sunday, Liverpool seized the chance to tighten their grip on the title race.

Jurgen Klopp's side were pushed hard by Palace but Salah's predatory instincts and a woeful mistake from Eagles keeper Julian Speroni ensured Liverpool improved their unbeaten home league run to 32 games.

Liverpool's haul of 60 points from 23 games tops the Reds' previous best tally of 59, set at the same stage of the 1893-94 and 1987-88 campaigns.

Palace, the last team to beat Liverpool in a Premier League game at Anfield, in April 2017, took a shock 34th minute lead.

Wilfried Zaha picked out Andros Townsend, who drilled a crisp finish past Alisson Becker.

Salah had been accused of diving by Palace players after a failed attempt to win a first-half penalty.

But he exacted his revenge with an equaliser 60 seconds after the interval, the Egypt forward slotting in his 18th goal of the season after Virgil van Dijk's shot deflected into his path.

Liverpool went ahead in the 53rd minute when Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino, surrounded by defenders, still managed to unload a shot that deflected off Palace's Cheikhou Kouyate.

James Tomkins outjumped Fabinho to head Palace level in the 65th minute, yet Liverpool were gifted the crucial third 10 minutes later thanks to a howler from Speroni — at 39 the Premier League's oldest player and making his first appearance since December 2017

James Milner's cross prompted a nervous flap from Speroni, who tipped the ball high over his own head and Salah was on hand to convert on the line.

Milner was sent off in the 89th minute for a second booking, but Liverpool made in four in stoppage-time through Sadio Mane before Max Meyer capped a frantic finale with Palace's third.

At Old Trafford, Manchester United extended their superb form since interim Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho.

After a minute's applause to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of United's legendary Manager Matt Busby, Solskjaer's side took the lead in the 27th minute.

Gaetan Bong conceded a penalty with a foul on Paul Pogba and the France midfielder stroked home the spot kick for his 10th goal of the season.

Pogba's 'rocking the baby' celebration was to mark him becoming a father for the first time, with his girlfriend Maria Salaues believed to have given birth this week.

United winger Marcus Rashford marked his 150th game for the club with his side's second goal in the 42nd minute.

Rashford sent a superb finish into the far corner from a tight angle for his fourth goal in his last five games.

Pascal Gross reduced the deficit in the 72nd minute, but United weren't to be denied as they moved within three points of fourth placed Chelsea, who face Arsenal later on Saturday.

Newcastle climbed out of the relegation zone with a 3-0 win over Cardiff at St James' Park that saw their opponents drop into the bottom three.

Fabian Schar put Newcastle ahead with a fine solo effort in the 24th minute.

Schar netted again in the 63rd minute and Ayoze Perez struck in stoppage-time to give Newcastle their first win in six league games.

Southampton boosted their bid to avoid relegation with a 2-1 victory against Everton at St Mary's.

James Ward-Prowse scored in the 50th minute for Saints, who went further ahead through a bizarre Lucas Digne own goal in the 64th minute, the defender blocking the ball into the net from 20 yards out.

Gylfi Sigurdsson got one back for Everton in stoppage-time.

Diogo Jota's hat-trick piled pressure on Leicester manager Claude Puel as the Wolves midfielder's last-gasp strike secured a thrilling 4-3 win.

Bournemouth beat West Ham 2-0 with goals from Callum Wilson and Josh King, while Watford drew 0-0 against Burnley.


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