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Liverpool re­takes lead in stand­ings

The Province - - SPORTS - — Post­media wire ser­vices

LON­DON — With fans grow­ing in­creas­ingly ner­vous, Liverpool man­ager Juer­gen

Klopp knew his play­ers needed to make a state­ment about their ti­tle cre­den­tials against Bournemouth on Satur­day.

They de­liv­ered just the right mes­sage with a ram­pant dis­play in a 3-0 win at An­field that not only put the team back atop the English Pre­mier League stand­ings but also showed that fears over an­other late-sea­son col­lapse may be un­war­ranted.

“We wanted to show a re­ac­tion. It’s our job not only to come through but to re­ally per­form and con­vince,” said Klopp, whose team is look­ing for a first league ti­tle since

1990 but had let a seven-point lead to Manchester City slip away in re­cent weeks.

“Sup­port­ers get a lit­tle bit ner­vous for all sorts of rea­sons. That’s not a Liverpool thing — it’s a foot­ball thing.”

Satur­day’s win was con­vinc­ing in­deed. After be­ing held to two straight 1-1 draws, Liverpool redis­cov­ered its at­tack­ing verve as goals from Sa­dio Mane and Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum es­sen­tially de­cided the game after just 34 min­utes, and Mo­hamed Salah added the third in the 48th. If not for a num­ber of missed chances in the sec­ond half, the score­line eas­ily could have been dou­bled.

The win means City, which took the lead on goal dif­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, must beat Chelsea on Sun­day in or­der to pre­vent Liverpool from es­tab­lish­ing an­other gap with a game in hand. Liverpool has 65 points from 26 games with City on 62.

Chelsea is also un­der heavy pres­sure go­ing into Sun­day’s game after top-four ri­vals Manchester United and Arse­nal won on Satur­day.

United climbed above Chelsea into fourth with a

3-0 win at Ful­ham, while Arse­nal was level on points with Mau­r­izio Sarri’s side after beat­ing last-placed Hud­der­s­field 2-1.

On a day where ev­ery game was pre­ceded by a minute’s si­lence for Emiliano Sala fol­low­ing the con­fir­ma­tion of the Ar­gen­tine striker’s death, Cardiff ended an emo­tional week with a cru­cial vic­tory. The team moved out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone by beat­ing Southamp­ton 2-1 thanks to

Ken­neth Zo­hore’s stop­page­time win­ner.

Sala’s body was re­cov­ered on Wed­nes­day from the crashed plane that was tak­ing him to Cardiff, after he signed for the Welsh club from Nantes in Jan­uary.

“For Emiliano, I feel re­ally proud that the lads have done him jus­tice,” Cardiff man­ager

Neil Warnock said.

In other games, Wat­ford beat Ever­ton 1-0, Burn­ley won at Brighton 3-1, and Crys­tal Palace drew at home against West

Ham 1-1.

Paul Pogba scored twice for United at Craven Cot­tage as the French mid­fielder con­tin­ued his resur­gence un­der Ole Gun­nar

Sol­sk­jaer. Pogba gave United the lead with a blis­ter­ing shot from a tight an­gle in the 14th minute and con­verted a penalty for the third goal in the 65th, tak­ing his tally to eight goals in his last eight league games.

And after sit­ting 11 points from fourth place when Sol­sk­jaer took over from the fired Jose Mour­inho in De­cem­ber, United was firmly back in the hunt for a Cham­pi­ons League spot.

Arse­nal hasn’t given up hope of fin­ish­ing fourth ei­ther. Alex Iwobi and Alexan­dre La­cazette scored in the first half for the Gun­ners, who still haven’t kept a clean sheet away in the league this sea­son after Hud­der­s­field pulled one back in in­jury time through an own goal by Sead Ko­lasinac.

Burn­ley also moved out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone, with Chris

Wood scor­ing twice for the vis­i­tors at Brighton.

At Vicarage Road, Wat­ford sub­sti­tute An­dre Gray piled more pres­sure on Ever­ton man­ager Marco Silva by scor­ing the only goal with a header in the 65th.

— AP PHOTO

Liverpool’s Mo­hamed Salah cel­e­brates after scor­ing his side’s third goal dur­ing a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.

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