Two-goal Salah leads the way

Striker’s dou­ble keeps Liver­pool on course to claim points record

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Ja­son Burt CHIEF FOOT­BALL CORRESPOND­ENT

Maybe Liver­pool al­lowed them­selves a drop-off in per­for­mance af­ter win­ning their first ti­tle in 30 years, but Jur­gen Klopp’s “men­tal­ity mon­sters” are back.

Vic­tory over Brighton means they need three wins from their fi­nal four league games to beat Manch­ester City’s record of 100 points for a cam­paign and the de­ter­mi­na­tion is clearly there to achieve just that.

It was there in Mo­hamed Salah’s re­lent­less de­sire to score a hat­trick, hav­ing al­ready claimed two goals, with a header over the bar in the last act of the game lead­ing to a cry of frus­trated an­guish from the striker.

And it was there in Vir­gil van Dijk run­ning back and bel­low­ing: “Come on boys you’re get­ting f-----lazy”. That came deep in in­jury time with the game won, as well as the ti­tle.

This was Liver­pool’s 30th league win of the cam­paign and no team in the his­tory of English foot­ball has achieved that in just 34 games, but it fairly re­flects their dom­i­nance. One more win will also be the high­est num­ber of vic­to­ries Liver­pool have ever achieved in a sea­son.

There were more records, more sta­tis­tics wor­thy of note and Salah’s goals mean he has now 100 goal in­volve­ments in the league for Liver­pool – 73 goals, 27 as­sists – in just 104 ap­pear­ances. It is 19 goals for this sea­son and he will try to chase down Jamie Vardy, who has 22, to win the Golden Boot as top-scorer.

The only con­cern for Liver­pool was cap­tain Jor­dan Hen­der­son, their other goal-scorer, limp­ing off in the sec­ond-half and shak­ing his head, while it was a tricky full de­but for the highly promis­ing 19-year-old full-back Neco Wil­liams who was sub­sti­tuted at half-time af­ter be­ing booked.

In fair­ness to Wil­liams he was played out of po­si­tion at left-back. He is more usu­ally on the other flank and he came up against Brighton’s ex­traor­di­nar­ily im­pres­sive own 19-year-old right-back, Tariq Lamptey, who looks a steal from Chelsea.

Lamptey, like the rest of the Brighton team, was brave through­out and tried to take the game to the cham­pi­ons. De­spite quickly fall­ing two goals be­hind and ef­fec­tively hav­ing lit­tle to play for now they are vir­tu­ally safe from rel­e­ga­tion, they re­mained fully com­mit­ted.

Man­ager Gra­ham Pot­ter will stand ac­cused of ask­ing his play­ers to over­play in the two goals they con­ceded in­side the open­ing min­utes, but they had more to do with in­di­vid­ual er­rors and Liver­pool’s fe­ro­cious press­ing which was led by Naby Keita, who had a fine hour in mid­field be­fore be­ing re­placed.

There had been yet another ‘guard of hon­our’ for Liver­pool as they took to the pitch and then Brighton parted again, with goal­keeper Mat Ryan play­ing the ball to Davy Prop­per on the edge of his own box, only for Keita to steal in be­fore squar­ing the ball to Salah, who side-footed it into the net.

Two min­utes later they struck again with Adam Web­ster at­tempt­ing to hold up Salah, only to turn the ball back to Hen­der­son who took it in his stride with a su­perb first-time shot from 25 yards that swept across Ryan.

Game over? It felt like it al­ready, And to think Liver­pool had gone seven hours and 47 min­utes with­out scor­ing a goal away from home and sud­denly had two in just 127 sec­onds. Brighton were rocked. But they hit back with Lamptey and Le­an­dro Trossard prom­i­nent. Both showed their pace with the lat­ter tear­ing past Joe Gomez and Van Dijk to set up Neal Mau­pay, while he even­tu­ally got his re­ward just be­fore half-time as Brighton scored. The ball was played out wide to Lamptey, who crossed pre­cisely for Trossard to fire home.

From game over, then, to game on. It ebbed and flowed with chances at both ends and des­per­ate blocks and in­ter­ven­tions, although it was Brighton’s Dan Burn who spurned the clear­est op­por­tu­nity. A cross was flicked on to him, but he mis­cued his shot back across goal. What a chance.

There was the rare sight of Alisson flap­ping at a cor­ner be­fore, at the other end, Ryan was left rooted when a Hen­der­son shot took a heavy de­flec­tion to spin nar­rowly wide. But from Andrew Robert­son’s cor­ner Salah darted to­wards the near post and flashed a header past Ryan. It ended any doubt, but nei­ther side re­lented, with more chances be­fore Salah looked set to com­plete his hat-trick – only to head just over.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.