Spot-on Salah stead­ies Liver­pool nerves

Nelson Mail - - Sport -

Mo­hamed Salah scored from the penalty spot as Liver­pool stead­ied their title-chas­ing nerves with a 1-0 win at Brighton in the English Premier League yes­ter­day.

Salah struck his 14th league goal of the sea­son to put Liver­pool seven points ahead of sec­ond-placed Manch­ester City, who host Wolves to­mor­row.

Liver­pool went into the game with back-to-back de­feats – to City in the league, and Wolves in the FA Cup.

Juer­gen Klopp’s men laboured through­out, un­able to gen­er­ate any­thing like their trade­mark at­tack­ing zeal against Brighton, but still had enough to claim all three points.

Af­ter a tight first half, Liver­pool needed just four min­utes to break the dead­lock af­ter the restart. Salah out­smarted Pas­cal Gross on the turn in the box, drew a cheap foul from the usu­ally un­flap­pable Ger­man and then con­verted the penalty.

Liver­pool will have been en­cour­aged by mid­fielder Fabinho’s as­sured show­ing as an emer­gency cen­tre back, es­pe­cially with Joel Matip work­ing back to fit­ness.

At the other end of the ta­ble, bot­tom-placed Hud­der­s­field were left count­ing the cost of ref­eree Lee Ma­son’s change of mind in a 0-0 draw at fel­low rel­e­ga­tion strug­glers Cardiff.

What had been a dreary match pro­duced a 76th-minute talk­ing point when Ma­son pointed to the penalty spot af­ter Florent Hadergjonaj tum­bled in the box. Sev­eral Cardiff play­ers rushed to­ward Ma­son’s as­sis­tant in the cor­ner and the ref­eree soon made

his way there for a con­ver­sa­tion.

Ma­son then dra­mat­i­cally re­versed his de­ci­sion and pe­nalised Hadergjonaj for foul­ing Joe Ben­nett rather than the other way round.

Hud­der­s­field are three points be­hind Ful­ham, who fell to a 2-1 loss at Burn­ley, with the hosts not reg­is­ter­ing a shot on tar­get in the match but prof­it­ing from own goals in quick suc­ces­sion.

An­dre Schur­rle’s won­der­ful early strike was can­celled out in the 20th minute when Jeff Hen­drick’s ef­fort went in off Joe Bryan. Three min­utes later De­nis Odoi in­ad­ver­tently beat Ser­gio Rico, head­ing in af­ter Hen­drick crossed.

Burn­ley held on to record a third con­sec­u­tive league vic­tory, fur­ther eas­ing their rel­e­ga­tion fears.

West Ham handed Arse­nal a sec­ond loss in three Premier League matches, dam­ag­ing Unai Emery’s hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the Cham­pi­ons League.

Youth team grad­u­ate De­clan Rice scored his first West Ham goal in the 1-0 vic­tory, the 19-yearold plac­ing the ball into the top of the net af­ter be­ing set up by Samir Nasri on the for­mer Arse­nal mid­fielder’s league de­but for West Ham.

Fifth-placed Arse­nal are six points be­hind Chelsea, who beat New­cas­tle 2-1 at Stam­ford Bridge.

The hosts went ahead in the ninth minute af­ter Pe­dro chipped over Martin Dubravka, how­ever de­spite their over­whelm­ing pos­ses­sion, Chelsea were of­ten frus­trated by the de­fence of New­cas­tle, who then lev­elled from a cor­ner in the 40th minute, as Ciaran Clark headed home.

But Chelsea re­stored their lead in the 57th minute when Wil­lian curled in a fine shot to the top cor­ner.

In other matches, 10-man Southamp­ton climbed out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone with a 2-1 win at Le­ices­ter, while Wat­ford won 2-1 at Crys­tal Palace.

GETTY IMAGES

Mo­hamed Salah scores Liver­pool’s win­ner from the penalty spot against Brighton.

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