Spot-on Salah steadies Liverpool nerves
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.
Mohamed Salah scores Liverpool’s winner from the penalty spot against Brighton.