Salah joins elite 40-goal Reds club

The Sunday Independent - - Sport -

LIVER­POOL: Mo­hamed Salah scored his 30th Premier League goal of the sea­son as Liver­pool eased past Bournemouth 3-0 to close in on a top­four fin­ish yes­ter­day.

Third-placed Liver­pool needed only seven min­utes to take the lead when Sa­dio Mane beat As­mir Be­govic from a re­bound af­ter his ini­tial header had been saved by the vis­it­ing keeper.

Bournemouth stayed in the game de­spite Liver­pool’s dom­i­nance, but Salah made the points safe in the 69th minute when, with his back to goal, he glanced in Trent Alexan­der-Arnold’s long pass with an as­tute header.

In do­ing so, Salah be­came only the third Liver­pool player to score 40 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions in a sin­gle sea­son, join­ing Ian Rush, who man­aged it twice, and Roger Hunt.

There was still time for Roberto Firmino to add to Liver­pool’s tally with a late third goal, cut­ting in from the left and fir­ing a low right-footer past Be­govic.

Ear­lier, Chelsea scored three time in nine fre­netic sec­ond-half min­utes to win 3-2 at Southamp­ton, who are now five points from safety af­ter rel­e­ga­tion ri­vals Crys­tal Palace beat Brighton & Hove Al­bion by the same score at Sel­hurst Park.

With Hud­der­s­field Town win­ning 1-0 against Wat­ford and 17th-placed Swansea City draw­ing 1-1 with Ever­ton, the Saints are in real dan­ger of los­ing their five-year Premier League sta­tus.

If they do, they will rue yes­ter­day’s game at St Mary’s in which they were coast­ing at 2-0 un­til Olivier Giroud came on as a 61st-minute sub­sti­tute.

First Giroud ex­pertly met a cross from Mar­cos Alonso, who was lucky to be on the pitch af­ter stamp­ing on Shane Long in the first half, and then fired in a low shot for his first league goals for Chelsea.

In between, Eden Haz­ard scored from close range as Southamp­ton con­ceded three goals for the fourth suc­ces­sive game.

“As has been the case all year, ap­par­ently we’ve got a soft un­der­belly,” said Saints man­ager Mark Hughes, who is in dan­ger of suf­fer­ing his first-ever man­age­rial rel­e­ga­tion.

“When the mo­men­tum shifts against us we can’t get a plat­form and wait un­til the mo­men­tum swings our way again.”

The ac­tion was just as fu­ri­ous at Sel­hurst Park with all the goals com­ing in the open­ing 34 min­utes.

Wilfried Zaha scored his first-ever league dou­ble as Palace twice took a two-goal lead, but each time Brighton, who had pre­vi­ously scored only seven times away all sea­son, nar­rowed the dif­fer­ence through for­mer Palace favourite Glenn Mur­ray and a sub­lime fin­ish from Jose Izquierdo.

The win left Palace in 16th place, six points clear of Southamp­ton.

Hud­der­s­field’s win came in in­jury time via a Tom Ince shot, a goal that sparked wild cel­e­bra­tions among the play­ers and home fans.

AT A GLANCE Yes­ter­day: Southamp­ton 2, Chelsea 3; Burn­ley 2, Leicester City 1; Crys­tal Palace 3, Brighton & Hove Al­bion 2; Hud­der­s­field Town 1, Wat­ford 0; Swansea City 1, Ever­ton 1; Liver­pool 3, AFC Bournemouth 0; Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur v Manch­ester City (late kick-off) To­day: New­cas­tle United v Arse­nal (2.30pm SA time kick-off); Manch­ester United v West Bromwich Al­bion (5pm)

Tomorrow: West Ham United v Stoke City (9pm)

Tues­day: Brighton & Hove Al­bion v Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur (8.45pm)

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

TWO GOOD: Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud cel­e­brates scor­ing the win­ner against Southamp­ton at St Mary’s Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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