Foot­ball: Liver­pool re­turn to win­ning ways and get back seven-point lead

Klopp says Brighton win not ‘opera’

Sport360 - - Front Page - By Kieran Can­ning @Kier­anCan­ning ✉ ed­i­to­[email protected]

Mo­hamed Salah’s sec­ond-half penalty was enough to give Premier League lead­ers Liver­pool a 1-0 win away to Brighton on Satur­day which saw them go seven points clear at the top of the ta­ble.

Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp ad­mit­ted it had been “no opera” watch­ing his side strug­gle on the south coast in a match that was goal­less un­til Egypt for­ward Salah scored from the spot af­ter be­ing brought down by Pas­cal Gross.

“It was very hard but that is how it is,” Klopp, look­ing to guide the Reds to their first English ti­tle of the Premier League era, told Sky Sports.

“It wasn’t an opera of foot­ball but it was a re­ally nice song.”

Sec­ond-placed reign­ing cham­pi­ons Manch­ester City, fresh from a 9-0 rout of Bur­ton Al­bion in the first leg of a League Cup semi-fi­nal, will look to close the gap at home to Wolves – who knocked Liver­pool out of the FA Cup – on Mon­day.

“It means noth­ing,” said Klopp of Liver­pool go­ing fur­ther clear of City. “We know that the dif­fer­ence to­mor­row and Mon­day night could be dif­fer­ent.”

Satur­day’s early kick-off saw teenage mid­fielder De­clan Rice score his first West Ham goal in a 1-0 win at home to Lon­don ri­vals Arse­nal. Vic­tory, in front of a Lon­don Sta­dium record crowd of over 59,000, ce­mented the Ham­mers’ place in the top half of the ta­ble.

Rice’s 48th-minute strike saw the mid­fielder give him­self an early present ahead of his 20th birth­day on Mon­day. West Ham’s Marko Ar­nau­tovic waved to home fans when sub­sti­tuted in the 71st minute which suggested the Aus­tria for­ward, linked with a move to the Chi­nese Su­per League, may have played his last game for the club.

“We will see what hap­pens in the next days,” said Manuel Pel­le­grini, the Ham­mers man­ager, when asked about Ar­nau­tovic’s fu­ture.

De­feat dented Arse­nal’s bid for Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball ahead of next week’s clash at home to Chelsea.

“This af­ter­noon is a bad re­sult for us,” said Arse­nal man­ager Unai Emery.

At the other end of the ta­ble, 10man Southamp­ton moved a point clear of the bot­tom three with a 2-1 win away to Le­ices­ter.

James Ward-Prowse’s penalty gave the Saints an 11th-minute lead.

But the vis­i­tors found them­selves a man down when Yann Valery was shown a red card for a sec­ond book­able of­fence af­ter tug­ging the shirt of Marc Al­brighton.

Southamp­ton still dou­bled their in first half stop­page-time time when Shane Long pounced on a mis­take by Le­ices­ter goal­keeper Kasper Sch­me­ichel.

The Foxes scored a sec­ond-half goal through Wil­fried Ndidi but it wasn’t enough and de­feat saw Le­ices­ter, man­aged by for­mer Saints boss Claude Puel, booed by their own fans come full-time at the King Power Sta­dium.

Ful­ham re­mained in the rel­e­ga­tion zone af­ter a 2-1 loss to Burn­ley that saw them con­cede two own­goals in three min­utes at Turf Moor against a Clarets side who didn’t man­age a shot on tar­get.

“The dif­fer­ence to­mor­row and Mon­day night could be dif­fer­ent” – Klopp

Step­ping up: Mo­hamed Salah won and then con­verted the penalty to hand Liver­pool three points at Brighton.

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