Nigel: My red-hot Bowen is not go­ing

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By ARINDAM REJ By Harry Pratt

HULL boss Nigel Ad­kins in­sists Jar­rod Bowen is go­ing nowhere, af­ter the winger’s dou­ble helped the red-hot Tigers to a sixth suc­ces­sive league win.

Bowen has been tracked by Pre­mier League clubs and he showed why again, with a long-range strike and coolly taken penalty aa­gainst Sh­effield Wed­nes­day.

Fraizer Camp­bell added to the out­classed Owls’ pain by smash­ing in a third.

The Tigers were in the rel­e­ga­tion zone at the start of De­cem­ber but have rock­eted up to 10th place in the Cham­pi­onship.

Bowen has nine goals in eight games and has been a key fig­ure in Hull’s climb.

Ad­kins said: “It’s per­fectly clear – in this win­dow, no play­ers are go­ing. We want Jar­rod and all of the play­ers to go to the high­est level. We want them to de­velop and im­prove.

“We dom­i­nated this game from start to fin­ish and should have scored more. It was en­ter­tain­ing to watch.”

The Tigers – just four points adrift of the play-off places af­ter their best run in 14 years – have not con­ceded a goal in three league games.

Bowen’s first goal came just be­fore half-time when he cut in­side and un­leashed a curl­ing ef­fort from 20 yards.

He struck again in the 52nd minute, send­ing Keiren West­wood the wrong way from the penalty spot af­ter the busy Wed­nes­day keeper brought down Chris Martin.

Sub­sti­tute Camp­bell had only been on the pitch a few min­utes when he added Hull’s third with an an­gled ef­fort to pun­ish some poor de­fend­ing.

The striker had been left on the bench to be kept fresh and cel­e­brated his goal by do­ing some press-ups – and there was no doubt he looked ra­zor-sharp.

The vis­i­tors were left lick­ing their wounds af­ter their four-game un­beaten league run was ended and in­com­ing man­ager Steve Bruce has some se­ri­ous re­pair work to do when he takes charge next month.

Care­taker boss Steve Agnew – for­merly Bruce’s as­sis­tant at Hull – said: “It was tough to say the least. We were never in the game.”

THE mini rot is over for Liver­pool as their ti­tle ship avoided hit­ting the rocks at Brighton.

It took Mo Salah’s sec­ond-half penalty, which he won him­self, to re­boot the league lead­ers’ bid to be crowned cham­pi­ons – and kill the stub­born re­sis­tance of Chris Hughton’s Seag­ulls.

The Egyp­tian’s 17th goal of the cam­paign main­tained Jur­gen Klopp’s record of never hav­ing lost two league games in a row since tak­ing the Liver­pool reins.

And most im­por­tantly it con­firmed that this group of high-fly­ing Reds are in no mood to crum­ble at the first sign of trou­ble.

If los­ing their air of in­vin­ci­bil­ity at Manch­ester City 10 days ago had se­ri­ously wob­bled the Merseysiders, this vi­tal win proves they will scrap and fight to the death to rule English foot­ball for the first time in 30 years.

Their lead over Pep Guardi­ola’s City, who face Wolves to­mor­row, is back up to seven points.

Mean­while, the gap be­tween them­selves and third-placed Spurs, who are at home to Manch­ester United to­day, is in dou­ble fig­ures.

No won­der Klopp hugged and con­grat­u­lated each and ev­ery one of his stars fol­low­ing this scrappy south coast af­fair.

Grind­ing out re­sults when below your best is a sign of au­then­tic ti­tle con­tenders – and the Reds were any­thing but vin­tage here.

Klopp was still thrilled, though. The Ger­man coach said: “This per­for­mance was so ma­ture and good. That’s what pleased me the most.

“Only a few in this league can win on bad days. This was not bad – but only a few can win on a dif­fi­cult day, also.

“This win is im­por­tant. When you fall off a horse, the best way to ride again is get back on it. So, it’s cool. But we didn’t make a big fuss of los­ing to City or in the Cup at Wolves. We never spoke about it.”

Liver­pool fans did, though. In fact, many seemed to be in blind panic that, with­out three points here, their Holy

Grail would again elude them.

Brighton kicked off pro­tect­ing a four-game un­beaten run but their record against the elite was cause for op­ti­mism for the vis­i­tors.

De­spite the Amex Sta­dium be­ing a fortress since the Seag­ulls re­turned to the top tier, five of their six home de­feats in 18 months had come at the hands of the Big Six.

Liver­pool, bid­ding for a fourth league win over them in as many games, be­gan as if they would main­tain that streak.

Yet, af­ter Roberto Firmino failed to fin­ish a trade­mark cross by the ex­cel­lent Andy Robert­son, the clos­est they came to break­ing the dead­lock be­fore half-time was through re­called Xher­dan Shaqiri.

And not from the Swiss star’s deadly left boot but via his head – as he glanced Trent Alexan­der-Arnold’s 26th-minute pin­point cen­tre an inch wide.

The longer the first half dragged on, the more pedes­trian the vis­i­tors be­came in pos­ses­sion.

Salah’s quiet dis­play high­lighted just how dogged Brighton were in de­fence as they barely gave any­one in Red a sniff.

But that changed four min­utes af­ter the break as Salah sud­denly burst into life and into the box. Even so, there was no need for Pas­cal Gross to kick the Liver­pool ace in the calf.

The Ger­man sent him tum­bling, leav­ing ref­eree Kevin Friend point­ing to the spot.

Salah dusted him­self down and thrashed in the penalty. Gross nearly made amends 10 min­utes later when, left un­marked 15 yards out, his ef­fort was goal-bound un­til Fabinho blocked it. Al­bion never looked like scor­ing af­ter that and Liver­pool went close to a sec­ond goal as Shaqiri and then Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum whis­tled ef­forts wide. Brighton boss Hughton said: “I have no com­plaints about the penalty but I did feel that the bal­ance of de­ci­sions to­day favoured Liver­pool. “I’m de­lighted, though, be­cause we ran them so close.”

MO WAY THROUGH: Dale Stephens gets his foot in front of Salah ROB-BED: Full-back Andy Robert­son beats Martin Mon­toya to get a cross in VAN STALLED: Dunk and But­ton com­bine to keep out Van Dijk JUR­GEN CLAP: It’s all smiles from boss Klopp

DOU­BLE: Jar­rod Bowen

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