Bat­tling spirit in well-de­served win

Sunday Express - - PREMIER LEAGUE -

Anony­mous be­fore the break, Salah was now a livewire pres­ence, tor­ment­ing the Brighton de­fend­ers. Within two min­utes of the res­tart the Egyp­tian burst clear on the left but his fierce low shot was drilled straight at the keeper. No mat­ter, mo­ments later his trick­ery gave Liver­pool their cru­cial goal. He won and scored the body of Cath­cart and even­tu­ally cross the line. There was more drama when Palace keeper Vi­cente Guaita went off in­jured min­utes be­fore half­time and was re­placed with Wayne Hen­nessey.

Palace had a chance to in­crease their lead in the 55th minute, but Ben Foster flung him­self wide to deny Wilf Zaha. Foster then pro­duced a su­perb div­ing save to deny a 73rd-minute 25-yarder from Milivo­je­vic.

Wat­ford al­ways looked as if they could pick plums and it hap­pened in the 68th minute when Jose Hole­bas penalty for his 14th League goal of the sea­son, level with the other top scor­ers Harry Kane and Pier­reEm­er­ick Aubameyang. Brighton now had to come out of their shells, and cre­ated only one good ef­fort in the 60th minute when Gross saw his goal-bound shot blocked by Fabinho. Liver­pool carved out a se­ries of op­por­tu­ni­ties to set­tle the match but spurned them all. The con­se­quence was a tense fin­ish, tem­pers flar­ing be­tween the play­ers, but Liver­pool have a solid de­fence these days.

Klopp knew how vi­tal the re­sult was and turned to hug Salah at the fi­nal whis­tle be­fore ac­knowl­edg­ing the test which had been set by Brighton boss Chris Hughton.

“It is re­ally dif­fi­cult here,” said Klopp. “Chris Hughton is a smart fox! They close the space per­fectly.

“This was a proper foot­ball game which we won.” swung over a long, rak­ing cor­ner and Cath­cart headed in for the equaliser. Palace sur­vived when Ma­madou Sakho cleared off the line as Wat­ford took charge.

Then Tom Cleverley de­cided it. He came on for Ken Sema, who had pre­vi­ously re­placed Will Hughes, to vol­ley home in the 74th minute after Hole­bas’s long throw-in pinged around the Palace box.

Palace man­ager Roy Hodgson said: “If you want to win games you have to take your chances; we didn’t. This is tough to take, tougher when you’ve been in front and for long pe­ri­ods been the best side.”

COOL FIN­ISH: Salah scores and, be­low, gets a hug from Klopp

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