Dominik Szoboszlai needed just three minutes to open the scoring at Anfield. Peter Byrne/PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
take it as red

Szoboszlai and Salah fire Liverpool to impressive win against Villa

Liverpool keep on Man City’s tail with 10 points from a tricky opening fixture list.

Liverpool 3-0 Aston Villa

LIVERPOOL LOOKED LIKE the dominant Jurgen Klopp side of old as a 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Anfield on Sunday maintained the Reds’ unbeaten start to the new season.

Dominik Szoboszlai, with his first goal for the club, and Mohamed Salah were on target either side of Matty Cash’s own goal.

Victory takes the Reds to within two points of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

But it was the manner of victory and a return of 10 points from a tricky opening four games of the new season that will have Liverpool fans dreaming of a title challenge once more.

Arguably the Reds’ most important business of the transfer window was turning down a huge offer from Saudi side Al-Ittihad for Mohamed Salah this week.

Salah was a constant threat and there is little doubting Liverpool’s firepower up front with Darwin Nunez now finding his feet after a difficult first season.

Nunez was rewarded for his match-winning contribution off the bench with two goals away to Newcastle last weekend with his first start of the season.

The Uruguayan’s pace and power consistently exposed the Villa defence but it was from a set-piece that the home side broke the deadlock after just three minutes.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner came out to the edge of the box where Szoboszlai arrowed a powerful shot into the far corner on his weaker left foot.

Alexander-Arnold controlled the game from his new role at the base of the Liverpool midfield when in possession.

Captain for the day in the absence of the suspended Virgil van Dijk, it was his pass that started the move for the second goal.

Salah squared for Nunez, who should have scored himself, but when his shot came back off the post, the ball ricocheted in off the unfortunate Cash.

Villa had lost just seven Premier League games in 28 under Unai Emery.

But just as in the 5-1 thrashing they suffered at Newcastle on the opening weekend of the season, their high defensive line was easily picked off.

Joel Matip headed a huge chance wide and Nunez hit the crossbar as Liverpool should have added to their lead before half-time.

But Villa will also feel they did not make the most of their chances to bring the game to life.

John McGinn blazed over with just Alisson Becker to beat before the Brazilian goalkeeper produced a miraculous stop to keep out Cash’s header at the start of the second period.

At the other end, Nunez somehow headed wide with the goal gaping after a wonderful cross by Salah picked out his strike partner.

The Egyptian remains indispensable if Liverpool are to hold any hope of reeling in City for a 20th English top-flight title and got the goal his performance deserved on 55 minutes.

Villa failed to deal with another corner and Salah converted Nunez’s flick-on at the back post.

Crystal Palace 3-2 Wolves

crystal-palace-v-wolverhampton-wanderers-premier-league-selhurst-park Odsonne Edouard's brace fired Palace to victory. PA PA

Crystal Palace earned their second victory of the Premier League season with a 3-2 win over Wolves at Selhurst Park.

Two goals from Odsonne Edouard and Eberechi Eze’s sublime finish saw off a stubborn Wolves side who had equalised through substitute Hwang Hee-Chan and saw Matheus Cunha net a late consolation.

The game exploded into life after the restart with all five goals coming in the second half. A superb run and cross from Tyrick Mitchell down the left wing picked out Edouard who snuck between two defenders to steer the ball past Jose Sa and give Palace a 56th-minute lead.

But Wolves hit back in the 65th minute when Hee-Chan made an immediate impact shortly after his introduction from the bench when he made contact with Pedro Neto’s superb free-kick with his shoulder with the ball looping over Sam Johnstone.

But Palace always looked the more likely to score with Eze becoming all the more influential and it was the former QPR man who made it 2-1 in the 77th minute with a superb touch and finish after Jean-Philippe Mateta diverted Joel Ward’s pass into his path.

Six minutes later Edouard wrapped up the win after Mateta’s back-heel fooled the Wolves defence with the former Celtic striker burying the ball past the helpless Sa.

Wolves pulled a goal back in the sixth minute of time added on when Neto’s cross was met in the box by the head of Cunha but Palace held on for the win.

– Reporting © AFP 2023 & Press Association  

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