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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 19 February, 2019
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Salah scores landmark goal as Liverpool survive scare to extend lead at top

Man City have a chance to reduce Jurgen Klopp’s side’s deficit to four points if they win at Huddersfield tomorrow.

Image: Darren Staples

LIVERPOOL MOVED SEVEN points clear at the top of the Premier League as Mohamed Salah’s double inspired a dramatic 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace, while Manchester United stretched their winning streak to seven games as they beat Brighton 2-1 on Saturday.

With second-placed Manchester City travelling to bottom of the table Huddersfield on Sunday, Liverpool seized the chance to tighten their grip on the title race.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were pushed hard by Palace but Salah’s predatory instincts and a woeful mistake from Eagles keeper Julian Speroni ensured Liverpool improved their unbeaten home league run to 32 games.

“He’s world class, simply world class, Klopp said of Salah.

Liverpool’s haul of 60 points from 23 games tops the Reds’ previous best tally of 59, set at the same stage of the 1893-94 and 1987-88 campaigns.

“It’s a massive relief. We knew for different reasons the game would be difficult,” Klopp added.

“We had to stay positive, being one down is not a massive blow. We just needed to win the second half.

“We have 60 points now. It’s crazy, it’s an important number. I’m really proud.”

Palace, the last team to beat Liverpool in a Premier League game at Anfield, in April 2017, took a shock 34th minute lead.

Wilfried Zaha picked out Andros Townsend, who drilled a crisp finish past Alisson Becker.

Salah had been accused of diving by Palace players after a failed attempt to win a first-half penalty.

But he exacted his revenge with an equaliser 60 seconds after the interval, the Egypt forward slotting in his 18th goal of the season after Virgil van Dijk’s shot deflected into his path.

Liverpool went ahead in the 53rd minute when Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino, surrounded by defenders, still managed to unload a shot that deflected in off Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate.

James Tomkins out-jumped Fabinho to head Palace level in the 65th minute, yet Liverpool were gifted the crucial third 10 minutes later thanks to a howler from Speroni — at 39 the Premier League’s oldest player and making his first appearance since December 2017.

James Milner’s cross prompted a nervous flap from Speroni, who tipped the ball high over his own head and Salah was on hand to convert on the line.

Milner was sent off in the 89th minute for a second booking, but Liverpool made in four in stoppage-time through Sadio Mane before Max Meyer capped a frantic finale with Palace’s third.

© – AFP 2019  

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