Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Premier League: Super Salah ignites Liverpool season as Man City lose for first time

Super Salah
Super Salah: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah slides the ball past Man City goalkeeper Ederson to score the winner at Anfield in Liverpool, England, October 16 2022. Picture: LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/GETTY IMAGES

LIVERPOOL, October 17: A superb second-half goal from Mohamed Salah earned Liverpool a 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Sunday as the champions lost their unbeaten start to the Premier League season in a heated thriller that saw home coach Juergen Klopp red-carded.
Salah raced away from Joao Cancelo to slot home and earn Liverpool a much-needed victory after they came into the encounter having suffered their worst start to a Premier League season after eight games since 2012-13.
The Egypt international, like many of his team mates, had also struggled to get going, but after scoring the fastest Champions League hat-trick in Liverpool’s 7-1 rout of Rangers in midweek, his telling strike 14 minutes from fulltime continued his side’s mini-revival.
The win moved Liverpool up to eighth in the standings on 13 points, 10 behind second-placed City, who trail leaders Arsenal by four points.
“Our position is not the best and it is just one game so we have to carry on. Hopefully this gives us more confidence,” Salah, who had missed a similar opportunity to his goal earlier in the game, said.
“Today we created chances and when I missed the first I was calm because I knew the second would come. I just tried to stay focused and put it in the net because I missed the first one, and I got lucky.”
Something had to give as Liverpool came into the game unbeaten in their previous 27 home league matches, while City had not tasted defeat in 22 on the road.
However, after an opening period that failed to live up to the game’s blockbuster billing, with Erling Haaland, looking for his 21st goal of a remarkable season, twice going close for City, the second half began at a ferocious pace.
Salah was denied by a superb save from City goalkeeper Ederson moments after the break, before City then thought they had taken the lead through Phil Foden, only for it to be ruled out following a VAR review, Haaland deemed to have fouled Fabinho in the build-up.
City coach Pep Guardiola was furious on the touchline as the referee was asked to have another look and even more so when it was ruled out, turning around to remonstrate with several Liverpool supporters in the stands.
“The referee said play on, play on, play on, there were a thousand, million fouls like this and this one is because we scored a goal,” Guardiola said. “So they disallowed because we scored a goal, otherwise it would not have been disallowed.
“We lost because we make a mistake but this is Anfield.”
The Spaniard’s blood pressure would have gone through the roof if Diogo Jota had headed Salah’s superb cross into the net moments after City’s effort was ruled out, with the Portuguese forward missing the target from close range.
Liverpool kept coming at City after their VAR reprieve, with Salah spinning away superbly after a slip from Cancelo before firing the winner, sparking wild celebrations on the Kop.
Salah has now been directly involved in 14 goals against City in all competitions for Liverpool – nine goals, five assists – his most against any opponent for the Reds.
As City threw everything at Liverpool late on, tensions boiled over with Klopp sent to the stands for his over-zealous protestations against a foul he felt his side should have had. The final pass was lacking for the visitors in the end as Liverpool held on for just their third league win of the season.
Chelsea maintain run as Mount scores twice in win at Villa
Graham Potter’s impressive start as Chelsea manager continued as Mason Mount’s double gave his side a 2-0 Premier League victory at struggling Aston Villa on Sunday.
Chelsea are unbeaten in six games since Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge and the win at Villa was their fifth in a row in all competitions.
They were given a helping hand by their hosts with Mount cashing in on a horribly misguided defensive header by Tyrone Mings in the sixth minute.
Villa responded well and created several good chances before the break but were frustrated by Chelsea’s keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga who made a series of saves including a miraculous one to deny Danny Ings an equaliser.
Any hope of Villa salvaging something from the game disappeared in the 65th minute when Mount’s dipping free kick deceived keeper Emiliano Martinez.
Victory left Chelsea in fourth place with 19 points from nine games, four behind London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Villa are 16th, one point above the relegation zone, with pressure mounting on manager Steven Gerrard who was taunted by Chelsea fans throughout the game.
With England manager Gareth Southgate sitting in the stands to run the rule over some of his England squad, the day could not have been more different for Mings and Mount.
Mings has lost his place in the England squad and hardly boosted his prospects of a recall for the Qatar World Cup when he gifted Mount Chelsea’s opener.
Ben Chilwell’s pass was deflected up in the air and Mings got his clearing header all wrong, glancing it backwards towards his own goal where Mount pounced to volley home.
Chelsea’s goal led something of a charmed life after that with Arrizabalaga producing excellent saves to keep out efforts by John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey as Villa attacked with verve.
His best effort, however, was springing through the air to keep out an Ings header from point-blank range.
Raheem Sterling was denied by the woodwork as Chelsea looked dangerous going forward but rocky at the back.
Mings’s afternoon got worse when he gave away the foul which gave Mount the chance to size up a free kick.
The England midfielder got plenty of movement on the ball but Martinez should have done more to keep it out.
Villa were subdued after that but while there were boos at the final whistle, Gerrard would have been encouraged by the way his team caused Chelsea problems. (Agencies)