Salah fires Liverpool to victory, Chelsea close gap at top
December 31, 2017 08:31 AM NPT
LONDON, Dec 31: Mohamed Salah took his goal tally to 23 in all competitions with a second-half double to help Liverpool come from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 at Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday.
Chelsea had no such struggles at home to Stoke City, with Mark Hughes’ men thrashed 5-0 at Stamford Bridge, as the league’s most porous defence couldn’t cope with their rampant hosts.
Chelsea climbed to second, above Manchester United, after Jose Mourinho’s men were held to their third successive draw following a 0-0 stalemate against Southampton at Old Trafford in Saturday’s late kickoff.
Romelu Lukaku was carried off on a stretcher in the first half and United looked toothless in attack in the Belgium international’s absence, mustering just three shots on target.
A win for neighbours Manchester City at Crystal Palace on Sunday will see Pep Guardiola’s men move 16 points clear at the top of the standings and 17 ahead of United.
One of the performances of the day came at Vicarage Road where Swansea City netted two late goals to come from behind to beat Watford and climb off the bottom of the table, as Carlos Carvalhal’s tenure got off to a winning start.
However, the spotlight once again was on Liverpool striker Salah, who continues to look unstoppable in front of goal.
Jamie Vardy once again scored against a “big six” side after being picked out by Riyad Mahrez in the first half at Anfield, and Leicester held on until Salah took centre stage.
Two neat second-half finishes took the Egypt international to 17 for the season, one behind Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, with the goals sealing the victory that sees Liverpool move to 12 unbeaten in the league – their best run under Juergen Klopp – and opens up a four-point gap over Spurs in fifth.
“He (Salah) can keep this standard for sure, he’s young, improving - it’s not only about scoring goals,” Klopp said.
“He’s so important for us. He knows and I know he couldn’t score so many without the fantastic support from the other boys. I think he can keep the standard.”