Liverpool returned to the top of the premier league table following a 2-0 victory against Chelsea.
Mo salah, part of a quick-fire double at the start of the second half, after Sadio Mane had headed home, secured a 2-0 win, and confirmed his emphatic return to form as the title race enters its final stages.
The victory sends Liverpool two points clear
the summit, and though Man City have a
game in hand, it is the Reds who have points
on the board and a favourable run-in, having
now completed all their fixtures against top
Anfield was unsurprisingly in full voice at
kick-off, on an occasion made all the more
evocative by the passing of club legend
Tommy Smith this week and tomorrow’s 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
Within five minutes the home faithful were on their feet as Mane’s clipped back post cross fell onto the boot of Salah, but his volleyed effort down into the ground was straight at Kepa in the Chelsea goal.
The Egyptian had a half-hearted penalty
appeal turned down as he was closed rashly
by David Luiz, before the other Chelsea
centre-back, Antonio Rudiger, was forced off
with a knee injury.
Salah and Mane combined again, the latter
sending a smart cut back curling a yard or
two wide, but neither goalkeeper had been
forced into a more-than-routine save by the
time the referee’s whistle brought an end to a frantic but chance-shy first half.
Within eight minutes of the restart though, a
quick-fire double had turned Anfield nerves
into ecstasy. Jordan Henderson, granted greater attacking freedom in recent weeks, took responsibility, reacting fastest in the penalty area to pounce on a loose ball and then showing great composure to stand a peach of a cross up to the back post for Mane to nod home and break the deadlock.
It was three minutes later, though, that we got what felt like yet another a defining moment in this title race, from the man who has so often defined Klopp’s Liverpool.
Salah had been a minor character, dressed in blue, in the much-talked about clash between these two sides five years ago, when Steven Gerrard’s slip would emerge as the enduring image.
Here he took centre stage, darting in
off the right wing to thunder a sensational
effort into the far top corner and spark the
loudest rendition of ‘The Egyptian King’ heard around Anfield in some time.
Six minutes from time there was a moment
that almost seemed too comedic or tragic,
depending on your loyalties, to be true, as
Robertson slipped and lost possession in an
almost identical position to that of Gerrard’s
The danger was cleared within seconds, and yet there won’t have been a man, woman or child inside the ground who didn’t flashback, including Jurgen Klopp , who allowed himself a wry smile.
This time, though, there was no cruel twist,
and the Premier League title race looks set to go to the wire.