scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Sunday, January 24, 2021

Liverpool return to winning ways, Arsenal, Sheffield United bag wins

While Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane calmed the jitters for Liverpool fans after Callum Wilson had given Bournemouth a surprise ninth-minute lead, Alexandre Lacazette scored the winner against West Ham.

By: Reuters | Updated: March 7, 2020 11:57:26 pm
Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their first goal with Sadio Mane. (Source: Reuters)

Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool resumed normal service with an unconvincing 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Saturday but they had to recover from an early jolt at Anfield.

Goals in quick succession by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane before halftime calmed the jitters after Callum Wilson had given Bournemouth a surprise ninth-minute lead. It was far from vintage Liverpool, however, and they struggled to finish off a Bournemouth side who almost grabbed a late equaliser through Wilson.

After Liverpool’s 44-match unbeaten league run ended in shocking fashion at Watford last week, victory restored their 25-point lead over Manchester City who have two games in hand.

Three defeats in their last four matches in all competitions had given Liverpool something of a reality check, even if only serial pessimists among their fans truly believed they might blow their first title for 30 years.

It is still a matter of when, not if, Jurgen Klopp’s men seal the deal and Saturday’s win, their 22nd in succession at home in the Premier League, restored their 25-point lead.

Three more wins and they will be crowned champions. They want to finish in style, though, and that was missing initially against a Bournemouth side who are scrapping for their top-flight survival.

Bournemouth’s goal left Klopp apoplectic. Wilson appeared to nudge Joe Gomez off the ball before passing to Philip Billing whose well-timed pass released Jefferson Lerma. Wilson, who had continued his run, met Lerma’s low cross with a simple tap-in.

Bournemouth’s problem all season has been an inability to avoid conceding needless goals and it was from a dreadful mistake that Liverpool equalised in the 25th minute.

Youngster Jack Simpson had only been on the pitch a few minutes to replace injured skipper Steve Cook when he took a heavy touch and was robbed by Mane. Mane’s ball to Salah was not the best but the Egyptian cut inside Lerma and drove home a low left-foot shot that beat Aaron Ramsdale at his near post.

Mini-crisis over, Liverpool went ahead eight minutes later when Bournemouth again lost possession and Virgil van Dijk released Mane who ran through unopposed to score with ease.

Bournemouth will rue an opportunity lost against an off-key Liverpool and remain third-bottom on 27 points, the same as West Ham United and Watford who have a superior goal difference.

LACAZETTE EXTENDS UNBEATEN RUN

A goal from substitute Alexandre Lacazette earned Arsenal a hard-fought 1-0 win over a wasteful West Ham United side at the Emirates on Saturday, extending the Gunners’ unbeaten Premier League run to eight matches.

Both sides struck the woodwork in the first half, but the visitors had the better chances and goalkeeper Bernd Leno came to Arsenal’s rescue with an excellent save from Michail Antonio after the break.

Mikel Arteta’s side found the breakthrough when Lacazette fired home from a Mesut Ozil knock-down, although the Frenchman’s celebrations were delayed after the goal was initially ruled out for offside before a VAR review overturned the decision.

The result moved Arsenal ahead of Burnley into ninth place, level on 40 points with eighth-placed north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. West Ham remained 16th on 27 points, outside the relegation zone only on goal difference.

SHEFFIELD GO SIXTH

A bullet header from Billy Sharp gave Sheffield United a 1-0 win over bottom side Norwich City to lift the Blades to sixth place in the Premier League table and move them closer to their dream of European football next season.

With Manchester City facing a possible European ban over breaches of financial fair play rules, Sheffield United have their sights set on a top-six finish, a feat they haven’t managed since the 1974-75 season.

The win lifts Sheffield United above Manchester United, who face Manchester City on Sunday, with 43 points from 28 games, while Norwich remain bottom on 21 points from 29 games

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Sports News, download Indian Express App.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement