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Premier League Wrap: Mane, Wijnaldum and Salah fire Reds back to the top

By Opta
GeorginioWijnaldum - cropped

London, February 9: Liverpool stormed back to the top of the Premier League with a dominant 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Premier League Results | Premier League Fixture

Sadio Mane scored for the fourth consecutive top-flight match in the 24th minute, after which point Jurgen Klopp's side kicked into top gear to banish the memory of their lacklustre back-to-back draws against Leicester City and West Ham.

Mane opened the scoring in both of those games as well, but fabulously worked goals from the returning Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah ensured there was no chance of another wobble.

Manchester City will return to the summit on goal difference if they beat Chelsea on Sunday. Such fine margins being at play mean Klopp might have liked to see a few more added to their tally as his team cut Bournemouth apart at will.

Ryan Fraser forced an early save from Alisson and his inventive attacking meant James Milner had to be on his guard, but the makeshift right-back produced a wonderful cross for Mane to powerfully head home.

Salah uncharacteristically missed his kick at the end of a 28th-minute counter-attack and the increased pressure on Bournemouth's backline told when Andy Robertson picked out Wijnaldum, whose first touch and lobbed finish over Artur Boruc were immaculate.

Boruc palmed a stinging Salah volley over his crossbar in the final minute of the half and all of Liverpool's fabled front three were involved when the Egypt superstar got on the scoresheet in the 48th minute.

Roberto Firmino ran off the back of Nathan Ake to collect Mane's throughball and backheeled for Salah to coolly roll his 20th of the season into the bottom corner.

Mane powered a header wide from Wijnaldum's chipped cross and the excellent Firmino played in Salah to clatter the crossbar in the 7th minute.

Wijnaldum made way for Trent Alexander-Arnold's welcome return from injury, with the England international following Firmino in forcing a fine late stop from Boruc.

The past week in this gripping, twisting and turning title race has belonged to Manchester City, but the fact remains that if Liverpool win all their games they will be crowned champions.

Pep Guardiola's side now host a Chelsea team who have already beaten them in the top flight this season. On the other hand, Maurizio Sarri's men were demolished 4-0 at Bournemouth 10 days ago – a ninth consecutive away defeat in all competitions confirmed the picture is very different on the road for the Cherries.

Iwobi and Lacazette earn first away win since November

Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette scored first-half goals to set up Arsenal's 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town and earn their first away Premier League victory since November.

The Gunners had taken a single point from their past five away league games and were without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey for Saturday's trip to Yorkshire.

Huddersfield, rock bottom of the Premier League, offered little resistance but did at least score for the first time since Jan Siewert replaced David Wagner as head coach thanks to Sead Kolasinac's late own goal.

Victory moves Arsenal a point behind fourth-placed Manchester United in the congested race for Champions League qualification, with Chelsea going to Manchester City on Sunday.

Arsenal took the lead in the 16th minute. Kolasinac's deep left-wing cross found Iwobi and his volleyed finish took a decisive deflection off Terence Kongolo.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan almost marked his return from seven weeks out with a foot injury with a goal but he could not beat goalkeeper Ben Hamer at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.

But he was involved in Arsenal's second before the break, Mkhitaryan teeing up Ainsley Maitland-Niles for a driven low cross that Lacazette tapped in at the back post.

Huddersfield almost replied in the 50th minute but Adama Diakhaby's driven effort from a low Kongolo cross was saved comfortably by Bernd Leno.

Iwobi should have added his second after Mkhitaryan fed him but he fired his shot into Hamer's chest, while Leno denied Diakhaby again and Huddersfield's home debutant Karlan Grant had an effort cleared off the line at the other end.

And the Huddersfield fans finally had reason to celebrate after four games without a goal as Kolasinac turned into his own net in the 93rd minute, while Leno then saved from Juninho Bacuna to protect the Gunners' victory.

Martial and Pogba send Solskjaer's men fourth

Manchester United moved into the top four of the Premier League table with a 3-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Two goals from Paul Pogba and a superb solo effort from Anthony Martial secured a comfortable win for the visitors, their 10th in 11 matches in all competitions under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United, who kept player-of-the-month Marcus Rashford on the bench as they made six changes from the 1-0 win at Leicester City, were rarely troubled by a Fulham side who have now lost 23 of their last 24 league meetings with 'big six' opposition.

An encouraging start from Fulham saw Luciano Vietto scuff a volley wide from a promising position, and that miss was punished by Pogba 14 minutes in, the midfielder racing onto Martial's pass and blasting left-footed beyond Sergio Rico at the near post.

United seemed happy to invite Fulham onto them in order to strike on the break, and they did so in ruthless fashion 23 minutes in. Phil Jones won back the ball and released Martial, who burst forward while holding off Denis Odoi, skipped beyond Maxime Le Marchand and slotted past Rico.

Fulham were unable to make any inroads against the United defence, prompting Claudio Ranieri to shift formation by bringing on Cyrus Christie for Andre Schurrle, prompting cries of 'You don't know what you're doing' from the home fans.

Ander Herrera saw a half-volley beaten away by Rico as United pushed for a third, and they promptly found it from the penalty spot 64 minutes in, Pogba sweeping the ball into the right-hand corner after Le Marchand tripped Juan Mata.

United substitute Alexis Sanchez shot straight at Rico when clean through and then saw his cross nodded just over by Scott McTominay, while Fulham's best chance for a consolation goal fell to Ryan Babel, who somehow hit the outside of the post from practically on the goal-line, drawing a wry smile from his manager.

 
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Story first published: Saturday, February 9, 2019, 22:30 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 9, 2019
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