Tue | Feb 25, 2020

Salah powers Liverpool past Watford

Published:Sunday | December 15, 2019 | 12:48 AM
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (second right) celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides first goal during the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, yesterday. Liverpool won 2-0.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (second right) celebrates with teammates after scoring his sides first goal during the English Premier League match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, yesterday. Liverpool won 2-0.

LIVERPOOL, England (AP):

Mo Salah scored twice as Liverpool kept up their relentless Premier League title charge with a 2-0 win over last-place Watford yesterday.

Liverpool looked shaky defensively at times, but Salah finished off a lightning counter-attack to give the hosts the lead in the 38th minute at Anfield and then made sure of the victory with a cheeky back-heel from a tight angle in injury time.

The Reds have won 16 of 17 league games so far, with one draw.

They entered this game as massive favourites against the team at the bottom of the standings, but only poor finishing prevented Watford from taking at least a point in Nigel Pearson’s first game in charge.

Watford striker Troy Deeney missed a chance from eight yards in the sixth minute when he went with the wrong foot in trying to convert a cross from Ismalia Sarr. Will Hughes then skimmed a shot wide with three teammates in proximity before both Abdoulaye Doucoure and Sarr had embarrassing miskicks in front of goal.

Salah, though, was as clinical as ever, with his second double in four days after also netting twice in the Champions League in midweek.

Liverpool’s opener came when they broke from a corner, with Sadio Mané playing Salah through one-on-one with Kiko Femenia. The Egypt international cut back on to his right foot before curling a shot up and over Ben Foster and into the far corner.

GOOD SAVES

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker then made two good saves early in the second half, one from Sarr and the other from Gerard Deulofeu, while Mané had a goal from a powerful header ruled out after VAR showed that his hip was fractionally offside.

Liverpool’s injury worries deepened when Georginio Wijnaldum was forced off with an apparent hamstring problem, meaning he could miss the upcoming Club World Cup in Qatar.

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk nearly had an embarrassing moment 10 minutes from time when he side-footed a 20-yard back pass past Alisson and could only watch with relief as the ball trickled by the post.

Salah then made the game safe after substitute Divock Origi mishit an attempted shot on target and the ball trickled over to the Egyptian, who used his first touch to back-heel it into the net.