Sunday 9 August, 2020

Liverpool extend EPL lead as Leicester draw, Chelsea lose

Norwich City goalkeeper Tim Krul makes a save during their English Premier League match against Leicester City at King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Saturday Dec. 14, 2019. (Nick Potts/PA via AP).

Norwich City goalkeeper Tim Krul makes a save during their English Premier League match against Leicester City at King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Saturday Dec. 14, 2019. (Nick Potts/PA via AP).

Mo Salah and Liverpool are running away with the English Premier League (EPL)

Salah used his blistering pace and a bit of trickery to score both goals in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday — a result that extended the Reds' lead to 10 points in the table as they move closer to a first Premier League title in 30 years.

Closest challenger Leicester were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Norwich, while defending champion Manchester City are a full 17 points behind in third place ahead of their game at Arsenal on Sunday.

Fourth-place Chelsea, meanwhile, slumped to a fourth loss in five league games with a 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth — giving added hope to the handful of teams chasing the final Champions League spot.

No one seems able to keep up with Liverpool, though.

Jürgen Klopp's team has won 16 of 17 league games so far, with one draw, and is on course for a record-breaking season.

“The most important thing that you have to show in this period of the season is resilience, and that's what we showed again,” Klopp said.

SURGING SALAH

Salah made it four goals in as many days as he followed up his Champions League double with another brace at Anfield.

Salah finished off a lightning counterattack to give the host the lead in the 38th minute at Anfield and then made sure of the victory with a cheeky backheel from a tight angle in injury time.

It wasn't all so easy for Liverpool, though, even against a Watford that are last in the standings. Only poor finishing prevented the visitors from taking at least a point in Nigel Pearson's first game in charge.

Striker Troy Deeney, Will Hughes, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Gerard Deulofeu all missed good chances to score for Watford.

Salah was as clinical as ever, though, taking his tally to nine league goals this season.

The only negative for Liverpool was when Georginio Wijnaldum was forced off with an apparent hamstring problem, meaning he could miss the upcoming Club World Cup in Qatar.

LEICESTER FALTERS

Leicester saw their eight-game winning streak in the league ended by Norwich.

Jamie Vardy's streak of scoring in eight straight league games also ended after his header from a corner was ruled an own-goal by Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul, who directed the ball into the net with his hand.

That goal equalized for Leicester in the 38th minute after Norwich striker Teemu Pukki had given the visitors a surprising lead in the 26th.

Vardy had a chance to score early in the second half when he rounded Krul, but rolled the ball onto the outside of the post from a tight angle.

SLUMPING CHELSEA

After surging up the table into the top four, Frank Lampard's Chelsea are in the middle of an alarming slump.

Dan Gosling's late goal gave Bournemouth the win, with Chelsea's grip on fourth place suddenly looking shaky.

Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers both have a chance to pull within two points of Lampard's team on Sunday.

Gosling scored an 84th-minute winner when he flicked the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the net despite standing with his back to goal, ending Bournemouth's run of five successive league losses.

SURPRISING SHEFFIELD

John Fleck scored twice as Sheffield United climbed provisionally into fifth place by beating fellow promoted side Aston Villa 2-0.

Fleck put the hosts ahead in the 50th minute by steering home an assist by John Lundstram, and added the second in the 73rd.

Villa had a chance to get back in the game after VAR awarded a penalty for handball by John Egan, but Jack Grealish belted the resulting spot kick against the crossbar.

In a game between midtable teams, Chris Wood scored his seventh goal of the season as Burnley ended a run of three successive losses with a 1-0 win against an injury-hit Newcastle.

Wood's 58th-minute header was enough to give Sean Dyche's side its fifth league win at home this season, all without conceding.

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