Liverpool bounce back to keep title bid alive

Published April 22, 2024
LONDON: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (second L) scores against Fulham during their Premier League match at Craven Cottage on Sunday.—Reuters
LONDON: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (second L) scores against Fulham during their Premier League match at Craven Cottage on Sunday.—Reuters

LONDON: Liverpool got back on track after their week from hell as a 3-1 win at Fulham keep their Premier League title bid alive, while Nottingham Forest launched an astonishing rant at the officiating in their 2-0 defeat against Everton on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side crashed out of the Europa League quarter-finals against Atalanta on Thursday after suffering a damaging Premier League defeat at home to Crystal Palace last weekend.

The Reds’ hopes of giving Klopp a glorious farewell were dwindling but they climbed back into the title race with much-needed first win in three league games.

Liverpool are now in second place, behind leaders Arsenal on goal difference and one point ahead of third placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand on their two title rivals.

Klopp responded to signs of fatigue from his team in recent weeks by dropping Mohamed Salah to the bench among five changes.

And Liverpool took the hint with a more cohesive display by the banks of the River Thames in west London.

Trent Alexander-Arnold put Liverpool ahead in the 32nd minute with a superb free-kick that flashed into the top corner.

Fulham defender Timothy Castagne levelled from close-range after Liverpool failed to clear in first half stoppage-time.

Ryan Gravenberch restored Liverpool’s advantage in the 53rd minute with a swerving blast from the edge of the area for his first Premier League goal.

Diogo Jota wrapped up the points in the 72nd minute, drilling a clinical low finish into the far corner.

Earlier, Everton took a giant stride towards extending their 70-year stay in the English top-flight in a highly controversial victory over Forest.

Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil scored the goals that took the Toffees five points clear of the relegation zone.

Forest remain just one point above the bottom three and were left dismayed at being denied three strong penalty appeals.

The club’s official account on social media platform X called into question the Premier League’s integrity by claiming the VAR official is a fan of relegation rivals Luton Town.

“We warned the PGMOL (referees’ governing body) that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him,” Forest said in a statement said. “Our patience has been tested multiple times. NFFC will now consider its options.”

Meanwhile, Aston Villa tightened their grip on Champions League football next season with a 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

Villa shrugged off the exertions of having to go to extra-time and penalties in midweek to book their place in the Europa Conference League semi-finals against Lille.

Unai Emery’s men even had to come from behind after Dominic Solanke opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

Morgan Rogers’ fine finish just before half-time proved to be the turning point.

Moussa Diaby slotted in from Ollie Watkins’ pass to put Villa in front.

Watkins was the provider once more for Leon Bailey to tap in to seal the points 12 minutes from time.

Victory takes Villa six points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Elsewhere, David Moyes’ future as West Ham United manager looks more uncertain after they were thrashed 5-2 at Crystal Palace.

Fresh from their shock 1-0 win at Liverpool last weekend, the Eagles scored four times inside the first 31 minutes.

Michael Olise headed in the opener before Eberechi Eze’s spectacular acrobatic effort found the roof of the net.

Emerson Palmieri’s own goal made it 3-0 before Jean-Philippe Mateta struck twice for Palace either side of half-time.

Michail Antonio’s strike and a Tyrick Mitchell own goal was scant consolation for West Ham.

In Saturday’s late match, goals from Leandro Trossard and Martin Odegaard gave Arsenal a gritty 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

An early effort from Kai Havertz in the first minute suggested that fans were in for an exciting game, but the two sides quickly cancelled each other out as they struggled to create good goal-scoring opportunities.

Trossard broke the deadlock just before the break after a scrappy first half, Wolves defender Santiago Bueno steering the ball into his path while trying to dispossess Gabriel Jesus and the Belgian lashed it into the net off the right-hand post.

Odegaard then latched onto a pass from Rice in the fifth minute of stoppage time and then reacted quickest as his pull-back was blocked, slotting the ball home at the near post from a tight angle to secure the three points.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...
Bulldozed bill
Updated 22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

Where once the party was championing the people and their voices, it is now devising new means to silence them.
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...