West Brom fightback takes shine off more Mohamed Salah success

Mohamed Salah cannot stop scoring as he hit his 31st of an impressive debut season for Liverpool.
Updated 21 April 2018
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West Brom fightback takes shine off more Mohamed Salah success

  • Salah strikes again to move within sight of the Premier League goalscoring record .
  • But West Brom fight back from two goals down to grab a point.

West Bromwich Albion kept their slim hopes of Premier League survival alive with a stunning late comeback to draw 2-2 with Liverpool and take the shine off Mohamed Salah’s latest goal-scoring landmark.
The Egypt international matched the record of 31 goals for a 38-game top-flight season set by Alan Shearer (1995-96), Cristiano Ronaldo (2007-08) and Luis Suarez (2013-14) with three matches still to spare with a clever chipped finish.
Andy Cole’s record of 34 goals in a 42-game season looks well within the grasp of Salah, who took the limelight away from Danny Ings’ first goal since October 2015.
The final word, though, belonged to West Brom as they came from behind with goals from Jake Livermore and then Salomon Rondon in the 88th minute.
It was just reward for the hosts, with caretaker-manager Darren Moore extending his unbeaten run to three matches, including games against two of the top four.
However, it was harsh on Ings who looked set to enjoy a day to remember after a difficult period since moving to Anfield from Burnley, with two serious knee injuries restricting him to just 11 appearances for the club in his first two seasons.
Ings seized his chance replacing the rested Roberto Firmino with a fourth-minute strike, his first in 930 days since scoring the last goal of Brendan Rodgers’ reign.
No one could begrudge him his moment in the Black Country sunshine after he tore a cruciate knee ligament in Klopp’s first training session at the club, just days after winning his solitary England cap against Lithuania, and suffered another injury to his other knee just over a year later.
With one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg at home to Roma Klopp made five changes, including three of the back four, and that gave Ings a chance.
Sadio Mane worked his way to the byline and drilled in a cross which Georginio Wijnaldum controlled before allowing his teammate to blast home.
It was only the third of Liverpool’s past 27 league goals not to be scored by Mane, Firmino or Salah.
Ings was denied a second by goalkeeper Ben Foster’s outstretched foot late in the half but West Brom dominated the latter stages of the half. A rare miscontrol by James Milner allowed Livermore to whip over a far-post cross which James McClean drilled back across goal, but Jay Rodriguez’s lunge was inches away from converting a certain equalizer.
Ings had a penalty shout turned down after the break when Craig Dawson stepped across him to prevent him reaching Joe Gomez’s pass.
Salah, quiet since an 11th-minute shot was deflected over by Livermore, came in from the periphery when substitutes Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain combined to tee him up to coolly beat Foster in the 72nd minute.
Livermore, though, gave the hosts hope with a scrambled finish from a corner and Rondon headed home Brunt’s near-post free kick with two minutes to go.


Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir ‘100 percent ready’ to face England, says coach

Updated 23 May 2018
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Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir ‘100 percent ready’ to face England, says coach

  • Left-armer is fit after a knee injury
  • “He’s fine, he’s ready to go,” says team coach Mickey Arthur

LONDON: Pakistan spearhead Mohammad Amir is “100 percent ready” for the first Test against England at Lord’s starting on Thursday despite a knee injury, according to team coach Mickey Arthur.
The left-arm fast bowler was seen stretching out his right knee as Pakistan beat Test debutants Ireland by five wickets during a one-off match in Malahide, Dublin concluded last week.
Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood suggested Amir had suffered a recurrence of a “chronic” problem.
But head coach Arthur, speaking to reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday, had no qualms about the fitness of Amir.
“He’s perfect, 100 percent,” Arthur insisted. “He’s fine, he’s ready to go.”
As for Amir, missing Pakistan’s final warm-up match ahead of the two-Test England series, last weekend’s drawn match against Leicestershire, Arthur added: “It was his rotation. (Mohammad) Abbas sat out the first (tour) game, Hasan (Ali) sat out the second, so he sat out the third.”
Amir was the hottest property in world cricket after bursting on the scene as a teenager in 2009 and at 18 he was the youngest bowler to have taken 50 Test wickets.
But his world was turned upside down in 2010 when he became involved in a spot-fixing scandal after deliberately bowling no-balls during the Lord’s Test against England — an incident that would eventually see him sent to prison by an English court and given a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council.
Amir’s first 14 Tests saw him take 51 wickets at just a fraction over 23 apiece, figures that had him on course to be an all-time great.
But the 17 Tests since his comeback two years ago have seen him take 49 wickets at a more expensive average of 34.91
Amir, and Pakistan for that matter, have not been helped by the fact that those 17 Tests since 2016 have also seen 16 catches dropped off his bowling.
The stigma of his spot-fixing exile has started to fade, with Amir playing for Pakistan during their 2-2 draw in a four-Test series in England two years ago.
He also starred for Essex as they won English domestic cricket’s first-class County Championship title last season.
Now the 26-year-old Amir is set to be the leader of an inexperienced Pakistan attack.
England, who didn’t manage a single win during their recent seven combined Tests in Australia and New Zealand, collapsed to 58 all out in Auckland in March as Kiwi left-arm quick Trent Boult took six wickets.
And Arthur backed Amir to do similar damage
“I think Mohammad Amir is the finest exponent of pace and swing when he gets it 100 percent right,” Arthur said.
“We’ve used that spell that Trent Boult bowled in Auckland. We’ve had a look at his lengths.
“We believe he (Amir) bowls incredibly well at left-handers and there will be three left-handers (Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan) in the (England) top four.
“He’s ready, I just hope it goes really well for him because he’s been unlucky at times with the amount of dropped catches.
“He’s ready, he’s determined, he’s fit, he’s strong, he’s excited, he’s in a very good place at the moment.”
Arthur is unusual in having served as the head coach of three leading nations — his native South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.
But he was adamant he had no desire to replace Trevor Bayliss when the Australian steps down as England coach next year.
“No, I’m very happy,” Arthur said. “I’d like to keep going with Pakistan for as long as they will have me because it’s unfinished business for us at the moment. This is a very young cricket team and I worry if we move on what happens to these guys. Their fitness regime is outstanding, they are training hard and they are enjoying their cricket. I’m very, very happy with where I am at the moment,” he insisted.