Goals from Salah and van Dijk see Liverpool brush aside Man Utd

Mohamed Salah shoots wide against Manchester United at Anfield. (AFP)
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Updated 20 January 2020

Goals from Salah and van Dijk see Liverpool brush aside Man Utd

  • Salah ran from inside his own half before slotting under De Gea
  • Liverpool’s relentless run toward a first league title in 30 years continues

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool stretched their commanding lead at the top of the Premier League to 16 points and advantage over Manchester United to 30 as goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah earned a 2-0 win over their historic rivals at Anfield.
A 13th straight league win since the sides last met at Old Trafford in October continues Liverpool’s relentless run toward a first league title in 30 years, while United remain five points off the top four in fifth.
Liverpool also have a game in hand to come on closest challengers Manchester City and could have been more comfortable winners after seeing two first half goals ruled out and a host of clear chances go astray.
United are the only team to take Premier League points off the European champions this season, but it rarely looked like lightning would strike twice once the hosts went in front on 14 minutes.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s game plan was undone by a simple set-piece as Van Dijk rose highest to power home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner.
The Norwegian had set up with a back five, with Luke Shaw forced to deputise out of position as a third center-back, and only a great challenge from the former Southampton left-back denied Sadio Mane a certain second as he burst onto Roberto Firmino’s pass.
Jurgen Klopp’s men did have the ball in the net twice more before the break, but VAR and the offside flag came to United’s rescue to keep the score down.
Firstly, Firmino’s brilliant strike was ruled out as Van Dijk was penalized for an aerial challenge with David de Gea after a VAR review.
Georginio Wijnaldum then slotted past the Spaniard after a brilliant through ball from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the Dutchman had strayed marginally offside.
Shorn of injured top scorer Marcus Rashford, United failed to even muster a shot in anger for the first 40 minutes until Anthony Martial pulled his effort wide of the near post.
However, they could easily have been level against the run of play moments later when Andreas Pereira could not stretch to turn home Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s ball across the face of the goal.
At the other end, De Gea had one more key intervention before the break as he saved with his feet from Mane’s driven effort.
United rode their luck even more at the start of the second half as Salah somehow skewed wide from point-blank range before Jordan Henderson smashed a shot off the post.
But Liverpool’s failure to put the game to bed could have cost them when Martial blazed over United’s best chance of the game after a well-worked one-two with Pereira just before the hour mark.
Just like in the 1-0 win at Tottenham last weekend Liverpool tired in the final 20 minutes, with Klopp forced to withdraw Mane and Firmino to bolster the midfield.
However, the hosts held out for a seventh consecutive clean sheet in all competitions and took another giant step toward the title as Salah secured the three points with virtually the last kick of the game.
The Egyptian was picked out by goalkeeper Alisson Becker and ran from inside his own half before slotting under De Gea.


Team UAE rider Pogacar claims maiden Tour de France title

Updated 21 September 2020

Team UAE rider Pogacar claims maiden Tour de France title

  • Tadej Pogacar youngest man to win the race since Henri Cornet in 1904
  • Pogacar also won three stages in one of the most brilliant individual performances in recent Tour history

PARIS: Tadej Pogacar became the first Slovenian to win the Tour de France after he retained the yellow jersey in the 21st stage on Sunday, a day after he pulled off a major coup to take the overall lead.
While Sam Bennett won the final stage, the day belonged to Team UAE Emirates rider Pogacar, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Monday and is the youngest man to win the race since Henri Cornet in 1904.
Pogacar, who claimed the yellow jersey from a stunned Primoz Roglic with a monumental performance in Saturday’s time trial, also won the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider and the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.
Roglic ended up second, 59 seconds behind, with Australian Richie Porte taking third place, 3:30 off the pace.
“This is an incredible feeling, standing here in Paris on the top of the podium. It was an amazing three weeks, an incredible journey,” said Pogacar after the first one-two for one country since Bradley Wiggins finished ahead of fellow Briton Chris Froome in 2012.
“I want to thank all those who made it happen. It was three memorable weeks on the French roads, with incredible crowds. I won’t find the words to express my feelings.”
Pogacar also won three stages in one of the most brilliant individual performances in recent Tour history, leaving Roglic’s dominant Jumbo-Visma team wondering what went wrong.
“We didn’t see it coming,” said Roglic’s team mate and former Tour runner-up Tom Dumoulin.
Bennett became the first Irishman since Sean Kelly in 1989 to win the green jersey for the points classification, ahead of Peter Sagan who was looking to claim it for a record-extending eighth time.
Bennett was the strongest at the end of the 122-km ride from Mantes-la Jolie on Sunday, beating world champion Mads Pedersen, with Sagan coming home third.
Swiss Marc Hirschi, the former Under-23 world champion was voted the most aggressive on the race after notably taking a brilliant win in the longest stage of the 107th edition.
Ineos-Grenadiers had a Tour to forget as defending champion Egan Bernal dropped out of contention in the Jura stage to the Grand Colombier, pulling out a few days later with back pains.
They recovered some pride later on, however, as Michal Kwiatkowski, their unsung hero for five years, claimed an emotional stage win — although that was certainly not enough for a team who had won seven of the previous eight editions.
It was an anti-climatic finale on the Champs-Elysees as only 5,000 fans were allowed on the famous avenue as a precaution against the coronavirus.
France reported 13,498 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the previous 24 hours on Saturday, setting another record in daily additional infections since the start of the epidemic.
Reaching the Champs-Elysees was, however, a relief for organizers, who had imposed strict sanitary rules to protect the race ‘bubble’.
The bubble did not burst as only four team staff members tested positive and were removed from the race, preventing a spread that could have stopped the Tour.
No rider tested positive.