4/14/2018 9:43:38 PM

Salah hits 40 as Liverpool avoid Champions League hangover

Salah hits 40 as Liverpool avoid Champions League hangover

London, United Kingdom: Mohamed Salah took his tally for a remarkable debut season at Liverpool to 40 goals as Jurgen Klopp's men suffered no after effects from their efforts in reaching the Champions League semifinals in midweek with a routine 3-0 win over Bournemouth.

Victory edges Liverpool ever closer to securing a return to the Champions League next season as they closed to within one point of Manchester United in second and re-established their 10-point lead over fifth-placed Chelsea.

Chelsea maintained their faint hopes of a top-four finish by scoring three times in eight minutes to come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Southampton in a result warmly welcomed by Saints' relegation rivals.

Huddersfield and Crystal Palace took full advantage with vital wins over Watford and Brighton to leave Southampton five points off safety.

Manchester City can move to within one win of sealing the title later on Saturday should they end a run of three consecutive defeats in all competitions against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.

Two of those reverses came at the hands of Liverpool, who cruised into their first Champions League semi-final for a decade 5-1 on aggregate against the runaway Premier League leaders.

Klopp showed his intent from the off at Anfield by making just one change from the side that beat City 2-1 at the Etihad in midweek as captain Jordan Henderson returned from suspension.

And he was rewarded with a characteristic fast start as Sadio Mane swept home his 19th goal of the season after Asmir Begovic spilled his first attempt.

Liverpool were rampant in the first 45 minutes but failed to add to their advantage with Salah surprisingly profligate in front of goal.

However, on the day he was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, the Egyptian made amends in style to seal the three points 21 minutes from time when he looped a header over Begovic from Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross.

Roberto Firmino then rounded off a perfect afternoon for Liverpool's prolific front three by drilling low past Begovic for a third in stoppage time.

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