Three things learned: Liverpool v. Chelsea

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Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday, as Jurgen Klopp‘s side overcame their biggest remaining hurdle, on paper, in the Premier League title race.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah 144 seconds apart in the second half did the damage, as Eden Hazard missed two glorious chances and Chelsea couldn’t cope with wave after wave of Liverpool attack.

[ MORE: Klopp reacts to victory

Here’s what we learned from an intense, dramatic encounter at Anfield, as Liverpool went back to the top of the table and put the pressure back on Manchester City.


SALAH STANDS TALL FOR LIVERPOOL, AGAIN

A few weeks ago Mohamed Salah was having a slump and was suffering during a long goal drought. But he has now well and truly regained his mojo. Salah scored a sensational goal to make it 2-0 against Chelsea, the type of goal that seems likely to be played time and time again over history. He scored a massive goal at Southampton last Friday in a 3-1 win, and his header forced Tottenham to score an own goal right at the end of Liverpool’s 2-1 win the week before. Salah is back to making key contributions for Liverpool and he couldn’t have timed his return to form any better with the Reds so close to winning their first title in 29 years.


HAZARD FLUFFS HIS LINES

Eden Hazard played very well in a false nine position against Liverpool, but he will be the first to admit he should have scored twice. When Chelsea went 2-0 down he had two glorious chances. When clean through on the first occasions he hit the post, and on the second occasion he scuffed his shot straight at Alisson. Hazard knew he should have done better and he really let Liverpool off the hook at a pivotal stage of not only the game, but the season. Chelsea look a much better team when Hazard has players close to him when he is playing in a false nine and Willian did that well on Sunday. There wasn’t much between these teams but Liverpool took their chances and Hazard missed Chelsea’s.


TITLE RACE ONE OF THE BEST EVER

When one team wins, the other answers, emphatically. This title race shows no signs of slowing down as both Liverpool and Manchester City are doing everything they can to get over the line and be crowned Premier League champions. This title race has the potential to be the best in history, and it feels like it will go down to the final day, just like it did in 2012 when Sergio Aguero delivered the title for City just when it looked like Manchester United would prevail.

Star players are stepping up for both Man City and Liverpool, with Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling in stunning form at Crystal Palace, and both Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson delivering for Liverpool. With the quality of play on show and both teams in the last eight of the Champions League, you can easily argue this is the best title race we have ever seen in the PL. If Liverpool win their last four games they will finish the season on 97 points. If Man City win their remaining five games, they finish on 98 points. City broke the record for most points in a top-flight season last season with 100, and that goes to show you how incredible this title race is.

Below is a look at the games that remain for both, as City clearly have a tougher schedule with both Man United and Spurs still to play. The crucial game in this run-in looks like being the Manchester derby on Apr. 24. Let the battle continue, as both teams continue to cope brilliantly with the pressure and both Klopp and Guardiola are saying the same things: all we have to do is win all of our games.

Liverpool: Cardiff (A), Huddersfield (H), Newcastle (A), Wolves (H)
Man City: Tottenham (H), Man United (A), Burnley (A), Leicester (H), Brighton (A)

Pogba misses 2nd half penalty in Man Utd-Wolves draw

Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images
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Ruben Neves scored an amazing goal and Rui Patricio stopped a Paul Pogba penalty as Wolves took a point from Manchester United in a 1-1 match at the Molineux on Monday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

United had two-thirds possession but could not find what would’ve been a deserved winner as Wolves flummoxed the Red Devils attack.

Anthony Martial scored for the second-straight match for United, who failed in a bid to go atop the Premier League.


Three things we learned

  1. Paul Pogba is to penalties as Shaquille O’Neal is to free throws – You just can’t understand how someone so good at his sport is so poor at what should be the easiest part of his game.
  2. Martial is a beauty, and is fully released from the shackles of Jose Mourinho. Whether he can take the next step is another story, but the Frenchman is a fitting winger for a Champions League club (even if United isn’t quite in the UCL).
  3. Patricio didn’t show the Premier League his very best last season, but has looked more like the Portugal national team goalkeeper so far in his sophomore PL campaign.

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men were content to let the visitors have the ball and work on the counter, and United quickly moved the ball in possession over the first stages of the game.

United took a deserved lead through Martial who ran onto a Marcus Rashford through ball and belted a rocket over a flailing Rui Patricio.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Neves brought Wolves level with a sublime bit of shooting, curling a majestic shot above and around the United back line to make it 1-1.

Watching the footage as it was being reviewed showed the margins so thin, but the goal held up and anyone hoping for some semblance of sanity was relieved.

United looked set to go back in front when Pogba drew a penalty off Conor Coady with a cutthroat move in the 18, but the Frenchman slammed his effort into the path of a diving Patricio.

WATCH: Ruben Neves spins an otherworldly ball over David De Gea

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Let us introduce you to your latest Goal of the Season contender.

Ruben Neves, who seemingly only scores beauties, struck again on Monday at the Molineux.

[ MORE: Neymar to Barca ]

The 22-year-old Portuguese playmaker loves to shoot as much as anyone, and set himself up clinically for his latest amazing marker.

Once Neves collected the ball atop the 18, he spun this magnificent effort over the flying David De Gea and off the underside of the bar to restore the deadlock in Wolverhampton.

De Gea may well have responded to this goal by quoting Ron Burgundy when Baxter ate the entire wheel of cheese.

Sensational.

AT HALF: Martial, Rashford team up for impressive opener

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Manchester United has a stylish opening goal in its quest to go a perfect 2-for-2 in Premier League play.

After quality passing in traffic ended with Marcus Rashford slipping a through ball in to both Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, the Frenchman bolted a ball into the upper reaches of the net.

[ STREAM: Wolves – Man Utd ]

To be honest, Rui Patricio had little recourse.

The goal is Martial’s second of the season, and United is 45 minutes away from moving atop the league.

Report: Barcelona will make Neymar loan offer

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The most expensive player in the world may be going back to his old club…on loan.

According to a report by ESPNFC, Barcelona will make an official approach for Neymar on a loan with an option to buy next summer, similar to the switch Philippe Coutinho made from the Camp Nou to Bayern Munich earlier today. In fact, the report specifically states that Barcelona will look to copy Bayern’s approach of a one-year loan with a fee ($9.4 million for Coutinho’s loan) plus all wages paid, followed by an option to buy ($133 million).

Barcelona prefers this approach as they have already racked up a massive transfer bill this summer, spending over $220 million on the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, Junior Firpo, and Neto.

While there have been numerous reports of potentially creative offers for Neymar over the past few weeks that mention players included in a swap deal, the ESPNFC report specifically states no players will be included in any current or future deal for Neymar either in the terms of the loan or as part of the option to buy. While Barcelona considered this approach in the past, Paris Saint-Germain was reportedly not interested in any players Barca offered, other than Coutinho. They apparently made an official offer already, ponying up $89 million plus Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic, but that was turned down.

The ESPN report does state that Coutinho’s loan to Bayern is seen by those close to Neymar as “a huge setback” as the Brazilian’s camp saw Coutinho as the key to making the deal happen, given that Barcelona is unwilling to put up a straight cash offer this summer. Unnamed Barcelona officials are also quoted in the report as stating that a for a potential Neymar deal, “it will be complicated,” but they are hopeful of progress.

The option to buy in Barcelona’s offer has reportedly not been decided upon as of yet, although previous reports have stated that PSG is unlikely to consider an offer that does not net them back what they paid for Neymar two years ago, to the tune of $245 million.