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Joe Gomez ready for Liverpool return

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Joe Gomez has handed Liverpool another huge boost in their quest to win the Premier League title.

The England international, 21, has been out since suffering a fracture to his lower left leg during a win at Burnley in December.

Initially, Gomez was only going to be out for a few weeks but complications have since arrived and he has had to have surgery and further treatment to rectify the issue.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg at Porto on Wednesday (Liverpool have a 2-0 lead from the first leg), Jurgen Klopp revealed Gomez is now available for selection and has travelled with the team to Portugal.

“Absolutely [he looks strong]. Ox and Joe both did really well at Leicester, it was a brilliant game by all of the boys, to be honest, I watched it back. It looked really good,” Klopp said. “It’s clear they still need time to get full match fitness but it’s nice to have them back and now Joe first as an option. He played right full-back, we need him as this option as well. We all know he played a wonderful season at the centre-half position until his injury, but he can play both and it’s good to have him.”

Klopp now has a lot of options in defense, as Joel Matip has stepped in and played pretty well alongside Virgil Van Dijk over the past few months, as losing Gomez for a pivotal stretch of the season was a big concern for Liverpool. Even though Matip has filled in well, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson are clearly Liverpool’s first-choice back four.

With Dejan Lovren out with illness, getting Gomez back is a big deal for Liverpool as the composed center back was developing a superb relationship with VVD in the heart of Liverpool’s defense. However, with only TAA as a right back option and the likes of James Milner having to fill in there at times, it seems likely Gomez will rotate in that full back role in the final weeks of the season rather than disrupt the Matip-VVD partnership.

Mark this down as another big plus for Liverpool in their quest to win the league title for the first time since 1989-90.

In other injury news, Klopp also confirmed that Lovren is out of the game against Porto, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs more fitness work, Adam Lallana has returned to training and Jordan Henderson is fit after a slight ankle knock against Chelsea.

All in all, good news for Liverpool as they enter a season-defining 10 days.

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)

Salah leads Liverpool to crucial win against Chelsea (video)

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  • Liverpool go top of the table
  • Mane, Salah both score
  • Hazard hits post, misses key chances

Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday as Jurgen Klopp‘s took another huge stride towards winning their first-ever Premier League title.

In an even game, Sadio Mane put Liverpool ahead in the second half and moments later Mohamed Salah scored a Goal of the Season contender from distance to seal the win. Eden Hazard missed two glorious chances after that, but Liverpool held on for victory.

With the win Liverpool move two points clear at the top of the table on 85 points, although they have played a game more than second-place Man City. Chelsea remain on 66 points in fourth place, but their hopes of finishing in the top four took a hit.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool started brightly and Mane whipped in a cross which found Salah at the back post, but his shot on goal was saved by Kepa.

Hazard was caught by both Fabinho and Joel Matip early on and forced Alisson into a low save, while Naby Keita pushed an effort towards danger but Kepa again saved comfortably.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Jordan Henderson‘s shot deflected off David Luiz and looped over as Liverpool pushed hard for an opener in the first half. Willian broke free on the counter and smashed a shot just wide as the game opened up at the end of the half.

Mane then curled a shot wide after Salah surged into the box, while Chelsea lost key defender Antonio Rudiger through injury as the German international couldn’t recover from an early knock.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Liverpool started the second half well and went ahead after Jordan Henderson dinked a cross to the back post which Mane nodded home. Anfield went wild as the home side were worthy of their 1-0 lead.

There was just two minutes and 22 seconds to wait for the next goal, and Salah scored a simply amazing goal. The Egyptian winger cut in from the right and smashed an unstoppable effort into the far top corner which sparked pandemonium at Anfield.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Roberto Firmino then flashed a shot wide and Hazard then had two glorious chances to pull a goal back for Chelsea. The Belgian forward was clean through on goal and beat Alisson, but his shot hit the post, and moments later Alisson denied his scuffed effort and then Cesar Azpilicueta broke free but his cutback couldn’t find a host teammates in the box.

Liverpool settled themselves down late in the game to hold on for the win, as Klopp’s men moved back to the top of the table and handled their biggest remaining test comfortably.

Efficient Liverpool punishes Porto (video)

AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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  • Keita scores deflected opener
  • Firmino makes it 2-0 before half
  • Alisson strong in goal

Liverpool went a long way toward clinching a second-successive spot in the UEFA Champions League, defeating Porto 2-0 at Anfield on Tuesday in a quarterfinal first leg.

Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino scored the goals, with the second leg on tap for April 17 at the Estadio Do Dragao.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Porto will feel aggrieved to see a defender error put them behind after five minutes, as Naby Keita’s rip deflected wildly to fool Iker Casillas.

Casillas soon had to make a comfortable save on Mohamed Salah, as the Reds were clearly on top.

The Reds made it 2-0 through Firmino, who just had to tap home in-tight from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Jordan Henderson found Sadio Mane for a goal early in the second half, but the Senegalese man was ruled offside after VAR review.

Alisson Becker had himself a day in between the sticks for Liverpool, and thwarted a pretty dangerous Moussa Marega on multiple occasions.

“World class” Liverpool led by Salah again, title dream intact

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SOUTHAMPTON — It was a familiar story. Liverpool won. Mohamed Salah scored a world class goal.

But that oh so familiar script had stopped playing out in recent weeks. But Salah turned on the magic to lift Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League with a hard-fought win at Southampton on Friday.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

If Liverpool are going to win the title, these are the kind of games they have to win. They were away at a fired up side who are scrapping against relegation, but much improved, and Liverpool fell behind early on but then battled their way back into the game.

Drawing 1-1 with 10 minutes to go, Salah broke and ran 50 yards before clipping a delicious shot off the post and in to send Liverpool’s fans wild and move them two points clear of Manchester City (who have played one less game) with five games to go.

Liverpool’s dreams of winning a first league title since the 1989-90 season remain intact, and Salah scored his first goal in nine games in stunning fashion. Speaking after the game about Salah’s recent slump, Jurgen Klopp hailed his Egyptian wizard.

“It was never in doubt about him being a great player, from my side. Goal number 50 for Liverpool, that is an incredible number,” Klopp said. “As a striker you have chances and because each striker is a human being as well, maybe you have better moments and less good moments. He is pretty consistent. The physical things are always there, but it is normal that he has to adapt to the situation, how he always stayed calm to deal with the situations. It is only around us that it is a big thing, we don’t really care but it is a nice moment, and a really good moment for him to score his first goal in a while.”

Salah’s celebration said it all. He whipped off his shirt and surged towards the Liverpool fans. It was one of relief more than delight, as the Egyptian had been struggling but his class shone through at a pivotal moment.

These are the kind of moments Liverpool’s fans will remember most if they do go on and win the title, and Salah forcing a late winner against Tottenham last Sunday and now delivering a moment of sheer class against Saints proves he is back to his pivotal best.

Klopp’s Liverpool struggled early on against Southampton, as they fell behind to a Shane Long goal and could have been 2-0 down had Long finished off a glorious chance. But the longer the game went on, the more Liverpool’s class showed and Naby Keita‘s first half equalizer gave them a foothold in the game.

James Milner and Jordan Henderson came on in the second half to add experience, and late on Salah delivered a moment of brilliance, while Roberto Firmino did superbly to set up Henderson for the third.

Klopp’s trademark smile got wider when he talked about their two late goals to down a spirited Saints.

“The two goals we scored were simply world-class,” Klopp said. “Super, super goal from Mo, Bobby so important to make the run but couldn’t play because the ankle wasn’t so good, fantastic finish. But then Bobby again chasing the whole world pretty much and winning that ball brings it to a one-on-one situation, super pass. 3-1. It was of course close, but that was clear from the first second. Everybody will come here in the future, will feel that. That makes it even more satisfying and brilliant that we could win it. It was really big for us.”

Liverpool have played a game more than Man City, but they have now put the pressure back on the reigning champions who play before them next Sunday.

Klopp’s men are getting the job done, just about, but the fact that Salah is back delivering sensational goals and standing tall when they needed him most will be a huge bonus heading into the final five games of the season.