Fabinho

Liverpool on brink after blasting Palace

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Liverpool can win the Premier League from its proverbial coach on Thursday after a 4-0 defeat of Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Fabinho, and Trent Alexander-Arnold all scored in the blowout, with Salah, Fabinho, and Andy Robertson collecting assists.

[ MORE: Full PL TV schedule ]  

The Reds’ 86 points are 23 points ahead of Man City, who can only gain 24 points more this season and visit Chelsea on Thursday.

LIVERPOOL – CRYSTAL PALACE FULL MATCH REPLAY

Palace fails in a bid to improve its top seven stock and remains ninth with 42 points.


Three things we learned

1. On TAArget: Trent Alexander-Arnold didn’t have much luck with a number of chances from dead balls in the Merseyside Derby but made amends in the 23rd minute with a sensational spinning free kick you’d put against most others. Wayne Hennessey had little chance on the effort for 1-0.

2. Salah getting golden: Both Salah and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have 17 goals this season, two back of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy. And what a goal it was (and pass by our Man of the Match).

3. When will Liverpool win the title?: If Man City beats Chelsea on Thursday, the Reds will have to wait until at least July 2 to win the Premier League. That match is at City and a draw would do the trick. If City wins, Liverpool’s next chance is July 5 at Aston Villa. A win or City draw/loss at Southampton would do the trick then.

Man of the Match

Fabinho —The Brazilian midfielder was one of Liverpool’s standouts in the edgy Merseyside Derby draw, and he was again on the money in a win with a beautiful assist and a venomous goal.

His pass to set up Salah’s goal was marvelous, showcasing a part of his game we don’t always get to see in focus due to his role in Jurgen Klopp’s XI. The goal, well, wow.

Remember: Fabinho regularly chipped in for double-digit combined goals and assists during his time with Monaco in Ligue 1.


Liverpool – Crystal Palace recap

Palace man Andros Townsend nearly assisted an early Liverpool opener only for Georginio Wijnaldum to rocket a shot wide of the frame.

Alexander-Arnold took his free kick with pinpoint accuracy to produce a wondrous opener.

Jordan Henderson volleyed a chance off the post minutes later and Palace blocked and cleared the rebound. Liverpool was ready to explode.

Palace allowed us to prove the existence of Alisson Becker and the Liverpool half of the pitch when Max Meyer took advantage of a Joe Gomez flub and carried the ball toward the 18 before curling wide.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Salah made it 2-0 with his 17th PL goal of the season. Fabinho’s inch-perfect pass over the leaping Patrick van Aanholt found the Egyptian who dribbled toward the far post before cutting his shot inside the near one. Beautiful football.

Fabinho made it 3-0 in the 55th with a strike with maximum power.

Roberto Firmino, Mane, and Salah have combined for a lot of goals, but rarely have two of the players been in so deep to make their contributions. Firmino spotted Salah at the half line, and the Egyptian found Mane’s run in style.

Liverpool’s four-goal lead could’ve become five a few times, with Salah seeing a chance blocked and Neco Williams one saved.

Fabinho out until January with ankle ligament damage

AP Photo/Jon Super
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LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool says defensive midfielder Fabinho will be out until January with an ankle injury, putting more strain on the Premier League leaders with a packed schedule coming up.

[ MORE: Unai Emery fired by Arsenal ]

Fabinho went off injured in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday with ankle ligament damage.

The Brazilian has started all five of Liverpool’s games in the Champions League this season and 12 of 13 in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Who are the favorites to replace Emery at Arsenal? ]

Liverpool has 10 games to play before the end of the year — six in the PL, a Champions League match against Red Bull Salzburg, two games at the Club World Cup and one in the League Cup.

Klopp reacts to Napoli draw, worries about Fabinho injury

Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
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Jurgen Klopp says the problem was the crosses, you see?

Liverpool drew Napoli 1-1 at Anfield on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League, failing to clinch a berth in the knockout rounds with one match day to spare.

The Reds’ boss figured Napoli would close down the middle of the pitch, and had a plan for it, but it just didn’t come off.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“They closed the center so we needed to come from the wing,” Klopp said, via the BBC. “The plan is one thing but the boys have to execute it, and they crossed too early. We take that, it was always a hard one.”

Liverpool will advance with a draw or better in Austria against Red Bull Salzburg on Dec. 10. It could also advance with a loss if Napoli fails to beat Genk in Italy.

Salzburg lost 4-3 at Anfield during the first meeting but carries three away goals in case it wins and a tiebreaker is required. Napoli just needs a draw.

Klopp figured Napoli is celebrating despite failing to hold onto its Dries Mertens-supplied lead.

“In (the Napoli) dressing room they feel like they are already through and maybe they are. Everybody here thinks, ‘Oh my God, it will be tough’ and it will be tough, that much is clear.”

Predictably and understandably, Klopp joined the online chorus claiming Napoli played negative football.

“The way Napoli set up, it didn’t help that they scored, they could follow their plan all the time, we had to increase pressure all the time. We were not brilliant but we put pressure on them. I was not happy with the last 15 minutes of the first half. Second half it was just intense and of course it’s not easy, they really defended the goal they had.”

Klopp also recognized that he’s got a bigger problem, potentially, in the form of an injury to influential midfielder Fabinho.

The Brazilian had played every minute of the UCL group stage and has gone 90 minutes in all but two of their 13 Premier League matches.

“The biggest things is the Fabinho injury, that’s massive. It’s early and we all hope it’s not too serious but it’s pretty painful and in an area you don’t want to have pain, around the ankle.”

That doesn’t sound great, but Liverpool supporters can hope it’s simply a matter of Klopp being extra candid (which is why we love him).

Liverpool smacks Man City, puts both hands on title fate

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Liverpool put both of its hands around the Premier League title race in dismissing sloppy Manchester City 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday.

The win boosts the Reds eight points clear of the field and nine points ahead of fourth place City, the two-time reigning Premier League champions.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fabinho and Mohamed Salah scored first half goals for the Premier League leaders, and Sadio Mane salted away the result early in the second half.

Bernardo Silva scored a late goal for City, providing some drama for the final dozen minutes


Three stars, three duds

Star No. 1: Fabinho was an absolute monster in every third, scorching the match-opening goal and making life miserable for the City attackers and midfielders alike in the heart of the pitch. He may be the MVP of the title campaign so far.

Star No. 2: Mohamed Salah was electric in the first half, timing his run perfectly to send the Reds ahead by two and making himself a menace in the decisive first half.

Star No. 3: The goalkeeper didn’t have to make too many saves, and Alisson Becker certainly cannot be blamed for Bernardo’s vicious, unmarked back post lash to make it 3-1. Alisson was calm in collecting the ball and commanded his area.

Dud No. 1: VAR and/or referee Michael Oliver. Liverpool deserved this win, make no mistake about it, but the non-call on Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s handball moments before the Reds took a 1-0 lead was a tough one to take for anyone other than Liverpool and its fans.

Duds Nos. 2 and 3: Raheem Sterling was shook in his old home, booed at every turn and simply miserable in possession. His frustration got the best of him, his body language betraying him. Credit to the Englishman for continuing to fight for goals well after Sergio Aguero was withdrawn, the Argentine just not anywhere near his best and missing multiple chances to get on the board.

Bonus Dud: City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had a difficult job to do, and he did it poorly, making just one key positive play while allowing a trio of Reds goals.


Liverpool scored with its only moment of the first 7 minutes, which came after Trent Alexander-Arnold went unwhistled for a handball in the box.

The moment was electric; Fabinho smashed a shot past Claudio Bravo for 1-0.

City was still all over Liverpool, with Raheem Sterling nodding wide and John Stones failing to get on the end of Kevin De Bruyne‘s 12th minute free kick.

Bravo was beaten again when Salah got on the end of a cross through the box and headed past the Chilean keeper.

Alisson made a fine two-handed parry on Sergio Aguero in the 25th. Angelino saw a deflected strike hit the post when he lost Jordan Henderson but couldn’t beat Van Dijk for a clean strike in the 29th.

Bravo parried a Firmino drive in the 38th minute, Liverpool continuing to thrive on the counter.

Kyle Walker tore a shot well wide in the 39th, and Aguero dragged a shot wide of the far post in the 42nd.

Salah came close with a distance effort in the 45th minute, but Bravo made an outstanding save.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The second half started with more for City, a deflected shot earning a corner that was played short and wound up with Alisson.

Mane to put the match to bed out of nothing, Liverpool’s first meaningful attack of the second half defying Bravo. Jordan Henderson’s cross caught him out, and Mane’s header was pushed into the side panel by the Chilean.

Man City tried to answer through Sterling, whose shot was blocked by Dejan Lovren for a corner which again came to nothing.

Bernardo grabbed one back in the 78th, and Sterling had Gabriel Jesus cued up for a second in the 80th but it caught the Brazilian off balance.

Walker missed a back post bid from the influential Angelino, and City couldn’t break through Liverpool’s set-in side.

WATCH: Chaos at Anfield as Liverpool opens up 2-0, quarter-hour lead

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Two shots, two goals.

That’s what Liverpool needed — along with some help from a handball non-call — to take a two-goal, quarter-hour lead over Manchester City at Anfield.

The visitors had all of the ball and even looked destined to earn a penalty when Trent Alexander-Arnold handled in the box, but Liverpool raced down the field and struck first blood.

[ WATCH: Liverpool-Man City LIVE ]

Ilkay Gundogan‘s soft clearance rolled to Fabinho, who hit a vicious strike from distance to put the hosts up 1-0 in the 7th minute.

VAR had a look and didn’t like what it saw enough to change anything. The banger stood.

And Liverpool opened up a 2-0 lead on its second chance of the day.

Andrew Robertson‘s cross sailed around City’s defense to meet just-onside Salah, who headed past Bravo.