Liverpool eases past Fulham after controversial goal

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  • Mitrovic goal ruled offside, Salah quickly answers [ VIDEO ]
  • Shaqiri makes it 2-0

Liverpool went atop the Premier League table for the moment following a 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield on Sunday.

Mohamed Salah scored 13 seconds after a Fulham goal was ruled offside, and Xherdan Shaqiri also scored as the Reds moved to 30 points.

That’s one point more than Man City, who hosts Manchester United at 11:30 a.m. ET, and three ahead of Chelsea ahead of the Blues 9:15 a.m. ET meeting with Everton.

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The first dozen minutes went as expected, as Liverpool mostly did what it wanted in attack. Xherdan Shaqiri was the closest to finding a finish with a 13th minute drive from the top of the box.

Mohamed Salah forced Sergio Rico into an in-tight save in the 16th, as the opener looked certain to arrive any moment. Rico stopped Salah again in the 22nd.

Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon turned Virgil Van Dijk inside out but blasted a shot inches wide of the far post for the Cottagers best chance of the half. Andre Schurrle was stymied by Alisson Becker before the half-hour mark.

Shaqiri missed with a 35th minute bid for the near post.

Then Fulham went from ahead to behind in a flash. Mitrovic headed a cross behind Alisson, and was quickly ruled offside (The margin was thin). Alisson restarted play, and Salah blazed down the right wing for a goal.

The change in fortunes was dramatic, and took 13 seconds.

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The Reds got a second goal in the 53rd minute when Shaqiri met a terrific back post cross from Andy Robertson with a composed finish across goal.

Liverpool was very much in control, but failed to add to its goal differential.

Liverpool leave Shaqiri out due to political reasons

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Xherdan Shaqiri will not play for Liverpool at Red Star Belgrade in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have decided against Shaqiri traveling with the squad due to the reception he may get in Serbia’s capital city due to his Kosvan-Albanian heritage. Serbia doesn’t recognize its former province Kosovo, where Shaqiri was born, as an independent state.

The situation could also be a little more dangerous due to Shaqiri scoring a late winner for Switzerland against Serbia in the 2018 World Cup and then celebrating by making a fluttering eagle symbol with his hands. That symbol was in reference to ethnic Albanians and Shaqiri was fined by FIFA, along with Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichsteiner, for making the gesture.

With reports that Shaqiri would be the subject of protests in Belgrade, it has been decided he will not travel.

“We have heard and read the speculation and talk about what kind of reception Shaq would receive and although we have no idea what would happen, we want to go there and be focused 100 per cent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all,” Klopp said. “We are Liverpool FC, a big club, a football team but we don’t have any message further than that. We have no political message, absolutely not. We want the focus to be on a great game of football, free from anything else.

“We are keen to be respectful and keen to avoid any distractions that would take focus away from a 90-minute-plus contest that is important for football and only football. So for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this. Shaq is our player, we love him, and he will play for us a lot of times, but not on Tuesday.”

Liverpool control Cardiff, go top of table

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  • Two for Mane
  • Salah, Shaqiri star
  • Reds first to 26 points

Liverpool sits atop the Premier League, at least for a few days, after an easy win over Cardiff City on Saturday at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah had a goal and 2 assists, Sadio Mane scored twice, and Xherdan Shaqiri also scored as the Reds ran out 4-1 winners to reach 26 points on the season.

Cardiff remains 17th with five points, and got its goal from Callum Paterson.

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Liverpool opened up shop in the Cardiff City end to start the match, and the Bluebirds allowed the Reds three successive shots on target in the 10th minute.

Cardiff blocked two shots and got a piece of Salah’s effort that made it 1-0.

The Reds didn’t slow down, with Van Dijk hitting the post.

Cardiff backstop Neil Etheridge made an outstanding intervention to deny Salah and clear danger in the 15th.

Adam Lallana had a header cleared off the line at the final breath of the first half.

Cardiff bundled a ball over the line in the 52nd only to be denied by the offside flag.

Mane finally finished another Reds chance, turning twice and losing possession before hitting a left-footed rocket past Etheridge.

Cardiff did find a goal in the 77th minute through Paterson. Junior Hoilett‘s cross deflected off Virgil Van Dijk and Paterson poked it past Alisson Becker.

Liverpool restored its 2-goal lead when Salah slid in Shaqiri for a classy 84th minute finish, and took it to three through Mane’s clever chipped finish of a Salah set-up in the 87th.

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Klopp: Champions League group ‘will stay exciting’ to finish

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In a group with Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain, Wednesday’s match versus Red Star Belgrade at Anfield always needed to provide three points to Liverpool’s pursuit of another UEFA Champions League Final.

The Reds did not let it slip.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Belgrade ]

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp very much enjoyed his men’s controlling home win, especially the showings of lesser-used players Adam Lallana, Fabinho, and Xherdan Shaqiri.

“Fabinho was good from the start [and] Shaqiri was involved in everything,” he said. “He is a really nice footballer and that helped. I thought he did really well.”

Napoli nearly sucked a bit of drama out of the group by keeping PSG without a point, but Angel Di Maria’s stoppage time marker means this group remains up for grabs.

“[Group rivals] Napoli and PSG played a 2-2 draw, but I can imagine it was pretty lively. It will stay exciting. This group is a tough one for all of us. We have to be ready every day and hopefully we will be ready in two weeks.”

The Reds will want to take advantage of PSG’s trip to Napoli with a win in Serbia, but nothing’s certain given the travel and a trip to Arsenal three days prior in the Premier League.

Liverpool hangs four on Red Star Belgrade

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  • Salah scores twice
  • Firmino, Mane, too
  • Reds 2nd in group
  • Off to Serbia next

Mohamed Salah scored twice to join Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on the score sheet as Liverpool eased past Red Star Belgrade 4-0 in the UEFA Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday.

The win coupled with Napoli’s draw with PSG puts Liverpool on top of the group, leading Napoli by a point and sitting two clear of PSG at the midpoint of the group stage.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Red Star had solid possession early, but Liverpool supplied the first truly dangerous chance through Mohamed Salah. Red Star keeper Milan Borjan, the Canadian national teamer, smothered the ball.

And Liverpool gained control of the match by the quarter hour, moments after Red Star defender Srdan Babic missed an unmarked chance to give the visitors a shock lead.

It was Firmino who reaped the benefits of outstanding work by Xherdan Shaqiri who fed Andy Robertson down the right. The Scot then found Firmino, who thumped a shot from past Borjan from inside the penalty spot.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane made a fine combination to spring Mohamed Salah 1v1 with Borjan, but the goalkeeper made the stop as the linesman’s flag raised into the sky.

Robertson flubbed a chance to put an open look on target as the match neared halftime, but Salah made good on his first half promise by finishing a chance to make it 2-0.

The Reds earned a penalty in the 50th minute through Mane, who took embellished a high foul. Salah converted with aplomb to make it 3-0.

A deliberate handball gave the Reds a chance to make it 4-0, but Salah did not take the effort as Mane commandeered it. He was saved, and put the rebound nowhere near the goal.

You’d call it karmic, but the Senegalese star scored in the 79th minute to get his goal.

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