By Owolabi Abiola/First Zeal Media
Mohamed Salah inspired Liverpool to a victory at Wolves that took them four points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
The Reds went ahead when Fabinho played a one-two with Sadio Mane and crossed for Salah, who flicked the ball into the net with the outside of his foot.
The Egyptian set up Liverpool’s second with a wonderful lofted pass over the home defence, allowing Virgil van Dijk to side-foot a six-yard volley past Rui Patricio.
City, the defending champions, play their game in hand on Saturday when they host Crystal Palace, but this victory ensures Jurgen Klopp’s side will be top on Christmas Day.
Eight of the past nine teams to have led the league on 25 December have gone on to win the title. The one side that did not was Liverpool in 2013-14 – they finished second, two points behind Manchester City.
Unbeaten Reds impress again
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren said earlier this week that his side could go through an entire league season without losing, replicating the achievement of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ in 2003-04.
Their win at Wolves takes them to 18 matches, with 15 wins and three draws. They are one of only three teams – along with Juventus and Paris St-Germain – in the top divisions in England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany to have not lost a league match this season.
This was another tough assignment – against a Wolves side that had already beaten Chelsea and taken points off
Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.
A beautifully crafted move gave the Reds the lead. Salah’s quickly taken free-kick led to Fabinho combining with Mane, the Brazil international getting to the byeline and pulling the ball back for Salah to finish with a deft flick past Patricio.
James Milner had a chance to add a second but his left- footed strike was well saved.
Salah, who won last season’s Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award, then set up his side’s second goal as his clever pass was steered into the net by centre-half Van Dijk for his first Premier League goal for Liverpool.
Klopp was able to take off both Roberto Firmino and Mane in the second half to rest them for a busy festive programme, which includes matches against Arsenal and Manchester City.
Substitute Georginio Wijnaldum nearly added a third in injury time – after Salah forced an error from Willy Boly – and this was a well-deserved victory for the Reds, who are attempting to win a 19th top-flight title but first since 1989-90.