Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Reds open up 9-point gap as Spurs are beaten by Wolves

Arsenal stunned the home crowd by taking the lead in the 11th minute

By Reuters in London
  • Published 30.12.18, 2:47 AM
  • Updated 30.12.18, 2:47 AM
  • a min read
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates with his hat-trick ball and team-mate Xherdan Shaqiri after the match against Arsenal, during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England on Saturday, December 29, 2018. AP

Roberto Firmino struck a hat-trick as rampant Liverpool opened up a nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League after crushing Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield on Saturday.

Arsenal stunned the home crowd by taking the lead in the 11th minute — Ainsley Maitland-Niles scoring his first league goal for the club as he connected at the back post with an Alex Iwobi cross.

It was the first time Juergen Klopp’s side had trailed at home since December 30, 2017, but just three minutes later they were back on level terms.

Mohamed Salah jinked into the box and went down under a challenge but the ball fell to Firmino who made no mistake with a cheeky ‘no look’ finish.

Firmino then showed his full range of skills with a brilliant solo goal as he dribbled past three Arsenal defenders before slotting home with his left foot.

Sadio Mane made it 3-1, converting a low Salah cross after a brilliant cross-field pass from Andy Robertson and then, on the stroke of halftime, Salah made it 4-1 from the spot after he had been brought down in the box.

Firmino completed his hat-trick, from the penalty spot, driving home in front of the Kop after Sead Kolasinac was ruled to have pushed over Dejan Lovren.

Liverpool are nine points clear of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who lost 1-3 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Third-place Manchester City, who are ten behind Liverpool, can close the gap if they beat Southampton on Sunday.

Spurs suffered a setback in their final game of the year, conceding three goals in 18 second-half minutes to lose and blow the chance to put pressure on Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

Spurs were hit by strikes from Wily Boly, Raul Jimenez and Helder Costa as Wembley was silenced, along with talk of Tottenham’s title challenge.

“We have achieved something very special in getting to the Premier League and it has been a very special year,” said delighted Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Struggling Cardiff City and Fulham bolstered their survival chances with added-time goals in 1-0 wins at Leicester City and home to Huddersfield Town, respectively.

Brighton & Hove Albion beat Everton by the same score and Watford equalised late to draw 1-1 with Newcastle United.