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Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane Lead Liverpool to Win over Sheffield United

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 2, 2020

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates with Sadio Mane after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United at Anfield on January 02, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were both on target as Liverpool beat Sheffield United 2-0 on Thursday in the Premier League to restore their 13-point advantage at the top of the table.

Mohamed Salah gave the Reds the perfect start by slotting home Andy Robertson's cross with less then four minutes on the clock at Anfield.

The Reds had other chances in a dominant first half. Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson made two good saves to deny Salah a second, while John Lundstram had a goal ruled out for offside at the other end.

Mane sealed the win in the second half after a quick break started by goalkeeper Alisson. The forward saw his initial shot saved by Henderson but pounced on the rebound and slammed the ball into the roof of the net. 

Liverpool suffered an injury blow before kick-off when Naby Keita picked up a problem in the warm-up and had to be replaced in the starting XI by James Milner.

Sports reporter Matt Critchley said it was a groin problem:

Matt Critchley @MattCritchley1

Keita injured his right groin in the warm up

The injury did not appear to have a negative effect on the Reds as they took the lead inside four minutes at Anfield.

Robertson took full advantage of a slip by George Baldock to race down the left and cross for Salah to convert from close range:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

Mohamed Salah scores on his 150th English career appearance - his 87th goal Most left-footed goals in @premierleague since Aug 2017 5️⃣0️⃣ SALAH 1️⃣9️⃣ Mahrez 1️⃣8️⃣ Sane 1️⃣6️⃣ Vardy https://t.co/Mulx7b6UMt

The goal put Liverpool in control and their crisp attacking play brought further chances. Jordan Henderson teed up Salah on the half volley on 11 minutes, but the Egyptian's first-time effort was tipped over by a diving Dean Henderson.

The Sheffield United goalkeeper had to be alert again to parry a powerful shot from Salah at his near post after a neat flick by Mane on the half-hour mark.

Sheffield United were easily second best but did offer an attacking threat. Alisson had to be alert to tip over McGoldrick's powerful shot on 17 minutes, while Lundstram slotted past the Brazilian from a ball by Baldock but saw his effort correctly ruled out for offside.

Liverpool also needed Virgil van Dijk to make a brilliant tackle on Lys Mousset at the end of the first half to prevent a three-on-two break for the visitors.

The hosts almost doubled their lead on the hour. Salah's curling cross into the box missed everybody, hit the inside of the post and was then grabbed by a grateful Henderson.

However, Liverpool did not have to wait much longer for a second goal. A rapid attack down the left saw Alisson feed Robertson down the left and then find Mane. The forward swapped passes with Salah, saw his shot blocked by Henderson but leapt up to tuck the rebound away (UK video only):

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Front to back in 12 seconds! 🔥 Liverpool's lead is doubled after a lightning fast counter-attack! Slick play between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané 👏 #BTAllDayer https://t.co/xXPHSaYidm

Substitute Oli McBurnie ought to have pulled one back late on for Sheffield United when unmarked at the far post but put his effort too close to Alisson who collected the ball and kept it from going over the line.

The win means Liverpool are now unbeaten in the Premier League for a calendar year and sees them move another step closer to ending their long wait to be crowned champions of England.

     

What's Next?

Both teams return to action on Sunday in the third round of the FA Cup. Liverpool are at home to local rivals Everton, while Sheffield United face National League side AFC Fylde.

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