Diogo Jota’s double stored Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Leicester, whereas Arsenal’s 1-0 victory at Wolves gave the Gunners the benefit within the race for the highest 4.
Liverpool nonetheless path Manchester City on the prime of the desk by 9 factors, however have a sport in hand on the champions to come back and have been spectacular in securing a fifth consecutive win.
With Mohamed Salah left on the bench from the beginning after his exertions on the Africa Cup of Nations and Sadio Mane nonetheless celebrating his success with Senegal, Jota took centre stage to proceed his wonderful season.
The Portuguese produced two predatory finishes as he smashed residence a free ball from shut vary to open the scoring within the first half earlier than firing into the far nook three minutes from time to take his tally for the marketing campaign to 17 targets.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers returned to Anfield beneath strain to show across the Foxes’ floundering season after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Championship aspect Nottingham Forest within the FA Cup on Sunday.
Rodgers made a press release together with his staff choice with a variety of first-team regulars neglected, together with Youri Tielemans, who had captained Leicester on the weekend.
Within the absence of Salah and Mane, Jurgen Klopp handed a primary Liverpool begin to £37.5 million ($A71.8 million) January signing Luis Diaz.
Salah’s missed penalty in a 1-0 defeat to a depleted Leicester on December 28 performed a significant half in permitting City to drag clear on the prime of the desk as Liverpool took two factors from three video games over the festive interval.
Diaz’s direct working caught the attention, however the Reds have been struggling for the breakthrough till Leicester’s weak point from set items was uncovered for the opener.
Virgil Van Dijk shrugged off the eye of Wilfried Ndidi and after his header was parried by Kasper Schmeichel, Jota was in the suitable place to smash residence.
Klopp launched Salah to an enormous reception on the hour mark and the Egyptian ought to have made the factors protected when he raced clear by on objective solely to be denied by Schmeichel spreading himself to dam.
Salah then hit the bar with a surprising strike from a slim angle earlier than Diaz stung the palms of Schmeichel once more.
The Dane even obtained a hand to Jota’s highly effective effort, however couldn’t maintain it out as Liverpool’s dominance lastly instructed with a second objective.
Arsenal moved into pole place to assert the fourth place in subsequent season’s Champions League as they closed to inside a degree of fourth-placed West Ham with two video games in hand to come back.
The Gunners had fortune on their aspect in a sport dominated by controversial calls.
Referee Michael Oliver noticed no infringement when Alexandre Lacazette’s boot collided with Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa and Gabriel gratefully tapped into an unguarded internet.
For the fourth time in six video games Arsenal ended with 10 males as Gabriel Martinelli was proven two yellow playing cards on the identical time by Oliver for making an attempt to stop Wolves taking a throw in then bundling over Chiquinho.
Granit Xhaka’s personal objective from the ensuing free-kick was dominated out for offside towards Raul Jimenez and Wolves did not make the additional man depend within the last 20 minutes to deal a blow to their very own ambitions of a top-four end.