Mo Salah soothes Liverpool nerves in Premier League title race



(CNN)January has tended to be a tricky month for Liverpool under manager Jurgen Klopp.

Prior to Saturday, the Reds had lost 11 of 26 matches in all competitions under Klopp in the first month of the year, so Liverpool had a bit of a point to prove in their English Premier League game at Brighton following defeats by Manchester City in the league and Wolves in the FA Cup.
    As so often it was Mo Salah who soothed the nerves of his teammates and Klopp with a second-half penalty to give Liverpool a 1-0 win and move the league leaders seven points clear of Manchester City, who play Wolves on Monday.
    It was Salah who won the penalty after he was fouled by Pascal Gross.
    "For Klopp' system to work, Liverpool has pretty much got the fastest team in the league, lead by the insane speed of Mo Salah," sports scientist Simon Brundish and Anfield Index contributor told CNN Sport on Friday as he analyzed the league leader's title bid.
    Klopp described Liverpool's performance as "very mature."
    "In the second half, we won the ball back, nice little counterattack -- Mo, Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] I think and then Mo again in the box, clear penalty," Klopp told the Liverpool website. "We finished it off, which is good."
    Salah enjoyed a stunning first season with Liverpool, winning the Premier League golden boot with 32 goals and taking the Reds to the Champions League final.
    The newly crowned African Footballer of the Year has found his scoring boots after a slow start to this season, bagging 14 goals in the last 18 games. He's also contributed seven assists.
    "It was a brilliant situation," said Klopp, reflecting on the game's decisive moment.
    "It makes sense for a striker to go dribbling in the box because it's difficult for the defender to defend it clear. He was in a brilliant position in that moment -- if he could shoot, for sure it was a big chance as well."
    Mo Salah scored his 14th league goal of the season in the win over Brighton.

    Record-breaking season

    If Liverpool do win the Premier League it would be the club's first league title for 29 years.
    "On good days, everybody can win football games," added Klopp. "On an average day, not a lot of teams can win football games. On a bad day, only a few can win football games. Today was not a bad day but it was a difficult day for us."
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    So can Liverpool go on and win that elusive Premier League title?
    "No team has ever not won the league from where Livepool currently are," said Brundish. "But we have three record-breaking teams now -- Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham. This season is going to be record breaking.
      "Every week Liverpool has to win. I believe two teams will get 90 points this season which has never happened before.
      "The odds would suggest Liverpool ... but I would suggest City are the favorites because they have such a massive squad."