Liverpool kept their first home clean sheet of the Premier League season in a 2-0 win over Watford as Mohamed Salah's double rescued the off-key Reds.

The manner in which Jurgen Klopp's men can win when out of sorts must be hard to swallow for second-placed Leicester, who drew 1-1 at home to Norwich City, and third-placed Manchester City, who travel to Arsenal on Sunday.

Chelsea failed to put pressure on the top three as they succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, but Sheffield United moved up to fifth after brushing Aston Villa aside in a 2-0 win.

Chris Wood's goal was enough to bring Burnley's three-match losing streak to an end and condemn Newcastle United to a first defeat in four league outings.

 

Watford make Reds work for 16th straight home win

New manager Nigel Pearson left Anfield with every reason to be proud of his Watford side's performance on an afternoon when the Hornets had enough chances to claim a shock victory against the Premier League leaders.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue were guilty of wasteful finishing that let Liverpool off the hook and Salah made Watford pay in spectacular style.

The Egypt international curled a spectacular opener into the top corner after 38 minutes and then wrapped up a hard-fought win with a cheeky tap-in in the last minute.

The satisfaction Jurgen Klopp took from an ugly win was dulled by an injury to Georginio Wijnaldum, who suffered a muscle strain that looks set to rule him out of Liverpool's trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup.

Liverpool have now won 16 straight home Premier League games, with their lead up to 10 points.

Four defeats in five for Lampard's Blues

Bournemouth arrived at Stamford Bridge in the midst of a five-game Premier League losing streak but emerged with all three points after Dan Gosling's late goal clinched a surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea.

Any hopes the Blues had of a return to strong domestic form following their 2-1 midweek victory over Lille began to fade as chances went begging while Bournemouth grew in confidence.

As the Cherries piled forward, Jefferson Lerma's looping header into the box six minutes from time found Gosling unmarked and he lifted the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga and over the line.

Chelsea had 18 shots at goal throughout the match but failed to force an equaliser and Frank Lampard's men trudged off the field with a record of one win and four defeats in their last five Premier League outings.

Foxes come up short as winning streak ends

Teemu Pukki's third goal in four Premier League matches gave Norwich City the lead at King Power Stadium, where Leicester City's eight-match Premier League winning streak came grinding to a halt.

The Finland international fired Norwich ahead after 26 minutes, but their advantage did not last long, with Tim Krul palming Jamie Vardy's header into his own net seven minutes before half-time.

Daniel Farke's Norwich fought hard for their share of the points in a second half that saw Leicester heap pressure on their goal, attempting 12 shots on goal.

Ben Chilwell's cross forced a late corner from which substitute Harvey Barnes fired agonisingly wide for the hosts, who remain second in the table.

Blades up to fifth after victory over Villa

Any doubts over which of this season's promoted sides has the best chance of a top-half finish appeared to be resolved at Bramall Lane, where Fleck scored both of Sheffield United's goals in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

Chris Wilder's men have proved themselves extremely tough to beat and Villa's hopes of inflicting what would have been only United's second defeat in 10 league games suffered a blow when Scotland international Fleck finished a neat passing move with a goal after 50 minutes.

Fleck coolly slotted home his second 23 minutes later before Jack Grealish hit the crossbar with a penalty, leaving Villa winless in four Premier League matches and in trouble towards the foot of the table.

Jurgen Klopp said Georginio Wijnaldum missing Liverpool's Club World Cup bid was "the more likely scenario" after the midfielder sustained a hamstring injury against Watford.

Wijnaldum left the field after just under an hour of Liverpool's 2-0 victory at Anfield, the fly in the ointment on an otherwise satisfactory afternoon's work for the Premier League leaders.

Klopp said that injuries are his side's major concern as they look to maintain their lead at the top of the table while negotiating a trip to Qatar during a packed December schedule.

"It looks like with each game you lose one player and that's not too cool," Klopp told BT Sport. "That's our main problem.

"The fixtures are like they are, we know that, but losing players in this type of situation is not cool. We'll deal with it but it makes life not easy."

Asked whether Wijnaldum had a chance of travelling to Qatar with the squad on Sunday, Klopp said: "I have no idea. Today we'll make an assessment and make a decision.

"If he cannot train and has to do rehab then he'll stay here and that's the more likely scenario at the moment."

Despite having to cope without the injured Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Fabinho, Klopp dismissed the suggestion that fatigue is currently an issue for Liverpool.

The Reds' performance against Watford was at times disjointed and only poor finishing prevented the Hornets from taking a first-half lead.

But Klopp praised his side's response and the performance of goalkeeper Alisson, saying: "The most important thing you have to show in this period of the season is resilience. The boys were ready for a big fight.

"They [Watford] had a completely new set-up and did really well. They had their chances.

"Could the game have been easier for us? Of course, if we keep the ball smarter and move passes around.

"The boys are not tired but it's intense to be constantly in charge of a game. We have to defend at some moments with passion instead of organisation because that was not always perfect, but when we did let them in Ali [Alisson] was there."

In a week of deliberation over who might lead the country, English football remains in little doubt over its elect group of players.

But while many feel the current Liverpool side is born to rule, they were asked some tricky questions by a Watford team recently revived by a change of leadership.

There was a high turnout but no landslide victory against Watford at Anfield, where the Reds chalked up their 16th consecutive Premier League home win by a 2-0 scoreline thanks to Mohamed Salah's double.

And while their seat at the top of the table looks safe, canvass for opinion around Merseyside and you will find even the most dyed-in-the-wool Reds reluctant to suggest the balance of power has swung decisively in their favour.

But six more home league wins in a row would see Jurgen Klopp's men eclipse the all-time record streak of 21 set by Bill Shankly's title-winning team of 1972-73, who saw governance of the top flight as their birthright.

For a home crowd watching a team guaranteed to be top of the Premier League table at Christmas, Anfield was strangely subdued during the opening exchanges between Klopp's rotated side and visitors Watford.

New boss Nigel Pearson looked to have assembled a strong opposition during a cagey opening spell that saw the incumbent leaders fail to muster a shot on goal for 22 minutes - the longest wait for a Reds attempt in a home league game since October 2016 against Manchester United.

Pearson could hardly be accused of the kind of negative campaigning Jose Mourinho so often employed during his time at United, with Watford offering a more incisive threat in the opening half-hour thanks to the positive endeavours of Will Hughes and Gerard Deulofeu.

With Andy Robertson on the bench, Liverpool looked momentarily vulnerable at left-back when Etienne Capoue skipped beyond stand-in James Milner before teeing up Abdoulaye Doucoure for a wasteful miss that was punished at the other end just 58 seconds later.

Roberto Firmino's overhead kick launched Sadio Mane down the Liverpool left and he in turn released Mohamed Salah, who fooled Kiko Femenia before nonchalantly curling home with his right foot.

It was not the first time Liverpool's Egyptian king has lorded it over Watford, and a last-minute tap-in means Salah has eight goals and one assist in five Premier League appearances against the Hornets.

But Klopp's cabinet includes many inspirational leaders. Some credit for this win must also go to Mane, so often the player who helps lay the foundations upon which Salah excels.

Mane has set up four goals against Watford in the Premier League, more than he has managed against any other side in the top tier. All four of those assists have been for Salah, too.

Klopp will hope Mane makes a habit of teeing up goals during the busy weeks ahead; the Senegal international has three assists in his past two Premier League games, as many as he managed in his previous 56 appearances.

Clean sheets also help – Klopp will certainly vote for shut-outs to become another long-running trend.

James Milner hailed Liverpool's battling qualities after they maintained their remarkable Premier League form with a scrappy 2-0 win over rock-bottom Watford.

Two goals from Mohamed Salah earned a 16th win in 17 league games for the runaway leaders at a windy Anfield, but Liverpool certainly did not have things all their own way as their struggling opponents offered a consistent threat on the counter-attack.

In their first game under new head coach Nigel Pearson, Watford were guilty of two awful misses - from Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr - either side of Salah's first-half opener and the visitors remained in the contest until the Egypt international struck again in the final minute of normal time.

"They were always going to be up for it, a new manager coming in. We know what Nige is like as well," Milner told BT Sport. "They're having a bad time but we knew it would be tough and it proved to be that."

Asked about the breezy conditions, Milner, who followed manager Jurgen Klopp in signing a contract extension on Friday, added:  "It's not nice, obviously. It affects everything, the touch, the longer passes, crosses, but you have to deal with it. It's the same for both teams and sometimes you've just got to scrap it out.

"It can't always be pretty and nice football, and that's an important result, to get those three points in the way we did, battling it out."

Salah's first goal came 58 seconds after Doucoure had mis-kicked at the other end with a clear sight of goal, the Liverpool forward cutting in from the left following a slick break and beating Ben Foster with a glorious curling finish.

"I've been practicing with my right foot," said a smiling Salah, who went on to seal victory with a cute flick from Divock Origi's scuffed shot.

"We played against a tough team today. I think they should be better positioned than what they are. Hopefully we keep on winning in the next few games."

Salah's late second quelled any nerves among the home fans and he added: "I think now we have more experience. We've played together for three or four years, so we know when we can make the game calm, when we can make it fast.

"Sometimes the crowd, they get panicky a little bit, but we have experience. We have won a few games 1-0 so it's fine."

 

Liverpool made hard work of beating rock-bottom Watford 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday and also suffered another injury blow as Georginio Wijnaldum limped off ahead his side's Club World Cup trip.

A day on from manager Jurgen Klopp signing a contract extension to 2024, the runaway leaders were well below their brilliant best but nevertheless claimed victory through two goals from Mohamed Salah, the second coming in the 90th minute.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ismaila Sarr were guilty of horrible misses for Watford either side of Salah's first strike seven minutes before half-time and there were several other presentable chances for Watford in their first game under Nigel Pearson.

However, Liverpool - who also had a goal ruled out by VAR - ultimately did enough to claim victory and will now hope for a positive update on Wijnaldum as they prepare for a Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Liverpool's previous three home games against Watford had yielded an aggregate score of 16-1, but this was certainly no cakewalk.

Despite having less than 30 per cent possession in the first period, Watford regularly threatened on the counter-attack, enjoying success down the flanks.

However, both Doucoure and Sarr mis-kicked horribly when given clear sights of goal in the Liverpool box and the first of those misses was punished inside 58 seconds as the hosts scored from their only shot on target prior to half-time.

An incisive Liverpool break ended with Salah latching on to Sadio Mane's pass into the left channel, before cutting inside Kiko Femenia all too easily and curling a gorgeous finish beyond Ben Foster into the top right-hand corner.

Watford continued to look dangerous after the break and Alisson was forced into stops from Sarr and Gerard Deulofeu either side of Mane seeing a 50th-minute goal ruled out for offside following a VAR review.

A lack of quality in the final third was prevalent thereafter, with Roberto Firmino particularly sloppy, but Liverpool – now 11 points clear at the top of the table ahead of Leicester City's clash with Norwich City - eventually added a second as Salah flicked home a scuffed shot from substitute Divock Origi.

What does it mean? Ugly win no problem amid hectic schedule

Liverpool may not have been particularly impressive, but Klopp is unlikely to mind one bit. December is an intense month for the league leaders and securing another win - their 16th from 17 league games - was essentially all that matters.

Deulofeu's efforts go unrewarded

So much of Watford's best play came down the flanks, with Deulofeu particularly influential. The tricky winger should have crowned an impressive performance with a second-half goal, but failed to beat Alisson after being put through one-on-one.

Sarr has a shocker

If Doucoure's spurned chance was clumsy, the midfielder failing to make clean contact when unmarked by the penalty spot, Sarr's subsequent mis-kick was a real shocker. Alisson palmed a Deulofeu cross straight into the winger's path, but Sarr almost missed the ball completely having had time to settle himself. The effort summed up Sarr's general lack of quality in the final third as he wasted a host of promising opportunities.

What's next?

Liverpool's senior squad now head to the Club World Cup in Qatar as their youngsters face Aston Villa in the EFL Cup. The Reds' next Premier League meeting is a tantalising Boxing Day clash at second-placed Leicester, while Watford host Manchester United next Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp conceded he had "no idea" how Mohamed Salah managed to score Liverpool's second goal in the 2-0 Champions League win over Salzburg.

The holders booked their place in the last 16 as Group E winners courtesy of Tuesday's battling victory in Austria, Naby Keita and Salah scoring in the space of 100 second-half seconds.

Salah's right-footed effort after rounding goalkeeper Cican Stankovic came from an extremely tight angle as the Egypt international netted for the second straight game.

Asked how Salah had managed to do it, Klopp said to BT Sport: "I have no idea! No idea. 

"To be honest with his quality, with how he well did in one of or two of the other situations, I have no clue [with those] as well. Just great, that's how it is.

"In a perfect night everyone can score goals especially with the quality of the boys. But when it looks like, 'It's not my night' and then staying on track and scoring, that is the big thing in football.

"When we had the ball and when we played calm we were immediately in front of their goal and we had sitters, pretty much. 

"But we didn't score these situations. Then we scored a wonderful goal [through Keita] and then Mo, with the most difficult situation of the whole night, he scores that goal, so all good. That is what a striker has to do.

"There were so many sensational performances and showing this kind of great attitude again, I'm really happy."

Klopp was impressed by Salzburg and thought his players had been given a stern examination, even if they could have ended up scoring many more.

The German added: "I could not have more respect for what Salzburg did here - what a team, what an effort, it was really a tough game, a tricky one.

"They started so direct, all the little things they worked for, they did so many smart things.

"But the really big chances we had obviously. They did a lot of things but we were there, we were ready to defend it. You cannot always defend it in the first moment but then we did in the last line. We had to put a proper shift in.

"It was just a very intense game and second half they [Salzburg] obviously couldn't cope with the intensity after the first half. We then scored the two goals, wonderful goals.

"In a game like this we could have scored six, seven goals which is crazy. But it's completely okay that we didn't do it - we won the game, won the group, all good."

Liverpool have won four consecutive matches in all competitions and have not been beaten since their loss in this group to Napoli back on September 17.

Liverpool are "greedy for more" after advancing to the last 16 of the Champions League as Group E winners by beating Salzburg 2-0 on Tuesday, said Andy Robertson.

Two second-half goals in the space of 100 seconds from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah ensured the holders finished ahead of Napoli, who beat Genk 4-0, in their section.

Keita headed home following a brilliant run and cutback from Sadio Mane, while Salah slotted home from an acute angle at the edge of the box after rounding Cican Stankovic.

"Of course, we're greedy for more. We've got people saying we've struggled through and we've got four more points than we did last year," Robertson told BT Sport.

"Top of the group and now we go on to the last 16. We know what we can do there and it's all about us doing it on the big stage and we've proven over the past two years we can do it and we'll hopefully do it again.

"We knew they were trying to make history for their club - they've never been in the last 16. They feel they're a Champions League team and they're very confident in that. It was all about coming here and riding that wave.

"We had the biggest chances in the first 45, so it was up to us to be a bit more clinical. We knew if we kept going that chances would come and, luckily, we put them away, and then the lads defending as a whole team to keep a clean sheet when you need to is so important."

On Salah's goal, he added: "It was probably his toughest chance of the game. Mo had a couple of great chances and they [Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino] put so much pressure on themselves to score goals and stuff.

"It was a ridiculous goal, to be fair. I didn't know how it got in from there - a fantastic finish on his weaker foot."

The opening goal was created and scored by former Salzburg players in Mane and Keita, and the Senegalese forward sympathised with his former club.

"It was a really tough game today, but we expected that. We created many chances in the second half and Naby scored a wonderful goal, so I'm happy for him against his former club. We deserved to win tonight and we are happy," said Mane.

"It's always nice to come back here because it's where it all started for me. I'm really grateful to the club, the fans and the people here. Sorry guys, but it's football, we have to do it and that's it!"

Liverpool overcame a thorough examination from Salzburg to prevail 2-0 in Austria and book their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp's men needed to avoid defeat to be sure of continuing their European title defence – something that looked far from assured in a high-octane first half, where there were openings at both ends.

Naby Keita made the 57th-minute breakthrough before Mohamed Salah added a wonderful second 100 seconds later, although goalkeeper Cican Stankovic will rue his part in both goals

Highly-rated Salzburg striker Erling Haaland was unable to add to his eight Champions League goals this season, but few Europa League opponents will relish facing him and his relentless team-mates when they drop down after the turn of the year.

Stankovic was forced into a save from Salah when the Liverpool forward beautifully brought down Dejan Lovren's raking ball, but Salzburg made much of the running in a frenetic opening.

Hwang Hee-chan and Takumi Minamino's invention and clever movement was causing the Reds problems and Alisson made a brilliant double save in the seventh minute to deny each man from close range.

Haaland's pursuit of a goal in every Champions League group game ran into Alisson in the 24th minute after he sprung onto a Minamino pass behind Lovren.

Salah dragged woefully wide of the near post and Stankovic stood firm when the Egypt star played Keita through in first-half stoppage time.

Haaland blasted a promising chance into the side netting and Salzburg would rue their marksman's unusual wastefulness as they conceded twice in quick succession before the hour.

Stankovic had charged out boldly to check Salah near the edge of his box shortly after the restart but was too ambitious when Sadio Mane rounded him down the left channel and crossed for Keita to head in.

Salah then danced around the over-zealous Austria international but still had plenty to do – the finish from a tight angle on his weaker right foot was sublime.  

Roberto Firmino, Salah and Mane all went close to a third goal during the closing stages as Salzburg's exertions took a clear toll.

Liverpool maintained their charge for a first Premier League title with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth, keeping just a third top-flight clean sheet of the season in the process.

The Reds remain eight points ahead of Leicester City, who saw off Aston Villa 4-1 to make it eight league victories in a row – their best winning run in their top-flight history.

But defending champions Manchester City are now 14 points adrift of top spot after tasting defeat in their derby showdown with a rejuvenated Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho made it three league wins out of four as Tottenham thrashed Burnley to close to within six points of fourth-placed Chelsea, who lost 3-1 at Everton.

There were also wins for Newcastle United and Sheffield United, against Southampton and Norwich City respectively, while Watford played out a goalless draw with Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion took a point off Wolves.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's games.

DERBY DEFEAT LEAVES GUARDIOLA WITH LOWEST POINTS HAUL

Pep Guardiola admitted City could not cope with the pace of United's attacking trio of Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in Saturday's clash.

City fell two goals behind inside half an hour and, despite Nicolas Otamendi pulling one back late on, they fell to a defeat that surely ends their hopes of retaining the title.

The loss leaves the reigning champions with 32 points - the lowest return of Guardiola's managerial career after 16 matches.

Kyle Walker refused to wave the white flag, but no English top-flight side has ever gone on to win the title after being as many as 14 points behind the top side at the end of a day.

As for United, who beat Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday, they are now unbeaten in five Premier League games and have won back-to-back matches for the first time since March.

CLEAN SHEET BONUS FOR RUNAWAY REDS

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had extra reason to celebrate his side's win at Bournemouth, having kept a first clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions.

In fact, toothless Bournemouth - now beaten in five successive games for the first time in their top-flight history - managed zero shots on target at the Vitality Stadium.

Klopp's men have won 24 of their past 25 Premier League matches, including 15 out of 16 this term, and have scored two or more goals in 23 of those past 25 fixtures.

Naby Keita marked his first league start of the season with a goal and an assist, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah were also on target.

Salah's goal took him to 63 in 100 Premier League outings, with Alan Shearer (79), Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Sergio Aguero (64) the only players to score more in their first century of games.

SENSATIONAL SON INSPIRES MOURINHO'S FREE-SCORING MEN

Tottenham produced a five-star display in their emphatic triumph against Burnley, who suffered their joint-biggest margin of defeat in the Premier League.

Mourinho saw Tottenham score five goals in his fourth Premier League game in charge, something Manchester United failed to achieve in 93 league matches under the Portuguese.

Harry Kane bagged a brace, Lucas Moura scored a sitter and Moussa Sissoko netted for the second home game running, but it was Son Heung-min who stole the show.

Having earlier set up Kane's opener, Son ran from one box to the other and found the net to make it 15 goal involvements in 15 appearances at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Dele Alli may not have registered in the one-sided contest, though he provided two assists in a Premier League game for the third time and the first since December 2017.

VARDY CLOSING IN ON HIS OWN RECORD

Leicester appear to be the only side standing between Liverpool and a maiden Premier League title success after coming out on top in their Midlands tussle with Aston Villa.

Jamie Vardy helped himself to a couple of goals as the Foxes inflicted a heaviest home league defeat on Villa since they lost 4-0 to Chelsea in April 2016.

The 32-year-old became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League matches since Vardy himself did so in November 2015 when netting 11 in a row.

Only one player other than Vardy has scored in eight successive fixtures, in fact - Van Nistelrooy, who did so in 2002 and again in 2003 during his time at Manchester United.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans also registered at Villa Park for Leicester, who have won their past four away Premier League matches by an aggregate score of 17-1.

December: The month Liverpool's Premier League title bid is supposed to come off the tracks.

Yet here we are, seven advent calendar chocolates down, numerous Christmas parties already in the books, and Jurgen Klopp's Reds keep adding to their own Carry On series: Carry On Winning.

The 5-2 victory over Everton on Wednesday was their first of nine games in 26 days across the final month of the year. A festive schedule so packed it might rival the Radio Times' bumper Christmas edition.

How would a squad perceived to be weaker than rivals Manchester City's group cope with such a haul? One that includes two games in as many days, in countries 3,000 miles apart.

The early indications are they will be just fine.

Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri came in and scored three of Liverpool's five goals against Everton. Neither kept their place on Saturday as Klopp rolled the dice again by making seven changes.

Three of those who came in - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah - scored the goals in a 3-0 success over the Cherries, who have now lost their past five Premier League games against Liverpool by an aggregate score of 17-0.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, on target in the Premier League for the first time since January 2018, and Keita became the 15th and 16th outfield players to score for the Reds in the division this term. Liverpool have used just 19, including teenager Curtis Jones, who came on for his Premier League debut 14 minutes from time.

There was a time when Klopp would not have felt as comfortable making such wholesale changes.

Players like Dominic Solanke, who failed to impress for Bournemouth on Saturday, were simply not able to replicate the performances of the men ahead of them in the pecking order when they came in. It was why sustained title challenges never materialised. Now - with Liverpool ending the day 11 points clear - it feels different.

Even without the injured Joel Matip and Fabinho, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, top scorer Sadio Mane and Origi only in reserve to begin with, with Dejan Lovren coming off with a problem, Liverpool did not miss a beat.

The most impressive performer was Salah, which has not always been the case in 2019-20.

The Egyptian had scored just once since the end of October but appeared refreshed and revitalised having had Wednesday night off.

It was his delicious backheel assist that took out three Bournemouth players and teed up Keita for the second, with the roles then reversed for a game-sealing third after the break.

Of course, sterner tests than out-of-sorts Everton and Bournemouth lie in wait, including a crucial Champions League encounter with Salzburg on Tuesday and a top-of-the-table tussle at Leicester City on Boxing Day.

Yet this is a Liverpool side boasting greater strength in depth, one equipped for a flurry of festive fixtures across four competitions.

Surely only the grinches can confidently predict December will be Liverpool's undoing this time around?

Mohamed Salah made his 100th appearance in the Premier League against Bournemouth and marked the occasion with his 63rd goal.

The Liverpool forward netted his team's third in the 54th minute as the leaders recorded a 3-0 away victory on Saturday.

Salah, 27, has the fourth most goals of anyone in their first 100 Premier League games.

The competition's record goalscorer Alan Shearer is unsurprisingly at the top of the list with 79 strikes in his first century of matches.

Manchester United icon Ruud van Nistelrooy (68) and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero (64) are the other players just ahead of Salah, whose strike was his seventh top-flight goal of 2019-20.

It was also the first Premier League goal he has scored away from Anfield this season.

Naby Keita set Salah up, returning the favour after the Egypt international had earlier created his goal, which was Liverpool's second. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring as Jurgen Klopp's side stretched their unbeaten start to 16 matches.

Naby Keita scored on his first Premier League start of the season as Liverpool consolidated their position at the top of table with a comfortable 3-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had given Jurgen Klopp's side the lead with his league goal since January 2018 before Keita added a second just before half-time.

Mohamed Salah made it three shortly after the break, and the Reds kept a rare clean sheet, ending a run of 13 matches in all competitions without one.

Liverpool moved 11 points ahead of second-placed Leicester City, who play on Sunday, and 14 clear of champions Manchester City ahead of their derby clash with Manchester United later in the day.

After a low-key start, Bournemouth lost defender Nathan Ake to an apparent hamstring injury following a challenge on Salah just after the half-hour mark.

And Liverpool took full advantage moments later when captain Jordan Henderson lifted a high ball over the top of the reshuffled Bournemouth defence and Oxlade-Chamberlain cushioned a first-time finish past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

Liverpool suffered an injury setback of their own when Dejan Lovren departed clutching the back of his leg, but the Reds added a second goal on the stroke of half-time.

A superbly crafted team move culminated in Salah's backheel for Keita, who poked inside the right-hand post.

Liverpool then ended the game as a contest nine minutes into the second period when Jack Simpson lost possession to Keita, who returned the first-half favour and fed Salah to apply a cool finish.

Bournemouth's day got worse when leading marksman Callum Wilson limped limped off - also seemingly suffering with a hamstring problem - and Liverpool cruised through to full-time.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp left in-form duo Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench for Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

Mane made way as one of seven changes from the side that beat Everton 5-2 in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday.

Alexander-Arnold was left out of the starting line-up in a league game for the first time this season and replaced at right-back by Joe Gomez.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were both selected in attack as midfielder Naby Keita made his first Premier League start since April.

Goalkeeper Alisson returned to the team after serving a one-match suspension, while captain Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were also both restored to the side.

Mane and Alexander-Arnold were joined on the bench by midweek goal heroes Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Neither Georginio Wijnaldum nor Adam Lallana made the matchday squad, though, reportedly due to minor knocks.

Jurgen Klopp started with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench for Liverpool's derby clash with Everton at Anfield.

Liverpool headed into Wednesday's Merseyside showdown - the 234th meeting between the local rivals and the first of potentially nine matches for the Reds in December - eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Everton, meanwhile, were sitting 17th, and a defeat, combined with a Southampton victory over Norwich City, would see them drop into the relegation zone, with Marco Silva under huge pressure at Goodison Park.

Liverpool boss Klopp, however, opted to shuffle his pack, with Salah and Firmino, who have featured in 12 and 14 league games respectively this term, both starting as substitutes.

Sadio Mane retained his place, with Xherdan Shaqiri coming in for his first start of the season and Divock Origi leading Liverpool's line.

Liverpool made five changes in total, with James Milner and Adam Lallana coming in for midfielders Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Adrian replaced goalkeeper Alisson, suspended after receiving a red card in the 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

"One change we had to do in Adrian for Alisson, and the other four we wanted to do, just to respect the game, to respect the intensity of the game first and foremost," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"We did it because we can do it. I have to show the respect for the boys and I’ve said a lot of times how much I like the squad and now we have to use it. That's the line-up for today because we think the game will be really intense and for this you need kind of fresh legs and we try to bring them in."

Silva, meanwhile, stuck with the Everton side which started in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Leicester City.

Jurgen Klopp admits it is a "massive" blow to lose Fabinho until 2020 but insists Liverpool will find a way to cope without the midfielder.

The Reds confirmed on Friday that Fabinho suffered ankle ligament damage in the 1-1 Champions League draw with Napoli at Anfield and is unlikely to play again before the turn of the year.

The Brazil international is set to miss Premier League games against Brighton and Hove Albion, Everton, Bournemouth, Watford, Leicester City and Wolves, as well as the final Champions League group game away to RB Leipzig, the EFL Cup clash with Aston Villa and the Club World Cup.

Klopp accepts there is no ready-made replacement for a player of Fabinho's qualities, but the Liverpool manager has no doubts about the suitability of Jordan Henderson or Georginio Wijnaldum playing in the role.

"Oh yes. It's bad news. Nothing good to say about that," he told reporters when asked about the injury. "How long it will take [to recover], we're not sure 100 per cent but it looks pretty sure he will not be involved in the Christmas fixtures.

"We have solutions for the position. We can replace him. We've played good without him, but now it's important to get him doing the right things and get him back as soon as possible. Until then, we have to find solutions. We're not the only team with injured players. It's what we have to deal with now and we will.

"We watched the Napoli game from last year and Hendo played the position, Gini played the position already, Adam Lallana played the position, we can change system… Losing a player of the quality of Fabinho is massive, really bad, but we are not the only team in the Premier League with injuries.

"You want to push that moment as far as possible towards the end of the year because with two weeks out, you miss six games. But that's not the case, we can't change it and we have to find a solution. Will it be exactly like Fabinho? Of course not, because nobody is like the other one, but it will be a good one. We have to play football and win football games again.

"It's not that nobody is as good as him. It's different quality. Gini came on in that position and was brilliant. We just have to make it work. Fab couldn't have played all the games from now until March. It's not cool, but we're in contact with him. We think a lot about it – not in the case of 'oh my God, how can we deal with it?' – just in the case of 'let's do the right thing for Fab, let's do the right thing for the team'."

A strength of Liverpool's this season has been the number of goalscorers they have had across the team in the Premier League, with 13 outfield players having scored at least once in their opening 13 league games.

Klopp, though, is not concerned about who is on the scoresheet provided they can keep up their form against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

"It's not too long ago we spoke about how we rely so much on our front three. I couldn't care less who scores - I'm really happy when the ball is in the net," he said.

"Of course, it's good, but I still think we could have scored more goals, to be honest. It makes us a bit more unpredictable but it's nothing I really think about.

"What I think about at the moment is we play Brighton, with a very, very exciting development. Graham [Potter] is doing a really good job. That's our issue, not who scores. After that game, pretty much everybody has this kind of three games a week coming up now. Brighton had a full week to prepare, they are innovative and think a lot about football and they will come here to try to get the points. We have to be ready three days after a very intense game against Napoli."

As the fixture list piles up, Klopp confirmed he plans to speak with Mohamed Salah, with Egypt's Under-23 coach claiming to be keen to take the forward to the Olympics next year.

"I'm not prepared for that answer yet to be honest," Klopp said. "Too many things happened since I first heard about it. When I leave the press conference, the first thing I do is ask Mo. Maybe next press conference we can speak about it."

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