Premier League hits and misses: Mohamed Salah’s struggle sums up Liverpool’s shock defeat to Leicester

Salah has uncommon off-day as Liverpool surprised

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s win towards Liverpool

Leicester had conceded 26 targets of their final 9 video games whereas Liverpool had scored at the least as soon as of their final 34.

So when Mohamed Salah stepped up to take an early penalty he himself had gained, it appeared the script for a recreation which pitted the Premier League’s most prolific assault towards one among its extra porous – and injury-hit – defences was already written.

But Salah, the Premier League’s high scorer and a person who had transformed his final 15 consecutive spot-kicks within the competitors, as a substitute noticed his uncharacteristically tame effort repelled by Kasper Schmeichel earlier than heading the rebound towards the crossbar.

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Leicester harnessed the facility of that second, holding agency towards sustained Liverpool stress earlier than substitute Ademola Lookman’s second-half winner, whereas on the opposite aspect Salah wilted.

The Egyptian has been irrepressible all season however his penalty miss knocked him off his stride on the King Power Stadium. In the primary half, sloppy touches crept into his recreation. In the second, there have been over-hit passes and misdirected efforts on objective.

Salah, who will quickly be a part of up together with his nation for the African Cup of Nations, was not the one one to spurn alternatives. Sadio Mane missed a gilt-edged one-on-one probability. Diogo Jota headed vast when he ought to have hit the goal. But it was Salah’s struggles that finest summed up Liverpool’s night time.

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The defeat leaves Jurgen Klopp’s aspect six factors behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, who had put six targets previous the identical opponent solely 48 hours earlier on the Etihad Stadium.

It appeared Liverpool may rack up the same whole towards Leicester’s makeshift defence when Salah began his run-up. At that second, nonetheless, the script was torn up and a brand new one was written.
Nick Wright

Vlasic exhibits he may help West Ham

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Ham’s win at Watford

West Ham had been already effectively on their approach to victory when Nikola Vlasic added their fourth objective towards Watford at Vicarage Road however the Hammers will hope it’s a important second for him.

The Croatian worldwide has made solely a modest affect since his arrival at West Ham from CSKA Moscow in a deal value £33.5m final summer time however maybe his first objective for the membership is a sign of larger issues to come within the second half of the marketing campaign.

  • Watford 1-4 West Ham – Match report and highlights
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Vlasic has had to be affected person. The ahead, who had a spell at Everton in 2017/18, has solely made two Premier League begins for the Hammers thus far however followers have been inspired by what they’ve seen lately and he definitely made his mark at Vicarage Road, turning residence Jarrod Bowen’s cut-back in stoppage time following his Eighty fifth-minute introduction.

Bowen’s glowing type is without doubt one of the the reason why Vlasic has struggled to maintain down a spot in David Moyes’s beginning line-up. But West Ham face a gruelling schedule as they juggle home and European commitments within the months forward. Their squad depth will likely be examined.

Vlasic seems prepared to step up. With a bedding-in interval behind him and lastly off the mark together with his first objective, the 24-year-old may show a difference-maker as West Ham intention to end the season as strongly as they’ve began it.
Nick Wright

Spurs’ European exit might be blessing in disguise

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton’s draw with Tottenham

The normal consensus was that Antonio Conte had wasted little time in remodeling Tottenham, and at St Mary’s he prolonged his unbeaten begin to his newest position to seven league video games, turning into the primary Spurs supervisor ever to obtain that feat.

But it was additionally questioned how Spurs would look within the Premier League away from residence underneath the Italian given {that a} quirk of their current spate of three postponed matches due to Covid circumstances had worn out their final three street journeys.

A complete of 51 days separated this go to to the south coast with their final home jaunt on November 7 at Everton, and there was a sluggishness to their play as they deservedly fell behind to James Ward-Prowse’s third objective in as many video games.

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Tottenham solely sparked into life after Southampton had been lowered to 10 males. Harry Kane scored his eleventh objective in as many video games towards Saints and he thought he had accomplished the turnaround solely to be fractionally denied by VAR.

In all, Spurs had 22 makes an attempt with three targets accurately chalked off however they lacked conviction as two factors slipped away.

The vocal celebrations for Southampton followers on the last whistle instructed the story as they might mirror on 4 factors from two video games towards Champions League contenders within the area of 48 hours.

When requested about his aspect’s failure to make the most of their numerical benefit for the most effective a part of an hour, Conte mentioned: “For sure, it’s a missed opportunity and you have to try to exploit this situation to try to get three points.

“We knew very effectively to play Southampton at this stadium is just not straightforward. At one level within the recreation, a draw would’ve been a constructive for us however we felt the fatigue and our thoughts wasn’t very clear to do the most effective of the conditions.”

Spurs might be beginning to really feel the pinch, and their elimination from the Europa Conference League after Uefa dominated they forfeited their last match towards Rennes may but show a blessing in disguise.

Steven Bergwijn sustained a calf harm within the recreation towards Crystal Palace, to go along with Giovani Lo Celso lacking out having executed the identical warming down having not featured on Boxing Day. It is an illustration of the excessive depth Conte desires from his gamers at a time when video games are unrelenting and muscular accidents are rife.

Conte knew he had to handle his gamers’ minutes, however with six extra video games coming up in January – three towards Chelsea – he’ll want his total squad obtainable and firing to hold the momentum behind his transformative affect.
Ben Grounds

Crystal Palace turning Selhurst Park right into a fortress

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Crystal Palace’s win over Norwich

There would have been a number of nervous seems between Crystal Palace followers when Tuesday’s workforce information got here out. They had been already with out talisman Wilfried Zaha to suspension, whereas supervisor Patrick Vieira was isolating due to Covid.

Then, Conor Gallagher was additionally disregarded of the matchday squad, though the rationale stays unknown. Three of the keys to their success this season wouldn’t be in attendance with a 3-0 defeat at Tottenham contemporary within the reminiscence.

But maybe their largest device this season has been Selhurst Park itself. It has at all times been a floor famend for its environment, with the Holmesdale End the epicentre.

  • Crystal Palace 3-0 Norwich – Match report and highlights
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And underneath Vieira, Crystal Palace have misplaced simply as soon as and scored 18 targets of their 10 Premier League residence video games this season (17 factors), after shedding 5 and scoring simply 9 instances within the 10 earlier than that (11 factors).

But maybe some of the pleasing issues in regards to the victory towards Norwich would have been finishing it with out their star gamers, significantly Zaha. Crystal Palace had gained simply 3 times of their earlier 24 video games with out the ahead. Now, they’ll notch that up to 4.

Admittedly, Crystal Palace didn’t play their finest recreation of the season, however did punish a sloppy Norwich with their three first-half pictures heading in the right direction. It was a recreation they might have anticipated to win and they noticed out the sport with self-discipline within the second half.

It sees Crystal Palace within the high half of the desk going into 2022. They are simply 5 factors off Manchester United in seventh and, say it quietly, may they push for a Europa Conference League spot subsequent season?

It can be some achievement in the event that they did, however for now, there are many positives to take heading into 2022.
Charlotte Marsh

Norwich’s squad decimated on the worst potential time

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Dean Smith says Norwich City’s 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace ‘hurts’ however harassed his squad has been ‘decimated’ throughout current weeks, by way of harm and Covid

When he arrived at Norwich, Dean Smith mentioned he was happy with the form of his squad as they confronted an uphill battle to keep away from Premier League relegation.

However, in the previous few weeks, he has seen his aspect taken down to the naked bones with accidents and sickness. On Monday alone, Todd Cantwell, Teemu Pukki and Max Aarons grew to become unavailable. Dimitris Giannoulis got here off at half-time with a knock, whereas captain Grant Hanley and No 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul additionally sidelined.

The record retains on going and Smith was pressured into six modifications for the journey to Selhurst Park. No one in his matchday 18 had scored a Premier League objective this season and in December, they’ve misplaced 5 successive video games with out scoring a objective.

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And but, Norwich did take a look at their opponents, significantly within the second half. But a string of errors within the first half sealed their destiny and fairly merely, they didn’t have the standard to discover a approach again into the sport.

“What we had when I first came in, I was quietly optimistic, but it’s been decimated at the moment and that’s where we were today… We’re lacking a lot of leaders in our group who unfortunately at the moment are injured or ill,” Smith mentioned after the sport.

“I said to the players at half-time, you need to go out and show some character and pride in the second half. I didn’t think the first half was a 3-0 first half, it was just the manner of goals that were disappointing and unfortunately, the result is the only thing people will talk about.”

Their intensive record of absentees couldn’t come at a worse time. Christmas is at all times the busiest time of the season – together with two video games in 48 hours, a schedule about which Smith has been a public critic of – and they discover themselves three factors adrift of security on the backside of the desk, having performed probably the most video games of the groups round them.

With every passing recreation, it’s trying an even bigger and larger job for Norwich to keep within the Premier League.
Charlotte Marsh

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