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2017/2018 English Premier League
  • Sadio ManĂ© (17')
  • Mohamed Salah (77', 83')

Mohamed Salah scores double off bench as Liverpool win at Stoke

Substitute Mohamed Salah's purple patch continued with two more goals as Liverpool ground out a controversial 3-0 win at Stoke.

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was lucky to stay on the pitch with the score at 1-0 after a wild hack at Mame Diouf but referee Martin Atkinson infuriated Potters manager Mark Hughes and his players by only issuing a yellow card.

The official had already angered the hosts with Sadio Mane's opener, with defenders arguing the ball had gone out of play in the build-up, but there was no doubt about Salah's two late strikes which took him to 17 for the season.

Salah now has 12 in the Premier League, two ahead of Tottenham's Harry Kane, so it was something of a surprise to see him start on the bench.

It was one of a number of changes by Reds boss Jurgen Klopp who also left out playmaker Philippe Coutinho and captain Jordan Henderson and gave Dominic Solanke his first league start as he switched to a 4-4-2.

The opening 17 minutes of humdrum football provided no warning of the controversy which was to litter the second part of the first half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain released Joe Gomez on the right who ran the ball right to the line before crossing and Stoke were still appealing for it going over the byline as Mane's impudently dinked the ball over Lee Grant from Solanke's nudge through.

That sense of injustice, even though replays suggested the whole of the ball had not gone out, raised the temperature on a bitterly cold night in the Potteries.

The goal prompted Hughes to abandon his 5-4-1 and push right wing-back Diouf up alongside Peter Crouch.

But, after Georginio Wijnaldum blocked a Darren Fletcher piledriver, the hosts had an even greater grievance as captain-for-the-night Simon Mignolet swung a leg at Diouf on the edge of the area.

Stoke wanted a red card shown to the goalkeeper but Atkinson opted for yellow and Xherdan Shaqiri's free-kick was deflected wide.

It signalled five minutes of panic in Liverpool's penalty area but that could have been eased had Mane not hit the post having beaten Grant after being put through by Solanke, who had wasted a similar chance seconds before Mignolet's rush of blood.

Joe Allen's deflected shot ensured the nerves kept jangling early in the second half with the former Liverpool midfielder later blazing over Crouch's knockdown.

They were to rue those misses as with 14 minutes to go Mane's magic worked him enough space on the byline to stand up a cross to the far post where substitute Salah volleyed home.

The Egypt international made sure of victory by capitalising on a fumble by Erik Pieters to slot home seven minutes from time.

Stoke's luck was summed up in added time when Diouf hit the crossbar and with the rebound, with Crouch offside, the Senegalese man ballooned over.

English Premier League Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Manchester City 18 +44 52
2 Manchester United 17 +26 38
3 Chelsea 18 +18 38
4 Arsenal 18 +11 33
5 Burnley 18 +4 32
6 Liverpool 17 +14 31
7 Tottenham Hotspur 18 +13 31
8 Leicester City 18 +1 26
9 Watford 18 -6 22
10 Everton 17 -8 22
11 Huddersfield Town 18 -14 21
12 Southampton 18 -7 18
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 18 -9 18
14 Crystal Palace 18 -13 17
15 West Ham United 18 -15 17
16 AFC Bournemouth 17 -5 16
17 Stoke City 18 -20 16
18 Newcastle United 18 -11 15
19 West Bromwich Albion 17 -10 14
20 Swansea City 17 -13 12

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