Salah and Van Dijk fire Liverpool four points clear at top of Premier League

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Liverpool moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League after Mohamed Salah inspired them to a deserved 2-0 win at Wolves.

The forward scored his 14th goal of the season before setting up Virgil Van Dijk’s clincher in the second half at Molineux.

Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten Reds, who have conceded just seven goals in 18 league games this season, will now top the table on Christmas Day regardless of Manchester City’s result against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

In eight of the last nine campaigns the team top at Christmas has won the league – except Liverpool in 2013.

Wolves had not lost in matches against Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal having also upset Chelsea at Molineux and will feel they deserved something.

It was a gutsy performance but Adama Traore wasted a fine opening while Romain Saiss was denied by Alisson Becker, who kept his 11th league clean sheet of the season.

Virgil Van Dijk
Virgil Van Dijk netted Liverpoool’s second goal at Wolves (Nick Potts/PA)

They forced the first early chances in a confident start despite precise and slick Liverpool dominating possession.

Fabinho gifted Traore the ball but the former Barcelona youngster could only shoot wide after four minutes.

Traore was again off target soon after and an excellent flowing Wolves move ended with Alisson fumbling Saiss’ low effort.

But the hosts were made to pay for any profligacy when Liverpool scored with their first shot on target after 18 minutes.

Salah’s deflected cross eventually found Fabinho and the midfielder swapped passes with Sadio Mane to find Salah who coolly flicked in with the outside of his boot from six yards.

It was hard on Wolves but they recovered well after Rui Patricio gathered James Milner’s drive.

The hosts began to press at pace and Alisson claimed Jonny’s skidding effort seven minutes before the break.

Liverpool had been sloppy at the back, Alisson getting lucky after he was almost robbed by Raul Jimenez, and Matt Doherty tested the goalkeeper as Wolves searched for a leveller.

On the balance of play the hosts were unfortunate to be behind having worried the high-flying visitors.

But Liverpool wrestled back control after the re-start with Salah and Milner firing over and Wolves losing a little momentum.

In front of the highest Molineux crowd since 1981 – 31, 358 – Wolves gave the Reds a scare but ultimately fell short after Van Dijk added a second with 20 minutes left.

Adam Lallana, on for the injured Naby Keita, was denied by a combination of Conor Coady and Patricio and from the resulting corner the Reds scored.

After being played short, Lallana’s deep cross was only half cleared to the lurking Salah and his ball in found Van Dijk who stuck out a leg to divert it past Patricio.

Morgan Gibbs-White should have pulled a goal back in the last minute but shot into the side-netting after Andrew Robertson’s mistake.

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