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Liverpool move up to 2nd place

Liverpool: Liverpool maintained Lille’s hopes for Premier League leaders Manchester City yesterday by beating Brentford 3-0 in Anfield to move up to second place. Fabinho, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino scored goals as the Reds dealt with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané without missing out at the Africa Cup of Nations. Victory raises Jurgen Klopp’s men within 11 points of the runaway leader, but they have the game in the city.

Liverpool couldn’t take advantage of the extra man for more than an hour as the first leg with Arsenal finished 0-0 in the league semifinals on Thursday and how to the rest of the month without two major goal sources. Raised concerns about what to do. However, the Brentford side, who hasn’t won the league match away from home since early October, never threatened to cause upset. As Curtis Jones and Oxlade Chamberlain were recalled to add creativity and dynamism to the midfield, Klopp made only two changes from Arsenal’s stalemate.

He got off to a bright start when Diogo Jota bowed, Trent Alexander-Arnold fired an off-target shot, and Alvaro Fernandez made a great save to deny Virgil van Dijk. However, the crowd was restless until Brentford bounced Alexander Arnold’s corner in the area and Fabinho headed for the back post. The bees drew 3 to 3 with Liverpool when the two teams last met in September.

But when Brian Mubuemo looked back at Joël Matip and shot in inches wide, the visitor created only one big chance to return to the game. Jota had to hit the post and score when he was too close to Fernandez one-on-one. But after Oxlade Chamberlain’s dive header turned Andy Robertson’s perfect cross into the bottom corner, the results were unquestionable. Brentford was their own downfall architect for a third goal as a pass from behind Fernandez was captured by Roberto Firmino and forced Minamino to a slot home from a short distance.

Home fans were able to relax for the last 15 minutes and had the opportunity to chant the name of former manager Rafael Benitez, who was dismissed by rival Everton yesterday. Toffees are at risk of being demoted after winning one of the 13 league games. In contrast, Brentford enjoyed a 10-point cushion in the bottom three of the first season on his 74-year top flight, but remains in 14th place.

Leeds defeated West Ham

Meanwhile, Jack Harrison achieved a hat-trick yesterday as Leeds defeated West Ham 3-2 to boost their bid for Premier League survival. Harrison pre-empted Leeds at London Stadium and re-netted after Jarrod Bowen’s equalizer. Harrison responded instantly when Pablo Fornals raised West Ham’s level in the second half and when the midfielder completed his treble. Marcelo Bielsa’s team achieved their second straight victory, nine points away from the relegation zone.

It was a sweet revenge for Leeds, who was knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round in West Ham just a week ago. West Ham won three league games in a row and four games in every tournament, but thanks to Harrison, their bid to finish in the top four was a big setback. David Moyes’ team remains in fourth place, but two points ahead of Arsenal, who has two games. Tottenham, on the other hand, is playing four extra games, four points behind.

Leeds scored only eight goals in nine away league games this season, but Bielsa’s men made a flying start and took the lead in the 10th minute. Adam Forshaw found Harrison in the West Ham region and made a great finish that didn’t give Lucash Fabianski a chance. Daniel James fired just above 25 yards as Leeds tried to build on Harrison’s second league goal this season.

Leeds’ ongoing injury crisis was highlighted by the presence of 15-year-old Archie Gray on the bench. When both Forshaw and Junior Firpo were evacuated for what looked like a hamstring problem halfway through, they suffered even more fitness misery. Craig Dawson should have taken advantage of Leeds’ latest forced remodeling, but West Ham defenders wasted a great opportunity from close range to wide corners.

The weaknesses of Leeds’ setpiece were revealed in the 34th minute when Bowen led West Ham’s equalizer from another corner. However, Harrison responded perfectly after three minutes. Luke Ayling pointed the ball at Harrison’s pass and bundled it home from close range. West Ham caught up with the tie in the 52nd minute when Michail Antonio found Fornals. Fornals lags behind Eyring and leads the clinical finish past Illan Meslier.

Benitez was dismissed

In another development, Rafael Benitez was dismissed as Everton’s manager yesterday after having been in charge of the struggling Premier League club for just 200 days. Benitez was an unpopular appointment last June after a long battle with Everton’s Merseyside rival Liverpool. The Spaniards suffered a 2-1 defeat at Norwich on Saturday with a disastrous result of nine losses in Everton’s final 13 league match.

“The Everton Football Club can confirm that Rafael Benitez has resigned as First Team Manager,” the club’s statement said. “Benites, who joined Everton in June 2021, soon left the club.” Updates on permanent exchanges will be made soon. “Former Everton forward Wayne Rooney is now second. Impressive as a tier derby manager and a favorite of bookmakers to replace Benitez. — AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/liverpool-move-up-to-second/ Liverpool move up to 2nd place

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