Liverpool moved just one point behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race after beating Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Second half goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino were enough to seal victory for Jurgen Klopp's men, who avoided some scares before taking control just before the hour.

Mohamed Salah started the game on the bench after picking up a slight foot injury in Saturday's 2-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, with Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz and Jota making up the Reds' forward line.

Mikel Arteta will be unhappy with the result but his side remain in fourth place, a point ahead of Manchester United with two games still in hand, while Liverpool are now breathing down City's neck at the top.

Virgil van Dijk had Aaron Ramsdale working early as he headed a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner towards goal, but the Arsenal goalkeeper was able to palm it away.

The Gunners had the better of the first half without really creating any chances, though Gabriel Martinelli in particular was troubling Liverpool down the hosts' left side.

Sadio Mane had the ball in the net early in the second half though it was ruled out for offside, before sloppy play from Thiago gave Martin Odegaard the chance to score, but Alisson made a fantastic save to deny the Norwegian.

Thiago made up for that mistake shortly after with a tremendous throughball for Jota, whose left-foot shot squirmed past Ramsdale at his near post to give the visitors a 54th-minute lead.

Klopp decided to make two changes immediately after with Jota and Luis Diaz coming off for Salah and Firmino, and it was the latter who doubled the lead just after the hour mark, with the Brazilian flicking an Andy Robertson cross into the net from close range.

What does it mean? Imperious Liverpool giving us a title race

If we're honest, most people thought it was over. Man City were 14 points clear at the top just a few weeks ago, albeit Liverpool had two games in hand at the time.

Now, after 29 games each, the Reds sit just a point behind Pep Guardiola's side, and will go top for at least a brief period if they avoid defeat to Watford at Anfield in their next league game.

Liverpool have now won their last nine Premier League games, scoring 23 goals and conceding just two in this run. Away from home, the Reds have only failed to win five of their 15 league trips this season (D3 L2).

Jota the slotter downs Gunners again

Some players have better records against some teams than others. Robbie Fowler had a great record against Arsenal, Roberto Firmino has a very good record against Arsenal, and Diogo Jota has an outstanding record against *checks notes*… Arsenal.

The Portugal international has scored six goals in last five appearances against the north London side in all competitions. Indeed, only Jamie Vardy (five) has netted as many goals at the Emirates Stadium as a visitor than Jota.

Arsenal's woeful Reds record continues

The hosts were more than a match for Liverpool in the first half, but just could not find that extra bit of quality to ensure the score matched their efforts, similarly to how they lost to Man City at home earlier in the season having played well.

Arsenal have now won just one of their last 19 meetings with Liverpool in all competitions (D8 L10), beating them 2-1 at home in July 2020 after Klopp's men had already been crowned champions.

What's next?

Arsenal travel to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday while it's FA Cup quarter-final action for Liverpool as they head to Nottingham Forest – who knocked the Gunners out in the third round – on Sunday.

Liverpool will monitor the fitness of Diogo Jota ahead of their EFL Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday, but Reds assistant manager Pep Ljinders confirmed Roberto Firmino is out of contention.

Jota and Firmino suffered knocks against Inter in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on February 16, and subsequently missed Premier League wins over Norwich City and Leeds United.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp conceded that the pair were both doubts for the final before the Leeds' game, in which fellow attackers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane netted two goals each.

Ljinders provided another update on the duo on Friday as he offered faint hope that Jota could play some part against Thomas Tuchel's men.

"Bobby [Firmino] we will have to see in the next two days, he's pushing himself really hard, but he will not be available for the final, to reach the squad," Ljinders said.
 
"We hope he will be back really soon because you all see and feel how important he is for our way of playing. [We are] happy that he's pushing himself, hopefully he's soon back.
 
"Jota, there has been so far no reaction on the things he did – the straight-line running, the little ball work he did, so that's a good sign. He isn't ruled out but it will still be a challenge."

The Reds will be hoping Jota can beat the clock to feature, given he could become only the second ever Liverpool player to score in each of the quarter-final, semi-final and final of the competition in a single season (replays included), after Kenny Dalglish in 1980-81.

Nevertheless, Klopp's side will be left in capable hands even without Jota, with new boy Luis Diaz, Salah and Mane to call upon in the frontline.

Mane has scored eight goals against Chelsea in all competitions, only netting more in his career in England against Crystal Palace (13), while Salah leads the Premier League scoring charts with 19 this term.

The Senegal international, however, is yet to score an EFL Cup goal for the Reds in three previous appearances for them in the competition, the most recent of which was against Chelsea in the 2018-19 third round.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has conceded injured forwards Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino will not be fit for the Premier League clash with Leeds United, and that both face a race against time to make Sunday's EFL Cup final against Chelsea.

Jota, whose tally of 12 league goals for the season is bettered only by Mohamed Salah among Liverpool players, suffered a knock in last week's Champions League win at Inter, while Firmino reported discomfort after the same fixture.

Both forwards sat out the Reds' 3-1 Premier League win over Norwich, with fellow attackers Salah, Sadio Mane, and Luis Diaz all finding the net.

Ahead of a week in which Liverpool can close the gap to Manchester City in the Premier League to just three points, before looking to lift their first domestic cup since 2012, Klopp was not hopeful about the pair's prospects.

"For tomorrow [Wednesday, against Leeds], no chance, and then [for] the final we will see", Klopp said. "It would be easy to say 'no' now, but we will see. 

"They are [pushing], but they were not on the training pitch [yet] so that's not a good sign. 

"We have to see what we can do with the boys in the next few days, and then make a decision later in the week."

Liverpool, who have only failed to score in one of their last 23 meetings with Leeds in all competitions, netting in each of their last 16 in a row since a goalless draw in April 1999, will go within three points of City if they beat the Whites at Anfield, but Klopp was keen to highlight Leeds' strengths before the contest.

"We saw all the faces of Leeds United on Sunday [in their 4-2 defeat to Manchester United]," he added.

"They are very brave and very exciting. Offensively, they go with everything they have. Defensively, you can cause them problems, but that is difficult as well, because of their man-marking all over the pitch.

"If you are not really up for the game, they will eat you."

Simone Inzaghi joked he was relieved Inter did not have to face Liverpool in every match after they suffered a late 2-0 loss in their Champions League encounter. 

The last-16 first leg at San Siro looked destined for a 0-0 draw but Roberto Firmino glanced home a header – the first effort on target of the match – in the 75th minute to put Liverpool in front. 

Mohamed Salah then marked his 50th Champions League appearance for the club with his 33rd goal for the Reds in the competition – only Cristiano Ronaldo (51 for Real Madrid) and Robert Lewandowski (36 for Bayern Munich) had managed more at the same point for a single team. 

Inter performed well until Firmino broke the deadlock. They looked more threatening and hit the crossbar through Hakan Calhanoglu in the first half. 

However, they were unable to stop Jurgen Klopp becoming just the eight coach to reach 50 wins in the Champions League, with Inzaghi pleased they do not have to lock horns too often. 

"We hope not to face Liverpool every game," Inzaghi told Amazon Prime. 

"I am happy and proud of the team. Unfortunately, during our best period of the game, we were not rewarded with the goal we deserved, then Liverpool scored at the first half-distraction we had. 

"We certainly deserved more, but this performance has to bode well for what is to come in the future. Liverpool are one of the two best teams in Europe in my view. We held out well and deserved more. 

"We know these evenings can be like this, but it has to give us a self-esteem boost because it was an excellent performance. 

"It's difficult to comment after a result like this, but it has to be a starting point for Inter at this level. I think this is the strongest opponent we've faced this season." 

Edin Dzeko, who had a goal correctly ruled out for offside in the 60th minute, also felt there were positives for Inter to take ahead of the second leg at Anfield on March 8. 

"We did well for 75 minutes, giving away very little to Liverpool. It's a shame to concede from a corner, where we are usually strong. But this is what happens with great teams; if you don't score, they'll punish you," said Dzeko. 

"Everyone gave their all for 90 minutes, but it wasn't enough. We come out of this defeat with our heads held high because we know we have given everything. 

"It's not a positive result for us, but first we have to focus on Serie A and then we'll see." 

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah struck late to put Liverpool in command of their Champions League tie with Inter thanks to a 2-0 win at San Siro. 

Inter looked the most dangerous of the two sides across the first hour, with Hakan Calhanoglu rattling the crossbar inside 16 minutes. 

However, after replacing Diogo Jota at half-time, substitute Firmino glanced an excellent header across goal to score with the game's first effort on target in the 75th minute. 

Salah doubled Liverpool's advantage eight minutes later with a deflected shot, leaving Inter with it all to do in the return leg of the last-16 showdown at Anfield on March 8. 

Jurgen Klopp's men had a chance to open the scoring in the 14th minute, but Sadio Mane was unable to keep his header from the edge of the six-yard box down. 

Inter went closer two minutes later, with Calhanoglu finding a pocket of space in the box before seeing his snapshot come back off the woodwork. 

Lautaro Martinez arrived just too late to turn in an Ivan Perisic cross as the hosts started the second half brightly, while Edin Dzeko saw a goal correctly disallowed for offside in the 60th minute. 

The introduction of Luis Diaz gave Liverpool fresh impetus, but it was Firmino who broke the deadlock with a fine header. 

Salah ensured the victory was beyond doubt when his shot squirmed over the line in the 83rd minute, putting a place in the quarter-finals firmly within Liverpool's reach. 

Jurgen Klopp stressed the need for Liverpool's attackers to step up in the absence of Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, ahead of their Premier League clash with Brentford at Anfield.

With Salah and Mane featuring at the Africa Cup of Nations, Klopp's side struggled to create clear-cut opportunities last time out, in a goalless draw with Arsenal in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

Following a six-game winning run in November and December, Liverpool are also winless in their last three Premier League games, throwing away a lead to draw two of those games.

Speaking ahead of Brentford's first trip to Anfield since March 1989, Klopp praised the contribution of Roberto Firmino, before calling for other players in his Reds squad to step up.

"He [Firmino] is a very smart player", Klopp said in a news conference. "His game is about using his team-mates in the way that he can use them.

"It's not just about being able to score goals in this way or that way.

"In one of our biggest games in recent history we played without Mo [a 7-0 win at Crystal Palace in December 2020, where Salah spent the first hour on the bench], and we won against Manchester United [a 5-0 victory earlier this season] without Mane.

"Now both are out, and that is not cool, but we don't think [of Firmino] 'you have to be like him or like him'". 

Salah and Mane have scored 24 Premier League goals between them this season, on par with their combined expected goals (xG).

Firmino, meanwhile, has only netted four league goals this campaign, with an October hat-trick against Watford representing his only Premier League strikes since the opening day.

Klopp was also asked about the role of versatile youngster Curtis Jones, who made a lively cameo from the bench in Liverpool's frustrating draw with the Gunners, and stressed the need for Jones to show greater consistency. 

"I had a long talk last week with Curtis," Klopp said. "I love the boy, I love the potential he has, but we have to make sure he makes those next steps, and fulfils that potential on the pitch.

"You have these kinds of conversations when you are not 100 per cent happy with a player in that moment. We have to find a way for him to show this [potential] much more often."

Jones provided just one goal and two assists in 24 league appearances last season, featuring regularly as Liverpool battled an injury crisis, and Klopp highlighted the need for the midfielder to contribute in the absence of the side's bigger names.

"It's an ongoing process between Curtis and me. We've had a tricky period, especially with Covid, which is not helpful, but now we'll try to make sure he can show how good he can be," Klopp added.

Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip will all miss Liverpool's trip to Chelsea on Sunday after they returned positive COVID-19 tests ahead of the clash at Stamford Bridge.

It follows the announcement on Saturday that manager Jurgen Klopp will also be absent from the game for the same reason.

The Reds are already without Thiago, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Nat Phillips and Harvey Elliott with injuries, while Andrew Robertson misses the game through suspension.

Caoimhin Kelleher replaces Alisson in goal, with the Ireland international set to make just his fourth Premier League appearance, while Ibrahima Konate comes in for Matip and Diogo Jota continues up front with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who both play their last Premier League game before heading off for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are without Romelu Lukaku after the Belgian striker was dropped for recent comments in the media that displeased his boss Thomas Tuchel.

Thiago Silva and N'Golo Kante come back into the side after neither started the 1-1 draw with Brighton on Wednesday, while Marcos Alonso replaces the injured Reece James and Kai Havertz comes in for Lukaku.

Both sides will be desperate for a win to stay as close as possible to league leaders Manchester City after Pep Guardiola's men snatched a late victory at Arsenal on Saturday to go 11 points clear of second-place Chelsea.

TEAMS

Chelsea: Edouard Mendy, Trevor Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic. Subs: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Malang Sarr, Lewis Hall, Jorginho, Saul Niguez, Ross Barkley, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Harvey Vale, Hakim Ziyech. 

Liverpool: Caoimhin Kelleher, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Kostas Tsimikas, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota. Subs: Adrian, Marcelo Pitaluga, Naby Keita, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Owen Beck, Neco Williams, Tyler Morton.

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Roberto Firmino has sustained a "serious hamstring injury" and is set for a spell on the sidelines.

Firmino was introduced at half-time in the Reds' 2-0 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday, but was forced off in the 78th minute.

When the striker will return to action is not clear, but Klopp expects the Brazil international to be out for at least four weeks.

"Bobby is not good news with a serious hamstring injury, really unfortunate," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "We don’t know exactly how long he will be out, but it will be not now after the international break directly. We have to work on that."

Klopp reiterated the significance of the 30-year-old's absence in his pre-match news conference ahead of a Premier League meeting with West Ham on Sunday:

The German boss said: "Losing Bobby Firmino is a blow. I don't think I need to say how big it is. It's a serious injury.

"We talk about weeks - more than four I consider as a serious injury. Then we have to see. Bobby is a quick healer."

Joe Gomez (calf) and Curtis Jones [eye] are also out of the Reds' trip to London, but Klopp expects both to return after the upcoming international break. 

Klopp was less sure about Naby Keita and James Milner, but hopes they will be back in action before long as they recover from thigh injuries.

"Curtis is a completely different story [to Firmino], he was very unlucky in training – he got a finger that scratched the eye," Klopp continued to Liverpool's official website. 

"I had a lot of injuries to players in my career, that was not [one]. He is on the way back but we have to see how long exactly. 

"He will be back after the international break, for sure, but in the international break we have to see when he can start doing proper stuff again. And Joey, hopefully, after the international break as well.

"We will see [about Keita and Milner]. For them, I have hope for after the international break but I don’t know exactly. We have to wait. That’s two weeks and a few days from now on, so that’s what I would really wish for but I cannot promise that. But that’s what we are working on."

Liverpool assistant head coach Pep Lijnders has described Liverpool's attackers as being "like raptors from Jurassic Park" after the 5-0 hammering of Manchester United.

The Reds have been potent this season, their tally of 41 goals in all competitions bettered only by Bayern Munich (60) among teams from Europe's top five leagues.

Mohamed Salah has been responsible for 15 of those goals, making him the second-highest goalscorer among Europe's elite this season behind Robert Lewandowski (17).

Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have six each, while, and Diogo Jota – who scored against United on Sunday – has four to his name.

Each of Liverpool's forwards have been in fantastic form and Lijnders puts that down to Jurgen Klopp's men going back to basics.

"I think it has to do with the way we are playing," he said during a news conference on Tuesday previewing the midweek EFL Cup last-16 tie with Preston North End. 

"It's the whole package that means our front players get into good positions. The front three look like raptors in Jurassic Park! 

"We haven't changed anything. Sometimes improving is going back to basics. Players needed a break after a few intense and emotional seasons."

With his hat-trick at Old Trafford, Salah has now scored in a club-record 10 successive matches for Liverpool in all competitions.

The Egypt international, who surpassed Didier Drogba (104) as the highest-scoring African in Premier League history with 106 goals, is expected to be rested against Preston.

Takumi Minamino scored twice and Divock Origi was on target as Liverpool swept aside Norwich City 3-0 in the last round and both players are in line to start again at Deepdale on Wednesday.

"We are used to making changes," Lijnders said. "We have to do things the right way by training and recovering correctly. 

"That's what I like about us – we prepare at the same level no matter who the opponent. We have to show our fans that same hunger and desire.

"Origi is the top scorer in this competition. He is a world-class finisher and is looking sharp, as is Minamino. Last season went to show that we need all of our players.

"They all have to show the right mentality and be ready. They have to stay patient and keep training hard."

Lijnders confirmed James Milner will miss Liverpool's next four matches ahead of the international break with a hamstring injury sustained in the win at Old Trafford.

Naby Keita also came off in that game following a strong challenge from Paul Pogba, who was shown a red card, but Liverpool's assistant was able to provide a more positive update on the midfielder.

"Naby has a bruise in this moment, which we are assessing day by day," Lijnders said.

"Thankfully his leg wasn't planted, but it's still a painful one. It's looking good. Fabinho will also be monitored daily and may return next weekend."

Liverpool travel to Preston aiming to keep alive their good record against lower-league opposition in the EFL Cup, having progressed from 16 of their past 17 such ties.

"Our priority is to put on a good display," Lijnders added. "That is the case from the start of the season until the end.

"Our game needs freshness and we want the opponents to feel our attack. The only way we will be able to properly press is to rotate.

"We are taking it game by game and are hoping to maintain our consistency."

Manchester United suffered a torrid second-half spell to succumb to defeat against Leicester City in Saturday's headline Premier League clash.

Failure at the King Power Stadium places further questions over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's tenure ahead of a daunting schedule but neighbours Manchester City did not experience similar problems as the defending champions cruised to yet another victory over Burnley.

City's fellow title contenders Chelsea made London derby history as they battled past Brentford after Liverpool's fearsome front three had comfortably dispatched Claudio Ranieri's new Watford side.

In the other fixtures, Wolves shocked Aston Villa to overturn a two-goal deficit and Norwich City fought for a goalless draw against Brighton and Hove Albion, while Southampton registered their first win over a depleted Leeds United.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform takes a look at the pick of the fixtures from the day.

Watford 0-5 Liverpool: Mane hits century as Salah continues scoring run

Roberto Firmino became the first Brazilian to score more than one hat-trick in the Premier League as Ranieri fell to defeat by the biggest margin of any manager in their first home game with a new club in the competition.

Firmino's first two goals followed Mane's opener as the Senegal international hit his 100th Premier League goal, without scoring a penalty, with only Les Ferdinand (149) and Emile Heskey (110) previously achieving such a feat.

Mohamed Salah played an exquisite pass for Mane's landmark goal but the Egypt forward also found the net as he danced through Watford's defence to become the joint-top scoring African – level with Didier Drogba (104) – in the history of the competition.

His left-footed curler also made him the first Liverpool player since Daniel Sturridge in 2014 to score in eight consecutive games in all competitions as Jurgen Klopp's side became the first top-flight side to ever score three-plus goals in seven consecutive away games across all competitions.

Leicester City 4-2 Manchester United: Foxes end Red Devils record away run

Mason Greenwood edged United ahead with his fifth strike from outside the box in 21 Premier League goals – only David Beckham and Nani have managed a higher share of goals for the club from in such a fashion of those to score 20 times.

However, just 54 seconds split Marcus Rashford's equaliser for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side to make it 2-2 and Jamie Vardy putting the hosts 3-2 to the good.

Patson Daka then became the first Zambian scorer in the Premier League, with 105 different nations now having a goalscorer, as Leicester won three consecutive games in all competitions against the Red Devils for the first time since 1901.

Not only did the Foxes, who have conceded in seven straight top-flight games under Brendan Rodgers, make history they also ended the visitors' record run as 30 games without a loss on the road came to an abrupt end.

Brentford 0-1 Chelsea: Blues make history in the capital against unlucky Brentford

Ben Chilwell's third goal in three games – as many as in his last 33 appearances in the league – inspired Chelsea to a record-breaking seventh consecutive away win in London derbies.

Thomas Tuchel's men have conceded just three goals this term – the fewest they have conceded at this stage since 2010-11 (two) – as the Blues won their 15th game against new top-flight opposition in 16 attempts.

Meanwhile, Brentford – who were stifled by Edouard Mendy's 20th clean sheet in 38 games – remain winless in seven matches against Chelsea, losing each of their last three by an aggregate scoreline of 9-0.

Manchester City 2-0 Burnley: Guardiola's men maintain dominance over the Clarets 

City cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory at Etihad Stadium, meaning they now boast a 32-1 aggregate scoreline over Burnley in their last nine games across all competitions.

Pep Guardiola's side have now kept clean sheets in six of their eight league games this term – more than any other side – as Kevin de Bruyne netted for consecutive top-flight games for the first time since July 2020.

The Clarets, who are on the longest winless run in England's top four tiers (11), are Bernardo Silva's favourite opponent, the Portugal international directly involved in seven goals in eight games.

Liverpool romped to a convincing 5-0 win over Watford at Vicarage Road with Roberto Firmino netting a hat-trick as the Hornets produced a hapless showing in Claudio Ranieri's first game in charge.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring with his 100th Premier League goal, calmly finishing first-time into the bottom corner from Mohamed Salah's lovely ball in behind.

Firmino profited from poor Watford defending to find the net either side of half-time, tapping in from James Milner's pass after the home defence had been carved open, before pouncing on a loose ball from a badly defended cross.

Salah then scored a sensational solo goal, making a mockery of three defenders' attempts to win the ball from him before curling emphatically into the far corner, while Firmino struck again in stoppage-time to compound the hosts' misery.

Liverpool once again put Porto to the sword as they made it back-to-back wins at the start of a new Champions League campaign, coasting to a 5-1 victory at the Estadio do Dragao.  

The Reds had come out on top in a five-goal thriller in their Group B opener against Milan at Anfield, yet there were no such nerves on Tuesday against opponents they have made a habit of beating through the years.  

Jurgen Klopp was in charge for 5-0 and 4-1 wins on Portuguese soil when steering Liverpool to successive final appearances in the competition in 2018 and 2019, and this year's squad appear on course to make the knockout stages once more.  

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino scored twice, the latter after coming on as a substitute, while Sadio Mane was also on target, making it five goals for him in as many appearances against Porto. 

The result should not come as too much of a surprise, considering Porto had not managed a win in the previous eight meetings. The hosts were dealt a blow when Pepe was ruled out with an injury suffered in the warm-up, while Otavio's outing was cut short after 14 minutes.  

Not long after the enforced change, Liverpool went ahead. Curtis Jones' low shot was parried by Diogo Costa onto team-mate Zaidu Sanusi, leaving Salah with a simple close-range finish.  

The Porto goalkeeper did do better to deny Jordan Henderson a goal to mark his 400th appearance for the club, turning the visiting captain's fierce free-kick away, but his failure to cut out James Milner's low cross allowed Mane to tap home before the interval.  

Salah slotted away his second of the game on the hour before heading to the bench and while Mehdi Taremi headed in to pull a goal back, it only served to anger Liverpool into a response.

Costa rounded out a shocking performance by straying from his area to try to reach Jones' throughball, allowing Firmino to roll the ball into an unguarded net. The Brazilian added another just four minutes later when reacting quickly to a deflection, though only after a VAR check for offside. 

 

What does it mean? Liverpool show ruthless edge to seize control 

After a frantic 3-3 draw away at Brentford on Saturday – a game in which Liverpool trailed early before getting level, then twice let slip leads in the second half – this was far more routine for Klopp and his players.  

Such was his team's dominance, the German was able to substitute Salah, Mane and Milner with a weekend clash with Manchester City in mind, the latter set to deputise again for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold for the visit of the Premier League champions to Merseyside.  

Salah stays hot to surpass Eto'o  

Thanks to his double, Salah moves on to 31 Champions League goals in his career, putting him clear of Samuel Eto’o for second place on the all-time list for African players in the competition. Only Didier Drogba (44) has managed more.  

The Egyptian has also now scored in each of his last six appearances for Liverpool. That is the first time a player has netted in six in a row for the club since April 2018, when Salah himself managed to do so for seven successive games.  

Costa goes cold as Porto roll over 

Porto were largely toothless in attack and porous at the back, not aided by the performance of a keeper who could have done better with at least three of the goals he conceded. 

He saved just 61 per cent of the attempts that came his way and, after Taremi’s finish from Fabio Vieira’s cross made it 3-1, his decision to rush out in the 77th minute allowed Firmino to kill off any slim hopes of a comeback. 

What's next?  

Liverpool take on City at Anfield on Sunday in a huge clash prior to the international break. Porto, meanwhile, are at home again, this time taking on Pacos Ferreira in domestic action. 

Jurgen Klopp hailed Takumi Minamino as a "top character" after the Japanese forward fired Liverpool past Norwich City in the EFL Cup.

The Japan forward's two goals, either side of a header from Divock Origi, guided the Reds to a 3-0 win at Carrow Road.

Minamino's influence at Liverpool has not reached the levels some expected it might after he joined from Salzburg in January of last year, and he spent the second half of the 2020-21 season at Southampton.

For now he is back at Liverpool and keen to make an impression, and a smart turn and finish for Liverpool's opening goal was an example of his quality.

A recent minor knock set Minamino back slightly, but he looked sharp against the Canaries as both sides made sweeping personnel changes for the cup clash.

"Players need time to get back on track after an injury. But Taki is in a really good moment," Klopp said in a post-game news conference.

"He trained very well and deserved his two goals. For the first one he showed really good awareness, quick in mind and finished the situation off.

"He was really good in pre-season then he got injured, and now the rest of the season can start. 

"He was injured at the wrong moment. Coming back, it's sometimes not so easy, but he is a top character obviously and enjoyed the game tonight and that was important for him and important for us, so that will help him and it helped us."

Although Minamino caught the eye, his prospects of a run in Klopp's Premier League team look remote for now and it may be his appearances prove sporadic, spread across competitions.

Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino returned to training on Monday, Klopp said, after a hamstring injury lay-off, and when fit he remains ahead of Minamino in the pecking order.

"It is not too far away when he will play again," Klopp said of Firmino.

Liverpool's manager watched on appreciatively as teenagers Tyler Morton, Kaide Gordon and Conor Bradley helped Liverpool get the job done, all three making their first-team debuts.

"I'm really happy for the boys, it was a big one for all three," said Klopp. "These boys are good and thank God they're ours."

Central and South American players who were barred from travelling to World Cup qualifiers by their Premier League teams will be available this weekend after their countries backed down from a request to ban them under FIFA rules. 

Players from Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Paraguay are cleared to play as their national federations agreed late Friday to waive a measure that would have compelled the players to sit out after their clubs refused to release them for international duty. 

Premier League teams last month decided to prevent players from nations on the United Kingdom's COVID-19 "red list" to participate in Qatar 2022 qualifiers, citing the UK's requirement that people who have travelled to those countries quarantine for 10 days upon their return. 

There had been some indications earlier Friday that the players might be available, but official word did not come down until shortly before midnight London time. 

Brazilians now available to their clubs Saturday include Ederson and Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City, Chelsea's Thiago Silva and Manchester United's Fred. 

Among players from other nations involved, Wolves can use Mexico's Raul Jimenez on Saturday, while Newcastle will have Paraguay's Miguel Almiron available, and Watford can play Chile's Francisco Sierralta 

Liverpool will be most relieved, with Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino cleared to face Raphina and Leeds on Sunday. 

Earlier Friday, Jurgen Klopp said at a news conference that he hoped a solution could be reached for the benefit of all parties involved. 

"It is a really difficult situation and really tricky for all the clubs, and the players especially," Klopp said. "We should not forget at this moment that the players wanted to play these games, the clubs wanted to let the players go but it was not possible."

Jurgen Klopp hinted that Liverpool will be without Roberto Firmino, Alisson and Fabinho for the trip to Leeds United on Sunday.

Firmino misses out through a hamstring injury sustained against Chelsea but the availability of Alisson and Fabinho remains in doubt after Brazil called on FIFA to suspend the players from playing this weekend.

Brazil requested the governing body to take action after the Premier League clubs agreed to not let their players travel to South America, amid quarantining fears on their return subsequently causing them to miss fixtures.

When asked for an update on the situation, Klopp told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference: "I know Bobby [Firmino] will not be available because of injury. About the rest, no.

"It’s a really difficult situation and really tricky for all the clubs and players, especially.

"We should not forget the players wanted to play, the clubs wanted to let players go but it was not possible.

"It looks like the real punishment is on the players because they can't play and, of course, the clubs as well.

"That's really not okay, we didn't decide that the players could not go.

"Brazil played 1.30am this morning [UK] time, they won all 3 games and still there is a complaint.

"Before the last break I met [Arsene] Wenger and he showed me World Cup plans. In that moment I got the message from our guys 'no exemptions from government for our players'.

"Now we have that situation, we still don't know who we can line-up at the weekend.

"I've no idea when I can expect a solution, we will see. I don't know what moment I have to make the decision. I want to play them on Sunday but we will see."

Klopp's side travel to Elland Road on the second-longest unbeaten run in England's top four tiers (13), also winning seven of their last eight Premier League matches on the road.

Leeds are winless in their last eight top-flight meetings with the Reds, though they held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Elland Road last season.

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