Football: Wins for Liverpool, Arsenal to tighten English Premier League title race

Mohamed Salah has scored on his return from injury, as Liverpool kept their foot on the throttle in the English Premier League title race, with a 4-1 win at Brentford to solidify their lead at the summit.

Darwin Nunez opened the scoring with an exquisite first-half chip, and goals after the break from Alexis Mac Allister and Salah - who was playing his first game for Liverpool in over six weeks, after suffering a hamstring injury at the Africa Cup of Nations - effectively ended the contest.

Ivan Toney pulled one back for Brentford, but Cody Gakpo grabbed Liverpool's fourth to wrap up a comfortable win for the visitors.

Liverpool celebrate a goal against Brentford.
Liverpool celebrate a goal against Brentford. Photo credit: Getty Images

While his side cruised to a sixth win in their last seven league games, there was a sour note for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who was already dealing with a lengthy injury list, before Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were taken off in the first half, and Nunez failed to emerge after halftime.

The Liverpool manager was already without key players through injury, including goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai.

Klopp cut a frustrated figure on the touchline, as Brentford snapped into challenges and forced Liverpool back in the early stages, with Toney spurning a couple of chances, but the visitors broke the deadlock, thanks to Nunez's fine finish in the 35th minute.

Salah came off the bench to replace Jota and had two chances either side of halftime, but failed to convert a dangerous cross from Luis Diaz and then, straight after the interval, stabbed wide, after running through with only the keeper to beat.

The Egyptian was the creator for Liverpool's second in the 55th minute, as he cut in from the right and fed Mac Allister, whose first touch took him past the last man, before he stabbed it into the net.

Salah was on target 13 minutes later, when a long ball forward from stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher was headed on by Gakpo. Salah pounced, as the Brentford defence stood still, beating Nathan Collins, before finishing left-footed for his 15th league goal of the season.

Later, Bukayo Saka scored either side of halftime, as Arsenal crushed second-bottom Burnley 5-0 at Turf Moor to go second and keep the pressure on Liverpool.

Captain Martin Odegaard opened the scoring in the fourth minute, shooting left-footed from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner, and Saka made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 41st after a foul on Leandro Trossard.

Saka claimed his second two minutes after the break for his 12th league goal of the campaign, Trossard curled one in for 4-0 and Kai Havertz added a fifth, as Arsenal chalked up a fifth straight win in 2024.

Arsenal, who thrashed West Ham United 6-0 last weekend, have scored 21 goals in their last five games and they could easily have added to the tally against the Clarets.

Trossard, who has now scored three goals in three games, missed several other chances, including one big miss early in the first half.

Saka's second goal was assisted by Odegaard, but the England forward's hopes of a hattrick ended, when he was taken off in the 69th with one yellow card to his name and the game won.

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany was always in for an uncomfortable afternoon, watching from the stands, after collecting a touchline ban for his third booking of the season, and it went from bad to worse.

The match was halted in the 63rd minute, when Burnley's Aaron Ramsey was given oxygen and carried off on a stretcher, after apparently injuring his knee in a tackle by Odegaard.

Bukayo Saka scored twice for Arsenal at Burnley.
Bukayo Saka scored twice for Arsenal at Burnley. Photo credit: Getty Images

Burnley remain deep in trouble at the foot of the table, level on points with bottom club Sheffield United.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have put a dent in Tottenham Hotspur's top-four ambitions, as Joao Gomes scored twice in an impressive 2-1 away victory in the premier league.

Brazilian Gomes headed Wolves in front shortly before halftime and struck again in the 63rd minute, after Dejan Kulusevski had equalised immediately after the break.

It was Wolves' fourth win in their last six premier league games away to Tottenham and completed the double this season after their win at Molineux in October.

Combined with Aston Villa's win at Fulham, defeat dropped Tottenham down into fifth place, with 47 points from 25 games. Wolves moved into 10th place with 35 points.