Premier League: Liverpool leans on VAR to edge past Wolves

Liverpool went 13 points clear over nearest rival Leicester City after two favourable VAR decisions helped the Reds beat Wolves 1-0 on Sunday.

Liverpool players celebrate Sadio Mane's 42nd minute goal against Wolves on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

Liverpool continued its relentless march towards a first Premier League title in 30 years, but Jurgen Klopp's men needed the benefit of two VAR reviews to see off Wolves 1-0 at Anfield on Sunday.

Sadio Mane scored the only goal three minutes before half-time as the Senegalese's strike was allowed to stand after initially being ruled out for handball against Adam Lallana.

Moments later Wolves had an equaliser scored by Pedro Neto disallowed by VAR for the tightest of offside decisions.

An 18th win in 19 Premier League games this season reestablished Liverpool's 13-point lead at the top of the table and it has a game in hand over closest challenger Leicester.

Wolves were angered even before kick-off with the scheduling that meant they travelled to the European champion just 45 hours after a thrilling 3-2 win over Manchester City.

Nuno Espirito Santo responded by making four changes with all three goalscorers from Friday -- Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore and Matt Doherty -- starting on the bench.

READ | Chelsea comes back to beat Arsenal 2-1 in London derby

Liverpool made just one alteration from the side that thrashed Leicester 4-0 in a top-of-the-table clash on Boxing Day to open up a seemingly unassailable lead in the title race.

An extra day's rest for the host showed in the early stages as Mohamed Salah, Georginio Wijnaldum, Mane and Roberto Firmino all came close.

- Finest of margins -

Pedro Neto (centre) and Wolves' celebrations of an equaliser were cut short after the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside.   -  Getty Images

 

The deadlock was finally broken when Mane swept home his 14th goal of the season.

Referee Anthony Taylor ruled the goal out for handball as Lallana knocked the ball into Mane's path, but the English midfielder had instead used his shoulder and the goal was given after a lengthy VAR review.

If Wolves felt hard done by for the opener, they were rightly infuriated again in first half stoppage time when Neto's equaliser was ruled out.

 

Jonny was adjudged to be offside by the tiniest of margins to add to a number of Premier League goals over the past two days ruled out for the most marginal of offside calls.

Nuno was booked among the Wolves protestations, but the Portuguese coach's starting line-up meant he had weapons up his sleeve come the second half with the pace of Traore unleashed on the hour mark.

ALSO READ | Liverpool's Henderson tops Premier League appearances for 2010s

Wolves' top scorer Jimenez followed, but only after Diogo Jota's fierce strike forced Alisson Becker into a smart save.

The visitor had lost just once in its previous 14 league games to move into contention for a top-four finish and it did not go down without a fight in the final stages.

Jimenez had the best chance to claim an equaliser, but was denied by a block from Joe Gomez before Joao Moutinho, Romain Saiss, Ruben Vinagre and Traore fired off target.

  Dugout videos