Liverpool back on top
Liverpool rose to the challenge as Sadio Mane’s opener five minutes after the break and a blistering long-range drive from Salah two minutes later moved them two points clear of second-placed City on a raucous afternoon at Anfield.
City have five games left compared to just four for Liverpool, leaving the destiny of the title in the hands of the champions.
But there is a growing feeling at Anfield that this will be the season Liverpool finally end their 29-year wait to be crowned kings of English football.
On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster that killed 96 Liverpool fans and in the week that club legend Tommy Smith passed away, there was even more emotion at Anfield than usual.
After a minute’s silence featuring mosaics reading “30 years” and “96” held up by fans around the ground, Liverpool‘s focus was trained on avenging one of the more painful defeats in the club’s recent history.
But Klopp insisted his players wouldn’t be haunted by the ghosts of that collapse and they were true to his word.
Chelsea were unbeaten in their last eight matches at Anfield going into Sunday’s clash and showed signs of troubling Liverpool when Eden Hazard twisted away from Joel Matip for a low shot that forced Alisson Becker into action.
David Luiz launched a dangerous Chelsea counter-attack with a pass that sent Willian racing away, but the Brazilian’s miscued shot drifted wide.
Those escapes shook Liverpool out of their brief lull and Salah got behind Emerson to cross for Mane to smash just wide.
When Salah scampered onto Roberto Firmino’s flick in the Chelsea area, Blues defender Emerson could only prod the ball to the influential Jordan Henderson and his deft cross reached the unmarked Mane, who headed home at the far post.
Any Liverpool nerves had been wiped away by jubilant celebrations and soon after Salah blew the roof off Anfield with a moment of pure genius.
Taking possession wide on the right flank, Salah cut inside and glided away from Emerson before unleashing a sumptuous 25-yard drive that arrowed past Kepa into the far corner.
It was a sweet moment of vindication for the Egypt forward after a group of Chelsea fans were filmed chanting “Salah is a bomber” before their team’s Europa League tie at Slavia Prague on Thursday.
And Salah, a practising Muslim, celebrated his 22nd goal of the season by adopting a prayer position in front of the Kop.
Hazard should have reduced the deficit, but twice the Belgian couldn’t find the net from close-range as Liverpool moved a step closer to their holy grail.