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Mohamed Salah escapes punishment over contentious penalty against Newcastle

Liverpool forward's reaction deemed below English FA's threshold for 'attempting to deceive the referee'

Mohamed Salah's gone dark on social media after deactivating his Twitter and Instagram accounts. Reuters
Mohamed Salah's gone dark on social media after deactivating his Twitter and Instagram accounts. Reuters

Mohamed Salah will not face any retrospective action for an incident which led to a penalty in Liverpool's 4-0 victory over Newcastle United, leaving the Egyptian forward free to face Arsenal on Saturday.

Liverpool were awarded the penalty two minutes into the second half of Wednesday's Premier League match at Anfield after referee Graham Scott judged Salah had been pulled back by Paul Dummett.

Salah subsequently dispatched the penalty to make it 2-0, but replays showed that the tug was minimal.

Salah's reaction was deemed below the English Football Association's threshold for "attempting to deceive the referee", meaning he is available for selection for Saturday's match against Arsenal that could see Jurgen Klopp's side open up a 10-point gap on reigning champions Manchester City, who face Southampton 24 hours later.

Liverpool have made their best start to a Premier League campaign, with 16 wins and three draws from their 19 games as they seek a first top-flight title since 1990. Klopp's side are six points clear of closest challengers Tottenham Hotspur with City a further point back in third.

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Pep Guardiola has warned Liverpool of the pressures of being Premier League leaders.

City's 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Wednesday allowed Liverpool to open up a seven-point advantage over City to set up an intriguing trip encounter at the Etihad Stadium on January 3 against the Merseysiders that could have a huge bearing on the title race.

City first travel to Southampton on Sunday and Guardiola warned his counterpart Klopp that it can be difficult being out in front when everybody expects you to win.

"From January, February last season people said, 'the Premier League is over'. To live with that is not easy," the Spaniard said.

"One month ago people said about [the match against] Liverpool and before [then] we had three or four games. Football is that you are able to win a lot of games and you are able to lose a lot of games. When I was at Barcelona for one period I lost four games in a row."

The defeat at Leicester is the first time in two years that City have lost back-to-back Premier League games and they have now suffered three defeats in four league matches, following the losses against Chelsea at the beginning of the month and Crystal Palace last weekend.

But Guardiola remains confident in his team's ability and has backed them to bounce back.

"The less important issue is Liverpool, we have to think about Southampton," he said. "I don't forget who we are, how good a team we are, how exceptional these lads I have in the locker room are.

"The reality is we have lost three in four games and the last two. If you want to be real contenders you have to win again. If you don't, it will not be possible."

Updated: December 27, 2018 06:26 PM

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