by Reece Chambers at the Cardiff City Stadium
Liverpool kept their title hopes alive and kicking at the Cardiff City Stadium on Easter Sunday thanks to goals from Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner.
Gini Wijnaldum opened the scoring for the Reds in the 56th minute with an impressive finish from a well-worked Trent Alexander Arnold corner.
James Milner added a second for Klopp’s side in the 80th minute when Mohammad Salah was bundled to the area by Sean Morrison.
The win for Liverpool keeps their title hopes alive with three games remaining as they sit two points above Manchester City who play their game in hand against Manchester United on Wednesday night.
For Cardiff, there are three important games left in the season to try and catch Brighton who remain three points above the Bluebirds.
Neil Warnock would have been happier at half-time as Cardiff City kept Liverpool at arm’s length.
Despite their contrasting league position, Cardiff had their fair share of chances. They arguably went the closest to opening the scoring through Oumar Niasse who carved out an improvised shot from a Bluebirds corner. Brazilian international goalkeepers Alisson was equal to the task, though, as he pulled off an instinctive save in the 44th minute.
Liverpool failed to find the vital pass through Cardiff’s defensive line in the opening 45 minutes. Much of the Reds’ creativity came through Naby Keita who took control in the Liverpool midfield. However, a series of last-ditch interceptions from Bruno Manga stopped Mohammad Salah from bearing down on goal.
The Egyptian had one of the best chances in the opening half for Klopp’s side. Great improvisation from Jordan Henderson in midfield providing Salah with an opportunity to slot past Etheridge but the Philippine was equal to the task and saved well.
Nathaniel Mendez Laing was the Bluebirds’ brightest spark in the first half, beating Trent Alexander-Arnold down the left-hand-side on several occasions. The young English right-back was unable to deal with the pace of Mendez Laing who provided a series of half-chances for Warnock’s side.
Roberto Firmino had the best chance of the first half on 23 minutes, following clever interplay between Liverpool’s front three. The Brazilian, though, was unable to find the back of the net as he blazed over the bar.
The second half provided much more entertainment for both sets of fans in Cardiff as the game opened up. Both Salah and Mane had decent efforts on goal fly marginally wide of Etheridge’s goal.
Jordan Henderson had a terrific chance not long after the opening goal but blazed over. That chance could have proven to be crucial had Bluebirds’ captain Sean Morrison converted a glorious chance from five yards on 64 minutes.
Liverpool proved their worth after taking the lead as they prevented Cardiff to a limited number of shots. The Bluebirds registered just two shots on target throughout the game and Klopp’s side deserves credit for their strong defence.
Cardiff City fans were fuming with referee Martin Atkinson in the 80th minute as he had adjudged Morrison to have fouled Salah in the penalty area. In truth, Atkinson had little other choice given that the Cardiff captain had his hands all over the Liverpool forward.
One concern for Liverpool will be that midfielder Fabinho was taken off just minutes after being substituted on after a clash of heads. For Cardiff, they had three games remaining in which they must, realistically, have to win two of them.