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SPORTS

Liverpool Tops Watford 2-0, Keeps Heat on City in Title Race

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool kept the heat on Manchester City in the Premier League title race by beating relegation-threatened Watford 2-0 on Saturday thanks to Diogo Jota’s 20th goal of the season in all competitions and Fabinho’s late penalty.

Jota darted across the face of the six-yard box and glanced in a header from a right-wing cross by Joe Gomez in the 22nd minute at Anfield.

Jota earned the penalty for the second goal, too, when he was bundled over at a corner by Juraj Kucka. Fabinho, a second-half substitute, tucked away the spot kick in the 89th with the usual penalty-taker — Mohamed Salah — having already been brought off.

It was a 10th straight win in the league for Liverpool, which returned from the international break one point behind City in what looks to be a two-team shootout for the title.

City plays away to Burnley later Saturday.

With its players only recently returning from playing important international matches all over the world, Liverpool was sluggish at times and gave up great chances in either half to third-to-last Watford.

Liverpool’s Diogo Jota, second right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Saturday, April 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

The first came seconds before Jota’s goal, with goalkeeper Alisson thwarting Kucka after the midfielder was played clean through.

The ball immediately got transferred forward by Liverpool and Gomez, starting ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back, curled in a pinpoint cross for Jota, who got ahead of goalkeeper Ben Foster to find the net.

Joao Pedro squandered Watford’s other big opportunity when the score was 1-0, dragging a shot wide after the visitors again got behind Liverpool’s defense.

It was the first match of a busy April for Liverpool, which plays City away in the league next weekend. That comes between two matches against Benfica in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Liverpool has eight league games remaining and will capture a 20th league championship by winning all of them.

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