LIVERPOOL, England, Dec 29 (Reuters) - A controversial Sadio Mane goal was enough for Premier League leaders Liverpool to secure a nervy 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers and open up a 13-point cushion over their nearest challengers on Sunday.
Mane, in his 150th game for the club, netted three minutes before the break only for Adam Lallana to be penalised for handball in the build-up. However, a lengthy VAR review deemed the ball hit the midfielder’s shoulder and the goal stood.
Liverpool have 55 points from 19 games, while Wolves are seventh in the table five points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Liverpool, sporting gold World Champions badges on their shirts after their Club World Cup triumph, were rarely at their brilliant best but showed once again that they appear to have the mettle to claim a first domestic league title in 30 years.
The only goal of the game caused a flurry of controversy.
Referee Anthony Taylor had blown for handball as Lallana brought down Virgil van Dijk’s long ball before Mane swept in a half-volley. A lengthy VAR stoppage ensued before the decision was overturned much to the fury of the Wolves players and bench.
The visitors were then left seething when denied an immediate riposte after Pedro Neto’s effort was disallowed – again following a VAR review – following the most marginal of offside decisions against Jonny Otto.
Joao Moutinho and Romain Saiss blasted over presentable opportunities for Wolves, who pressed hard for an equaliser but failed to find the net. (Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Ken Ferris)