Mbappe scores birthday brace, Liverpool crush West Ham in League Cup

Mbappe scores birthday brace, Liverpool crush West Ham in League Cup

PSG’s Portuguese midfielder Vitinha (L) celebrates with Kylian Mbappe after scoring the team’s first goal against FC Metz during their Ligue 1 match at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, December 20, 2023. /CFP

PSG’s Portuguese midfielder Vitinha (L) celebrates with Kylian Mbappe after scoring the team’s first goal against FC Metz during their Ligue 1 match at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, December 20, 2023. /CFP

Kylian Mbappe marked his 25th birthday with a brace as Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) beat Metz 3-1 in Ligue 1 on Wednesday to reach the halfway stage of the season five points clear at the top of the table.

PSG, who had been held 1-1 at Lille at the weekend, labored in the first half before Vitinha opened the scoring early in the second half by turning in a cross from Lee Kang-in.

Mbappe then took center stage by making it 2-0 with a superb strike in off the underside of the crossbar from the edge of the area.

Matthieu Udol pulled one back for the struggling visitors, but Mbappe pounced on a short back-pass to round the goalkeeper and make it 3-1 toward the end for his 18th league goal of the campaign.

PSG's tweet on December 21 about Kylian Mbappe. /@PSG_English

PSG’s tweet on December 21 about Kylian Mbappe. /@PSG_English

PSG’s tweet on December 21 about Kylian Mbappe. /@PSG_English

His birthday was made even more memorable when his 16-year-old brother Ethan came on for his senior debut in stoppage time.

PSG end the year with a comfortable five-point cushion over nearest challengers Nice, who defeated Lens 2-0 on Wednesday, thanks to two late goals from Nigerian striker Terem Moffi.

Monaco are seven points behind the leaders in third place after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Toulouse, with Wissam Ben Yedder scoring both of their goals.

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp (R) congratulates midfielder Curtis Jones after winning the English League Cup quarterfinal between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, England, December 20, 2023. /CFP

Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp (R) congratulates midfielder Curtis Jones after winning the English League Cup quarterfinal between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, England, December 20, 2023. /CFP

Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp (R) congratulates midfielder Curtis Jones after winning the English League Cup quarterfinal between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, England, December 20, 2023. /CFP

Also on Wednesday, Curtis Jones scored twice and Liverpool booked a record 19th appearance in the League Cup semifinals with a 5-1 thrashing of West Ham United, claiming the last of the four berths.

Dominik Szoboszlai, Cody Gakpo and talisman Mohamed Salah, who did not enter the game until it was an hour old, also scored for Jurgen Klopp’s team in what unraveled into a rout in the final 20 minutes.

Liverpool FC's tweet on December 21 about the team's 5-1 victory over West Ham United in their English League Cup quarterfinal. /@LFC

Liverpool FC’s tweet on December 21 about the team’s 5-1 victory over West Ham United in their English League Cup quarterfinal. /@LFC

Liverpool FC’s tweet on December 21 about the team’s 5-1 victory over West Ham United in their English League Cup quarterfinal. /@LFC

“The performance, the scoresheet, the result and the individual performances put together to make a team on the pitch,” a delighted Klopp told Sky Sports. “The boys enjoyed it a lot; they worked hard but enjoyed it too with joyful football in moments. Nice to see.”

“I want to score goals and help the team,” Jones said. “It is okay playing well, but you need to score goals; I’ve scored two, so a big smile on my face.”

The semifinal first legs will be played the week of January 8, and the second legs beginning January 22.

The final is on February 25 at Wembley Stadium, and fans at rain-lashed Anfield, keen to see their team in the final, chanted “Wembley” in the final minutes on Wednesday.

(With input from agencies)

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