New Delhi: Marcus Rashford on Saturday netted twice to give Manchester United a vital 2-1 victory over rival Liverpool as they strengthened their grip over the second spot in the English Premier League (EPL) football championship.

Liverpool were handed their second Premier League defeat in 2018 at Old Trafford, as Manchester United sent a warning to Sevilla ahead of next Tuesday’s clash in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16.

Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho’s Man United side nearly dominated the first half with two goals from Rashford, who opened the scoring in the 14th minute and added the second 10 minutes later.

However, Liverpool controlled the second half and fought to come back, managing to narrow the gap as Manchester United defender Eric Bailly scored an own goal in the 66th minute.

However, despite the help, Liverpool failed to score the equalizer.

After their third straight victory, Manchester United are in the second position in the Premier League table with 65 points, five points ahead of third-placed Liverpool.

“The most important thing is the victory, the three points. Apart from that, against a team like Liverpool, you do not win if the performance is not good,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by Man United’s website.

“I think, in the first half, we were very strong, very aggressive with a great intention to go and to hurt and, if possible, to score,” he added.

“In the second half, Liverpool were more dominant but it was the kind of dominance without danger. In some matches, (goalkeeper) David (De Gea) made phenomenal saves and today he didn’t make one single important save in the game. So, in the second half, we were in control of Liverpool’s dominance.”

Manchester City, who are set to be hosted by Stoke City on Monday, lead the table with 78 points. (With IANS inputs)