Liverpool tightened their group over the Premier League title as they reigned supreme over old rivals Manchester United and opened up a 16-point lead at the top of the table. The Reds, who are all but certain to lift the Premier League title for the first time in three decades, defeated United 2-0 with Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah scoring.
Van Dijk put Liverpool ahead in the 14th minute when he scored through a thumping header although they would have to wait till the very end to put the game beyond conclusion. Three minutes into stoppage time, Salah successfully converted a long-ball opportunity and slotted home. The goal prompted combined choruses of “we are going to win the league” from an enthralling Anfield crowd.
Liverpool are on 64 points, ahead of Manchester City at 2 who have 48 points, meanwhile United have 48.
“It’s a big relief, I was really happy with 85-90% of the game, we were brilliant. We dominated the game, especially in the first half. The energy they put on the pitch was incredible,” said the German, whose side have dropped just two points in 22 games.
Van Dijk was poorly marked initially, which allowed him to leap high in the air and head firmly a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold. Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum came close but were ruled out to a VAR review and a narrow offside respectively. If United had hoped to come out stronger in the second-half, Liverpool were ahead by just that much. Salah missed a close-range shot while a hit from Jordan Henderson hit the post.
The loss doesn’t help United’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League either, as they are a place above fourth-placed Chelsea. The contest was extremely one-sided highlighting the shortcomings United need to work on.
“The players gave us everything. Today we hung on a bit at the start of the second half, but the last 25-30 minutes we pressed them and pushed them back. I’m disappointed with conceding from a corner and with the last kick – but very many positives,” manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.