Liverpool’s surge towards a first Premier League title continued with a convincing 2-0 win over rivals Manchester United.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been dominant in all competitions this season, and were a class above their opponents once again as an inconsistent United visited Anfield.
United are the only team to have taken points off Liverpool in the league this term, with the reverse fixture finishing as a draw, but this time around – backed by the knowledge that nearest competitors Manchester City and Leicester both slipped up this weekend – Liverpool oozed confidence and class.
Liverpool took an early lead when Virgil van Dijk rose above above newly appointed United captain Harry Maguire – having recently revealed his thoughts on being overtaken as the world’s most expensive defender by him – to head home.
The Reds thought they had doubled their lead when Roberto Firmino curled the ball into the far corner, but VAR ruled it out on the basis of another aerial challenge from van Dijk on goalkeeper David De Gea – whose angry outbursts earned him a yellow card.
There was a second disallowed goal when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played a clever through ball to Georginio Wijnaldum for the Dutchman to finish, but the scorer was correctly adjudged to be narrowly offside by the linesman.
Liverpool came out of the traps after the break, and Jordan Henderson had the first big chance of the second half after breaking through United’s defensive lines, but De Gea produced a fine fingertip stop to deny him – making amends for his earlier booking.
Chances had been few and far between for United, when Anthony Martial got in behind the Liverpool backline just before the hour mark. However, the Frenchman snatched at his shot with too much power, and it flew wide.
Shortly after, a piece of skill from Wijnaldum sparked a Liverpool counter-attack, with the midfielder threading the ball through for Sadio Mane on his left – only for the winger to be shown wide by the United defence, forcing him to play a weak shot wide with his left foot.
United started to put some more pressure on the hosts, managing more shots in the second half than the first – with the absence of Marcus Rashford, expected to be out for 2-3 months with a back problem, a factor in their lack of effectiveness – and that prompted Klopp into making some changes.
As part of a double substitution late on, Fabinho came on for his long-awaited return from injury, giving Liverpool the extra protection in midfield they needed.
Deep into stoppage time, Liverpool wrapped up the three points when Alisson picked out Mohamed Salah on a quick break, with the Egyptian keeping his cool when closing in on goal to slot home beyond De Gea.
It resulted in a jubilant atmosphere at Anfield, with the fans breaking into a chant of “We’re going to win the league” – showing just how confident they are in ending their long wait.