Football: Liverpool on the brink of the title, Man Utd makes the first four moves

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LONDON: Liverpool are on the verge of winning the Premier League title after leaders got a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace, while Anthony Martial scored a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 3-0 victory over Sheffield United on Wednesday (June 24).

Jurgen Klopp’s team took control thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah’s first half goals behind closed doors at Anfield.

Fabinho and Sadio Mane scored after half-time and Liverpool will be crowned champion if Manchester City fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

If City came second in West London, Liverpool could end their first English title for 30 years in the next game – against Pep Guardiola’s team at Etihad Stadium on July 2nd.

“Imagine if the stadium could have been full and people could have experienced it live. It would have been fantastic,” said Klopp.

“The atmosphere on the pitch was incredible. It was the best back pressure game I’ve ever seen behind closed doors.

“The attitude shown by the boys was surprising.”

Asked if he would be watching when City faces Chelsea, Klopp added: “Tonight was a big step, it is clear. I have to watch the game tomorrow because we will play them a week later.

“This is being professional and doing my job.”

After a goalless draw against Merseyside rivals Everton on Sunday, the champions were far more vibrant and Alexander-Arnold opened the scoring with a superb free kick in the 23rd minute.

Salah doubled the lead in the 44th minute, taking Fabinho’s loft passage and driving in his 21st goal of the season.

Fabinho scored with a thunderous 30-yard strike in the 55th minute and Mane scored a move in the 69th minute while Liverpool moved 23 points away from the City.

United are once again very demanding for the top-of-the-table titles, but there are growing signs of momentum for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as they extend their unbeaten run to 13 games.

Martial produced two predatory milestones for the first time before the break to put United in command at Old Trafford.

Manchester United French striker Anthony Martial (second left) scores his team’s second goal against Sheffield United during the English Premier League football game. (Michael Regan / POOL / AFP)

Sheffield United rode high in March before football shutdown for three months, but the Blades have now only collected one point and have failed to score in their three games since the restart.

United could have accumulated much more pain after the break, but was content with another goal as Martial completed his first career hat-trick with a cheeky chip from Marcus Rashford’s pass.

“Very happy for Anthony,” said Solskjaer. “The third goal was a great goal, but for me the first and second were better.

“It’s in the box, ready to go. We worked on it, getting into the box more often in that situation.

“I thought our performance deserved a win, definitely.”

‘DREAM BIG’

Fifth place may still be good enough for next season’s Champions League spot depending on the outcome of City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competition.

And the Wolves remain in balance with United in fifth place after continuing their perfect restart with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.

Just like in Saturday’s 2-0 West Ham win, Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez teamed up to unlock the situation as the Mexican took home a header for his 24th goal of the season.

“When we are like a pack we can get anything,” Jimenez told BT Sport. “We have to dream big and keep it up.”

The defeat leaves Bournemouth still in the bottom three for goal difference and there are now three teams tied on 27 points while Aston Villa scored late to get a 1-1 draw in Newcastle.

Dean Smith’s team seemed destined to challenge a myriad of missed opportunities before the break, when Dwight Gayle fielded the Magpies.

However, Ahmed El Mohamady’s poor ending from Conor Hourihane’s corner recovered a valuable point.

“It’s an annoying point. Most of the game I thought was the best team,” said Villa boss Dean Smith. “We have to be more clinical.”

Any hope that Norwich will get out of trouble now seems abandoned when the Canaries fell into a second defeat in a week.

Michael Keane scored the only goal while Everton won 1-0 on Carrow Road to pass over Arsenal in tenth position.

Norwich remains on the bottom, six points drifting safety.

English Premier League Results:

Liverpool 4 Crystal Palace 0
Manchester United 3 Sheffield United 0
Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1
Norwich 0 Everton 1
Wolves 1 Bournemouth 0

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