Euro 2020 Special

Premier League: Liverpool Keep Top Four Hopes Alive

Manchester United 2-4 Liverpool

11 days later than originally planned but a game that always matters, Liverpool have an Old Trafford victory they will cherish and provides a bright spot to their season.

Following a miserable title defence, what would now really save some face is if the Merseysiders can clinch a Premier League top four spot.

Liverpool trying to keep alive Champions League aspirations was an aim that would have seemed very unambitious for such a squad at the start of the season.

Yet this victory gives them a chance to salvage something.

As for United, cementing the runners-up spot must wait.

Highlights of the game

Manchester United fans protest against their owners during the Premier League match with Liverpool
Manchester United fans protesting outside the Old Trafford

United had edged an FA Cup fourth round thriller in January and, for a while, it looked like there could be a repeat especially after tallisman Bruno Fernandes curled in a 10th minute opener with the outside of his boot from an Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross.

The Red Devils, vying to win five consecutive top-flight home fixtures for the first time since March 2018, led for 25 minutes until the Merseysiders created the first of their own Premier League 2021 highlights on the night as the home defence dithered and Diogo Jota made them pay with a backheel.

From that moment, the intensity seemed with the visitors.

While Paul Pogba went close before the break, the SBOTOP Premier League 2021 betting odds edged in Liverpool’s favour on the stroke of half-time.

Roberto Firmino had scored just once in 14 matches versus United until tonight but he grabbed the first of his brace in first half stoppage time, getting ahead of a poor Pogba challenge to head past Dean Henderson.

A goal in the final minute of the first half and a goal in the first minute of the second half from the same player – after more poor defending – gave Liverpool an advantage they would not relinquish.

The woodwork was all that prevented Firmino from adding to his tally as the visitors remained on top, although there was only goal in it when Edinson Cavani threaded the ball through to Marcus Rashford and he produced a composed finish to slot the ball past Alisson.

As the home side chased an equaliser late on, Liverpool countered and Mohamed Salah applied the finish to seal a deserved win and move him joint top of the scoring charts.

Their top four dreams are very much alive as the season reaches its conclusion.

Key statistics

Liverpool have won six of their past eight away league games, more victories than in their previous 15 matches on the road. 

Salah has become the first Liverpool player to score away to United in two games within the same season since Harry Chambers 100 years ago.

Rashford has scored five goals in his last five appearances against Liverpool.

Fernandes has been directly involved in 44 goals in 50 Premier League appearances for Manchester United (26 goals, 18 assists). Only Eric Cantona (46) and Robin van Persie (45) had a hand in more in their first 50 appearances in the competition for the club.

Only Newcastle (29) and West Bromwich Albion (34) have conceded more home goals in the Premier League this season than United (27).

 United have lost two home games in the space of three days for the first time since April 1958.

They have also conceded 27 home goals in the Premier League this season, their most in a single league campaign since 1969-70 (also 27).

A total of 33% of United’s Premier League goals conceded this season have been from set piece situations (14/42, excluding penalties), the highest ratio in the division.

United have lost two one of their past 16 home games against Liverpool in all competitions (W10, D4).

What’s next?

After an unfair scheduling of four games in eight days, United have the relative luxury of five days before they are next in action as Fulham visit Old Trafford in their penultimate league game of the season (May 20).

That will be followed by a last-day trip to Wolves and their season-concluding Europa League Final in Poland against La Liga outfit Villarreal.

Liverpool go to West Brom in the league on Sunday (May 16) and then round off their campaign with league matches at Burnley and home to Crystal Palace.