Liverpool stretched their yawning lead at the top of the Premier League to 16 points as goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah earned a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Anfield.
A 13th straight league win since the sides last met at Old Trafford in October continues Liverpool’s relentless run towards a first league title in 30 years, while United remain five points off the top four in fifth.
Liverpool also have a game in hand to come on closest challengers Manchester City and could have been more comfortable winners after seeing two first half goals ruled out and a host of clear chances go astray.
United are the only team to take Premier League points off the European champions this season, but it rarely looked like lightning would strike twice once the hosts went in front on 14 minutes.
Van Dijk rose highest to power home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner to put Jurgen Klopp’s men ahead after 14 minutes.
The Reds had the ball in the net twice more before the break –through Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum – but VAR and the offside flag came to United’s rescue to keep the score down.
United rode their luck even more at the start of the second half as Salah somehow skewed wide from point-blank range before Jordan Henderson smashed a shot off the post.
But Liverpool’s failure to put the game to bed could have cost them when Martial blazed over United’s best chance of the game after a well-worked one-two with Andres Pereira just before the hour mark.
However, the hosts held out for a seventh consecutive clean sheet in all competitions and took another giant step towards the title as Salah secured the three points with virtually the last kick of the game.
The Egyptian was released by goalkeeper Alisson Becker and ran from inside his own half before slotting under David De Gea.