Liverpool on cusp of first English title in 30 years
LIVERPOOL are one step closer to their first English Premier League title in 30 years after trouncing Crystal Palace 4-0 at Anfield.
The returning Mo Salah provided the inspiration as he scored one - his 15th goal in 15 Anfield Premier League appearances this season - and laid on a brilliant assist for Sadio Mane.
A superb Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick and a fierce Fabinho drive contributed to a comfortable victory which could easily have been greater, such was the Reds' dominance.
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If Manchester City do not beat Chelsea on Friday morning (EST) then the title will be Liverpool's without kicking a ball.
Even victory for Pep Guardiola's side means the Reds could secure the title at the Etihad a week later.
Manager Juergen Klopp had put last weekend's disappointing goalless Merseyside derby draw down to a lack of rhythm, which was somewhat understandable after a three-month break.
But back in familiar surroundings - even if in the unfamiliar circumstances of an empty Anfield - they quickly clicked back into gear.
One Liverpool great among the 300 people allowed into the stadium was Kenny Dalglish - the manager who won the club's last league title in 1990, three years before the Premier League trophy was handed out for the first time.
Two Champions League titles have been won since then - including last year - but not the biggest prize in English football.
Alexander-Arnold was relieved to see the Reds get back to winning ways after the goalless draw at Everton.
"It's a massive win I think," he said.
"The lads have done really well.
"It's great to be back at Anfield after what has gone on. It couldn't have gone any better for us, so we're made up with the win."
Meanwhile, Anthony Martial scored his first ever hat-trick in the Premier League as Manchester United beat Sheffield United 3-0 to keep their Champions League dream alive.
Marcus Rashford set up Martial with a powerful low cross for his French strike partner to score his first goal after just six minutes.
Martial swept in a second goal from Aaron Wan-Bissaka's right-wing delivery just before half-time and in the 73rd minute, the World Cup winner finished off a quick passing play with a simple chip to complete his hat trick.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are now two points behind Chelsea in fifth place on 49 points and remain level with sixth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers after they beat Bournemouth 1-0.
Aston Villa missed the chance to climb out of the relegation zone after they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.
Dean Smith's Villa sit second from bottom in 19th on goal difference as they have the same 27 points as relegation rivals Bournemouth and West Ham United in the two places above.
Elsewhere, Michael Keane's 55th minute goal was the decider in Everton's 1-0 win at relegation-doomed Norwich City.